Director of Admission
Northampton, MA 01063
Room and Board:
Fees, books, misc.:
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Smith College was founded in 1871 as a liberal arts college for women and rapidly became one of the first such institutions to match the standards and facilities of the best colleges of the day. Today, with 2,560 undergraduates on campus, Smith is the largest privately endowed college for women in the country. Graduate degrees (master's, Ph.D.) are offered in a number of departments and in the Smith College School for Social Work. Currently, all fifty states and sixty-five countries are represented in the Smith student body. Approximately 85 percent of the members of each entering class were in the top fifth of their high school class; most chose Smith because of the excellence of its faculty and curriculum. Although most Smith students are between the ages of 18 and 22, Smith's Ada Comstock Scholars Program enables older women whose educations have been interrupted and who meet the College's admission standards to pursue an A.B. degree in part-time or full-time study.
Location and Community
Northampton, a cosmopolitan city with a population of more than 30,000, is in the Connecticut River valley of western Massachusetts. It is 93 miles west of Boston and 156 miles northeast of New York City. There are many shops and restaurants within walking distance of the campus and within the service area of a free Five College bus system. Buses run frequently to Boston and New York. Many students are involved in local organizations, and some intern in local city or county offices. Others participate on an extracurricular level in nonprofit agencies, day-care centers, or similar institutions.
The academic year is divided into two semesters, the first ending before winter recess. Interterm courses, some for credit, are offered during January. Smith believes in the goals of a liberal arts education. Students have great freedom to design their own courses of study; the only requirement outside a student's field of concentration is one writing-intensive course. One hundred twenty-eight credits of academic work are required, with the normal course load consisting of 16 credits in each of eight semesters. There are no specific distribution requirements, but 64 credits must be taken outside the major field of study. If a student's educational needs cannot be met within any of the existing majors, she may design and undertake an interdepartmental major, subject to the approval of the Subcommittee on Honors and Independent Programs. A student may also complete the requirements of two departmental majors or of one departmental major and another departmental minor.
Through credit earned on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate Diploma examinations and by independent work and summer study, some students may be able to accelerate and complete degree requirements in six or seven semesters. The Departmental Honors Program enables a student with a strong academic background to study a particular topic in depth or undertake research in the field of her major.
Smith students may take academic courses and participate in social and cultural activities at any of the institutions participating in the Five College consortium, described above. Smith students may also spend a year at another member institution of the Twelve College Exchange Program (Amherst, Bowdoin, Connecticut, Dartmouth, Mount Holyoke, Trinity, Vassar, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Wheaton, and Williams) or spend a year at one of several historically black colleges in the South. Some students participate in the Jean Picker Semester-in-Washington Program in public policy, a fall internship program in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the College's Department of Government. The American Studies Program offers an internship at the Smithsonian Institution.
Smith offers Junior Year Abroad programs in Florence, Geneva, Hamburg, and Paris. Students may apply to affiliated programs in South India, Spain, Japan, and China, and some may study at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. Smith students may also participate in other programs and, in a typical year, study abroad in thirty to thirty-five countries. Students eligible for financial aid are able to take that aid with them to any approved program.
The teaching of undergraduate women is the priority of the Smith faculty. There are approximately 290 faculty members; most have earned a doctoral degree and are well-known in their professional field. Close ties between undergraduates and their teachers are forged through small classes (more than 70 percent have 20 or fewer students) and generous access to faculty members during and outside of regular office hours.
Smith College awards the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) degree. Areas of major concentration include Afro-American studies, American studies, ancient studies, anthropology, art, astronomy, biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, classical languages and literatures (Greek, Latin, the classics, classical studies), comparative literature, computer science, dance, economics, education and child study, English language and literature, French language and literature (French language and literature, French studies), geology, German studies (German culture studies, German literature studies), government, history, Italian language and literature, Latin American studies, mathematics, medieval studies, music, philosophy, physics, psychology, religion and biblical literature, Russian language and literature (Russian literature, Russian civilization), sociology, Spanish and Portuguese (peninsular Spanish literature, Latin American literature, Portuguese-Brazilian studies), theater, and women's studies. A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in engineering science is also available. Interdepartmental majors and minors are offered in a variety of fields.
Facilities and Resources
The Smith College Library is the largest undergraduate library of any liberal arts college in this country. Its 1.3 million holdings are housed in the centrally located William Allan Neilson Library and in the libraries of the fine arts, performing arts, and science centers. The Neilson Library also houses a rare book room, the Nonprint Resource Center, the College archives, and the Sophia Smith Collection, a women's history archive. The Clark Science Center is a five-building complex that accommodates the nearly 30 percent of students who major in the sciences. The facilities include general laboratories, a molecular genetics facility, classrooms, a rooftop astronomy observatory, animal care facilities, scanning and transmission electron microscopes, an analytic ultracentrifuge, and a high-field nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. Academic computer facilities include networked Windows and Macintosh computers in public labs, classrooms, the libraries, and the foreign language center. All buildings and student residences are networked to the academic UNIX systems, Novell file servers, and the Internet via a campuswide fiber-optic network. These resources are available for student use without charge. Smith also has a digital design studio and several electronic classrooms. The Bass Science Building houses the psychology department, the scientific computing center, and Young Library, one of the largest undergraduate science libraries in the country. The Bass laboratories provide numerous facilities for research in neuroscience. The Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts contains an experimental theater and a traditional theater, dance studios, and television and audio recording rooms. Sage Hall, the music building, includes an electronic music studio, a small recital hall, dozens of practice rooms, and a 750-seat concert hall. The Smith College Museum of Art houses one of the finest teaching collections in the country, and Hillyer Hall contains art studios as well as printmaking, darkroom, and sculpture facilities. Smith's Center for Foreign Languages and Cultures maintains a multimedia laboratory and classroom housing a network of student workstations with integrated and interactive computer, audio, and video components.
Smith's house system is unusual and highly regarded. Each of the College's thirty-five houses is home to between 15 and 100 women. Most houses have their own dining rooms, living rooms, and study areas, and each building has a charm and character of its own. The house system stresses individual freedom, group autonomy, and mutual respect. Optional facilities, such as a cooperative house, a French house, and town-house apartments, are available. Smith offers a wide variety of extracurricular possibilities, ranging from service organizations to musical groups and from student publications to fourteen intercollegiate sports teams. The already varied cultural and social opportunitieslectures, workshops, dance and theatrical performances, art exhibits, concerts, and social eventsare increased by participation in Five Colleges, Inc., a consortium that opens to Smith students classes and activities at Amherst, Hampshire, and Mount Holyoke colleges and at the University of Massachusetts.
Smith students assume much of the responsibility for their personal, social, and academic life at the College through the Student Government Association, which gives students representation on major College-policy committees and regulates the functioning of the house system.
Smith has made a strong commitment to cultural diversity within its community. Bright young women from around the United States and 50 other countries representing almost every racial, ethnic, political, social, economic, religious and cultural background come to Smith. They contribute their voices and life experiences to the richness of the campus community.
The director multicultural affairs, in collaboration with several other Smith College administrative and academic departments, coordinates a range of activities that encourages an exploration of one's identity, culture and heritage plus those of others. Tremendous importance is placed on the interests and needs of students who identify themselves as students of color -- African American, Asian Pacific American, Latina, Native American, and multiracial descent -- beginning with their orientation as first-year students. The result is a more inclusive learning community where differences are valued and respected.
Sports / Varsity Athletics
Smith's athletic facilities include two gymnasiums, five squash courts, a 75-foot six-lane swimming pool with 1- and 3-meter diving boards, a human performance laboratory, climbing wall, fitness center, and an indoor track and tennis facility, which houses four tennis courts and a 200-meter track and accommodates all field events. Outside are 30 acres of athletic fields, a 400-meter track, a 5,000-meter cross-country course, and twelve lighted tennis courts. Smith also has indoor and outdoor Olympic-size riding rings and a forty-two-unit stable.
Financial Aid / Scholarships
Approximately 65 percent of all Smith students receive some form of financial assistance from grants, loans, and/or campus jobs. Aid is awarded on the basis of need, as determined by the College. Each applicant must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the PROFILE form from the College Scholarship Service, and a copy of her family's most recent federal income tax return. For all traditional-age admitted students, Smith makes every effort to fully meet documented need. The first portion of an aid award is an offer of a loan and campus employment; the remaining need is covered by grants from federal, state, and/or College funds. Merit-based aid is also available on a limited and highly competitive basis.
Admission Requirements / Application
Smith seeks students whose motivation, academic preparation, and diversity of interests will enable them to profit from and contribute to the varied possibilities of a liberal arts college. Smith is interested in the woman behind the record and the scores. However, as a highly competitive college, Smith gives primary consideration to the academic record of each candidate for admission. Strong high school programs usually have a basis of 4 years of English, at least 3 years in one foreign language or 2 years in each of two languages, 3 years of mathematics, 3 years of science, and 2 years of history. It is hoped that areas of special interest will have been pursued in depth. Students should submit ACT or SAT I scores. SAT II Subject Tests, especially the Writing Test, are strongly recommended but not required. An interview is strongly recommended. Either an on-campus interview or an interview with a local alumna can be arranged by calling the Office of Admission. A first-choice early decision plan is available.
Applications are also welcomed from students who wish to transfer from other college-level institutions or who wish to enter the Visiting Students Program or the Ada Comstock Scholars Program. Smith admits students of any race, color, creed, handicap, or national or ethnic origin.
A student interested in applying to Smith has three options: fall early decision, winter early decision, or regular decision. Applicants for fall early decision should apply by November 15 and receive a decision by December 15. Applicants for winter early decision should apply by January 1 and receive a decision in late January. Regular decision applicants should submit the Part I Application by January 15; all other parts of the application are due by February 1. These candidates receive their admission decision by April 1. Transfer applicants for January admission should apply by November 15 and receive an admission decision by mid-December. The preferred deadline for September transfer admission is February 1, with notification in early April. Transfer applications are accepted until May 1, with decisions made on a rolling basis. Students applying to the Visiting Students Program should have a completed application in by July 1 and receive notification on a rolling basis.
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