Year 1
The Avenue Experience
more than a career with more than a degree
Swipe, scroll and click to explore our interactive Avenue timeline!
Step 1

It will change you and connect you. In a small group of hand-selected students, you’ll embark on an interdisciplinary, all-terrain, multidimensional investigation of a single enduring question or contemporary challenge.

Step 2

It’s official! You’re hitting your stride. Declare a major (or two) with the help of advisors, and apply for internships. Study Abroad.

Step 3

It’s time to start talking about senior projects, graduate certificates, and how to assemble career portfolios with your advisors and mentors by your side.

Step 4

Finessing final projects and stretching your applied knowledge muscles, you’ve made connections across three campuses and around the globe. Now you’re ready. Ready to graduate and ready to lead.

Get An Early Start
Meet your Advising Team
and Choose your Seminar Theme
Get to Know Yourself
and Your Classmates
Explore and
Evaluate Interests
Investigate Careers
Communities/Career Launch Day
Meet Alumnae with
Career Experience
Choose/Create Your
Major(s) and Minor
Find Your Purpose
Think Globally—
Study Abroad
Grow beyond
the classroom
Engage Fully Across
All Campuses and Beyond
Conduct Senior
Comprehensive Project
Earn Leadership Certification
or Industry-Facing Credential
Begin Master’s Program
Graduate Ready to Make
the World a Better Place

Meet Your Advising Team and Choose Your Seminar Theme

Students work with a dedicated team of mentors to explore their passions, strengths, and career aspirations as they create a roadmap for their future. And you get an early start, too: a kick-off meeting is scheduled between students and a member of their advising team before their first day on campus. You also select your First-Year Seminar track, a professor-led expedition to expand your point of view and strengthen your skill sets, all while making lifelong friendships.

Get to Know Yourself and Your Classmates

Sometimes it’s just lunch, class, or the lab. Other times, it’s the big game across the street or the interview of a lifetime. No matter what’s happening, there’s an intentional sense of unity and belonging here, unlike any other campus. We embrace our differences, lift each other up, and celebrate everyone’s successes. You’ll find your people here, part of our tri-campus community.

Explore and Evaluate Interests

Through clubs and organizations at Saint Mary’s or Notre Dame; leadership opportunities like Student Government Association; residence life programs; study abroad; coursework toward your major or interdisciplinary minor; service through mission and ministry; or athletics, students have multiple opportunities to build friendships and networks, explore spiritual life, and grow as a whole person.

Investigate Careers Communities/Career Launch Day

Evaluate your interests, discover new talents, and unleash your imagination across a variety of academic programs, from neuroscience and graphic design to engineering and film studies. At “Career Launch Day” in the spring, you’ll hear directly from alumnae and other professionals about how you can embark on careers in the industries they represent.

Meet Alumnae with Career Experience

Every student has their own team of mentors and advisors invested in their success. This team supports a student’s exploration of their values, interests, and passions and helps them set and achieve their goals. Essential to this network is our community of 23,000-plus alumnae, each thriving in their field and passionate about the outcomes of Saint Mary’s students. Best of all, both one-on-one advising and access to our alumnae mentoring platform will provide support throughout your entire learning experience.

Choose/Create Your Major(s) and Minor

Our academics are about more than checking off classes on a standardized list. At Saint Mary’s, you’ll try subjects you’ve never considered before and make connections across disciplines. You have plenty of time to choose your major, graduate in four years, and, even then, graduate with more than one degree! Explore our accelerated pathways: opportunities to earn a bachelor’s degree while simultaneously taking graduate-level courses.

Find Your Purpose

It’s a promise: the classroom isn’t the only place you’ll grow at Saint Mary’s. Through opportunities to serve on and off campus and inclusive programming that invites you to develop spiritually, we support you in identifying your work in the world. Hands-on learning opportunities like job shadowing allow you to practice the skills essential for constructive dialogue. At its heart, our Avenue Experience is designed to help you flourish as a whole person, ready to respond to real-world problems and able to step-up and advocate for yourself and others.

Think Globally—Study Abroad

Dive into different cultures. Expand your thinking. Experience the global economy firsthand. Study abroad, and you’ll strengthen your understanding of difference and your connectedness to others even in the midst of it. At Saint Mary’s, our students are traveling to Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America—most with financial assistance. You can go. You should go! Together, we can make it happen.


Test your theories. Jump in on active research. Working side-by-side with your faculty mentor, you can even be the principal investigator of your own line of inquiry. And our new Office for Academic Research, Grants, and Sponsored Programs is a dedicated resource on campus to help you identify and apply for grant programs and connect you to others with similar interests.

Accelerated Programs

Take the fast lane with any of our accelerated programs and graduate with more than one degree in five years or less. Combine Saint Mary’s programs with those at Notre Dame and earn a dual degree. We provide access to more options for accelerated and flexible programs so that you can get where you want to go as fast as you like—and with some truly impressive credentials.

Grow Beyond the Classroom

Prepare to lead in your future career through the opportunities we offer outside class. By choosing a women’s college, you know every student leadership role is open to you. Take advantage of any one of those opportunities, and gain experience—in planning, presenting, and creating consensus!—to include on your resume. You can build a better community and learn more about yourself through service, too, by sharing your knowledge as a peer mentor or tutor. The Avenue Experience encourages your holistic growth, enabling you as a just leader and an advocate for others.

Engage Fully Across All Campuses and Beyond

Sports, clubs, and events—the ways to become a part of life at Saint Mary’s are practically limitless. If there’s not an intramural or club sport you’re interested in, you’re welcome to start one! And the benefits of our tri-campus community are real: Notre Dame offers even more opportunities to work out, practice, or discover new interests, and you’re invited to be part of those, too!

Conduct Senior Comprehensive Project

Problem-solving, critical thinking, writing, research, and the practical application of knowledge: for your senior comprehensive project, you’ll employ all of these to create this capstone work required for graduation. The project focus varies—from extensive research papers to computer-based tests to student teaching—but each one invites our seniors to demonstrate competence in their area of study. Show us what you’ve got!

Earn Leadership Certification or Industry-Facing Credential

Level up your degree with one or more certifications or credentials we’ll connect you to as part of our work to get you career-ready. Every student can complete a hands-on, industry-facing credential as part of their career planning process. And while these are built into some majors (nursing, speech-pathology, and business, to name a few), everyone can add a leadership certification or pursue additional, relevant coursework to strengthen their career portfolio.

Begin Master’s Program

…though with one of our seven accelerated bachelor’s to master’s programs, yours may already be underway! Select pathways can be completed in five years or less (known as a 3+1 or a 4+1). Still, if your area of focus isn’t available for an advanced degree through Saint Mary’s, your advising team will help you identify the right next stop to extend your education and support your future plans.

Graduate Ready to Make the World a Better Place

You already know the world needs you. Whatever purpose you’ve discerned during your time here, it’s time to take what you’ve learned—about yourself, all of what you can do, and your purpose—out and into the world to do good there. At Saint Mary’s we’re preparing for a better world, one graduate at a time. We’re so proud that one of those graduates is you!
Play Video The Road To Remarkable

Our unique curriculum-to-career experience combines coursework with professional mentoring, skill building, and internships to awaken undiscovered talents and enrich your academic journey. From orientation to graduation, you’ll travel your own personalized road—your Avenue, an experience intentionally designed to align with your goals. (Even if they change, or you’re not quite sure what they are yet.)The Avenue turns a college education into strategic preparation for a lifetime of meaningful success.

Why We Call It The Avenue

The tree-lined entrance to Saint Mary’s reminds us of our long-standing history and represents each student’s progression through academic life here. Canopied by towering maples and sycamores that stand as monuments to growth and guardians of potential, The Avenue is more than an entrance beckoning visitors to campus. It is also your road to discover what’s possible. It’s a symbol of your individual journey to reach your potential and fulfill your goals.

A Lifetime of Benefits

At Saint Mary’s, the knowledge you gain in our classroom is only part of your whole experience. Here, we’ll encourage you to get involved on campus and beyond and shape your career path by working in the real world along the way. Students also serve in the local community to expand their hearts and minds. At every stage of life, Saint Mary's is ready to support your success.

  • Amanda Acosta Career Services The Career Crossings Office is a welcoming and comprehensive place for students to explore career paths, creating meaningful outcomes. After graduation, we’ll remain by your side with career services for life. Explore all this dynamic office has to offer. Learn More
  • Amanda Acosta Alumnae Connections Our 23,000+ alumnae are a group of women with a wealth of talent, experience, and know-how, and they give you access to innumerable resources. They are ready to connect with you. Learn More
  • Amanda Acosta Making a Difference In class, you'll find yourself discussing faith, values, and ethics. Outside of class, you’ll find plenty of clubs, programs, and activities to put your beliefs into action. Learn More
Because Saint Mary’s has pushed me, I will be ready to lead by example as someone who can work hard, be dedicated to my work, and care about what I choose to do. – Briana Houpt '25

We want every student who wants to come to Saint Mary’s to be able to afford an education here. You focus on your future, and we’ll work on the finances with you.