Smith College is only about 15 minutes away from Mount Holyoke College (see previous blog post), and it is also a women’s college and part of the five college consortium, but the two schools are quite distinct.
Smith College is the largest of all of the women’s colleges in the US, and they are the only one with an engineering program. They also have an open curriculum, meaning that your education there can be extremely individualized and flexible. In additional to majors and minors, Smith students can also take up one of 13 interdisciplinary concentrations, to accent their areas of interest.
Students live in “houses”, not dorms. At first this seemed like semantics to me, since the buildings still look like dorms (and house from 20-100 students), but during my tour my tour guide continually emphasized the close relationships she had with other women in her house, and the pride and distinctive traditions and characteristics of each house. In addition, the houses are self-governing, and with 85% of students staying in the same house for all four years, there does seem to be an element of closeness that resembles more of a house.
The town of Northampton is adjacent to Smith, and there are at least 50 restaurants, of cuisines from all over the world, a very artsy movie theatre, a performing arts center, and it’s known as a very artsy, cultural hub in the area, so there are plenty of opportunities to get engaged off campus.