St. Mary's College, Maryland

<p>My daughter is considering applying to St. Mary's next year. We live in the midwest and are hoping to visit next year at some point. She has an interest in languages (taking Latin, French, SPanish, and Greek) and would like, some day, to work in a college as a Dean of Students (or whatever they are called). Anyone out there have any experience with this school?</p>

<p>We live in the midwest, and my D (HS junior now) visited last spring (we were on vacation in the area, and it was her first college visit). She really liked it, but hasn't decided whether to apply. It is very pretty (looking down on the river and sailboats), but would only appeal to a student who is okay with a remote campus. There is NOTHING around campus, you would have to take a shuttle for a 10-15 minute ride to get to a drug store, coffee shop, etc. And the nearby town isn't much, we thought (kind of strip-mallish). This does not bother my D at all, but I think some students wouldn't be happy with it.</p>

<p>She liked the students she met, enjoyed the class she sat in on (an intro Biology class), thought the food was pretty good. It sort of feels like a liberal arts summer camp. :) Hopefully someone who attends can also post, but those are our impressions.</p>

<p>We are also OOS. We visited with son in April and he will be applying this year. He is looking for small classes, group discussions, but with good grad school placement. He sat in on one 8 AM history class and it was just what he was looking for. On our way over to the class we startled a woodchuck and watched a Great Blue Heron fly off the pond. It is on the Chespeake Bay in a remote area, and the summer camp analogy is a good one (although this camp has excellent food!). I agree about the "strip mall" feel of the area away from the school, but that is several miles away. The school is sited on Maryland's version of Pymouth Plantation.</p>

<p>My dd attends St Mary's and is a freshman. She loves it. She is not a mall girl so the remoteness is fine with her. She would rather be outdoors. She goes to the dock or point at night and just loves the stars. Where we live there is too much light to see the sky well. We live in Maryland so St Mary's is a good deal for us. St Mary's does not give full ride scholarships. They have been giving the top 25% of the class a merit scholarship. Less money to more people is what they been doing but they may change this. I still think St Mary's is a good deal for OOS because it is cheaper than many privates. </p>

<p>The food is pretty good for a college. Dd will no longer eat fries anywhere else. Their french fries are really good. </p>

<p>St Mary's is a small LAC with under 2,000 undergrads. DD has had what I consider small classes. Her largest class was her chemistry class of about 30 but the labs had no more than 15. Her other classes are about 15 to 20. The best part is that she feels she can go to the professors and ask them questions outside of class. Very much an open door policy at the school. Even though it is small the kids really do try to make it fun. My dd decided to take up a new sport for her and has been having a blast doing a club sport. They visit colleges all over the area, including DC colleges. </p>

<p>We are actually taking one of the OOS kids to the airport during Thanksgiving break. I believe St Mary's will run a shuttle to the airports too.</p>

<p>Momof3, do you live in suburbs of MD? We live in Montgomery County and my daughter is accustomed to cultural opportunities here. She enjoys going to Strathmore, going to concerts, eating at ethnic restaurants, etc. SMCM is high on my daughter's list. While it isn't her first choice, it is in the top 3. She loved the campus and its vibe. The students were very friendly during both of her visits. She is somewhat concerned about the remoteness of SMCM. Can you comment on these concerns?</p>

<p>MDdad2012</p>

<p>I do live in the suburbs. My dd says she is not bored. She just stopped her club sport, so she will have more time on her hands now. They are very isolated down there. They do make their own fun and they have many clubs and organizations to keep them very busy. Of course they have the boats they can check out with their one card. They do have entertainment come to the college. I don't know much about the musical program but they are present on campus for functions. My dd stopped playing an instrument and doesn't sing. I do know they show movies every weekend. Because the school is so small, it is easy to met people and bond. The isolation makes them more creative. I would tell you more of what they do but everytime I call dd she is too busy to talk and has to go somewhere. </p>

<p>If you give your dd a car to use, she can come home on the weekends when she wants to see special events. They also have a board to check for rides as well. There are restaurants but they are about 20 minutes north in Lexington Park. We went to an Indian restaurant the last time I was down and a little seafood one on the water the time before. They have stores and such but instead of a mall it is a strip mall area. Besides what she can not get there in the strip, she can get shopping on the internet. Also they have a fall, winter and spring break so any shopping can be done then. </p>

<p>Dd does like it when someone comes down and takes her out to dinner every now and then. She doesn't have a car this year.</p>

<p>Thanks for the feedback. My daughter is not a shopper, so that's not really a big issue. It looks like there is enough fun things to do on campus. She won't have her license until next month, so I don't think she will have a car until her sophomore or junior year. It sounds like between the clubs and visiting entertainment might do the job.</p>

<p>I live in this area, so I came here just read out of curiosity. </p>

<p>It is very remote, and from what I understand they have kids living on cruise ships this year because of a mold problem in the dorms. Lots of locals use this school as their safety. However, it's very highly regarded by most.</p>

<p>It's a big local lax bro school. </p>

<p>Pax River Naval Airbase is nearby, so there are shops and things around. The county does have shopping and restaurants, some more mainstream, some more local. It is super far from Reagan National Airport so I imagine transportation could be an issue. </p>

<p>If you enjoy sailing, outdoors activities this may appeal to you particularly. The weather is fairly mild, and since it's so close to the water there isn't as much snow as areas outside DC or Baltimore.</p>

<p>About the boat. Only two freshman dorms were affected by the mold. Ironically, it was the dorms most freshman want because they have air conditioning. It was the air conditioning that caused the problem with the mold. Well really a hurrican followed by lots of rain. Very unusual amount of rain for our area. The students in those two dorms were moved to hotels for about a week until the solution of the boat happened. This keeps the kids close to the campus. I think it was a clever solution. The rooms are small so some of the students are not happy. </p>

<p>I can think of several safety colleges in Maryland but would not consider Saint Mary's a safety for any student except maybe those that would get into any college with their stats. You see many students from Calvert and St Mary's county because they know about the college and they are close. They don't have to pay for room and board. I would say it is on par with getting into UMCP. Dd got into both and so don't know what the lower cut off would be for either for absolute sure. </p>

<p>Saint Mary's is cheap for a LAC but more expensive than any other public college in the state. Tuition is 6 to 8 thousand dollars more. I am sure many students and parents are looking at this difference when applying. Also, the fact that most residents would have to pay room and board because it is far from most of the rest of the state. Most of the best or popular colleges are in cities or near major cities. More students can commute and reduce college costs.</p>

<p>What are these "several safety colleges in Maryland" of which you speak, if I may ask?</p>

<p>
[quote]
What are these "several safety colleges in Maryland" of which you speak, if I may ask?

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</p>

<p>Well those that take students with less than even an average SAT score are the ones that come to mind. You got a computer and you can see profiles for all the Maryland colleges.
They will not be on the top ten Maryland colleges list. </p>

<p>I am not saying that all of Maryland public colleges are not safeties for some students, but I don't think that St Mary's is a safety for most students. It is an all honors college and has the highest Maryland public college graduation rate. I also don't think UMCP is a safety for most students. John Hopkins and St Johns are not safeties either and of course way more expensive and even harder to gain admissions. The colleges not mentioned could be considered more of safeties than these colleges. What is your opinion?</p>

<p>Can you help me understand what "all honors college" means? It sounds impressive but what is the real difference between St. Mary's and other colleges? It's not like St. Mary has a set of established criteria for being all honors college, right?</p>

<p>As far as low safeties: Mount Saint Mary's, Hood, Towson, Salisbury, Washington College</p>

<p>High Safeties (for people who match colleges like JHU) would be UMCP and UMBC, St Mary's.</p>

<p>I do not consider JHU a safety under most circumstances. Actually any circumstances.</p>

<p>
[quote]

Can you help me understand what "all honors college" means? It sounds impressive but what is the real difference between St. Mary's and other colleges? It's not like St. Mary has a set of established criteria for being all honors college, right?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>St Mary's is designated as Maryland's honor college. It is the only one in Maryland. It is also only a small LAC so it doesn't have grads students(except for a masters in education). The other Universities do have honors college programs. Only certain number of students are in the program but the rest of the students are not honor students. </p>

<p>At St Mary's, everyone is an honor student. St Mary's students receive 4 credits for classes instead of 3 credits for classes like most Universities. Even the classes with labs only get 4 credits. I was told the classes are harder and thus receive a higher credit. They have to do a St Mary's project to graduate and other additional core requirements that other colleges do not require. Every major has to have a foreign language class for example. </p>

<p>You want a LAC with small classes that is very good and for a good price then St Mary's is your college. You want a big college with big classes then go to the Universities. The real difference is how the material is delivered. St Mary's has small classes.</p>

<p>My daughter has applied to UMD, SMCM, and UMBC (and other out of state schools) so I have a pretty handle on the comparisons.</p>

<p>I wouldn't count UMD as a safety, with an admit rate of 44%. While it might be a safety for someone applying to an Ivy, for the average student they would not be admitted.</p>

<p>Middle 50 SAT scores and percent of applicants admitted:</p>

<p>UMD: CR 580-680, Math 610-710, Percent admitted: 44%</p>

<p>SMCM: CR 570-680, Math 550-650, Percent admitted: 65%</p>

<p>UMBC: CR 540-640, Math 570-670, Percent admitted: 61%</p>

<p>Towson: CR 490-570, Math 500-590, Percent admitted: 57%</p>

<p>@ 3greatgirls and MDdad;</p>

<p>Thank you both. My son applied to CP, St. Mary's, UMBC, and Hopkins (plus other out of state schools). We visited St. Mary's last Nov (or Dec) and met with an admission officer which was ok but not impressive. But, my son likes the school - nice quiet setting. Kids seem very nice too. </p>

<p>I heard that since the school is out of nowhere, there's heavy drinking and parties in, at least, some of the dorms. Do you have any insights on this?</p>

<p>Well, it's definitely off the beaten path. As far as the partying, I do not know. I will ask one of the interns at my work who attends SMCM. I will get back to you.</p>

<p>[qoute] I heard that since the school is out of nowhere, there's heavy drinking and parties in, at least, some of the dorms. Do you have any insights on this?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Yes there is drinking in some of the housing. Some of these kids are over 21 and have parties. It is not a dry campus. I don't think it is any worse or better than any other campus. I think they might be more open about it because they don't want the kids driving away and getting hurt. Honestly, I think over all there is less drinking than most other colleges. St Mary's has the best graduation rate in Maryland. I don't you are doing that with a bunch of drunks. </p>

<p>St Mary's has a van service that picks the kids up at the local bar, so they are not out killing themselves or anyone else. My dd does not drink and has plenty to do without drinking. None of her roommates drink either. There are many that don't drink. </p>

<p>St Mary's has drug and alcohol free dorms. Some parents request their kids get placed into one of these dorms.</p>

<p>@ greatgirls;</p>

<p>Thanks. I suspect you are probably right -- not any worse or better than other campus. I didn't know about drug and alcohol free dorms. Can you tell me how this works? No drug means not even OTC or doctor prescribed drugs?? </p>

<p>Also, how was your dd's first year experience at SM? Did she find it challenging?</p>

<p>@MDdad;</p>

<p>I think we are in a similar situation. I am from M.C. too. What are your likes and dislikes about SM at this point?</p>

<p>My DD has applied to UMD, SMCM, UMBC, Bryn Mawr College, and Pitt. So far she has been admitted into Pitt and UMBC. SMCM is one her top choices. I think SMCM, UMD, and Bryn Mawr are a 3 way tie for her.</p>

<p>SMCM Pros:
[ul]Good biology program, which is my DD's major.
[<em>]Small class size
[</em>]Ability to do research
[<em>]Good academic reputation
[</em>]Good professors who seem to care about their students and offer good access
[<em>]Beautiful area with access to the water
[</em>]Friendly students
[<em>]Good ranking and decent reputation
[/ul]
Cons:
[ul][</em>]Far from a major city
[<em>]Lower amount of cultural activity in the area
[</em>]Not highly diverse
[li]More expensive than other MD public colleges, but still a great value[/li][/ul]</p>