Once upon a time, in a land called San Francisco, a Lasallian college for boys was founded. Twenty-six years later, it moved across the bay to Oakland to a place affectionately called "The Brickpile." After a fire burned through the school, the Lasallian Christian Brothers moved eastward to a small town called Moraga and Saint Mary's has been there ever since.
Overall there are so many different, diverse reasons why Saint Mary's is amazing, but here are my top ten:
The first three are the three parts of its mission statement, because Saint Mary's holds its mission in super high regard and tries its best to live it out as well as encourage its students to follow the mission as well.
1. It's Catholic
When you drive onto campus, the first thing that you might see is a giant white chapel or the cross on the top of the hill. Saint Mary's in and of itself is a Catholic college and it is proud of that, but you do not need to be Catholic to go to Saint Mary's and you aren't required as a student (though you might be as a worker) to attend the Catholic events.
2. It's Lasallian
You might also notice this giant statue of a man holding a book. This dude's name is Saint John Baptist de La Salle and he's pretty cool- hence the statue. As a Lasallian college, we have two important bookmark sayings.
The first: someone will say "let us remember" and you say "that we are in the Holy Presence of God" at the beginning of a prayer, or a mass, or even a class. As you are walking around campus or in a residence hall, you may start to notice that this is happening everywhere.
At the ending of a prayer or mass or class someone will say "Saint John Baptiste de la Salle" and the response is "pray for us." They can add more saints if they so choose, but most of the time it's just J. Bap. Then they will say " Live Jesus in our hearts" and you say "forever."
While this is openly used at Saint Mary's, you don't have to say it if you don't want to.
3. It's a liberal arts college
Saint Mary's is a liberal arts college which means we are focused on a well-rounded education. It is because of this that we have discussion-based classes such as seminar, and why an English major needs to take a science class and vice-versa.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Saint Mary's sign is a book? It took me way too long to figure that one out.
4. It changes lives.
Seriously. It's more than just an ad campaign to get it's students to go here.
5. Jan Term
Saint Mary's is special because unlike "Intersession" at some colleges, it is not optional. Every January, you take one class for four days a week for two and a half hours a day. Jan Term is meant to expand your horizons, whether that means taking a class outside of your major or traveling across the globe.
6. The professors.
Most of the professors actually care about you. Strange concept, I know. If you need any help, many of them are at the ready during their office hours and sometimes even out of their office hours if that time doesn't work for you. The professors really want you to succeed and if you are willing to put in the effort and have a discussion with them if you are struggling, you will.
7. Location, location, location.
Okay, so the campus don't actually have San Francisco as a backyard view, but with the City a mere 20 miles (45 minute trip though), Saint Mary's is still über close. Saint Mary's is located in the east bay so once you drive west for about ten minutes and hold your breath through the Caldecott tunnel, you don't have very far to go if you are travelling to either Berkeley or Oakland.
8. It's small.
Not only do you not have to walk a mile to get to your next class, but as you are walking to your next class it is highly likely to see a familiar face pass you by. Because it's so small, you really get to know the people in your classes, your residence halls and your activities because chances are, they are probably doubled up.
9. We have a true community.
If you step on campus and ask students what they most love about Saint Mary's, a lot of them will say "community." Not only do the students have a strong sense of community, but as do the faculty/staff and alumni. People at Saint Mary's really care and it doesn't take very long to feel it.
10. In the words of Walt Disney, "If you can dream it, you can do it."
At Saint Mary's, you can pretty much do what you set your mind to. You can become a leader even if you never thought you could be one during High School, you can join an intramural team, you can create your own program if you wanted to. Saint Mary's encourages students to be who they want to be and they will support you any way they can.
BONUS: They actually read your application and reply accordingly! If that doesn't show you how special Saint Mary's is and how much they care, then I am not sure what will.