reposted from "Western Colleges for the 3.0-3.3 student"
St. Mary's of California: 40% of admits have gpa in 2.50-3.24 range. If I had a child in this stat range, this would be my top choice liberal arts college from the schools on the list. The campus is absolutely beautiful, set in a little canyon outside Moraga (in the hills behind the Oakland/Berkeley area). Spanish-style architecture; many faculty with Berkeley Ph.D.s; many instructors working on Berkeley doctorates (which is how I came to know St. Mary's). Small classes, great teaching, really strong athletic program...one of the basketball teams went all the way to the final 12 nationally this year, I believe. I taught there without being Catholic, and many students are non-Catholic, from all kinds of backgrounds. I think this would be a great match school for a student with gpa 3-3.3.
Downside: Remote location, sleepy town. Takes a winding drive to get there.
would like to add that the winding road is relatively short and SMC did indeed make the Sweet 16.
Also on the plus side-- student ID gets you free transport on the local bus system.
In 15 minutes you can be at the BART station in Orinda or Lafayette.
On the down side: ATT cell phone reception is terrible.
FWIW- my kid did have a HS gpa in the above range.
One of the first comments in SMC freshman year 'It's nice to finally have my opinion be appreciated". Current gpa is way better there than it was in HS, and is having a wonderful college experience.
Seamore: Are you familiar with the 4-1-4 calendar? Check out the website for Jan term classes and read the dizzying array of classes available. That's a cool thing unique to SMC and a few other 4-1-4 schools (including such notable campuses as Williams and Colby)
Also if we knew a bit more about your interests it would be easier to convince you
It's 2 'regular' semesters, plus Jan-term (one month long). In Jan term, you focus on one class (possibly 2) that meets more often than those in a regular term. There are study abroad classes, intense language courses, and interesting stuff like 'exploring Italian Food in the Bay Area'. Check the website for course listings and descriptions.
There is a winter break in December after first term, a week break at the end of Jan-term, and an Easter break that follows the Easter holiday (monday after Easter sunday is also a holiday). You can check that online, also. I think that the Thanksgiving holiday was 6 days last year.
Things to do? Walnut Creek certainly has plenty of shopping, but you can take the bus to the Orinda Bart Station and go all over the Bay area, an easy way to get to San Francisco.
Also, like other LAC's, there are day trips organized by clubs and the student council. For example, they took a bus load of kids to the Winchester Mystery House for Halloween.
re the humanities, SMC is one of only 3 colleges nation-wide with a true "Great Books" program, the other two are St. Johns MD and St. Johns NM. It is called "the integral program" here is the link Integral Program
The entire school takes "seminar" which traces social and political thought back to its roots forward to modern day. You can read more about it here Collegiate Seminar
I asked my daughter last night about activities for the non drinker and she says there are plent. The Campus Activities Board is very active in planning thinks like the Winchester Mystery House thing, horseback riding, walking tours of San Francisco, bar-B ques, movie nights etc. Yes and you are just about 30 min by BART into the city so really there is an endless array of activities you can do in San Francisco. There is also an active Outoor Rec center that takes students boarding, camping, surfing etc.
uhhh yeah, 83% of the current freshman class is from CA But keep in mind That CA has multiple personalities I also imagine that with the recent NCAA tournament action that more OOS kids will matriculate.
How does SMC compare with USF and Santa Clara in terms of rigor, sense of community, service focus, etc.? (Qualities other than the obvious differences in location -- urban vs. suburban, etc.) Also, which other colleges would you say are most like SMC?
Santa Clara likes to claim more rigor but I think they are pretty equal in that, and the other respects as well. I do think, for example that SCU doesn't have a cadaver whereas SMC does but I am not sure of that, or if it means that much...though they do like to talk about cadavers on college tours I don't know much about USF but it seems to have a lesser degree of student satisfaction. Sorry I'm not that much help I just know that my own kids are happy, challenged, engaged and active at SMC
I'll chime in here with what I know about the schools. SCU is more diffiicult to get into than the other two--higher average GPA and SAT scores. It has an excellent reputation in the Bay Area. It is a Jesuit college as is USF. As Historymom wrote, SMC is a Christian Brothers college--also Catholic but not Jesuit.
All three are small but SMC is the smallest with about 2500 undergrads. Location is very different. USF is in the city (cool weather), Santa Clara is in a suburb but feels like a city (great weather) and SMC is in a suburb but more in the hills (don't know too much about the weather but not cold like SF and probably not quite as mild as SCU).
Two of my siblings went to USF and enjoyed it there. SCU is very respected in NorCal and is ranked highly in USNews (#2 Masters-West) if that means anything to you. We discovered SMC (#12 Masters-West) last summer and that is our son's destination--he will be a Gael starting this Fall. I think it is an ideal fit for him.
I'd recommend that you visit the three schools and see what one resonates with you most, along with all the other attributes. Oh, SMC is on the semester system and SCU is quarter system...not sure about USF. My impression is that SMC has loads of school spirit, maybe more than the other two, but that is just an impression. SMC and SCU are Division I sports and I think USF might be as well but not sure.