What do you think about St. Mary's College?

<p>I'm exploring colleges right now, and I got a letter from them.
Is it a good college, in your opinion?</p>

<p>see this thread <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/1073267-what-your-opinion-st-marys-college-maryland.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/1073267-what-your-opinion-st-marys-college-maryland.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Thank you!</p>

<p>Hi, I'm the Original Poster for that thread the above user posted and please don't read that. It does not give an accurate representation of the school. I posted that about a month ago when I was extremely concerned with elitism and prestige and I tended to look over the merits of a school. St. Mary's is not "elite" as in it's not in the top 10 LACs according to US News and World, but it is a highly regarded school elsewhere with a very good reputation. After all, according to US News and World it is a Tier 1 school. The academics are amazing, despite limited majors and minors. The professors do spend a lot of time with you, there are many internship and study abroad options, and despite the isolation on the campus there are a lot of activities you can get into. If you're looking into engineering or pre-med it might not be the BEST school for you, although engineers do have a joint program with University of Maryland and pre-meds do have a joint program with Johns Hopkins. If you're not sure what to major in or you have an idea that's not on the "majors and minors" list, you can design your own major. There are also very high law/med/grad school acceptance rates. Socially, it's a bit isolated like I said. If you can't handle the "rural" life then I wouldn't come here because location is a huge deal. As a city person, I thought I couldn't handle it, but it's very refreshing. The student body is mixed ethnically and personality-wise (some people divide the line between "weird" and "normal" kids) but mostly everyone is accepting. People are very intelligent, though some tend to be lazy. But yeah, that's pretty much all I have to say. Really, though, the point is that when you're looking at schools you need to find something that fits you. St. Mary's is an amazing school with a beautiful campus and so many opportunities (both socially and academically). I feel really awful about my jaded, preconceived notions in that post because I didn't know what I was talking about and I downgraded St. Mary's worth even before I gave it a chance (I based it only off of rankings). Good luck with your college search!</p>

<p>I'm looking into Pre-Med Studies; Thank you so much for this! This helped me out a lot. I, too, downgraded them since I got a college letter from them, and usually those are from the ones I'm not or a lot of people are really interested in, but it seems like it's such a fantastic school! I'm taking it into consideration, especially since they have a joint program with Johns Hopkins. Thank you!</p>

<p>smarie, do you have any specifics on their acceptance rate to med schools? Lots of schools will say "very high", but I'd like to know the actual statistics.</p>

<p>Also, I can't find info on the web site or in the online catalog about the joint program with JHU (I see something for nursing, but not pre-med). Do you have a link for that?</p>

<p>St. Mary's is a very good school, and it's an amazing value.</p>

<p>We're (daughter and I) are visiting SMCM on Friday, and look forward to it. We've visited a wide range of small LA colleges and SM remains near the top of her "desired" list. We're waiting to hear on any forthcoming merit aid.</p>

<p>To the OP -- SMCM is an excellent liberal arts college with a unique -- if remote -- setting. There are many comparable colleges academically, and -- like any small LA college -- the academic and social challenges will be up to you to assume and meet. Faculty will be there to assist and encourage you, provided you wish to work hard and study passionately. On the other hand, SMCM is also a college you can get through without too much hard work, should you choose to exert minimal effort academically. </p>

<p>If you are from MD, then the cost of attendance may make SMCM a real bargain. </p>

<p>SMarie8893 -- I'd recommend that you post a quick reply to that thread, as -- even if you didn't intend to do so -- you began a good discussion of the relative merits of a school like SM as opposed to a more "prestigious" school like Vassar. There are several contrarian views on the questions you raise there.</p>

<p>Excuse me, I made a mistake and I need to correct myself. When I was looking through the list of majors, I misread and believed the pre-med program was with JHU, when actually it was pre-nursing. I'm very sorry.</p>

<p>timeb0mb - It's so easy to downgrade them when 1) you're right, it's usually no-name colleges that send out letters, etc. You certainly don't see Harvard or Yale doing it; however, I have friends who have received letters/ads/pamphlets from Wellesley College and Washington University in St. Louis without requesting information first, so it's not ONLY the no-name colleges 2) St. Mary's is ranked #88 out of 187 schools on LACs according to US News and World and it's also ranked #89 out of 600 schools (not just LACs but larger universities included as well) according to Forbes (which is largely based on the success of people after they've graduated.) I'm sure the news about JHU disappoints you and may prevent you from considering St. Mary's, but medical schools do tend to accept more students from liberal arts colleges (see statistics below) so keep that in mind. </p>

<p>intparent - According to St. Mary's, the acceptance rate for med schools have been around 91% (the website itself says: "In the last four years, 91% of students applying to medical school with the help of the Health Sciences Advisory Committee have been accepted." St</a>. Mary's College of Maryland - Academics - Notable Academic Programs) However I looked for a long time on the site and couldn't find any information at first which is easily misleading for the viewer because it makes us think that the acceptance rates aren't very high and that's why the school won't post them. Anyway the Health Sciences Advisory Committee link is here: <a href="http://www.smcm.edu/academicservices/healthadvising/healthadvising_timeline.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.smcm.edu/academicservices/healthadvising/healthadvising_timeline.html&lt;/a> I don't know much about it, but you can research around the website. And again, I'm sorry about my mistake. </p>

<p>uubuntu - When I first wrote that questionnaire post, I was still bothered by the comments my friends from home made about my decision to go to college. These friends went to a variety of colleges ranging from community college to a large state school to an Ivy League. The Ivy League "acceptees" were very harsh about my decision ("Oh, St. Mary's? That's my backup school") but the majority of other students -- including ones who had been accepted to schools like Swarthmore and Williams -- were supportive, saying things like, "Wow, that's a really good school." One guy from my high school (which I should mention, is a highly competitive well-ranked public high school) actually turned down Pomona to go to St. Mary's (and it is not because of financial issues) so that may say a lot about the merits of SMCM. However, the negative comments that those friends made stood out to me much more than the positive ones. Moreover, if you go to urbandictionary.com and type in "St. Mary's College of Maryland" the responses are highly negative which further decreased my confidence. Anyway, investing in a four-year college is important. College is an acutely personal decision. For many, the decision of where to go to college is the first truly adult decision they will ever make. Being told that their college of choice is wrong in any way, for any reason, is an attack not only on the school, but on their ability to make informed and adult decisions. So yes, this attitude followed me even until my first semester at college. My ultimate goal is to go to Harvard Law, then Columbia for journalism, and ultimately become a foreign affairs columnist for a high-end publication such as The New York Times or TIME magazine. I think in such a highly competitive field (especially by the time I graduate) I need the best and highest education available, so I think the prestige does matter. However, I realized (with the consult of my father and a college counselor) that as more and more students are going to college, an undergraduate degree is not worth much alone anymore, even an undergrad degree from Harvard. What is now become of utmost importance is where you go to grad school. Has my view of elitism changed? Not completely. I won't accept anything less than an Ivy League for law school, excluding Stanford and Berkeley. What I did realize, however, that going to a relatively "unknown" school like St. Mary's (which does have a good reputation to those who have heard of it) maybe be toward my advantage. Grad schools cannot accept so many people from an Ivy League or prestigious LAC. They have to be diverse when it selecting students from undergraduate colleges and it looks bad for them to accept people ONLY from the top 20. It seems that grad schools care more about what you have done with your education and the amount of "real life experience" you've had than what undergrad institution you attended. For example, on law school admission discussion forums, people post their stats -- their LSAT score and their GPA. No mention of undergrad schools -- why? Because it doesn't matter. Take a look at this: Undergraduate</a> Colleges. After counting the number of low-ranked unknown schools and comparing the ratio to well-ranked, well-known schools, 68% of the 261 schools Harvard Law lists are unknown, not-so-well ranked schools such as Calvin College. Which means 32% of those schools are well-ranked schools. Take into account that it does not disclose the number of students accepted from each institution, but the point is that they give everyone a fair chance. Aside from grad schools, for me personally, I did not do so stellar in high school. I was lazy. So I did not feel like St. Mary's was MY choice, it felt like that was the best I could do in my situation. It was a personal issue; I was angry at myself for not working hard, and I blamed St. Mary's. It's not logical, I know. But I came to terms with my mistakes in high school and now in college, I have a 4.0 because I worked my ass off. I've been at St. Mary's for almost a year and during that time I have visited my friends at Williams College. Their professors, academic resources, campus life, etc. is no different from that of St. Mary's. But I noticed that the students are a bit most hostile/cold and there is a lot of competition and friction. So I have seen the value in St. Mary's both academically and socially. It's challenging, but I'm growing and I'm able to stop looking at everything so narrow-mindedly and start looking at the big picture. Next semester, I am going to be studying abroad at Oxford for political science and international relations. The year after that I plan to study abroad at Beijing University. So you see, the opportunities at St. Mary's are limitless, they are there for you take if you want to take initiative with your life. No matter where you go, you have to work hard. Going to St. Mary's isn't going to hold me back from future employment opportunities. I've grown confident in myself and my abilities to succeed. If I had a chance to redo my high school career, I would still choose St. Mary's and I mean that honestly.</p>

<p>Uubuntu I hope to see you and your dd on Friday. DD and I are making the trip down for scholars day.</p>

<p>I think Saint Mary's is a very good college. It is high on dd list to attend. </p>

<p>The campus location is beautiful. The food was pretty good and the school tries to use local produce and I believe the milk was hormone free. The dorms were just ok but not much different from others we have seen. The buildings were in good shape.</p>

<p>I believe my dd will get a much better education at Saint Mary's than at our flagship university. She will be a person and not a number.</p>

<p>Also I want to add the reasons why I think St. Mary's is ranked relatively low is because 1) it's a public LAC, which is difficult to fund 2) Its remote location 3) The lack of famous alumni and famous faculty members (and the ones that are relatively "famous" are just Congressmen and women in Maryland, so it's not very diverse.) 4) The limited number of majors and minor (although it does have the option of a student-designed major -- the issue is that they have a wide selection of classes, but few "established" majors, so you CAN design your own major.) 5) It's newness. St. Mary's has been technically around since 1840, but it's only been the way it is -- that is, a public, coed liberal arts college -- since 1971. It has not really been given the time to flourish and gain a strong reputation nationally and internationally as private LACs have. Perhaps in the future they will -- this article from the Washington Post gives a very positive outlook toward it New</a> era and president for St. Mary's College of Maryland So unless any of these four problems that contribute to its ranking actually bother you, then I wouldn't really consider St. Mary's but there is nothing BAD that stands out about St. Mary's that would be the dealbreaker.</p>

<p>and momof3greatgirls - I completely agree with you. I can tell you in the broadest sense possible that the education I'm receiving is very personal and engaging, so it's worth my money and time.</p>


<p>A few things:</p>

<p>My daughter, who is a junior, received brochures and letters from most of the top tier (top 20) colleges this year. She did well on the PSAT and has a high GPA, so I think that triggered it. Some of the letters mentioned her high score and self reported GPA. She has received several from SMCM too. The brochure from SMCM was among the best. It's one of the few she decided to keep. If I were go do it all over again (now in my 40s), I would go there. I went to college in Rhode Island. </p>

<p>Urban Dictionary: Not the best place for positive reinforcement. I would ignore the comments posted there.</p>

<p>All - and I mean all - of my friends looking at grad school and med school have gotten in so far. I'm a senior at St. Mary's, and while I'm not going to continue my education, I have a job offer from the EPA and am exploring many other options. I did the Student-Design route in environmental studies and film, and it's been absolutely amazing. I can't imagine being more prepared for life after college had I gone anywhere else. This school is exceptional.</p>


<p>Do you happen to know Danny? He has the same type of make your own major. </p>

<p>I am so glad you posted the information about grad school. Dd is planning on studing chemistry and will more than likely need to go to grad school later.</p>

<p>You may or may not have discovered my secret identity. I take it I met you on your visit?</p>

<p>I'm sure you probably talked to someone in the chemistry department when you were here, but they're just as top notch at getting their students prepared for grad school as all the other departments.</p>

<p>I did speak with some of the chemistry students but at that time they too were waiting for there admissions decisions. Besides it is good to hear from one of the students that lives it.</p>

<p>BTW I will bet a nickel that I met you. lol</p>