St. Mary's College of Maryland Information

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!

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Any idea how OOS students fit in at this school? Do a lot of the kids know each other before they arrive? Do many kids go home on weekends? I’ve looked at this school for my D20 but am concerned because I think I read 90% of students are in-state. We are from the northeast so also unsure as to how she would get there and get home.

Everything else about the school looks great.

@MAmom111 - you are correct that the majority of students at St. Mary’s are from Maryland. As a public state school, they have traditionally only recruited from in-state though I think they are really working on changing that. Because it is such a small school, there aren’t large groups of students attending from any one high school so they don’t all know each other already. When my D started, she came from a HS with over 1500 students and only 2 other students from her school enrolled at St. Mary’s that year. She didn’t know either of them. I would say that most of her friends at St. Mary’s come from all over the state with the majority from the Annapolis, Baltimore, and DC area but she does have friends from OOS as well. Most students stay on campus for the weekend - it is definitely NOT a suitcase school! We are in-state and I really expected my D would want to come home at least some weekends but she never wants to because there is too much going on. I’m not sure how it gets arranged but I think one of my D’s OOS friends got a shuttle to the airport.

Also wanted to add that they did a really nice job with the new student orientation. A couple of days before the rest of the students arrived, they randomly broke the new students up into small groups and did fun group activities as well as service projects like oyster restoration, working at the campus farm, and beach cleanup that really helped them get to know each other. My D started without knowing a single other student besides the roommate that she had only phoned/texted. She is still close friends with many of the students she met during orientation.

@BayMom3 thank you so much! If I can convince her to look at some southern schools this will definitely be on the visit list. I did the NPC and it does look like she could get some merit money which would be great. The school just looks so pretty and seems to have. A lot of what she is looking for.

It is a hidden gem, IMHO. ?

@MAmom111 you’re very welcome and I hope you get a chance to make it down here for a visit! Let me know if you have any other questions.

@intparent thanks and I totally agree!