Applying at St.Mary’s
A Message from the Office of Admission
We are honored that you are considering St. Mary’s junior college as one of your college options. As you make your way through the application process, we hope that you will refer back to the instructions and guidelines provided in these pages as we feel they will help you prepare a stronger application.
Before you begin, take time to reflect on your personal goals and values. What do you want from your college education? How do you learn best? What activities and interests do you feel passionate about? Many applicants worry so much about whether or not they will get into St. Mary’s that they neglect to think first about who they are, what they value, and what they want to achieve from their college experience. If you take time to reflect on what matters to you and why, you will have prepared to develop a strong application.
Many applicants believe that in order to stand out in the admission process, something remarkable must have happened to them (either positive or negative) so they have something distinctive to write about in their essays. This is simply not true. It is not what you have experienced that counts, but what you make of an experience. Think about what matters to you, think about the experiences you have had and how these experiences have influenced you, and go from there.
One question we are frequently asked by prospective applicants and their parents relates to getting help with the application process: “How much help is too much?” While there are few hard and fast rules, we believe a clear line is crossed when a piece of the application ceases to be exclusively the student’s in both thought and word. That is not to say that it is wrong to solicit feedback, just that there is a difference between “feedback” and “coaching.”
Appropriate feedback occurs when an applicant shows someone the completed application, perhaps once or twice, and is appraised of any glaring errors or omissions. Inappropriate coaching, on the other hand, occurs when either the essays or the applicant’s entire self-presentation is colored by someone other than the applicant.
We advise all prospective applicants, in fact, to resist the urge to “package” themselves in order to come across in a way they think St. Mary’s wants. Such attempts simply blur the picture of whom the student actually “is” – what he values, what motivates her, what may in fact be distinctive. The strongest applications we see each year are those where the student’s genuine voice stands out.
This is a time to think carefully about who you are, and to believe in yourself. Have confidence in what you have done and trust where you are going. We feel privileged to read your application and to learn about your achievements, talents and dreams. Our staff approaches the admission process with sincere and deep respect for you, and we will give your application our most serious consideration. You have our very best wishes as you begin your reflections. If questions arise as you complete the requested materials, please feel welcome to call or email our office for guidance.