Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. Where is Saint Mary's College?
A. Saint Mary's College is located in the State of Indiana, US. Referred to as "The Crossroads of America", Indiana is located in the midwestern part of the country, and is bordered by the states of Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky. Saint Mary's College is located in the North Central part of the state in the city of South Bend. Located in St. Joseph County, (population 265,500) the South Bend/Mishawaka community is conveniently located 1.5 hours from Chicago, Illinois, and approximately 3 hours from Indianapolis, Indiana - our state capital.
Q. Will I receive credit for my IB diploma/certificates, A-levels, Advanced Placement courses, Abitur, French Baccalaureat, etc.?
A. Yes. Decisions about credit are based on the subject areas and levels of achievement on the exams.
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 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. Early Decision students receive their admission decisions by the end of December.
Q. Does Saint Mary's accept copies instead of official documents?
A. We recognize that in many countries students are only issued one original copy of their academic records and examination results (particularly from government bodies). In those cases, we require certified or notarized copies of the originals.
Q. What is the total cost (tuition, room & board, other fees and expenses) to attend Saint Mary's College?
The following amounts are valid for the 2014-2015 academic year. In order to issue your I-20 and allow you to obtain a student visa, we require that you demonstrate the ability to pay $49,625. That amount covers the costs below:
- Tuition and fees: $35,970*
- Housing and food: $10,930*
- Books, supplies, and personal expenses: $1,950
- Health insurance: $775**
*Annual increases to the cost of attendance are anticipated.
**Mandatory requirement for all international students
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Q. Is financial aid available for international students?
A. There are two types of aid available for F-1 international students: merit scholarship awards based on the academic application for admission (ranging from $5,000-$20,000/year renewable for up to four years); and financial aid awards based on the financial need of a student (amounts vary). Students will automatically be considered for merit awards based on their admission application but should complete the supplemental CSS Profile if they are interested in receiving need-based funds. Please note that Saint Mary's is unable to award full scholarships; we expect international students to provide at least partial support for their education.
Q. What is a liberal arts college?
A. Unlike many countries around the world, American colleges and universities often require a core of classes, in addition to the student’s intended area of study. These classes 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, critical thinking, interpersonal 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. What is the difference between a college and a university?
A. In the United States, a "college" and a "university" are equivalent in that each is a post-secondary institution of higher education. When Americans talk about applying to "university" or "college" they are talking about the same thing.
Q. Are faculty members accessible?
A. An average class at Saint Mary's is made up of 16 students. That means that women who attend Saint Mary's develop close connections with their faculty. 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. Is housing guaranteed on-campus?
A. Housing is guaranteed on-campus for all four years. Approximately 85% of our students stay on campus all four years.
Q. Where do I go during extended break/vacation periods?
A. Our international students may travel home during our extended break periods, but many choose to stay in the US. American friends of our international students often invite them to visit their hometown. Others decide to travel around the US during these breaks to sightsee or to visit relatives or friends. As our residence halls are closed during these break periods, international students do need to make alternative living arrangements. For those international students who wish to stay with an American family, the possibility exists to stay with host families arranged through the Office of International and Intercultural Learning.
Q. May I work on campus?
A. International students in valid F-1 or J-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 receive a Social Security Number from the local Social Security Administration office. Saint Mary's College staff will assist with this process.
Q. What kind of employment opportunities do I have off-campus?
A. US federal regulations do not allow international students to work off-campus. Exceptions are allowed for specific circumstances, but only with consent of Saint Mary’s College and federal government approval, which can take several months.
Q. Do I have to purchase health insurance?
A. Health insurance in the United States 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 possess coverage, and we will bill you directly for that coverage. The annual cost of this private health insurance policy is approximately $775.
Q. What kind of support is available for international students?
A. In addition to our International Orientation Program, Saint Mary's College provides dedicated international student advising and programming. A student-run international club also provides opportunities to share your culture and customs with the entire Saint Mary's College community.
Q. What do students do at Saint Mary's besides study?
A. Our students lead an active life outside of the classroom. Aside from their studies, Saint Mary’s women choose from over 60 different clubs, organizations, and intramural sports on our campus. They also join extracurricular activities and clubs at the University of Notre Dame, which is directly across the street. There are many area restaurants, shopping malls, entertainment venues, and parks nearby. In fact, many new students have to learn to manage their time effectively in order to find time for all of their activities.
Q. What will my life be like at Saint Mary's? What should I bring to campus?
A. The Department of Residence Life website offers helpful information including information on the 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."