Info on SMCM

<p>We visited SMCM in August with my one & only child. We all liked it so much. DD was impressed with both students & administrators we met. It has been a challenge to find a school that aligns with DD's sensibilities (ie: less traditional college experience with less emphasis on partying, frats, dress code, etc; bright, engaged, but non-competitive students; natural setting in which to study environment right on school property or nearby). SMCM seems to fit the bill.
Currently this is her first choice school. My main concern is that SMCM does not actually offer any programs that DD wants to study. Her interests are envi sci & creative writing. Natural science is perhaps the only offered major close to her interests. She is undaunted & insists she will simply design her own major. Can anyone tell us how common, feasible, or likely this is? Is there a lot of red tape to deal with?
Any other info students or parents can share about SMCM in general would be appreciated as well! Thanks!</p>

<p>The natural science program essentially does not exist anymore. I just graduated with a student-designed Environmental Studies degree - it is a fairly simple process to complete for this particular major because a decent amount of students do it.</p>

<p>She could just major in Biology and minor in Environmental Studies - a path many students choose. It definitely depends if she would rather focus on more policy or science.</p>

<p>There are also plenty of creative writing and nature-themed English classes available.</p>

<p>Thanks for the info, xcman. She is definitely more interested in the biology/ecology end of things than policy. I think she would be happy (and poor) as a naturalist. She has loved working at enviro ed programs the past 3 summers. However, something more fiscally friendly would be nice too!
Were you happy with your self-designed program? Were there adequate courses available to you?</p>

<p>I do know that St Mary's does promote the student-designed program. Biology is one of the biggest majors at St Mary's so getting those classes tends to be easier than some other majors. I would contact the college, and see if want your dd wants to study really aligns with what the college can offer. Only problem we have had with St Mary's is class offerings. Some classes are only offered every other year or so. DD is a different science major and it has been more difficult for her to fill her schedule. Also so many of the her classes have requirements that need to be fulfilled before taking them. Had she been at another university we would have had less problems with this. On the flip side, she has had much smaller classes and more personalized instruction. Even with the reduce class offerings St Mary's does have a very good 4 year graduation rate.</p>

<p>Thanks for the reply, Mom of 3. I have been concerned about course offerings, but hadn't given much thought to prerequisites. It sounds like students at SMCM have to plan pretty carefully to fulfill requirements & get the major classes they need.</p>

<p>We visited SMCM last Monday for DD to sit in on classes & interview. She attended an English & a Bio class. She was so impressed with the students. She was struck by the fact that they were all prepared for class & actively participating. She has all but crossed one school off her list because when she sat in on class, kids were unattentive, talking, texting, and a couple apparently slept. It's so important to her to be around other students who genuinely want to learn. Do you feel this is the overall attitude at SMCM(there will always be kids who don't care much, I realize)?</p>

<p>Thanks again for your help.</p>

<p>I do think there is more of positive attitude toward learning but it will depend on the major. I think students majoring in biology are prepared and ready because most want to get an advance degree. Science majors in general do not seem like the slackers at college. They either have to be very smart or work hard to get the grades. St Mary's does sound like a really good fit for your dd. My dd loves being near the water. The college was named recently as a level one arboretum site. </p>

<p>I did want to add that St Mary's is really good about allowing students to take a class even if it is full. If the student has a need or a very good reason, they will open it to them. The advisors really do work with their students. The problem we had is that we wanted to finish early(dd had IB/AP credits) but we were warned in advance it would be hard with her major.</p>

<p>Thanks again, Mom of 3. DD also has taken several AP and is taking courses at a nearby college this year, but I had already figured early graduation won't be in the cards for her. She just has too many things she'd like explore. All I am hoping is that those credits will allow her a few more electives in her schedule.</p>

<p>DD is still holding strong that SMCM is the place for her. Hopefully her instincts are on target!</p>

<p>Your DD does want to make sure that she gets credit for those AP and college classes. The core requirements can be met with them. This will free her to take other more interesting classes. It also allows her to get better housing and earlier access to class scheduling. She may not finish faster but she will have a much better experience with more college credits.</p>

<p>DD roommate didn't apply to get all she could for her AP classes because she didn't want to finish early. Now it is hurting them because they get housing based on credits. Dd roommates are dragging her down.</p>

<p>Thanks for the info. We are hoping to get her as many credits as possible!</p>