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Analyzing Big Data at Smith College

Smith College appears in our ranking of the 20 Best Data Science Bachelor’s Degree Programs.

In April 2016, Smith College became the United States’ first women’s institution to confer a Statistical & Data Sciences Program that trains undergrads to draw constructive, informative conclusions from numerical trends. Chaired by Dr. Joseph O’Rourke, the 2001 NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar Award winner, the 10-course major builds powerful data visualization skills. Integrated courses like Linear Algebra, Machine Learning, Structural Equation Modeling, and Bioinformatics keep a 9:1 student-faculty ratio. Labs involve hands-on work in Seelye Hall’s Spinelli Center for Quantitative Learning. Seminars could be added at Five Colleges Consortium members like Amherst, Hampshire, and Mount Holyoke. Ambitious Smith students can even enter the Fifth-Year MS in Statistics option at UMass. Majors might also attend the ASA DataFest, enter the Putnam Competition, volunteer with STATCOM, earn the Suzan Rose Benedict Prize, spend a semester in Budapest, intern at the Census Bureau, and become Comstock Scholars.

About Smith College

Smith College was officially chartered in March 1871 by Governor William Claflin and opened four years later in College Hall with an inaugural class of 14 to fulfill founder Sophia Smith’s vision. By 1915, Smith stood among the largest independent, nondenominational women’s liberal arts schools. During World War II, Smith College remarkably trained 120 ladies as a United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School. In the 1950s, the Math & Statistics Department was added as a precursor to the fast-growing SDS Program. Endowed for $1.62 billion, Smith College now belongs to the elite Annapolis and Oberlin Groups to educate 2,600 Pioneers from 68 nations in over 1,000 courses. Known for its Center for Women in Mathematics, Smith’s 147-acre campus borders the Mill River in Northampton, Massachusetts. Linked to 29,341 LinkedIn alumni, Smith College has trained Barbara Bush, Otelia Cromwell, Gloria Steinem, Julia Child, Sylvia Path, Nancy Reagan, and more.

The U.S. News & World Report ranked Smith the 12th best liberal arts college, 18th top value, 27th best undergrad teaching school, and fifth highest high school counselor pick. On Niche, Smith College boasts America’s 24th best small community, 63rd top faculty, 66th most intensive academics, and 66th best math department. Forbes placed Smith College 71st overall with the 36th happiest alumni and 14th highest foreign percentage. The Princeton Review noticed Smith for the 16th best internship opportunities. Times Higher Education crowned Smith College the country’s 37th top institution. PayScale calculated the 225th highest median mid-career salary of $102,600 for Smith grads. In Washington Monthly, Smith College was the 74th most affordable elite school. The New York Times positioned Smith 58th nationally for helping low-income learners too.

Smith College Accreditation Details

In February 2013, Smith College received a formal notice of continuation for Level V accreditation from the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) for 10 more years under its 11th president, Dr. Kathleen McCartney. Located only two hours away in Burlington, this respected six-state Northeast accreditor is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to evaluate the effectiveness of Smith’s 41 departments with 44 baccalaureate, six master’s, one doctoral, and two graduate certificate programs.

Smith College Application Requirements

Getting into Smith College is deemed “very difficult” by Peterson’s because only 1,956 of the 5,254 Fall 2016 applications were successful for 37 percent acceptance. First-year Pioneers who self-identify as female can enter the Statistical & Data Sciences major after a high school diploma. Four years of English, four years of Math, and three years of Lab Science are expected. Schedules with the highest-level, AP or IB courses are preferred. Freshmen present a mean GPA of 3.94. Though test-optional, Smith reports an average SAT score of 1420 and ACT score of 30. International students are the exception who need to take the SAT I Reading, TOEFL, or PTE exam. The 24-person admission staff seeks quality involvement in extracurriculars too. Around 100 transfers are admitted yearly after one to four semesters at other accredited colleges. The Ada Comstock Scholars Program has 30 openings for women age 24 or older who hold 48 to 64 liberal arts credits.

Smith College has set freshman deadlines of November 15th for Early Decision I, January 1st for Early Decision II, and January 15th for Regular Decision. Transfers apply until November 15th for January entrance or May 15th for September entrance. Collaborative agreements exist with Greenfield Community College, Santa Monica College, and Holyoke Community College. Hopeful SDS majors can submit the Common Application or Coalition Application online. Extra documents are mailed to 7 College Lane in Northampton, MA 01063 or faxed to (413) 585-2527. Please contact admission@smith.edu or (800) 383-3232 for further questions. The Statistical & Data Sciences program requests the following items:

  • Official high school transcripts
  • Transfer college reports
  • Undergrad course descriptions
  • The Smith Writing Supplement
  • Two teacher evaluation forms
  • One counselor recommendation
  • Signed Early Decision contracts
  • English fluency tests if applicable

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2018-19, Smith College will charge full-time Statistical & Data Sciences majors $26,060 per semester or $52,120 yearly. One student activities fee of $284 is mandatory. Health insurance plans cost $2,368 unless waived. Living at the Northampton campus’ dorms like Ziskind House adds $17,520 per year. Smith suggests budgeting $800 for textbooks and $1,989 for personal expenses. Annual traditional bachelor’s attendance equals roughly $69,563 on-site and $57,696 with family. The Ada Comstock Scholars Program bills SDS majors $1,630 per credit though. Therefore, adult women pay $13,040 for 8-11 credits and $19,560 for 12-15 credits.

According to the NCES College Navigator, 68 percent of full-time Smith Pioneers strike gold with median financial aid packages worth $39,696 for $67.91 million college-wide. Institutional funds include the Dora Windes Zollman Scholarship, Stride Scholarship, Presidential Scholarship, Trustee Grant, and Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship. The Springfield/Holyoke Partnership gifts public school graduates from this Massachusetts region four full-tuition awards of $52,120. Four-month Touchnet semester payment plans have a $30 enrollment fee. Federal Pell and FSEOG Grants can be awarded after FAFSA applications are coded 002209. Codfish State natives swim toward the MASS Grant, Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship, One Family Scholarship, Foster Child Grant, and more. The Massachusetts No Interest Loan (NIL) offer gives legal residents up to $4,000 annually. Money ranked Smith College 288th for value with average debt of $19,000 from this and Stafford, Perkins, or Plus loans. Payroll deduction authorization forms are also available for students with part-time campus jobs.

Learn more about Smith College at the Statistical & Data Sciences (SDS) Program website.


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