A Visit to Saint Mary of the Woods College

We were by no means done with the tour of Indiana independent colleges when we set foot on the campus of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute not once, but twice – the first time for a wonderful dinner when we arrived in Terre Haute and the second for our morning tour and information session the following day.
(Note – do not confuse Saint Mary-of-the-Woods with the other Saint Mary’s College in northern Indiana that is the sister school of Notre Dame University.)

Le Fer Hall is The Woods' iconic building and serves as a dormitory and campus offices.
Le Fer Hall is The Woods’ iconic building and serves as a dormitory and campus offices.
Affectionately known as “The Woods,” the college was founded in 1840 when six nuns traveled to America from France to create a much-needed school for women.  Today, the college is still an all-women’s school and focuses on educating female leaders for the future.  In fact, the college’s tagline (which accurately describes both the school’s beautiful setting and their mission) is “Send her to the Woods; she’ll find her voice.”
Inclusion, faith, and community are big themes for both living and learning on campus and with a tiny undergraduate population of just 300 and 221 graduate students (a co-ed mix), it’s easy for students to find support for both their academic needs, as well as their extracurricular outlets.  The Woods also enrolls approximately 823 distance (online) learners in a co-ed setting, so between that program and an extensive alumnae network, the reach of the college is quite broad.

Travelers to France might discover an identical twin to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, which was directly copied from its French predecessor.
Travelers to France might discover an identical twin to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, which was directly copied from its French predecessor – right down to the painted ceiling!
The most popular majors at The Woods are human services, education, psychology, biology, medical technology, music therapy, and they also boast a strong equine science and equine studies program.  The majority of the majors require an internship prior to graduation and the campus’s career services office conducts frequent workshops on how students can best set themselves up to apply for graduate and professional schools.
For equestrian students, The Woods has a tremendous equine major program, a wonderful facility, and several fantastic school horses available for students to use.  The most impressive facet of the equine major program is the focus on the hands-on aspect of horse care – notably, every student must learn to drive both a fifth wheel and bumper pull horse trailer and operate a tractor.  (In many equine programs, these skills are taught as part of elective courses – even though I never met a professional horse person who didn’t find that to be an essential part of his or her daily work.)
The barns are neat, tidy, and workmanlike with a place for everything and everything in its place.
The barns are neat, tidy, and workmanlike with a place for everything and everything in its place.

Students who compete on one of The Woods’ two IHSA teams (hunt seat or western) also find themselves with a great deal of home field advantage when it comes to intercollegiate meets, as the college’s deep pool of school horses makes it a highly desirable location for hosting a lot of the region’s meets. Horse boarding (and daily turnout – weather-permitting) is also available.  (Board is $400 per month.)  Students also have easy access to board at other local facilities if they choose because parking is free on campus to all students for all four years.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is truly a unique college and a unique environment for students.  (I, for one, can’t think of another campus in the U.S. that owns a llama herd or has an exact replica of a French cathedral on campus.)  Could it be the one unique college that fits your academic and equestrian goals?  Contact me and we’ll find out!
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2 thoughts on “A Visit to Saint Mary of the Woods College

  1. It’s important to know as well that non-equine majors can also be involved in the equine program. You can take riding classes or lessons. The barn was my favorite spot on campus!

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