Admission FAQ

Check out these frequently asked questions for first-year applicants, transfer and international students.

First-Year Applicant FAQs

What are the deadlines for first-year students to submit application materials, and when will I be notified of a decision?

May I apply to Saint Mary’s through the Early Decision program?

How do I set up a visit to Saint Mary’s College?

Are interviews required for admission to Saint Mary’s?

What standardized test scores will I need to submit to Saint Mary’s?

Does Saint Mary’s offer any scholarships?

Does Saint Mary’s have pre-med, pre-vet, or pre-law majors?

Does Saint Mary’s offer Engineering?

What is Saint Mary’s relationship with the University of Notre Dame and Holy Cross College?

What is your average class size? How about your student-to-faculty ratio?

How far is Saint Mary’s from Chicago?

Do you have to be Catholic to attend Saint Mary’s?

Why should I attend an all-women’s college?

Will I receive credit for my IB diploma/certificates, A-levels, Advanced Placement courses, Abitur, French Baccalaureate, etc.?

Are Saint Mary's varsity athletes allowed to accept and utilize outside scholarships?

International Applicant FAQs

What is the difference between a college and a university?

What is a liberal arts college?

May I apply to Saint Mary’s through the Early Decision program?

What is the total cost (tuition, room & board, other fees and expenses) to attend Saint Mary's College for an international student?

Are scholarships available for international students?

How do I apply for scholarships from Saint Mary’s?

May I work on campus?

Do I have to purchase health insurance?

Are faculty members accessible?

Can I live on-campus? Do I have to live on-campus?

Where do I go during extended break/vacation periods?

What kind of support is available for international students?

Why should I go to a women’s college?

Transfer Applicant FAQs

Who is considered a transfer student?

I have attended Saint Mary's in the past, but withdrew from the College. Do I need to apply as a transfer student to continue my education at Saint Mary's?

How do I apply for admission to Saint Mary's College as a transfer student?

What is Saint Mary's policy regarding credit transfer?

What types of courses are recommended for transfer to Saint Mary's College?

When is the best time to transfer to Saint Mary's?

Can I transfer into the nursing program at Saint Mary's?

Is an informational meeting required as part of the transfer admission process?

Are transfer students considered for scholarships?

Is there an orientation program for transfer students?

How can I make my transfer application most competitive?

What are the deadlines to apply as a transfer student?

When will I be notified of my admission decision?

Are transfer students required to live on campus?
 

First-Year Applicant FAQs

Q. What are the deadlines for first-year students to submit application materials, and when will I be notified of a decision?

A. Priority Deadlines for first-year applicants:

  • Early Decision Applicants:  November 15; notification is guaranteed by mid-December if your application is completed by November 20.
  • Regular Decision Applicants:  February 15 ; notification is rolling every 2-4 weeks and will start as early as November.

Q. May I apply to Saint Mary’s through the Early Decision program?

A. Absolutely, if Saint Mary's College is your first choice. The deadline for Early Decision applications is November 15th. If you are accepted under the Early Decision guidelines, you agree to withdraw all applications submitted to other colleges and universities if admitted to Saint Mary’s. Early Decision students receive their admission decisions by the end of December.

Q. How do I set up a visit to Saint Mary’s College?

A. Saint Mary's College will be your "home" for the next four years, so we encourage you to get to know the campus and the college community.

Office of Admission Hours (September through May):

  • 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday
  • 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Saturdays
  • 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM, Notre Dame Football Saturdays

Office of Admission Hours (May through August)

  • 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday

To set up a campus visit, email our Campus Visit Coordinator at campusvisit@saintmarys.edu, or call (574) 284-4587 or (800) 551-7621.

To check out upcoming campus events, click here.

Q. Are interviews required for admission to Saint Mary’s?

A. No, we don’t require an interview. We do strongly encourage that you visit Saint Mary’s and meet for an individual appointment with your admission counselor. You’ll be able to get all your questions answered, and your counselor will be able to put a face with a name, which can only benefit you! 

Q. What standardized test scores will I need to submit to Saint Mary’s?

A. We require either the ACT or SAT for first-year students. If you take either exam more than once, we’ll superscore the subsections to recalculate your best score. If you take both tests, we will use the score for admission and merit scholarships that gives you the best advantage.

For students taking the SAT, Saint Mary's accepts both traditional (before March 2016) and redesigned SAT scores (March 2016 and beyond). For the '16-'17 school year, all redesigned scores will be concorded to traditional scores for admission and scholarship consideration.

Saint Mary's code for the SAT is 1702 and for the ACT the code is 1244.

Q. Does Saint Mary’s offer any scholarships?

A. We do! You’ll automatically be considered for merit-based scholarships when you apply for admission - no additional application or essay required. And even better news -- we’ll notify you of your merit award in your acceptance letter! These awards can range anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000/year and are renewable for four years.

Q. Does Saint Mary’s have pre-med, pre-vet, or pre-law majors?

A. We offer pre-professional programs in the following areas: Law, Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, other allied health fields. If you are in any of these programs, you will have access to an advisor who will work to help you best prepare for continuing your education in your desired field. 

Q. Does Saint Mary’s offer Engineering?

A. We do! We offer a dual degree program in engineering with the University of Notre Dame. In this five-year program, you can earn a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s in just about any major and a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering with a focus in chemical, computer science, electrical, environmental earth sciences, or mechanical engineering from Notre Dame. To find out more, click here.

Q. What is Saint Mary’s relationship with the University of Notre Dame and Holy Cross College?

A. Saint Mary's, Notre Dame and Holy Cross College enjoy a distinctive relationship that provides you with the exciting atmosphere of a large, comprehensive university and tri-campus community. You'll have Saint Mary's, Holy Cross’ and Notre Dame's legendary traditions while enjoying Saint Mary's academic excellence.

  • Join the marching band or other cultural activities
  • Participate in club sports
  • Take Notre Dame classes
  • Attend sporting events such as Notre Dame Fighting Irish football games
  • Enjoy dances and other social activities

Q. What is your average class size? How about your student-to-faculty ratio?

A. Average class size is 15 and the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1.

Q. How far is Saint Mary’s from Chicago?

A. Saint Mary’s is about 90 miles from the city of Chicago (about 1.5 hours). We offer a variety of public transportation options including airport shuttles to Chicago’s Midway and O’Hare airports from the University of Notre Dame and the South Shore train line from the South Bend International Airport.

Q. Do you have to be Catholic to attend Saint Mary’s?

A. No. While Saint Mary’s is a Catholic college, and was funded and is still sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, students from all faith backgrounds are admitted to the College.

Q. Why should I attend an all-women’s college?

A. Lots of reasons! First, there are a number of statistics that show increased success for women who attend women’s colleges compared to those who studied in institutions with men and women. Check out this page for more information. Some students may worry that attending a women’s college means they will not have a co-ed social life, but that’s simply not true at Saint Mary’s. In fact, our students experience the best of both worlds. There are more than 75 different student clubs and organizations to choose from, and students can also participate in activities and events at the University of Notre Dame, which is right across the street. So don’t worry – when you want to, you will still be able to meet boys!

Q. Will I receive credit for my IB diploma/certificates, A-levels, Advanced Placement courses, Abitur, French Baccalaureate, etc.?

A. Yes. Decisions about credit are based on the subject areas and levels of achievement on the exams. To find out more about how this credit transfers in, click here.

Q. Are Saint Mary's varsity athletes allowed to accept and utilize outside scholarships?

A. Per NCAA Division III regulations, students who intend on playing varsity sports at Saint Mary's are precluded from receiving any scholarships based on athletic participation, ability, or leadership in any sport which is also an NCAA sport. Varsity athletes should check with the Financial Aid Office regarding any outside scholarships or awards to ensure the terms of the scholarship will not interfere with the student's ability to participate in varsity athletics.

International Applicants FAQs

Q. What is the difference between a college and a university?

A. When Americans talk about applying to "university" or "college" they are referring to the same thing. In the United States, both a "college" and a "university" are institutions of higher education that you attend usually after grade 12.

Q. What is a liberal arts college?

A. American colleges and universities often require a common core of classes, in addition to the student’s intended area of study. These core classes, usually referred to as “liberal arts”, traditionally include English, literature, history, social sciences, natural sciences, foreign languages, and philosophy/theology. The goal is to provide a broader preparation not only for the job market of the future, but also for life. The liberal arts courses taken at Saint Mary's College focus on developing important life skills--communication,  writing, research, analytical and critical thinking, interpersonal and intercultural relations--that make students much more adaptable and able to pursue a variety of careers after graduation. Should the job market change and leave a liberal arts graduate without employment, that individual can change careers with relative ease.

Q. May I apply to Saint Mary’s through the Early Decision program?

A. Absolutely, if you are absolutely sure we are your first choice of school and you are applying for the fall semester. The deadline for Early Decision applications is November 15. Early Decision students receive their admission decisions no later than December 15.

If you’re accepted under the Early Decision guidelines, you agree to:

  • withdraw all applications submitted to other colleges and universities
  • submit an enrollment deposit by January 15

Q. What is the total cost (tuition, room & board, other fees and expenses) to attend Saint Mary's College for an international student?

A. The following amounts are valid for the 2015-2016 academic year. You can expect a 3-5% increase each year. In order to issue your I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility needed to obtain a student visa), we require that you demonstrate the ability to pay $51,550 per year, minus any financial assistance you might receive from Saint Mary’s. That amount covers the costs below:

  • Tuition and fees: $37,400*
  • Housing and food: $11,320*
  • Books, supplies, and personal expenses: $1,950
  • Health insurance: $880**            
  • Total: $51,550

*Annual increases to the cost of attendance are anticipated.
**Mandatory requirement for all international students 
Click Here to convert this amount to your home country currency.

A Certification of Finances form and supporting documentation is required to demonstrate your ability to cover your expenses at Saint Mary’s, minus any financial assistance you might receive from Saint Mary’s.

Q. Are scholarships available for international students?

A. Yes. International students may qualify for academic scholarships, ranging from $10,000 to $22,000 per year, based on their academic application for admission. Some international students may also qualify for other scholarships (called grants) based on their family’s financial situation. 

Q. How do I apply for scholarships from Saint Mary’s?

A. Simply apply for admission and complete your Certification of Finances! You do not need to specifically apply for financial aid as an international student; a completed application for admission guarantees that we will review you for financial assistance.

Q. May I work on campus?

A. Yes. International students with valid F-1 visa status have the ability, with approval from campus officials, to work on campus. In your first year, you may work up to 10 hours per week. Beginning in the second year, you may work 20 hours per week while school is in session and up to 40 hours per week during vacation/break periods.

Please note that campus jobs are available to our international students after a two-week period at the beginning of each school year. In order to work on campus, in addition to obtaining campus approval, international students must apply for and receive a Social Security Number from the local Social Security Administration office. Saint Mary's College staff will assist with this process.

US federal regulations do not allow international students to work outside of our campus.

Q. Do I have to purchase health insurance?

A. Yes. In the United States, health insurance is not provided by the national government. In order to receive non-emergency treatment in most hospitals and clinics, you must have private health insurance. Saint Mary's College requires that you have coverage and we will bill you directly for that coverage. The annual cost of this private health insurance policy is approximately $880.

Q. Are faculty members accessible?

A. An average class at Saint Mary's is made up of 15 students. That means that women who attend Saint Mary's develop close connections with their professors. Only qualified faculty members (typically with the highest degree possible in their fields of study) will teach your classes. There are no graduate teaching assistants at Saint Mary's. Moreover, students have opportunities to assist faculty in their research projects - an invaluable experience for an undergraduate student.

Q. Can I live on-campus? Do I have to live on-campus?

A. Yes, more than 85% of our students live on campus, in residence halls. Rooms can accommodate from one student, to four to a room. You are required to live on campus for six semesters, and we guarantee that we will have a room for you for this amount of time. The Department of Residence Life website offers helpful information about the residence hall staff, tips about living at Saint Mary's, and a list of what to bring to help make Saint Mary's "your home away from home."

Q. Where do I go during extended break/vacation periods?

A. You may travel home during our extended break periods, but you may choose to stay in the U.S. American friends of our international students often invite them to visit their homes during break. Others decide to travel around the U.S. during these breaks to sightsee or to visit relatives or friends. Our residence halls are closed during Christmas and summer breaks, therefore you will need to make alternative living arrangements if you’re not going home. If you wish to stay with an American family, the possibility to stay with host families might be arranged through the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership.

Q. What kind of support is available for international students?

A. Saint Mary's College provides dedicated international student advising, immigration help, and programming through the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL). A student-run international club also provides opportunities to share your culture and customs with the entire Saint Mary's College community. As a close-knit community, your residence hall staff, professors, friends and classmates are also an invaluable asset to help support you as you adjust to studying in the U.S.

Q. Why should I go to a women’s college?

A. Lots of reasons! First, there are a number of statistics that show increased success for women who attend women’s colleges compared to those who studied in institutions with men and women. Check out this site for more information.

For some students, they may worry that attending a women’s college means they will not have a social life, but that’s simply not true at Saint Mary’s. In fact, our students experience the best of both worlds. There are more than 70 different student clubs and organizations to choose from, and students can also participate in activities and events at the University of Notre Dame, which is right across the street. So don’t worry – when you want to, you will still be able to meet boys!

Transfer Applicant FAQs

Q. Who is considered a transfer student?

A. If you have earned 12 or more college credits from an accredited institution since graduating from high school, then you are considered a transfer student. If you have not yet graduated from high school or have taken fewer than 12 college credits since graduating, then you are considered a first-year student.

Q. I have attended Saint Mary's in the past, but withdrew from the College. Do I need to apply as a transfer student to continue my education at Saint Mary's?

A. If you officially withdrew from Saint Mary's and have earned college credit from another accredited institution since leaving, then you should complete a transfer application. If you officially withdrew from Saint Mary's but didn’t earn college credit elsewhere, then you should send a written request to the Office of Academic Affairs stating your reason for wishing to return. In either case, you will be notified of your readmission status after your application or request has been evaluated.

Q. How do I apply for admission to Saint Mary's College as a transfer student?

A. You will need to submit a transfer application through the Common App. Click here to find out how to apply.

Q. What is Saint Mary's policy regarding credit transfer?

A. As a general rule, college-level courses that were taken at an accredited institution for which you received a grade of C or better may be transferrable. We will accept a maximum of 68 credits from other accredited institutions. Once you apply to transfer to Saint Mary's, an official transfer credit evaluation will take place. Check out more information on our credit transfer policy.

Q. What types of courses are recommended for transfer to Saint Mary's College?

A. We encourage you to take courses that will fulfill general education requirements at Saint Mary's. You can fulfill some of our general education requirements through English, foreign language, social sciences and humanities, lab sciences, religious studies and theology, fine arts, and mathematics courses.  

Foreign Language: Credits earned in an introductory level language course will transfer only if the language is different from the language studied in high school. Credits earned in courses beyond the introductory level will transfer if it is the same language studied in high school.

Sciences: The Saint Mary's science requirement can be fulfilled only by classes including lab work. Non-lab courses transfer as electives only.

Mathematics: Lower-level, skills-based math courses are not awarded credit. A few college algebra and pre-calculus courses may transfer for elective credit, but only after careful review by our academic advisors.

Q. When is the best time to transfer to Saint Mary's?

A. Your first or second year of college is the ideal time to transfer, but we’ll accept your transfer application at any point in your college career. You can transfer in either the fall or spring semesters. You may find the process of transferring easier if you’re in contact with our Transfer Admission Coordinator early in the process. Due to the highly structured nature of some of our programs (e.g., business administration, elementary education, music, fine arts, biology, chemistry, and nursing), we encourage you to seek advice on course selections at your current school as soon as possible. To get in touch with our Transfer Admission Coordinator, please call Lindsay Romeo at 800-551-7621 or email lromeo@saintmarys.edu.

Q. Can I transfer into the nursing program at Saint Mary's?

A. Yes, our undergraduate nursing program is open to transfer students. The program is not direct admit, but the Department of Nursing will review your application as part of the review process and make a recommendation for admission to Saint Mary's. A year of prerequisite courses must be taken at Saint Mary's prior to applying to the Nursing program, so you can expect to spend at least three years completing your degree at Saint Mary's.

Q. Is an informational meeting required as part of the transfer admission process?

A. We strongly recommend that you meet with us, but it’s not required. Please bring a copy of your college transcript to the meeting, and come prepared with any questions you have about Saint Mary’s. You’re also invited to meet with students, faculty, and coaches; attend a class; and tour campus. Your visit to campus should be all about you, so please contact us in advance to tell us how you’d like to spend your time!

To arrange a campus visit, contact our Campus Visit Coordinator at 800-551-7621 or campusvisit@saintmarys.edu.

Q. Are transfer students considered for scholarships?

A. Yes! You are eligible for the same merit-based scholarships as our first-year students. If you earn a scholarship, you will receive notification with your acceptance letter to Saint Mary's. This year, our scholarships range from $10,000 to $25,000 per year, renewable each year you're at Saint Mary's.

Q. Is there an orientation program for transfer students?

A. Yes, you will be invited to some of the same orientation sessions as our first-year students, along with several additional sessions that are geared specifically toward the needs of transfer students.

Q. How can I make my transfer application most competitive?

A. The admission committee attaches primary importance on your collegiate academic record, so make sure you’re earning solid grades in your classes. We like to see a cumulative GPA of 2.7 (on a 4.0 scale) or that you completed your two most recent full-time semesters at a minimum of a  2.7. The strength of your course load will also be taken into account, including the number of credits you’re taking and the rigor of your classes.

Q. What are the deadlines to apply as a transfer student?

A. Saint Mary's offers a Rolling Application option for Transfer applicants.

Students wishing to transfer to Saint Mary's for the fall semester are encouraged to apply by April 15 in order to meet withdrawal deadlines at their current institutions.

Students wishing to transfer to Saint Mary's for the spring semester are encouraged to apply by November 15 in order to meet withdrawal deadlines at their current institutions.

Transfer applications will be reviewed after the deadlines as long as space is available. We invite you to contact us at admission@saintmarys.edu if you have specific questions about Saint Mary's or the admissions process.

Q. When will I be notified of my admission decision?

A. You can expect to receive a decision from Saint Mary's within 2-4 weeks from the date your application becomes complete, as we make admission decisions on a rolling basis.

Q. Are transfer students required to live on campus?

A. Saint Mary's is a residential college, so you can expect to live on campus for six semesters, including any time you’ve spent living on another college campus or studying abroad. If you’re married, at least 23, or you’re living with a parent or guardian within 30 miles of campus, then you may be exempt from this requirement. Check out more information on the residency requirement exceptions here.