Saint Mary's College of California
Moraga, CA, USA

Reviews

Saint Mary's College of California
3.68 Average Rating

Julianne from Yakima, WA

a current student here
15 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The Seminar Program is eye-opening and challenging. It pushes you to develop your own ideas and beliefs and challenge other students to do the same. The professors know you by name and have abundant office hours if you need help in class or just need to chat. The students and professors learn from each other and teach each other through questions and discussions.
Am enjoying being here
I'm out of state, yet I feel right at home here. I have amazing roommates and floor-mates. Everyone here is welcoming and you're guaranteed to find your own niche and group. There are so many things to get involved in and do both on and off campus.
Bang for the buck
It is expensive, but it is most definitely worth it. The school is very helpful when it comes to financial aid. There are on-campus jobs and off-campus jobs that are posted on the school website for students at St. Mary's.
Tips for prospective students
Visit the campus, you'll know if it's right. Apply for scholarships if you're worried about financial issues. Get to know adults on campus, it's amazing the opportunities they can open up for you.
Great for these types of students
Students that want to be challenged, both in and outside the classroom. Do not have to be Catholic, there are opportunities for all kinds of people of different interests and religions. People that enjoy a small campus but with the excitement of a big city close by.
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Karen from San Francisco, CA

a current student here
14 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
This college is an excellent school if your goal of going to college is for an education. The class sizes are small, about 30 students in my largest class section which is General Chemistry and my smallest class, Seminar, probably has about 15 or so students. For a lot of science major students, the first year of General Chem is the hardest however the professors hear have open office hours and various on campus tutoring centers to help with the subject. Same is available for Math and English courses as well. As a freshman in the Honors/Science living learning community, which is a special dorm that houses the head of the math department as well as honors program, I can literally knock on my neighbor's door, and a math professor is out to help me with my homework even if it is something as trivial and reviewing how to factor polynomials. For students that really want to learn, the Seminar program is excellent as it teaches students the basic historical ideas and literature throughout time that any educated person should know. Also, if you are planning on attending graduate school, the professors and programs here are really designed to hold your hand and help you get a good grade instead of a large school or even worst, a large public school (like a UC) where their main goal is to see who is the last one standing.
Am enjoying being here
The campus is beautiful, the buildings on campus is reminiscent of Spanish Missions and there are trees and grass all over campus. The campus certainly has enough room for anything you need, but is compact enough to walk from one side to another in no more than 10 minutes. The weather is pretty nice, it is sunny during the day but it gets cool during the night and morning. These is a feeling of peace on campus that is perfect for an educational institution and really gets you in the mood for learning and being relaxed. They offer many things to the students such as dances and events held by the Campus Activities Board. Some of the things that I've attended is friendship bracelet making night, Salsa lessons, and a pretty big school dance. They offer yoga, pilates, and other fitness classes that are free for students to attend. They also have a counseling center, where you can get a therapist or counselor to talk to for free to manage stress. There are many clubs and organizations that are on campus to be a part of and many of them go on trips to San Francisco, Southern California, and Tahoe during winter.
Bang for the buck
While the sticker price of the school is around 50,000 like all other private schools, I believe over 80% of the students that attend Saint Mary's have some kind of financial aid, whether academic or need based. There are so many free services here such as free plays, games, activities, clubs, shows, recreational classes, etc, that it is really worth it because everything is paid for. Isn't it nice for the teachers that you are paying so much money for to actually know your name? Also, if money is a concern there are many jobs available on campus as well as outside of the campus in the Walnut Creek area to help pay tuition. In the end all those little nice things, like free planners, weekend of welcome (the first weekend of school for freshman where activities are planned to get everyone familiarized with the school), and the free bbq every wednesday afternoon (community time), really makes it more worth it. Even now, a public UC school costs 30,000 dollars so the gap is no longer as big as it used to be.
Tips for prospective students
Definitely come to campus to check it out, especially if you are in the area. I fell in love with the school when I came here to check it out because at first the idea of a small and secluded school didn't appeal to me, but once I saw for myself the beauty of this place I couldn't resist. They have various overnight programs for accepted students to get to know what the school is about before deciding. Definitely apply, especially since they are pretty generous with waiving application fees, it is worth while to give it a shot. The school is getting more and more well known and it amazes people because we are this tiny Catholic school but we've made it to the 5th place I believe on Forbes magazine of colleges who's graduates make the most money in 10 years. We are up there with Stanford and UC Berkeley. We were also ranked in US News and Weekly as one of the top schools on the West coast and we have numerous famous and successful alumni that love this school so much they are constantly supporting it. This school is truly one of the nation's best educational institutions and we are known for that as well.
Great for these types of students
Do not be concerned about being religious. We have people of all backgrounds, races, gender, sexuality, religious beliefs here on campus and everyone is treated equally and with respect. Just because it is a Catholic school does not mean you must be Catholic or even religious to attend. It does mean however that 2 religion courses will be required to graduate but they are not difficult and it is a great to be educated about religion as it is plays a huge role in society. Even if you don't believe in it, it is good to know what people mean when they say the forbidden fruit or know who Moses is, it should be considered general education. Students that are looking for a quite environment rich with opportunities to be involved in the community while getting a top notch education should strongly consider what Saint Mary's has to offer. At the very least, come by to check it out! We have student ambassadors that love school this school as much as I do and are dying to tell you why.
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Alexis from Morro Bay, CA

a current student here
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Saint Mary's is a great college with small class sizes, caring teachers, and a friendly student body. There are plenty of opportunities for students interested in academics, sports, leadership, community service, and more. I definitely recommend this campus for anyone serious about their education and looking for an amazing college experience.
Tips for prospective students
I recommend that prospective students attend an overnight program since they give you a feel for the college and you can spend the night in a dorm with a current student. It is helpful to contact the school and talk about scholarships, as well.
Academic Rigor
The classes require regular attendance and serious effort. The teachers do care about each student, though, and offer to meet during office hours for extra help. SMC also provides an academic advisor, writing center, and tutors if needed.
Dorm Life
I always feel safe living on campus at SMC. My roommate and I rarely locked our door and I frequently left my new laptop in the hall. Nothing was ever stolen from us. The halls and bathroom stayed surprisingly clean, as well.
Food and Dining
There is only one cafeteria on campus since SMC is so small. It is pretty good quality, but it gets old after a while. It is clean, but the hours are a little inconvenient (late night starts at 9 and ends at 11, so if you are studying at midnight and get hungry, you better have some snacks in your dorm room).
What to do for fun
On campus, there are plenty of clubs to get involved with and the school also offers numerous activities throughout the year like indoor rock climbing trips and even tickets to Cirque du Solei. Basketball games are the highlight of the year when it comes to school spirit--especially when we play our Gonzaga rivals. San Francisco and Berkely are just a short BART ride away if you feel like having some fun in the city, too.
Bang for the buck
SMC has a unique 4-1-4 semester system. We have four-month long semesters with a one month January Term break in between. During Jan term, students study only one class not necessarily related to their majors. This gives them time to explore other interests or pursue individual projects like community service. Last year, one of my friends took a course on chocolate making during this time and travel courses are available for Jan Term, too.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
At the beginning of each year, freshmen can participate in Paint the SMC where they go up to the cement SMC letters on the hillside and paint them in the school colors. P.S. There are no paintbrushes allowed, so it is a messy and fun way to start off the year and meet your classmates.
Great for these types of students
SMC is great for first generation students and there is even an academic office that specifically helps them transition into college life. Saint Mary's is a good choice for serious students who still want to have fun.
Clubs and Activities
SMC offers many clubs and activities ranging from community service and student government to on campus games and sports teams. The Intercultural Center has many clubs and events, as well, including the BSU Black Student Union and Pacific Islander group. Academic clubs are available including the AMA and an honors society.
Greek Life
SMC does not have a Greek Life.
Campus Safety
I feel extremely safe at this university. Upon arrival, there is a toll booth where Public Safety officers check in students (mainly at night or during big events) and officers can easily be found around campus. The students are extremely kind and I rarely locked my door throughout the day. SMC goes above and beyond to make its students feel safe.
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Amelia from Stockton, CA

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
saint mary's is an amazing school, it has opened up so many opportunities for me. i am surrounded by good, truth worthy people that i feel safe around. saint mary's has helped me find my passion.
Tips for prospective students
get involved at school, and don't be shy. explore campus and if you have a car explore the bay area there is a lot to do around here.
Academic Rigor
great teachers, small class sizes. you get all the help you need and teachers are always willing to meet with you if you need help with anything.
Dorm Life
small dorm rooms, you get to meet a lot of people though.
Food and Dining
mostly have the same food served.
What to do for fun
i hang out on campus with friends, go on hikes on the bike trails, take bart into the city.
Bang for the buck
if you want a good education you'll get it here. you are able to have a one on one conversation with your professor and peers everyday you are in class.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
on the lawn, do homework when it's warm outside. going to the cafe on campus is a fun place to meet with friends.
Great for these types of students
serious students who want a good education, and to be able to have a good relationship with professors. professors will know you by your first name by the first week.
Clubs and Activities
lots of different interest clubs. if you can't find you can't find one you can make your own.
Campus Safety
total safety. i feel more safe here then i do in my hometown.
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Maxwell from Concord, CA

accepted here and planning to attend soon
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Saint Mary's College of California has one of the most beautiful campus' I have seen. As well as small class sizes which makes it easy to get all of your classes. SMC also, gives exceptional help and instruction on what classes you should be taking for any major.
Tips for prospective students
Prospective students should definitely visit the campus before they make decisions on where they want to go for college. As well as schedule an interview with an admissions officer it is very insightful to how the campus is run and may help you make a decision on where you want to go.
Academic Rigor
The Academic program at Saint Mary's is on of a kind. Aside from getting a major they really make sure you receive a fully rounded education through their diversity requirements and Jan term. They also offer a lot of tutoring and assistance in order to make sure every student will succeed.
Dorm Life
The dorms are kind of small which is a negative, but as long as you like your roommate and can connect with other people in your residence halls its like the whole floor is your dorm room. Also the dorms are separated by sex by floor so the dorms are coed, but men and women are on separate floors.
Food and Dining
One of my favorite things about Saint Mary's College is their dinning hall and food options. They offer a Cart de Blanche meal plan which is unlimited food at almost any time of day or night. As well as the meal plan the food is amazing.
What to do for fun
There are a ton of things to do in and around the college you can explore the neighboring cities for restaurants and clubs to go to. Also if you want a night on the town San Francisco is only 20 minutes away. It is a great place to live.
Bang for the buck
Saint Mary's may be expensive, but it is definitely worth every penny. The average cost of attendance per year is just over $50,000, but the Saint Mary's program is unmatched by any other college in the state.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Their are a few unusual traditions at SMC. Such as stuffing as many people as possible into a phone booth. Also painting SMC on a large bolder above the school on the hill behind the campus.
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A Happy Student

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Perfect class sizes and teachers. Great sports teams. Fabulous Bay Area location.
Tips for prospective students
Be prepared to bring a car to campus, you are going to want to explore the Bay Area and Moraga is close to everything.
Academic Rigor
The academic program at Saint Mary's is spectacular. Be prepared for a brain exercises in the Seminar department, wonderful science labs, and intelligent passionate teachers who will know your name, face, and probably favorite color. I have never been disappointed in a class and love attending the lectures.
Dorm Life
You will have the opportunity to live with a Christian Brother! Dorms are set in beautiful canyon. Some are pretty old, but the newer ones are really nice. Can be quiet on weekends, so be the fun starter.
Food and Dining
Personally, absolutely hated the food. But I am beyond picky. Get a second opinion.
What to do for fun
Saint Marys has the awesomeness of being in the middle of nowhere (Moraga) in the middle of everything. No matter which direction you go there is something interesting to do. There is Walnut Creek on one side, Berkeley, San Francisco and the Entire San Francisco Bay area to explore. The options are pretty endless.
Bang for the buck
I know private school is expensive. I'll be paying for my education til I'm 50. But I know its worth it because I feel like my prospective job opportunities are much wider because of where I go to school. Also when I WANT to go to classes, just because they are so interesting, I know paying every penny is worth it.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
SMC has this amazing cross on top of a hill that all the students walk up to. It has a view over the entire area and is a romantic evening excursion or a fun picnic spot. Also, every year during orientation the freshmen hike up to the SMC letters on the hill and paint it. They always come back covered in hay and paint, but with huge smiles.
Clubs and Activities
We have lots of sports, intramural and pickup games. There's lots of clubs to join and people to meet.
Greek Life
No such thing at SMC. We don't pay for friends. Its a small enough school that you can get to know everyone.
Campus Safety
Good Ol' P-Safe is there to watch your back! I have never felt any danger walking around campus alone at night. Except maybe for tripping over a tree root or running into a raccoon.
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Chelsea from Clovis, CA

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I learn so much in each class that it amazes me sometimes. I can't believe how much professors can teach me in a small amount of time, and I love the interaction between students and their professors on different topics and information.
Am enjoying being here
I love this college! It is absolutely gorgeous, the size is cozy (not huge, not suffocating), the people are supportive and encouraging, and the academics and extracurricular activities make it even more exciting. Projects are constantly ongoing around the campus, it makes it feel just right.
Bang for the buck
yes, the tuition is quite high, but it is definitely worth it. The housing acommodations are nice, the food is excellent, the classes are fantastic and enriching, and the people are absolutely great!
Tips for prospective students
Tips for new or prospective students: 1. get immediately involved in a club or two to meet awesome new people and feel like you belong somewhere, 2. always pay attention to your professors; they may just teach you more than just what's in the lesson, and 3. the experiences that you have here will always stay with you, so make them ones to remember!
Great for these types of students
I think that this college is perfect for students that want a nice, easy transition into the real world. It has numerous people that are always willing to help you, but know when to let you do it on your own. Also, it's a nice transition size; bigger than your own room, but smaller than a 100,000 population. Lastly, the classes make you feel involved and as though your opinion is genuinely wanted and appreciated.
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Jaqueline from Los Angeles, CA

accepted here and planning to attend soon
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Mount has amazing staff that has been always there for me, with smiles and direction. The campus at Doheny is absolutely beautiful, welcoming and warm. Mount Saint Mary's is a wonderful place, and i am confident that this school will prepare me for the world.
Tips for prospective students
Keep in contact with the school and do not be afraid to ask questions. They are always there to help and will answer all of your questions!
Dorm Life
Very hard to judge dorm life considering I do not plan and have never stayed at the school. I here good things though.
Food and Dining
Food is great! I ate there while i was on campus and would never eat any where else if i was on campus.
What to do for fun
For fun, i suggest you hit the gym! Its great to be active and as a student, take advantage of all that Mount has to offer!
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Liz

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
The school is very welcoming and has a sense of community. It has various resources to help the students. The professors are always there if a student needs help in something.
Tips for prospective students
A tip for prospective students is to have a very good connection with your professors and other students. Another tip is to get involved with the campus, either by work or clubs. One last tip is to always go to class and stay on top of your work, do not fall behind because it is very hard to catch up in classes.
Academic Rigor
The classes vary by majors and professors but the major of the classes are of high rigor. You need to really stay on top of your stuff or else you will fall behind. It is very important to do all the reading and homework that the professors give because most of the professors base their exams on the readings and the lectures.
Dorm Life
Dorm Life is okay. Some RAs are really horrible and will not make you feel comfortable. Other RAs are amazing and will make you feel like you are family. You just have to find that RA you can go to when you need them. As for the dorms in general, they are in pretty good condition. Every dorm building is locked and you need your key to get in. Only the people who live in that dorm building have the key, it's really safe.
Food and Dining
In all honesty, the food could be better. By mid-year you get disgusted with the food because it is always the same. It is very easy to get tired of the cafeteria.
What to do for fun
The good thing about Saint Mary's is that it is in the perfect location and has a lot of transportation! You can go anywhere with bus, which is free to Saint Mary's students, and BART(Bay Area Rapid Transit). Walnut Creek and San Francisco is very close by. As well as San Jose and Santa Clara.
Clubs and Activities
There is literally something for everyone! It's just a matter of looking around and asking people.
Campus Safety
Public Safety is excellent and will help any student at any hour of the night!
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Lauren from Elk Grove, CA

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Although I had no idea that this college existent when I applied, a tour of the campus quickly turned this college into my dream school. It has turned out to be everything I wanted and more. It is the perfect college for me.
Academic Rigor
The classes are small, about 30 people to a class, so there is a lot of one on one interaction with the professors. The classes are difficult but with effort you can pass. There is an honors society that helps increase the academic rigor for students that want that.
Dorm Life
I was nervous at first because I was going to live in the honors dorm which was the nerd dorm. It turned out to be so much fun! The RAs are always there when you need them and they are so friendly. I really loved all the activities we did together as a dorm group.
Food and Dining
The food is always good although it can be repetitive.
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