I answered a question about St. Mary’s last week but the thread got moved. You can see it here: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/22116111#Comment_22116111
My D is currently at St. Mary’s and I wanted to post something to this forum for anyone who might be interested in current info. She chose St. Mary’s because she wanted an environmentally focused school with lots of outdoor activities, no Greek life, and a welcoming atmosphere. She fell in love with its beautiful location next to the St. Mary’s River and loves that she can take out a sailboat, paddle board or kayak whenever she wants. There are many peaceful and beautiful places to relax on campus such as the docks, beach, and trails by the river. Historic St. Mary’s City is next to campus and there is even a great museum tucked away right on campus: https://hsmcdigshistory.org/map/st-johns-site/
St. Mary’s has a strong environmental and sustainability emphasis and has been ranked as one of the top green colleges by both Princeton Review https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings?rankings=top-50-green-colleges
and Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2017/09/20/americas-top-green-colleges/#273119775ffa
St. Mary’s location seems very isolated but it really isn’t. The surrounding areas offer shopping and dining for anything that you could need - name practically any store and you’ll probably find it within 20 minutes of campus - and Washington DC and Annapolis are only about 90 minutes away. There are shopping shuttles on the weekends and organized trips to DC and NYC. Most freshman live in one of the traditional dorms. I would say that they are typical dorms and definitely not the worst that I have seen. Probably bigger than average and are currently being remodeled. All have air conditioning. Then after freshman year, students move into really nice on-campus suites, apartments, and townhomes. Most students live on campus all 4 years
Socially the students are very involved. My D does so many clubs and activities I don’t know how she finds the time for it all. The school brings in some great guest speakers and entertainment (Jamaica Kincaid was just there). My D is not much of a partier, but she has enjoyed going to the campus wide parties that the students traditionally organize on the townhouse “greens”.
Academically the school has been a great fit. The classes are small and my D has had some great professors (one is currently a finalist for a prestigious nationwide best teaching award!) My D has definitely been academically challenged and has a nice group of smart, motivated, and supportive friends. It is relatively easy to combine majors and minors so most students have at least one of each, and many have double majors while still being able to graduate in 4 years (St. Mary’s 4 year graduation rate is one of the highest in the state). Students are required to complete an independent project/thesis during their senior year. They might complain about the project but I think it is a great opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and I’m sure they appreciate their hard work later when applying to grad school or job hunting. Most students have at least one internship at some point and I believe that this is going to be a requirement going forward for all new students. The career center has been very helpful with this for my D.
As a public LAC, St. Mary’s is very affordable. It is a little more expensive than other Maryland state schools but the merit aid my D received brought it down to about the same amount as we would have paid at our other in-state schools like UMD or UMBC. I think there is lots of merit aid for OOS students as well.
Hope this has been helpful to anyone who is considering St. Mary’s!