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STRIDE Program

CalmCanariesCalmCanaries 13 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
There's an old thread about Smith's STRIDE program, but it seems there's been a few changes to the program since then, so a new thread is due.

I was invited to be a STRIDE student, but it seems to be a small program without a lot of talk about it, so I'd love to hear from current Smithies in the program about how it's impacted their experience at Smith, as well as other admitted students' thoughts on being invited to STRIDE.
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Replies to: STRIDE Program

  • skycryskycry 46 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited March 26
    STRIDE changed my life - it's improved my career prospects, connections, academic performance, and self in general.

    My STRIDE research experience was instrumental in helping me secure my competitive industry internships in a related field for the summers after my sophomore and junior years. Since it's unusual to have relevant experience as a first-year, it definitely set me apart when I applied for internships and awards as a sophomore.

    The professor who I assisted is an awesome mentor who's great at teaching and just fun to be around in general. He wrote letters of recommendation for me, encouraged me to apply for awards, and provided fantastic academic, career, and life advice. My older labmates were fantastic mentors and role models as well - from them, I learned of career opportunities, advice on choosing my major and minor, and other things that I wouldn't have heard about on my own so early. I also teamed up with them to enter competitions, which have been great fun, great learning experiences, and great resume boosters (since we won awards in them).

    Research helped me stay motivated to study when my classes became difficult and theoretical. Seeing the impact of my work in the real world helped me realize that the things I was studying in class had a purpose and would be useful if I wanted to be able to understand and contribute more.

    Personally, I've become more confident and improved my ability to learn things on the fly (because I had to do things in the lab before I took the relevant classes).

    I didn't choose to attend Smith because of the STRIDE research assistant position, but in retrospect STRIDE research has been the most beneficial part of my Smith experience. I'm happy to answer additional questions about STRIDE or Smith in general.

    Also, if you email Kate Queeney, she can put you in touch with STRIDE students in your areas of interest.
    edited March 26
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  • CalmCanariesCalmCanaries 13 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @skycry Thank you so much for the great answer! What area was your research in?
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  • skycryskycry 46 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited March 28
    No problem @CalmCanaries. My research with the professor was interdisciplinary. If I was any more specific, I would be even more easily identifiable than I already am. Since I'd like to stay semi-anonymous I would prefer to just leave it at that :sweat_smile:
    edited March 28
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  • CalmCanariesCalmCanaries 13 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @skycry Totally understandable, thank you so much for the helpful input!
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  • SpringbirdSpringbird 139 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    STRIDE has been an amazing experience for my D who is currently a junior. She loves her lab and has gained SO MUCH from it. She prefers that I not share personal info about her online, but know that the STRIDE really can be something great.
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  • travelfamilytravelfamily 150 replies32 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Springbird and @skycry My daughter has Smith very high on her college list (she is a junior). We really could use merit aid and she is very interested in the Stride program. She’s looking to major in physics/astronomy. She has a 4.0 unweighted and a 1400 on her SAT’s. From what I’ve seen in other threads, students in the STRIDE program seemed to have test scores in the 1500’s. Do you think this would be a dealbreaker? Are there any ways she should show interest in the program?
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  • skycryskycry 46 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited April 8
    Hi @travelfamily, I'm not in admissions so I'm not sure if that would be a dealbreaker. I also don't know how she could show interest in the program. I didn't even know STRIDE existed until I got the letter of admission so I definitely didn't show interest. Since Smith's application is free apart from sending the SAT score report, I encourage your daughter to just apply and see what happens. Even if she doesn't get a STRIDE, she may have a shot at the Presidential Scholarship ($12k/yr) and at doing research through a different program such as SURF or the McKinley Honors Fellowship or as a normal work-study position.
    edited April 8
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  • travelfamilytravelfamily 150 replies32 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you! @skycry
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  • SpringbirdSpringbird 139 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I agree with @skycry's answer. I would also encourage your D to make sure she demonstrates interest in Smith, such as by interviewing if she is able. An interview would be a great time to bring up her desire to do research. And Smith, like any other college, wants to protect their yield, so demonstrating interest is important.

    Has your D taken the ACT? My Smithie didn't, but my younger D did and found she preferred the ACT to the SAT. Please know that 1400's are excellent, so that may be enough - I have no idea. It's just that the ACT was not really on my Smithie's or my radar, so when my younger D mentioned she was going to try the ACT, I was surprised. Given your D's interest in science, she might also prefer the ACT (I guess there's a science section on the ACT but not the SAT?).
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  • travelfamilytravelfamily 150 replies32 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you @Springbird! Yes, since we live so close she is going to go back for an interview and possibly an overnight and class visit next Fall. I appreciate your input!
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  • odannyboySFodannyboySF 443 replies12 threadsRegistered User Member
    @travelfamily Just FYI: My D (now a Firstie at Smith) had a 3.98 unweighted, 1460 SAT, top 10% of her class, and lots of demonstrated interest and wasn't even offered the Presidential, much less the STRIDE. And Smith is only getting more competitive to get into...
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  • travelfamilytravelfamily 150 replies32 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @odannyboySF Thanks for the info. Yes, it is seeming the bar is being raised higher and higher each year. It’s good to know that at least your daughter got in, as mine has similar stats.
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  • VeryapparentVeryapparent 877 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited April 16
    Mine had 1550 SAT, 4.0/4.7 stats. Conservatory level musician. Got the 10K merit. She got the Trustee scholarship (full tuition) at Mt Holyoke which is where she attends (class of 2022). She liked both schools equally but one year at Smith was more than 4 years at Mt H with scholarship, it was a no brainer.
    edited April 16
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  • pauler80020pauler80020 127 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I don't think STRIDE is based only on statistics. It's a more holistic process than that, because it isn't just a merit scholarship, it's a research program. My evidence is anecdotal, but STRIDE awards are extremely rare outside of STEM majors. There just are not very many non-STEM research opportunities in the program, so humanities and social science students are more likely to get the $10K Presidential scholarship or nothing.
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  • VeryapparentVeryapparent 877 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited April 17
    Mine was originally planning to major in physics so I'll leave that out there...although lol that has changed. Smith is a great school and I would have been happy to have mine there! I'm not sure if a Stride would have made a difference given the full tuition ride.
    edited April 17
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  • skycryskycry 46 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited April 17
    There just are not very many non-STEM research opportunities in the program

    This is untrue. Out of the 52 STRIDE projects offered when I was a first-year, 31 were non-STEM (even counting psychology as STEM). STRIDEs have a variety of different prospective majors.
    edited April 17
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  • travelfamilytravelfamily 150 replies32 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Veryapparent Thank you for your response. My daughter is looking at physics/astronomy. What did your daughter switch to? My D is quite sure this is the direction she wants to go, but you never can predict what will happen! My D loves Smith, but we just toured Mt. Holyoke and loved it as well, so if it was the matter of money I think she would go where the money was. We live down the street from MHC so I know that is a small issue for her, but I think she could let it go. It also means there is an opportunity for a town scholarship which is substantial. She also really loved Wheaton College in MA which was also founded by Mary Lyons. So those are basically her top 3!
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  • VeryapparentVeryapparent 877 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
    @travelfamily -She leaning towards Humanities at the moment. My spouse is baffled but i guess this happens fairly often. Best of luck with your daughters college search!
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