10 Tips for New Students

GET EXCITED! We are so delighted that you are considering Saint Mary’s, and look forward to having you as a part of our community. 

Picking the right college can be tough. Here are some suggestions we have to help you with the process:

  1. Register for an overnight program or Gael for a Day.
    Making your decision is a whole lot easier once you have visited campus. Find out if Saint Mary’s is the place that feels like home by taking a tour, sitting in on classes, eating in the cafeteria, and soaking in the campus atmosphere.
  2. Visit the Bay Area.
    At Saint Mary’s, living on campus involves so much more than just dormitories and academic halls. Get a feel for the surrounding Bay Area by going to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, or eating a fabulous meal in Walnut Creek.
  3. File for Financial Aid by Feb. 15.
    The most important document to file is the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. For California residents, make sure you send in the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form. If you accept your financial aid package, sign it and send it back in to our financial aid office.
  4. Search for scholarships.
    The Financial Aid office does its best to create an award package that works for you, but make sure you keep looking for private scholarships on your own. Check out finaid.org or fastweb.com for some ideas. Also check with your local businesses, churches and non-profit organizations. Even if it is a scholarship for $500, that will take care of your books for a semester.
  5. Talk to the Admissions Office.
    The admissions officers and student ambassadors are valuable resources to you. Ask questions! Inquire about student life in the dorms, the food, specific majors and study abroad programs. We are here to guide you through this process and answer any questions you might have.
  6. Think about what you want to be involved in at college.
    What interests you? Are you involved in student government? Do you like to participate in serving your community, or organizing multi-cultural events? The key to a successful college career involves not only going to classes and challenging yourself academically, but also capitalizing on the resources available to you. Find out what you like to do, and see what Saint Mary’s offers.
  7. Talk to professors and academic departments.
    If you think you might know what you want to study, email our faculty and find out what classes they offer. Ask about what careers Saint Mary’s alums have chosen in their field.
  8. Attend a Saint Mary’s athletic event.
    Basketball, Rugby, Soccer, Volleyball; all are intense and exciting and are a place where the entire student body comes together and roots on the Gaels.
  9. Submit your enrollment commitment form.
    Once you have decided that Saint Mary’s is the right place for you, fill out the Enrollment Commitment Form and send in your deposit by May 1. This will allow you to register for orientation programs.
  10. Attend an Orientation session during the summer.
    During orientation, you will sign up for classes and get to know your classmates. You will also be able to talk with an academic advisor to structure your schedule for the upcoming year.