4.5 out of 5 Stars
All professors I had at Smith were dedicated to education and genuinely cared about their students.Downers
Social activities are a little lacking as an all women’s college.Comments
Definitely come to Smith if you want a top tier college education with greater than 100% support from faculties and staff.Would You Recommend
People are friendly. Professors are very helpful and open to questions.Downers
Poor transportation out of town and limited summer opportunities on campus especially in my fieldComments
Go on a campus tour and talk to recent alumni to decide whether the school is a good fit.Would You Recommend
There are no general education requirements, except that half your credits come from outside your major field and that you take a writing intensive sometime in your first year. This system is great, because it means that everyone in your classes are there because they want to be, as opposed to taking the class to fulfill some sort of requirement. That said, there are around 8 different subject areas you have to take classes in to be eligible for Latin Honors and Phi Beta Kappa, but these requirements are not difficult to satisfy early in your Smith experience.
Most majors require 10-12 classes within the major, ranging from introductory classes to seminars (I'm an English major, and we're required to take 2 seminar classes to graduate).
Academic advising is excellent: first-years are assigned a pre-major advisor in the field of interest they indicated on their application or in a related field. Once the student is ready to declare their major (which usually happens in the sophomore year), they choose a faculty member from their chosen department to advise them. If a student decides to declare a minor or a concentration (interdisciplinary minor: Smith offers concentrations in Archives, Poetry, and Museums), they will choose another advisor from that department or faculty group.
Class sizes usually hover between 15-25. Introductory classes and lower level classes are generally large, but, in the event of a huge lecture class, professors either meet separately with smaller sections of the class, or they team teach the whole class to provide enough face time with the professor to students. Additionally, professors are extraordinarily accessible by email and are required to have weekly office hours. They are always happy to help with classwork, paper revisions, projects, or to simply discuss the class in general or the student's thoughts about the subject. All Smith professors are active scholars in their fields of study, and many are well-known scholars in their own right. Certainly, professors are busy, but they always make time for meetings with students and often extend research positions to students.
Competition between students is fairly minimal, considering the caliber of Smith. Most students are more interested in collaborating or learning from each others' academic ventures than in competing with each other. In my opinion, this kind of collaboration arises from the rigor of academics at Smith: grading is not impossible, but it is quite tough nonetheless, so students prefer to tap into each others' intelligence and help each other through difficult assignments.
Study abroad opportunities are comprehensive and include full-year Smith-run programs in Paris, Hamburg, Geneva, and Florence, as well as Smith-approved programs nearly everywhere else in the world. The majority of Smith juniors study abroad; Smith has the highest percentage of students who will study abroad for a full year out of all of its liberal arts college counterparts.
The workload is substantial; four full classes at Smith equates to a very large amount of work. Expectations are high. In addition to the difficulty and quantity of work assigned, Smith students are also governed by a strict academic honor code, which is an extraordinary point of pride in the student body. During midterm exams and other in-class tests, professors always leave the room after the first few minutes, as a way of showing their confidence that their students will not cheat. Nearly all final exams and several mid-semester exams are self-scheduled, meaning that a student can decide when to take the exam within a set timeframe, go to a test center, pick the exam up, and complete it in the alloted amount of time.Quality of Life
Housing is a pivotal part of campus life at Smith. Students live in self-governed houses of between 10 to 100 students each; physically, the houses are beautiful, the rooms are spacious, and possibilities of getting single rooms after first year are excellent. The 13 or so dining halls on campus are located in the houses, and students from any house on campus can dine in whatever dining hall they want. There is one meal plan: unlimited.
Campus and facilities are in excellent condition and are top-of-the-line in terms of up-keep and technology. Most buildings have wireless internet access. There are 4 libraries on campus, with the main one being the humanities/social sciences one, supported by the science library, art library, and music/theater/dance library. Smith libraries also include the Smith College Archives (historical documents and other items illustrating the history of the college), the Sophia Smith Collection (oldest and largest women's history collection of archival material in the country, home of many notable peoples' papers, such as Gloria Steinem and Margaret Sanger), and the Mortimer Rare Book Room (houses a collection of valuable first edition books, original drafts/manuscripts, and other related material, such as cuneiform tablets and medieval manuscripts).
Northampton is a very welcoming town, and town/gown relations are fine. The community is safe, and often reaches out to Smith students to participate in various activities or business promotions.
Overall happiness: awesome!Admissions
Smith is a Common Application school. It does have a supplement, but a reasonably short and easy one--they require two short answer questions describing your understanding/interest of Smith in particular. I applied Regular Decision, but there is an Early Decision (binding) option. When I was accepted, I was accepted with a STRIDE (Student Research in Departments) scholarship, which is a substantial merit scholarship that comes with the opportunity to do paid research with a faculty mentor as a first-year and sophomore student.Level
There are no general education requirements. The only requirements are those for your major and a writing-intensive course. Average class size is about 17 and student-to-faculty ratio is about 10 to 1. Professors are really accessible and encourage you to come to their office hours or schedule an appointment. The workload can be quite intense, but often rewarding. Study abroad opportunities are many and highly regarded.Quality of Life
Housing is an important reason why students choose Smith. Houses are small, tight communities that offer lots of activities ranging from House Council to intramural sports. The cost of living is high. Most students live on-campus. Food is quite decent for a college. The libraries are great resources. The town is great - lots of shopping, restaurants and other activities. The town is also quite safe - lots of families and residential areas.Admissions
Common App, supplemental essays, financial aid application, interview, regular decisionLevel
no general requirements, major/minor or double major, professors have open office hours as well as available for appointment, research opportunities in every department through special studies, great study abroad programs, great professors who care about teaching, major advisor, 12:1 student faculty ratiopQuality of Life
the housing community is the best!Admissions
Common application, early decision or regular decision, financial aid packages, scholarships, interviews, overnightsLevel
No required classes except one writing intensive your first year here. The majors all require around ten specific classes. The average class size is 17, i've never been in a class over 40 students. Advising and professors are amazing, they want to get to know you, help you with things other than their class. Students are semi competitive but work together often. Grading is average, depends on the professor. There are two many great faculty to name them all. Study abroad is great, you can basically study anywhere there is an accredited program as long as you have above a 3.0 which is basically everyone. The workload is intense and pushes you.Quality of Life
Housing is the best part of Smith. We line in houses, the same one all four years. We have a self governing system that allows us to have free reign over our life here. Food is great, lots of options.Admissions
I think the common application and an essay, interview is optional but a good idea, lots of financial aid is given out. The senior class this year is 72% on financial aid.Level
There are no general requirements unless you intend to graduate with Latin Honors. Otherwise, the only thing required of you is that you take a writing intensive course your first year. The major degree requirements vary according to each major but it is required that more than half of your credits must come from courses outside of your major. Professors are very accessible and many undergraduates get research opportunities, including first-years. Students are compelled to work hard and do well but aren't typically competitive with one another. Students also are able to choose their own advisor when declaring a major and are placed with a pre-major advisor their first year to help them figure out what they want to do. I have been told that this is being changed to a "liberal arts advisor" who will focus less on declaring a major and more on branching out in your studies. There are many study abroad opportunities for both the semester and the year and it is very common for juniors to spend an entire year abroad. The workload is demanding, but managing and the courses are interesting.Quality of Life
The housing system is great and provides a sense of community since most students plan to stay in the same house for all 4 years, where there are strong friendships and traditions. There are many small dining halls, rather than one cafeteria. I think this adds to the sense of community. There is also one main library along with 3 other smaller ones, all providing different types of information. The campus is safe and has a good relationship with the town in which we are located. I think the student body typically seems happy.Admissions
Common Application + a supplement. Interviews are offered but certainly not required, and the application is SAT/ACT optional. Also, they allow the parents of applicants to write a letter of recommendation. Alumni interviews are also another option.Level
There is no core requirement at Smith, besides a writing intensive class that must be completed during the first-year, that allows for Smithies to really dabble in whatever areas of study that interest them. In fact, my first semester I took classes that are not even part of my major, but were classes that seemed both interesting to me and would benefit my studies no matter. Class sizes vary, intro science classes being the largest (around 40-50 students), and most other classes being at around 10-20. Regardless of class size, professors make themselves available to student both in class and during open office hours that they hold periodically throughout the week. They are all very approachable and actually encourage students to come to them with any questions about the course material. I am a language student at Smith, so study abroad is something that is very important to me. Smith sponsors 4 of their own programs in Hamburg, Paris, Geneva, and Florence, and has had students study at hundreds of other locations. Smith finds that it is very important for its students to have some sort of international experience during their time at the school whether it is for one semester or for the entire year.Quality of Life
The housing system at Smith is definitely one of the defining features of the school. Students are housed in houses rather than traditional dorms. You have the choice to decide which area of campus you would like to live on, the college is divided into 6 different areas, each area having its own personality and individual houses. I was really drawn by the housing system only because Smith is known for the house community that it brings to the student. There are opportunities for leadership even as a first-year as each house is its own self-governing system with its own house president, VP, secretary, class reps, Head of New Students, fire captain, etc.Admissions
I applied early decision to Smith, there was a common application available for completion online which I did, as well as a supplement for all applying students. I interviewed at Smith, and actually, it was the only interview that I did because I knew Smith was my top choice for college.Level
Open curriculum, most majors are about 12 credits, study abroad was v. valuableAdmissions
Has ED, common app, supplement, merit-based grants, don't remember much elseLevel
Open curriculum - NO requirements outside of major, major advisors helpful and available, small class sizes, super-accessible professors, competitive but not annoyingly so, heavy workload for every major, accomplished and experienced faculty, helpful administration, absolute best study abroad department you could ask for. Smith's academics are outstanding.Quality of Life
Housing is the most amazing part of Smith. We live in houses, not dorms, and the house community is so integral to happy living at Smith College. They're self-governed houses that hold between 14 and 100 students, and they are beautiful and fabulous. The campus is gorgeous -- it has a pond, waterfall, botanical garden, and classic ivy-covered brick buildings. The main library is not the most impressive one I've ever seen, but we do have interlibrary loan, which allows us to take books from any other library in the world with the click of a mouse button. The food is very good -- exceptional quality for college dining. Northampton (the town Smith is located in) is fun, hip, pretty, and a great place to live. There are also four other colleges within 15 miles of Smith, so social life is basically limitless. It's also a pretty short drive to Boston.Admissions
Common App, fee waived if applied online, interview not required, good financial aid, good communication from school.Level