From Holy Cross College, we made our way just down the road to St. Mary’s College, the all-female sister school of the famed University of Notre Dame. (At its founding, Notre Dame was strictly a men’s college, so St. Mary’s was founded to offer women a nearby educational opportunity that was similarly affiliated with the Catholic church. Today, you need not be Catholic to attend.)
The St. Mary’s campus closely resembles another Catholic women’s college we visited as part of the ICI group tour last summer: St. Mary-of-the-Woods, with its large Gothic buildings and manicured lawns dotted with mature and substantial trees. Yet like every college campus, it has its own unique personality and traditions that make it special – and make it a great fit for the right student.
Studies have shown that, while men have a tendency to learn better in a lecture-style environment, women learn better through active discussion, so this is the type of teaching that is emphasized in St. Mary’s classrooms. This even carries forward into the science courses and a complete renovation to the campus’s science facilities will soon enhance not only students’ discussions, but also the hands-on lab work they’re able to complete. In fact, a major capital campaign now in progress will soon enhance a lot of the campus facilities for all students.St. Mary’s is a true liberal arts college so students’ writing skills are honed across the disciplines and all freshman and then all seniors must pass a writing proficiency evaluation by the faculty as a part of their graduation requirements. The seniors’ time at St. Mary’s then culminates in a year-long research project to serve as a capstone to their college experience.
Thanks to the campus organization exchange between Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, and Holy Cross, the St. Mary’s women compete in IHSA equestrian in both hunt seat and western and ride at Lucky Horse Equestrian Center. For students who simply wish to take their own horse to school with them, ample boarding can be found in the region as well.
Would the all-women’s education of St. Mary’s be a good match for your educational goals? Contact me and we’ll find out.