Smith College Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?


Don't be afraid to try things and quit. You don't need to be an expert in something to try it for the first time; you don't need to stick with something that you hate out of a misplaced sense of loyalty. Forgive people more. Educate people more. You are going to meet people whom you admire, who intimidate you. Remember that they are people, and don't take so long to seek them out. They're waiting for you to make a move, too. Be firm with yourself and commit to habits that you know will make you a better person and a better student. Take criticism gracefully, and advocate for yourself--but only when it's worth it. Remember that you chose to be here, and that you love it. Be out and joyful and unrepentent.


Advice to My Former Self The best way to prepare for college in particular and for life in general involves finding a cause that is close to my heart at an early age and working to address it through volunteering. Don't wait until the summer before my senior year to work with a local organization whose mission is to help those afflicted with aids. Start early so I can learn at a younger age how incredibly satisfying it is to help make a difference in the lives of others - to know the warmth of giving back to the community. Start early on the path that will lead to a major in college of social justice. Have the work convert my vague appreciation of how lucky I am to the knowledge of the incredible blessings in my life. Use the opportunity to meet those whose life is so different than mine, whose challenges far outweigh mine. Learn early to enjoy those who can teach me so much about the larger world. It is great preparation for college, where the range of people I meet will expand tremendously. Yes, begin early down the path to help myself as much as others.


There's nothing you need for collegiate success that you don't already have. Imagination, cleverness, and determination are in equal measure what will propell you through your studies. Don't allow yourself to be distracted. Don't turn grudges into excuses. Make time for friends and fun, of course, or risk sanity entirely, but remember that the education comes first. School is there for you. All those resources, all those books and specimens, ideas and arguments, lectures and libraries are yours. There's no room for timidity. You know exactly what you want to do, what you want to make of yourself and the world, and you have all the tools you need. You live in a world where women in the sciences are trivialized and where righteous indignation is spun into pettiness by the powers that be, but you're up to it. Every paper, lab, and discussion brings you closer to the scientist--and the person--you know you can be. Don't let a moment pass you by.


I would tell myself not to be so afraid, so affected by the culture shock, so homesick. I would give myself academic advice (Smith has an "open curriculum," which is great, but it makes course selection a bit overwhelming), and I'd remind myself to audition for a play. I would tell myself that time moves quickly, so go to the art museum, the hill of daffodils (before it's removed during construction), the botanical gardens, the archives. Find the secret staircase in Sessions House and move out of Capen House after your first year. Be active in Italian Club (model in their fashion show) and stay one year over January to learn Yiddish. Don't take the LSAT without studying and don't wait until senior year to take math and science. Finally, I'd tell myself to get enough sleep, leave room for a social life and not to worry because it'll all be okay.


I wish I had known how much easier procrastination becomes in college than it was in highschool. I would tell myself to stay more focused and really schedule out each day when the assignments start pouring in, because when I do that it's so much easier to stay on top of things. I would tell myself to pack less--you really don't need all that stuff. I would remind myself that it's okay to be lonely sometimes, and talking to your friends about your experiences (and realizing they're lonely sometimes too) really helps. I didn't figure that out for a while. I wish I could have told myself to breath more. The year is almost over and I survived, but I think I could have done it with less stress if I had planned my academics, taken time to meditate or something, and eaten a little healthier--more salad, fewer tater tots--because you don't need any more stress than college already is.


Just relax, stick it out. Making decisions can be difficult but remember you can always change your mind, nothings set in stone.


I have learned more about myself, my temperment, and my personal and academic interests. I have developed a sense of independence and have found the strength to keep going even when things do work out the way I had originally planned.


I have only been in college for one semester and already I have changed so much. Before college, I procrastinated with every thing, forgot about assignments, I was unorganized, and a bit shy. Now I have learned to budget my time. I turn in all assignments on time if not early. Forgetting assignments is not an option in college. I write everything down and leave reminders for myself everywhere. I am much more responsible and reliable because of this and much more confident. Also, my college experience has given me a strong sense of accomplishment. I am going to a prestigious school filled with intelligent people who challenge me every day. Most of my professors have a Ph. D. I am learning Arabic, which is one of the hardest languages to learn. I am proud of myself. I am doing something no one in my family has done before. I am a first generation college student. I am also going to be the first graduate in my family. I am going to be the first person in my family to have a yearly salary versus hourly. College is molding me into a strong, intelligent, capable woman.


My name is Mayli-Anne Waterbury and I am a robust 66 year old woman looking for scholarship aid so that I can attend Smith College in Massachusetts. A lifelong dream was to finish my college education. My goal isn?t just about me; I am looking for a way out of the self-absorption retirees can slide into-I understand at a deep level that the solution to getting out of ?me? is to become pro-active in the welfare of others. I need to be armed with all the clout I can muster to be taken seriously in a world that needs all the help it can get. I love to write. I have been published several times in self-help books and on the Op-Ed pages of state and local newspapers. I am looking to make my major English/American Studies at Smith. Later, I hope to write books, articles, and continuing with serious volunteering. Presently, I am enrolled as a part time student at the University of Rhode Island and donate my time for transparently-decent candidates seeking political office. I hope you will consider my request for the scholarship.


I am a firm proponent of universal success where every individual has an aptitude for a skill. A collegiate education will enhance and refine whatever ability that may be. But college isn?t all about the formal learning that takes place within the institutions; the experiences that colleges are able to extend to their students have a greater impact on their success than any mathematics course would. Being able to develop an ideal self based off of the experiences one has encountered is the most critical difference between a successful individual and a failure. I attended college for academic purposes like most prospective students do but in my brief time at Valencia Community College, I have gain some invaluable experiences that will mold me into a man ready to illuminate my community. As a product of the Bridges to Success Program, I have been engraved with the determination to lead others in a positive direction. Soon I attained membership of Phi Theta Kappa and Presidency of I.M.A.G.E.S. (Influential Men Applying Gifts and Employing Strategies); our goal is to promote academic achievement and community service. My college experience has gave me power to enlighten my community.


My experience at Smith College can be summed up in one word, and that word is confidence. At Smith, I learned the confidence to be myself, the confidence to do what it takes to succeed, the confidence to take chances, and most importantly, I gained confidence in being a woman. For me, attending an all-woman's college was extrodinarily valuable. If I had attended a co-ed college, I doubt I would have graduated with the same level of confidence. Smith was an accepting school that pushed female students to grow, learn and change. Smith professors are supportive and engaging. Simply being surrounded by intelligent, intellectual, creative women is incredibly inspiring. Smith also provides students with non-traditional opportunities to grow - like a semester-long for-credit internship at the Smithsonians, an opportunity I was excited to partake in. Since graduating, I have used the confidence that I gained at Smith to succeed in the "real world." In less than two years, I am at the director level, and have individuals who report directly to me. I owe my success to the professors, the administration, and most of all my fellow classmates. All inspired me beyond words.


Breathe. Life is what happens while you're making plans. I have found, in my experience of applying to and attending college, that expectations are rarely met, but that what you end up with can often be surprising and wonderful. High school is the time to learn how to work, to realize your passions and to focus on your special gifts. College is the time to rediscover who you thought you were, to reimagine how you see the world and to refocus your passions so that they not only blossom and grow and change, but so that they can be shared with your academic, professional and global community. As you make the transition from High School to College, know that you will face challenges, but that you are fully equipped and prepared to take them on, and that they may not be what you expect, but that the outcome of your hard work and your willingness to keep an open mind and heart will reward you more than you ever thought possible.


As a junior in College, I now know things that would have been helpful to know while still in high school. If I could deliver important and insightful information to myself as a high school student, I would recite words of empowerment and personal growth. I would advise to always stand strong in my personal values and seek to continue to grow. To maintain a steadfast faith and that trials and tribulation will in fact come in my direct path. I would inform myself that the world and people I may trust will change and I must continue to seek and strive for an ultimate goal of making myself happy with my choices, my outcomes, the wisdom that I gain from them and my internal self. I would say that grades are not everything and that it?s important not to lose myself in achieving greatness, and greatness shows when my character radiates. I would say that success is not measured by the marks given by someone assessing me despite our society?s perception to impose this fabrication, but the amount of fulfillment, happiness and accomplishment that I find in my efforts, my goals, my loved ones and my life.


"Hey, ignore the guy sitting next to you. Who cares if he was the star of last night's basketball game. In 15 years, he will be working for the donut shop that you stop at in the mornings on your way to college. Pay attention and actually 'learn' how to write a thesis sentense. Learn how to use the library resources now and not wait until your senior year at college. Don't pay attention to what the other girls are saying in the halls about your clothes - they will come back in style and you will wish you hadn't thrown them out. Be proactive with your goals, you can do it.... and you don't need some boyfriend telling you that you can't, especially since he will drop out of college and you will continue on to graduate school! Study smarter, not harder! Give them the sizzle, not only the steak! And for crying out loud: learn to eat new foods - pizza will only go so far!"


The thought that haunted my head as a high school senior was not the typical will I get in. I knew that I would get in somewhere because there are so many different colleges one could attend. My biggest fear was that I was not sure I could do it. I did not know if I could take on this new level of education. I was unsure if I could move to another place, live with a new person, go to harder classes and somehow pay for it all. If I could sit my high school self down and tell her one thing, I would look into her eyes and tell her to be not afraid. Life can throw a person some serious twisted paths to walk along, but there is always a path. There is always a way forward and one will succeed if one is determined. My high school self, if I could talk to you, be whoever you want to be and smile every single day. You can do it.


You're telling yourself that you don't want to go to a girl's school. You're annoyed because it's the only prestigious college that accepted you. You're already plotting transferring after freshman year. First off, you're going to a women's college, not a girl's school. Second, you need to rethink why you're going to college. You want to go to a coed school so you can meet boys, and think if you don't meet them now, it'll never happen. So here?s a dope slap from the future for you. You are not going to college to get married. You?re going to get an education that will be the foundation for the rest of your life. You didn?t work so hard to get into college just to meet the one. You worked hard so that you could get into a college where you could be academically challenged and study what interests you. You?ll find that at Smith. So wake up and get ready for the time of your life. Also, there are three coed schools a free bus ride away. You?ll be okay.


It can be really easy to lose track of the reason why you are in college, why you're studying so hard for a test on a subject that you won't need for your career, when instead you could be partying or watching a movie with friends. And now that you are an adult, it truly is your decision, your parents will never know if you stay up all night, and you have every right to do so. But you have to remember that you are going to college (and paying all four limbs for it) for solely your benefit. You need to decide what you want to get out of college, and keep your eyes trained on that goal. You have to study, write and read more than you ever have before, in order to become aware of the world around you, and in order to begin to think and learn critically. While you're in college, you might as well get your money and time's worth.


If I could advise my high school self about college decisions, I would tell myself not to be too hasty or pressured when making my decision. I am glad I ended where I did, but I know that many of my decisions were based on the prestige a school's name had attached to it, rather than the actual worth of the school, or even my own interest in the school. Not knowing what you want to major in or even where you want to go to school is completely normal. However, choosing a school based on what you believe others want you to do or become is all too normal as well, and you must try to push aside those thoughts when making your final decision. After all, spending four years or more at a school you can't stand is a waste of your time, your money, and your life. Choose a school you love or like, not the one your parents or teachers or society love or like, and everything will work out in the end.


Shirrell, seeing how your life has turned out at age 40, it would be wise to stop chasing after Greg and focus on your school work. The two of you thought that you would get married and have kids, but that's not how it turns out. You have kids with a "dead-beat" dad, your kids are great but you raise them alone. Both you and your children deserve better. So stay focused, graduate and go off to a prestigious black college to experience living on campus. College life is definitely about school and doing well but you meet so many new people that later in life you can network with. The parties are so much fun, although I went to a community college, I loved the University parties I attended. I know you don't want to go to college right away but you are young and sometimes we need that push from an adult who is wiser and experienced in life. Trust me, things will work out better this way and you will not have to juggle going to school full time and working while raising kids. Now go break up with Greg!


I would tell myself to definately consider attending school as soon after graduation as possible. Being a 29 year old student, i found it to be much easier being a student as a younger man in all aspects of the learning process. My memory retention was much more effective and i have forgotten many of the skills needed for effective studying. I have had to apply much more time and effort as an older student in order to achieve the same results as a younger student. I know it seems as if it may add too much time to an already drug out process, but in the scope of life i have wasted much more time waiting to attend college. I have wasted time doing something that i have other than enjoyed only to find myself returning back to a learning situation to do what i could have done some 11 years ago and engaging in a profession that holds my interest and potential happiness. And for what, money? Hardly worth it. So I beg you to stop, think and take the little extra time needed to achieve what you will now and not later.


Dear Steph: I know this has been a long process, but please, have faith in your decision. Smith really is the best school for you. Don't get yourself down on the cost-that will work out. And don't worry about being away from your friends and family. Just focus on going in and making the best of your Smith experience. Live it up! Focus on your classes, because they matter. Focus on your STRIDE research, because you're getting paid to do it. But don't be afraid to reach out, meet new people, and get outside of your personal-space-bubble. Because that bubble WILL get invaded. Don't ever assume anything about anyone else. Don't rule out an activity because you've never done it- and don't do an activity just because it's familliar. You will be tempted to compromise your morals, but you don't have to to fit in. People actually will like you if you show an interest in them. Your friends will come from the most unexpected directions. Oh, and you're going to end up playing rugby (surprise!), so please bring lots of socks and underwear. Love, Steph.


I know you are not very good at it and mother tells you all the time "You need to have more patience" but Amalie listen to your mother for once in your life and have more patience. Please. When you walk into Smith College do not expect within a week of being there that you will have made friends that you invite to your child's graduation or that you will love your professors or that your professors will love you(they don't even know you yet) and if you get lost a couple hundred times walking around the campus, enjoy winding up in different areas of campus and go exploring. Inhale this lost, scrambling. "I'm so confused and I don't know where my first class is" moment like it was Mariah Carey's new perfume(I assume she came out with a new perfume, she's always coming out with something). I want you to dance when you get lost, dance right there in the middle of I don't know where and dance when you find yourself alone at lunch again. Dance because this "getting to know college" phase is the most beautiful part.


I transferred from a community college to Smith, so I would warn myself about taking more classes that would be actually useful to my four year education. I took lots of classes that I enjoyed, but frankly I could havbe taken more sciences and histories at the community college where it would have been SO much easier, and then been able to take more of the interesting, but still useful, classes at Smith. I would have also tried harder to work on my social skills at my community college.


If I could go back and time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would want to tell me to really learn how to sit down and study. In high school I never really took the time to learn good study habits. I was always able to sort of get by by winging it. Since I had started college I really wish that I had learned how to study well. I would want to teach my high school self how to do research and how to take notes. These are things that I never realized I didn't know how to do until I got into college. Somehow I have learned these skills, but it would have been a lot easier if I had just known them from the start.


Chose a college that is career-oriented and small with professors who care about their student's future.




I visited 17 on the East and West coast of the the USA, and ended up applying eary decision to a school that i hated when i visited it. But now i call it "home". My point is, sometimes you don't find your dream school when you're in high school or after you graduate, sometimes you find it at school. You make the best of your school, find the friends that make you happy, work hard, and most of all, deiscover your new self as you grow into adulthood. That's really what college is about: working hard academically, while you are blossoming internally throughout your many challenges. As parents, you should know that it always works out in the end, and that all the stress you feel for your child to make the right choice is normal, but sometimes there isn't a "right" choice, just fate. And students, remember it's only four years, and it goes by so quickly! So live it up, reach for the stars and get what you want out of your college expreience.


Tour Everything! I would have never applied to Smith if I hadn't taken a tour and fell in love. Go there and try and imagine yourself there. If it fits, it fits. If not, move on. Once you find the school and get in, take advantage of everything in the 1st couple months. Find a million clubs to join, do every stupid activity in orientation and you'll get the most out of it


Try new things. Make friends with many different people. Study abroad. Go to a school that will challenge you.


I would advise parents to, perhaps for the first time, trust their children. This may be the most important decision their child ever makes and it is of the utmost significance that it be entirely up to them. Also, I strongly recommend not basing decisions on financial restraints. Loans can be taken and jobs can be worked to pay them back. Going to the right school, regardless of cost, can make a huge difference in their student's life and happiness. My college education is costing me a lot, but I do not doubt for a moment that it is truly priceless. To students, I would recommend following their intuition. I don't know if college is the best four years of one's life, but they are truly amazing. There is no better time to change and grow into the person one will become and finding the right place to do that is so important. Look into the future and think about what WILL be important, not necessarily what seems important as a senior in high school. Most importantly, no matter what, take the time to make sure that your decision feels right in the bottom of your heart.


The best advice I have gotten so far is use your resources and network with people because that is how people succeed in life. If you raised your child to make the right decisions then trust them to be able to make them on their own. There will be mistakes made along the way but that is a part of learning and you can't prevent them from making every mistake or they will never learn anything. There is not one correct way about attainting an education, so as long as you have a passion for what you are majoring then do it. It is your life not your parents so do what makes you happy and will get you to where you want to be in the future. Lastly, don't get so busy making a living that you forget to have a life.


Finding the right college and making the most of college is about being truly honest with yourself about your needs, goals, aspirations and future plans.


Finding the right college is about understanding who you are as a college-seeking student. A campus overnight should be considered an integral part of any college search for those universities under serious consideration in order to find the right "fit." Once in college, it is important to make the most of the experience. Although you are ultimately paying for an education, it is important to understand that much of your education takes place outside the classroom. It may be useful not to put academics on the top of your list of priorities at the beginning of your college adventure and get a taste for other campus activities and friendships that are waiting to happen. Chances are you chose a college for more than just academics, so get out there and experience as much as you can early!


The one thing that I feel made the most impact on my decision was actually visiting the school. Try to spend some time in the school's student center. Sit in the cafe or somewhere where there are people around and just try to get a sense of the students around you. Picture yourself as a student at that college. Imagine what you would be doing or which of the people you see you think you would be hanging out with. Walk around the campus. See if you can imagine yourself walking the pathways of that campus as a student there. Be careful about overnights; while they can be a helpful insight into life at that college or university, sometimes seeing one person's perspective can be an inaccurate representation of the whole institution. Take advantage of the resources provided to you at your college. Use the library, participate in extracurriculars, and glean all the information you can from you professors. Above all, absorb as much knowledge as you can from your peers and enjoy college; you are surrounded by interesting, stimuating people!


The best way to find out what college is right for you is visiting colleges and getting a feel for them. If you can imagine yourself going to school somewhere, and being comfortable and happy, it doesn't matter what rank the college has or how prestigious it is. Ultimately it is what you make out of your experience, and you can get the most out of your college experience if you are happy with where you are.


Visit, seriously. Don't just sign up, check the place out and get a feel for the atmosphere. You'll be living there afterall.


Don't pay attention to the name-brand of a place...just go and feel out the college yourself to see if it's a right fit - your potential to grow as a student should be top priority, instead of the potential for having a name-brand bumper sticker on your car.


Let your child make the choice....they are the one's who need to be live with it.


It is true there are some colleges better suited for the individual than others, but what you make of your college experience (what clubs you join, sports you do, the classes you take, how you get involved) is much more important than where you go.


You should not expect to fit in perfectly anywhere. College is what you make of it, not the buildings, teachers, or other students. You have the unique ability to make yourself happy wherever you are, and shouldn't rely on others to do it for you. When you pick a school, find somewhere that you can challenge yourself and grow as a person. Get a strange job, join a new club, go abroad if you can. College is the last 4 years of your life before you hit the "real world". It a place where you look yourself in the mirror during finals and say "I can do it!". Set out your dreams and follow them. Whatever college you pick, you will find them if you try hard enough. College is just a path to make it a little easier.


People say that you have to visit a college to know if it's right for you. I would dissagree with this because I spent about 10 minutes visiting my college before I had to leave for a different college. The college I now attend is in fact not even my first choice school, but I am coming to find that it was the RIGHT choice. I see now that Smith had everything I wanted, before I knew I wanted it. Finding the right college is not easy, but knowing exactly what you want ,down to the very specifics, is half the battle. Making the most out of your college experience is also not easy, but the same rule applies. Knowing exactly what you want to get out of college will help you to seek it out and acheive it. I knew I wanted to get the best education I could from a place that people would recognize when mentioned. I wanted people to think "she went there? We'll we know she got a great education." However, I also wanted to learn enough to back this up. I have sought the best education and found it at Smith.


Do not look at U.S. News and World Report rankings! If you have the resources to afford any college/university, than put off career considerations. Jobs care more about who you are than where you went to undergrad. If you do not have the resources, look at schools with big endowments and a commitment to middle class and poor students. Lastly, make a list of values that are important to you or values you look in a friend, such as tolerance or piety or kindness or just someone who can have a good time. And than ask yourself honestly, does this institution value that (Many of the top institutions are not affiliated with a religion and many others will be a foriegn world to someone who didn't attend boarding or prep schhol)? In the end, lots of practical considerations (location, tuition rate, etc.) will determine where you go, but make the choices you do have count by taking the time to honestly anser them.


Never give up. Make a change- move colleges if you are unhappy. Go abroad.


As a young applicant, I was accepted to every college I had applied to. This made my decision more difficult, the choice was entirely mine to make. I had a goal in mind, to become a neurosurgeon. The right college for me, was the place that allowed that goal to become a reality. This meant, I needed a place which lifted me up; which supported the academic rigor needed throughout my college career and of course a place that gave me confidence in my abilities. I needed comfortable living, supportive staff and like-minded classmates. When I stepped onto the Smith College campus, I saw women from all walks of life set on becoming a force to be reckon with. Women who were empowered and proud, like I had never seen in my community. I had visited without my parents, it was the most expensive school on the list. But, my parents trusted I was able to pick my environment needed and they trusted my goals were sound. My advice is to find a place that makes your dreams come true, that makes you feel in control.


I would say, definitely visit the schools that you are interested in. If possible, spend a night at the campus in one of the dorms and talk to your host about everything that you ar curious about. Ask as many questions as you can think of and talk to as many people as possible about their experiences. Also, make sure you get a tour of the specific facilities that belong to the department that you are intereseted in. Especially science students: make sure to get a tour of the labs and lecture halls!


Choose it for yourself, not because someone in your family wants you to go there. Make sure its the right place for you.


I think it's definately very important to visit as many schools as possible before you have to make a decision. Think about how big you want your school to be and what kinds of classes you'd like to take. If there are aspects of your high school that you didn't enjoy, try to look for colleges that have what you really need. Also keep in mind what kind of area you want to live in. If you love the city, a school in a small town is definately going to be a hard change. If you get to school and you think you might have made the wrong choice, tell someone about it! Don't be afraid to research into transferring if you feel out of place. Don't be too rash, but you shouldn't make yourself stay in a place you don't enjoy just because it might get better. Finally, try not to worry if you have no idea what you want to do. People will keep pressuring you and asking you what you want to do with your life, but almost nobody actually knows what they want to do yet.


Don't believe what the school tells you: schools lie. Don't believe the tourguides: they are paid by the school. Don't believe the alumni network:they are the ones who kept in touch. Investigate for yourself. Find a student who does not like the school and ask them why. This is the only person who will be truly honest.


To decide on a college, you need to keep in mind that it will be attended for roughly four or five years?for an eighteen-year-old, this is a substantial portion of his or her life. While financial considerations should factor in, make sure that the overall package is what you want in a school or you will find yourself miserable. You don?t only pay for the academics, but for the entire pool of networking contacts you will meet in the other students who go to school there and for the prestige of your school?s degree, which can help keep you in an employer?s mind. Regardless, partying shouldn?t be high on your list of things to find in college?even the schools not on the ?top ten party schools? list will have a wide range of weekend activities that you can enjoy, especially at nearby colleges.


The best advice I could give to anyone looking for the right college to attend is to seek out an academic environment that fits your personality; be in your element. It is easy to become overwhelmed by statistics. Every potential college student spends hours poring over web sites and books, trying to determine where they can get the best degree, where the best professors can be found, where they can attend small classes or receive the best post-graduate assistance when they enter the job market. All of these factors are important, along with considering financial aid, but no amount of research can compare with visiting a campus. The bottom line is that your overall experience will depend on your state of mind, your quality of life, the connections and friendships you make along the way. College is not simply about the academics, it is about personal growth. Choose a place that is comfortable, where you see yourself reflected in the other students, where you can imagine enjoying a weekend on campus and having lively discussions over dinner. After all, college is a big invesment--invest wisely in yourself and the rest will follow.