Smith College Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


The academics at Smith are definitely very rigorous. You can expect to have a stack of reading every week and spend a lot of time on homework. However, it all relates to your classes, so if you're really interested in the subject, it's not too bad. All of the professors are really great and willing to take the feelings of their class into consideration with assignments and the way class runs. They are generally pretty flexible and willing to meet with you any time to answer questions. I wish Smith was a little bit more geared toward getting students jobs, but because it is a liberal arts school, that is not always the focus.


Professors at Smith are the most intelligent, most helpful people I've ever meant. As long as you make an effort in their class, they will do everything in their power to help you. Because of this, students work very very hard and spend a lot of time studying, even on the weekends. Something unique about Smith is that we don't have distribution requirements. My entire time at Smith I have felt free to take whatever class I was interested in. Learning is definitely for the sake of learning, but for some, grades. My major is Chinese, but I'm also getting a Five College Certificate in International Relations. We also have new "concentrations" which are excellent programs focused on very specific subjects. They include an aspect of experiential learning which makes them incredibly unique. The number is also increasing rapidly!


In four years at Smith I only had one class that had more than 15 other students in it (I took an Education lecture with 70 students). I had several classes with just 4 or 5 other students in them. Professors always know their students' names and often much more; I would say most students develop a personal relationship with at least one professor. Students are usually eager to talk in class and class conversations often spill over into daily life. As an English major, I did probably an average of 3 or 4 hours of work a night (less in the beginning of the semester, a little more maybe toward finals). I felt like I got to take a variety of interesting classes right from the beginning, instead of being forced to take a lot of 101's. Smith has flexible requirements, so if you want to cover all the major disciplines you're encouraged to, but if you don't want to you don't have to. This made things loose enough to truly pursue my interests. A Smith education is focused on a broader sense of education, learning for learning's sake and learning how to be a life-long learner. That said, I had no trouble finding a good job after graduating, probably in part to Smith's good reputation. I genuinely loved most of the classes I took at Smith, and felt like the material was relevant and that the professors were really in tuned with what interested the students.


Just as you're likely to find your social niche at Smith, you're likely to find an academic one. For the most part, Professors are personable, the facilities are gorgeous, and your academic peer company raise competition. This is not a slacker school.


Classes at Smith are interesting. All of my professors have known my name, and I have talked to most of them outside of class. They are eager to help, are available during office hours and by appointment and email. In my first semester at Smith, my first year seminar class was invited over to our professors house several times, and he really took us under his wing. Students study and work hard in their classes. They participate in class for the most part. I love the fact that there are no requirements--you can take whatever interests you!


Great relationships with professors, ridiculously smart student body. Participation is encouraged. Most popular majors are government, psychology & economics, but there is also huge support of the sciences, especially engineering (the only majors to receive Bachelor of Science degrees instead of Bachelor of Arts). Huge emphasis on the liberal arts education, and one great thing is that there are no distribution requirements, so students can really shape their own curricula. The honor code is taken very seriously and allows Smith to have self-scheduled final exams.


Professors try very hard (and are successful in my experience) to be available. They are excited about the material and will talk about it just for fun with you, or they will guide you with papers, projects, etc. The open curriculum at smith (no required courses) is great because you can take charge somewhat of what you take. Students tend to put a lot of emphasis on grades, because the school's reputation is one of rigorous academics.


The academics here are great! The professors are all very helpful. They want you to succeed.


Smith is a tough school but not impossible. The classes and small which makes it a comfortable atmosphere. All of the professors are very nice and willing to help.


Amazing. A liberal arts education is the most important investment you can make in yourself and in humanity.


Classes are generally small. In almost every class the professor will end up knowing every student's name. Most professors are also really interested in what students are doing so they make it a point to come to student performances and presentations. Intellectual conversations happen both in and out of class all over the place. The school is filled with very bright people! However this also means that it can get pretty competitive so you have to remember to give yourself a reality check once in awhile.


The classes are very small and professors know one's name and notice when they don't show up for class. As nice as it may seem to be more connected to one's professor, it also means that there is a lot of pressure coming from being under such a close watch. Academics are high stress at Smith, and studying often extends into the weekend. Students are very competitive and may judge the other base on academic standing. Also, inside information, revealed that Smith puts caps on their first-year writing classes in order to make their student to teacher ratio smaller. This means that their is great competition when trying to get into classes, which also means that one can not take random class as easily. Smith also is known for their graded homework which is a large part of one's grade and can often be as challenging as requiring one to work on it with other in the presence of a tutor or professor.


Class participation is better than at most schools, but I feel it could be better. Students study from very little to quite a lot, depending on course load and where you live on campus (nerdy Green Street v. Partying Quad). I have been invited to dinner at my advisor's house, as well as other events with my professors. There are no real academic requirements, which I love. As I mentioned before, Reenacting the past was my favorite class. It is exactly like it sounds... we reenact a turbulent period in history, we all have characters aligning with realistic positions and we all have goals we're supposed to pass, and the whole class is run like that-- little to no lecture, almost all interactions and research and speeches. The french major is good, it requires a lot of french history but is a light major overall, and the architecture major has good studios but the rest of the requirements are all art history (with architecture history thrown in) because I think a liberal arts degree in Architecture needs to cover much more than that.


Our professors are pretty dedicated--all my professors know my name and are willing to meet with students outside of class. Students run the gambit from procrastinating slackers who squeak by in their classes, and hard-working over-achievers going for all A's, but they're almost always intelligent. I love Smith's open curriculum; the only thing I have to think about when registering is what I need to take for my major and what I WANT to take, which is a beautiful thing. The most unique class I've taken is Reenacting the Past, a class where students take on historical roles with their own agendas and objectives and play through a turbulent period in history, like the French Revolution or the English Reformation. I'm TA-ing for it now, and it's the most entertaining class I've ever had. Where else do you get to stand on a table during class to accuse someone of heresy and treason?


Classes tend to be on the small to medium side, and professors make every effort to learn your name. People participate and are somewhat competitive, but not in a harsh way. You can hear conversations in dining halls and living rooms on everything from the Protestant Reformation to Darfur to what some girl wore to a party. Some professors get very involved in Smith life, and some are never around when you need them.


The professors that I have this semester are: Pat Skarda, Paul Butler, David Palmer, and Madeline Rhodes... so I guess you can say I know my professors pretty well. My favorite class this semester is Experimental Psychology. I love it. It's just basically an in depth look on how to do research in the Psychology field. I don't have a least favorite class. I really like all my classes. I picked them. Students study a lot and I'm not a studier. I try to get it right the first time around. Class participation here sucks in comparison to my school. I wish people would participate in class discussion more. Yes Smithies are known for having intellectual conversations outside of class. Very competitive but that’s just the Smithie way. Most unique class... I don't think I've taken one of those yet. I'm majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology and I really like the administration that are within those departments. I make sure to go to the office hours of all of my professors at least once. It's nice to know that your teacher actually knows who you are. I like their requirements but then again I'm very focused and know where I’m going in life so the fact that we have to take a class in every discipline sort of sucks. Smith education is geared towards learning for its own sake. Learning is very important here. If it helps to get you a job then that is good as well.

Petunia Bee

Smith isn't a party school. Yes professors know the names of their students. There's a low teacher to student ratio. Smith takes good care of its students, providing an excellent liberal arts education (although the art department is fucking impossible to get into) and surveys that give away ice cream.


Classes are usually small (15-25 people) and the professors usually make an effort to know people's names, even in big lectures. Most professors are very accessible and are willing to help you understand concepts, etc. Most professors try to have student involvement in class, not just lecturing at you. Students are generally not competitive and do a lot of collaborating on homework, etc. My major department, geology, is small so you really get to know the professors and the other geo majors.


Even in big classes (and by big I mean 40-70, and most aren't that big) the professors know every student's name. I'm on a first-name basis with all of my professors. Smith is a lot of work and you will have lots of assignments, essays, and tests; however, if you manage your time well enough there is plenty of room in your schedule for extracurriculars, hanging out downtown, and sleep. The open curriculum at Smith means that you don't ever have to take another math or English class if you want to, but students often choose to take classes in all of the different disciplines. Most departments have classes geared especially towards non-majors so that students can actually get a well-rounded liberal arts experience.


All of my professors know my name, and I'm in introductory classes. Smith academics cannot be beat. I have already learned so much in my first year, and what I have learned has been very interesting and beneficial to my future. Smith doesn't have any requirements other than taking one writing intensive course which is great.


The lack of a core curriculum, except for a writing intensive, really influenced my decision to come to Smith. Since things were not required, I found myself taking random classes for fun such as Natural Disasters and How the Internet Works. I also like the first-year seminars, especially the one I took, Re-enacting the Past. I also love my department. The American Studies department is top notch with excellent faculty, diverse class offerings and lively class discussions.


Classes are rigorous and very intense!


Smith's academics is an infinite life resource for each of it's students. Not only is the classroom comfortable, friendly, stimulating, and engaging but proffessors are extremely approachable and accommodating for help outside of the classroom. The education does not stop their however, some of the best conversations of my life have happened outside of the class room. Not only do I have competent, interesting, amazing women to share in my excitements all around me but have the opportunity to make them life long friends that will constantly make me become a better person.


What is the typical academic effort at Smith is not typical anywhere else. Smithies take their papers, exams, and labs extremely seriously and dedicatedly put in the time necessary to do their best work. Everyone holds themselves to the highest standards, without needing competition to keep them striving for the top (though some of that helps!). Professors know that they are dealing with a super-smart group of women and they hold their students in the highest respect. If you want to do a special studies or design your own major, they are behind you, giving all of their time and energy to support your project. They are readily available for emails, coffee, and lunch not to mention office hours, and will sit chatting with you for hours.


A Smith education is great, but it's not for everyone. In general, the classes are small and the professors are accessible and helpful. As a physics/architecture major, I have been very well supported. THe physics department is small and personal--all they want is for you to succeed.


Smith academics are challenging for me. But if I want or need help I always know where to find it and its offered even when I dont ask. Professors go out of there way to meet with students when it is necessary and strongly encourage it. Class participation is common and some students are competitive and very opinionated


I love the possibility to get to know your professors on an personal level. Not everyone does. But I think there is a possibility. And I like that the professors that I did connect with seem so invested with my success at Smith and beyond.


The professors are 90{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} awesome.


Even if you're quiet, professors do know your name (depending on which classes you take). There are some amazing professors, if you look hard enough, that will make you leave a class saying to yourself, "Wow, I've actually taken something away from this class." Others are useless, boring, and disorganized. But if you look hard enough, you can take amazing classes. Students are hard workers but maybe not openly competitive. The only time their is really animosity in the classroom is when they pick out outspoken girls-- "That Girl." Granted, these girls usually are really annoying because they steer the class off course! No matter what, the professors are usually very accommodating to meet with you. They all hold office hours and all go out of their way to make extra appointments if possible. Smith has no requirements except for one writing intensive course, so there's a lot of freedom.


Smith has mostly small classes where the professors learn everyone's names and participation is strongly encouraged or required. The classes are tough and involve a lot of work outside of the classroom, but they are also very good and you will learn a lot. First year seminars are very unique, including one that I took called Lions: Science and Science Fiction. I'm a biochemistry major, so I've mixed and matched with lots of sciences and really like the science departments here.


My professors know my name. They are passionate about what they teach and are eager to get students excited about it to. They are often more than willing to help you and really want you to succeed. The worst professor I've had has not been a professor at all but a fellow. The education that you get at Smith is what you put in to it. If you are passionate about your major, you will get a lot from it, but if you are only doing it to get a job in something that you might not be interested in, then you might not like it. I have taken Econ classes, English classes, and fulfilled every Latin Honors requirement except for a foreign language -- and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Smith is an extremely challenging school. It is hard to get an A and most of the students' time is spent doing homework. Late nights and all nighters are very common. However, professors tend to be understanding and grant extensions of assignments, either for an entire class or for individual students. Something unique about Smith academics are the self-scheduled finals exams, which show the faith the administration has in the students and the amounts of maturity and responsibility that are expected from us.


Most professors know my name. I really don't have a favorite class. Students study as much as they can professors expect so much from us. Some people participate on a daily basis and sometimes I wish they would talk just a little less


Most of the classes I have taken are great. The classes usually range from 12-18 students except for some of the larger survey classes. The professors always make an effort to get to know the students, and most are very friendly and go out of their way to make themselves available for office hours or email questions.


The class size is generally small. My professors know us personally. However, this is because I am an engineering major, and the class sizes are generally small. Class participation is a must, and everyone is competitive. My major has one of the most requirements. Not only do we have to complete the core courses, but we must also complete the Latin Honors requirements, OR complete a minor outside of natural science. My educational experience is geared to finding a job outside of college in order to pay off my Smith loans and have money to live life at the same time. I feel sorry for those majoring in the humanities...


Yes, my professors know my name. I also stay in touch with my professors on a regular basis. I love Smith academically, although it can get pretty insane at times. My favorite classes thus far have been (North African Politics with Greg White Seminar, Dance classes, Political Theory of the 19th Cent. Arts and Human Rights in Latin America (Amherst), etc studying: Most students spend their time doing just that, studying. competitiveness: HIGH Intellectual conversations: My personal experience is that most students at Smith have a hard time balancing their social and their academic lives. So, most often than not, you will find students discussing their lack of sleep/stress over a good intellectual conversation. Unique Class: Voices for Actors ( I LOVE IT!!!!!!) Government dept: I really love my major and the professors. There is a reason why Government is one of the most popular majors at Smith. I have spent time with my professors outside of class and I continue to do so. Academic requirements: I think they are just fine Ac


Academics at Smith are pretty impressive. Professors genuinely care about you and your work and make an effort to get to know you personally. My favorite class that I've taken at Smith so far is Economic Botany: Plant and Human Affairs. It is an incredible class and I look forward to it every week. We learn about plants that humans use in everyday life all around the world, and also the historical uses of these plants in all cultures and how the plants have spread around the world. Rubber, oils, food, drugs, alcohol, wood, essential oils, fibers are just some of the topics we have covered. Right now we are doing a perfume project where we make our own perfume using the department's supply of essential oils, and create our own ad campaign to go along with it as well as thinking of innovative ways to promote our product. For each of the lectures Rob always brings samples of the food or product and shows us books from his own collection or the library. It is a topic that Rob genuinely loves and his excitment for teaching the class is infectious. I am so sad that this calss will be over in three weeks.


Academics are amazing at Smith. Professors get to know you throughout your four years and are always there to talk about life and problems. It is a very relaxed environment if you want it to be. There are those students that choose to be very highly stressed about grades, but I find that if you are able to relax and try to understand what you are being taught, the A's will fall into your lap. I spend a lot of time in labs, since I am a science major, but feel that all of this experience has helped me decide what I would want as a possible career.


I love most of my professors, particularly in my major departments. I think Smith's language deparments are great.


When I tell people from the area that I go to Smith, they are always really impressed. People around Northampton know it's a really good school academically, and Smith can give you so many opportunities. Classes are most of the time really interesting; of course, that depends on the department and the professor. One of my favorite classes this year was my Child and Adolescent Growth and Development education class; the professor was awesome. We would have snack every class, and she had amazing stories that really supported what you learned in the class. Another plus about academics at Smith is that there isn't a core requirement; you just have to take 64 credits outside your major and a writing intensive class. So if you never want to take another math class again (like me) you don't have to. It's really nice, especially when you hear of other kids having crazy requirements at other schools.


So, I'm taking this classical mythology class, and even though there's about seventy students, it's actually my favorite course. Anyway, I've never really talked to my professor (who's a fantastic lecturer), but yesterday when I came into class, he handed me some notes and called me by my name! To have a teacher that pays that much attention toward each individual is one of the reasons I chose to go to Smith!


Professors actually care about their students. They follow up (most of the time) on any communication/conversations and don't treat you like an inferior being (most of the time.)


I love the academics at Smith because it's one of those aspects of Smith that can be a great resource depending on ho much you want it. Every class here is helpful whether it's hard or not hard because the information that is taught is generally very interesting and the teachers are really passionate about teaching it. My favorite class by far was AMS 230: Narratives of Internment. We were just talking about the stories of the Japanese internees in California when someone brought up the idea that it'd be really cool to go on a pilgrimage to where they were interned. I didn't think that this idea would actually turn into reality where our wonderful teacher, Floyd Cheung, actually found enough funds to provide all of his students in the class an opportunity to fly to California and visit the pilgrimage site where so much history that we studied there happened. We prepared for the visit by reading lots of personal stories about internees and about the history of it from the government's point of view. The trip completed our classroom teachings by bringing everything together. It was by far the best class ever because 1) the teacher didn't treat us like we were below him and valued our opinion as much as any other person, 2) he wanted to make our education about this class the best that it could be and went well beyond what was expected to provide us with the amazing opportunity to take the pilgrimage trip. The class is not one that most people would have picked because it is popular, but beacuse they were curious. This curiosity and the ability to act on it and take the class turned into one of the best experiences of my life.


It is a liberal arts college and for the price that it is (although, to be fair, Smith gives EXCELLENT financial aid) it does make you question the reasoning behind spending so much money to simply explore one's interests. I have had trouble identifying the pros and cons of coming here. It is a great school and I am so grateful to be here, but for the cost it is and the worry it causes me, I can't help but question the practicality in taking something like the money it costs to come to Smith for two years, getting certified in a real trade, and joining the work force. It becomes a matter of trusting that you can do something great and that it is worth every penny to find yourself in an environment that encourages you to explore and learn all you can.


i'm an art history major. i generally don't like art history classes, though, so that kind of blows. i feel like everyone in them is pretty damn pretentious and sucks up way too hard to the professor. i do love art history though, and the museum is another one of the great things about smith. i'm from new york, and i'm used to the metropolitan museum of art (aka the met) being my second home, so smith's museum provides a nice comfort. depending on the size of your class, professors will know your name. if it's a big lecture class, then don't count out on it -- then again, this can also be pretty nice, because then it's easier to skip that class and go unnoticed, which is good for when you're really stressed and think you could use your time more productively than listening to patrick coby going on about plato. but smaller classes are of course, nice to have too. i really like getting to know the professors outside of class, and or just saying hi and having them say hi back around campus. it's always good to have a faculty tie, especially if you don't like your advisor that much. in terms of hard or easy, classes vary, but they're not impossible.


I love my major and my advisor. I always feel welcome to discuss things both serious and fun with him, and I'm always treated like an equal. Classes can vary, depending on how engaged students are with the material, but generally everyone speaks their mind very loudly and aren't afraid to disagree with one another.


Academics at Smith are great. Rigorous but engaging and worthwhile. Smith has no core requirements, so all students are completely free to take exactly what interests them, which makes classes even better, since everyone wants to be there. The professors (for the most part) are amazing. Every professor I've had has known my name, and they all make themselves very available for extra help outside of class. They are truly interested in each of their students' growth and success and in promoting that growth/success in any way possible. Professors and students often become quite close. I have had dinner at a professor's house once, and my house has invited professors over for dinner on many occasions. The classes are mostly quite small, with the exception of a very few large lecture classes, and class participation is the norm. Many students are really driven and hard-working, although there are still definitely those who appreciate the importance of free time and relaxation. The education at Smith is geared toward learning for its own sake, but nonetheless, Smith graduates are very successful and never have problems finding a job. Classes to take: Horticulture, Infinite Dimensional Linear Algebra (if you're into that)


Academics are such an important part of Smith. I would recommend every single woman take classes in an all-women's environment, especially in the sciences, and you will see the difference. Yes, some people are very competitive, and perfectionistic, but something I've learned is that if you look close, you can see the real issues behind that. So many of the professors at Smith see it as a priority to re-instate women's confidence. I spend quite a lot time out of class with professors, because they really want you to learn. I have pushed myself a lot at Smith, and I have been more successful than I thought I could.


Classes can be really hard - the level of academics is definitely higher than other schools I've experienced - but for as many kids that I know that dont' have a life and study each weekend, I know girls that take each weekend off - either for extracurricular activities/leisure/drinking etc. Most professors expect that you put effort into the class, and in my department (Geology) everyone is very supportive, kind, friendly, and very personal. I call most of my professors by first name, although of course there is a distinct respect for professors -- they are here to teach you what they can, and its your job to take in as much as possible. I like Smith's attitude towards a liberal arts degree, although my only complaint is sometimes the school (or certain people within the administration) are hellbent on looking 'prestigious' and this really bothers me - of course a Fulbright is an honorable award to receive, but its not just about looking good, adn sometimes I feel Smith is rather concerned with sounding good.


Most of my professors know my name but whether that has anything to do with being the only black student in a class of 30 or are really familiar with the students I don't know.