Please Note: Updated information for the Class of 2027 will be available in early June 2023.
Customs is one of the few common experiences that all Haverfordians have, and, like the Honor Code, everyone has a different opinion about it.
Customs is a year-long experience cultivated by students, staff, and faculty to facilitate a purposeful transition for new students by introducing resources to develop students’ academic, cultural, emotional, and social capacity for a successful Haverford career.
To welcome every new student to Haverford’s campus community and foster “the values upon which our community depends: mutual trust, concern, and respect for oneself, one another and the community” (Honor Code section 3.02).
- Emotional Resilience
In some sense, Customs is nothing more than a support network put in place to help the first-year class in their transition from high school to college life at Haverford. However, it also is an important part of the glue that brings the community together. Customs provides a common base of experience for incoming students, encourages student agency, and helps foster a community of growth and care.
Most first-year halls house between ten and twenty first-year students, called Customs Groups. These Customs Groups are supported by a dedicated team of students living both on and off hall, as well as staff members and departments from across the College.
Customs is arguably Haverford's oldest tradition. Its roots reach back to the mid-1800s when upperclassmen spontaneously began keeping the peace in Barclay, the College's first dorm, by quieting the rowdy underclassmen and teaching the new students the 'customs' of the College. At that time, this usually took the form of tossing the frosh head-first into the Duck Pond.
The modern program is, however, above such draconian "welcoming" tactics and now seeks to provide the support and resources that entering students need to make a smooth transition from high school to college life at Haverford.