New Students

New students often don’t know what to expect from Costume College. We’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you out.

Help! I don’t know anyone! – Don’t worry! You’ll meet people with similar interests very soon. If you arrive on Thursday night, attend the pool party and get to know people. If you show up Friday morning, GO to Freshman Orientation! Show up after these events? Don’t hesitate to talk with other students about their costumes when you see them in the halls. Too shy to start up a conversation? Volunteer and meet people! Promise: you’ll start recognizing faces very soon. You might also like to join the CGW Yahoo! group or the Costume College Facebook page to chat with other students in the months leading up to the big event.

How do I find someone to share a room with me? If you sign up for our roommate matching service, we can provide you with a list of other people looking for roommates. It is then you and your roommates’ responsibility to decide on the details and make hotel reservations. The rooms at the hotel have two queen beds, so it is possible to have up to four people in a room. However, some students find that once they load in all the costumes, accessories, hat boxes, sewing machines, supplies, etc… that they prefer to have only two people to a room.

But I don’t know how to sew!- And? This is Costume College, not Sewing College. You will find classes on our schedule for non-sewers, as well for beginning sewers. Some people like to come just to see the Exhibits or attend the Gala or Tea. Remember, we are here to learn and enjoy, not to compete with each other.

So, what do I wear?– During classes, it is best to wear regular, comfortable clothing, especially when you’re in a workshop. Hotels can be freezing in one room and quite warm in the next, so try to dress in layers, so that you can adapt to the situation. If you do wear costumes to class, do not wear anything bulky or large that will take up more than your share of space (hoops, panniers, giant view-blocking hats, etc…) And try not to wear anything so fabulous that it distracts the other students! Between classes and at events, wear whatever costume you like, so long as it is at least “PG-13” and follows rules set out on the Costume College policies page. Costumes are not required to match the theme of any of the events, so wear what makes you happy. If you don’t have any costumes yet, don’t worry! No one will think less of you for wearing street clothes.

What do I bring to classes? – For limited attendance classes, you will be provided with a materials list. For unlimited classes, bring a notebook and keep a few dollars or quarters on you. Many teachers provide a handout for the price of the copies (typically $1 or $2, but it depends on the handout.) You are not required to purchase a handout, but be prepared to take copious notes instead. If you do not intend to attend a class, please don’t pop in at the beginning to buy just the notes, as that may not leave enough handouts for those in the class. Please no open food containers in the classrooms. You may be careful with that container, but your neighbor may not. Always bring a sweater. The classrooms can get cold!

Limited/Unlimited Classes- Limited Attendance classes (LA) are the ones you have to sign up for and be accepted into in advance. You will get the details in the packet that is sent in the spring. You are allowed to request up to four limited attendance classes or tours, in order of preference. This does not mean you will get all four choices, or even that you will get your top choice, but the sooner you send in that request form, the better your chances are of getting the LA classes you want. Each student should get into at least one of their chosen classes; some lucky students may get all four, depending on when they sent in that form, and how popular their requested classes are. Read “the 3 myths of limited classes” for a more detailed explanation.  Unlimited classes are open to registered students, and do not have a class list or require an RSVP.

So many great classes! How do I decide? – One method of choosing classes is to refer to the grid schedule that lists all classes, and mark off anything that you know won’t fit your schedule, or any LA classes you did not request. For example, if you have purchased tea tickets, you are “busy” during the Tea, as well as just prior to the Tea (assuming you need time to change into something fabulous). When those things are marked off, you can look through the unlimited attendance descriptions and see which one interests you the most during each time slot. Do NOT forget to leave yourself time to eat lunch!

Food– Complimentary light snacks and beverages are available in our Hospitality Suite during posted hours. There is a Starbucks in the lobby. There is usually a grab-and-go sandwich shop set up for lunch in the hallway near check-in, but the hotel won’t open it on Sunday if they don’t sell enough on Saturday, so have a back-up plan. Some of the hotel rooms have mini-fridges. You may wish to keep a power bar or other snacks in your bag, in case you need a quick something between classes. There are water stations in most of the classrooms or hallways outside the classes. The hotel has a fine restaurant, but service can be impacted when everyone wants to eat breakfast or dinner at the same time. The mall across the street has both fast food and sit-down restaurants available. Information has details on local shops and restaurants.

Money – You will probably want to have cash on hand for some of the following things: teachers’ handouts in classes, shopping in the Costumer’s Marketplace and the Bargain Basement (and the Garment District Tour if you are signed up,) tickets for the raffle and Early Bird entrance to the Marketplace, photo studio at the red carpet (and all weekend), second chance registration for LA classes, meals, drinks at the pool party or gala, and tips for maids & bellhops.

Hotel rooms – You will find two queen beds, an iron, ironing board, sometimes a mini-fridge, and internet service. There isn’t a lot of space for rollaways or extra costume racks. Some people like to bring their own iron, because it might be better than what the hotel has to offer. If you leave items on your bed, the maids will not make the bed for you. It’s nice to tip the maids (about a dollar/night for each person in the room) by leaving a few bills on the pillow. Common sense reminds us not to leave other cash laying about.