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New Student FAQs


Office of Orientation and New Student Services

Directions to the Mount

Frequently Asked Questions

The first year of college can be confusing. Here are a few frequently asked questions, and answers, that may help.

When will I receive my housing assignment?

Residence Life will email your housing assignment to you in July using your Mount email address. You will only receive a housing assignment if you fill out the housing application, and if your account is up to date with Accounting and Finance.

Can I live with my friend who is also attending the Mount?

You may request to live with a friend who is a new incoming student by including their roommate passcode(s) under the "Group" tab in the housing registration system.

What is an OL?

Orientation Leaders serve as the primary resource for new students and their families during New Student Orientation in June, July and August, and play a key part in welcoming new students to the Mount community.

What is an RA?

RA stands for Resident Assistant, which is a full-time undergraduate student, and part-time paraprofessional staff member for the Residence Life Office. You will have RAs who live in your hall, and even on the same floor as you who are dedicated to helping you navigate living on campus. RAs do the following:

  • Plan social and education hall programming;

  • Communicate critical information to their residents;

  • Ensure all residents understand their rights and responsibilities within the community;

  • Address resident concerns or conflicts that arise.

What is an AD?

AD stands for Assistant Director for Residence Life. ADs are professional staff members for the Residence Life Office, and are dedicated to fostering a healthy and safe living environment for all students.

What is an Integrated Learning Living Community (ILLC)?

As an enhancement to living in one of our residence halls students can choose to participate in Integrated Learning Living Communities (ILLCs). In ILLCs your floormates are also your classmates. You share the same faculty advisor and take at least one course each semester with other members of your community. The ILLCs are designed for you to explore mutual connections, and interact with peers and faculty around topics related to your common academic interests.

How can I find out more about required health forms?

To learn more about required health forms and read the health form frequently asked questions, please visit our Health Services page.

How does the MountCard work?

The MountCard serves as your student identification, door access, meal plan, dining dollars, flex money and Mount Money. Each student is expected to carry this at all times. There are two kinds of funds stored on the MountCard:

  • Flex Dollars: flex dollars are considered part of the student meal plan and can be used at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore (grocery items only), Mount Café, Patriot Hall and concession locations.
  • Mount Money: Mount Money is just like cash and can be used at the accounting office, Athletic Recreation Complex (ARC), Mount Bookstore, Coffee Cart, concession stands, copiers, media center, Mount Café, Patriot Hall, Public Safety, select vending machines, and in the McGowan Student Center for various student activities and the health center services.

More information can be found at the MountCard office.

How can I find out more about my meal plans?

The Mount offers a variety of on-campus dining options and meal plan selections.

Incoming first-year students living in our residence halls (McCaffrey, Dubois, Brute, The Annex, Bradley, Powell, Pangborn and Sheridan) will be assigned Meal Plan 21 for their first semester. You can change your Meal Plan to the 14, 7 or 5 at the beginning of your second semester.

Transfer students living in our residence halls (McCaffrey, Dubois, Brute, The Annex, Bradley, Powell, Pangborn and Sheridan) will be assigned Meal Plan 21, but you can change their Meal Plan to the 14, 7 or 5 if you would prefer. Transfer students will receive an email in July from the MountCard Office allowing them to change their meal plan selection.

Meal Plans are optional for students residing in the Apartment Towers and Cottages.

Learn more about meal plans and our Mount Dining Services.

What should I bring/not bring with me to college?

We've created a list to help you make those decisions on what to bring or not bring to the Mount.

Packing List - English version

Packing List - Spanish Version

Can I bring my own computer?

Yes, you can bring your laptop or desk top computer from home and use it in your residence hall.

Mount St. Mary’s University has partnered with Lenovo to provide a private laptop purchase program for the Mount Community. On this site you will find several laptop options that are preconfigured to meet the needs of our students. If you plan to major in computer science or cybersecurity we recommend checking with the department prior to purchasing any hardware to confirm requirements and compatibility. You are not required to purchase from the Lenovo site and may also refer to recommended PC specifications sheet PDF for additional guidance. Macs are highly discouraged as they have compatibility issues with some software required for a number majors.

Visit Our Lenovo Partner Site

How can I change my Mount email password?

Easy! Log into your Mount email account, click on your initials on the right-hand side. Click on View Account, then choose Change Password. You will need to know your old password, to make the change. Contact with any questions or concerns.

How many classes will I take?

Your course load is the total number of "credit hours” of the courses you register for in a given semester. For example, if you register for four 3-credit courses, then you will be in class 12 hours per week, and you will have a 12 credit hour course load. Most students enrolling at the Mount take five classes (15 credit hours) in their first semester. You can see the course schedule on MyMount.

What is the Core Curriculum?

The Core Curriculum is a three-year integrated sequence of courses designed both to convey a common educational experience and to provide the intensive training in critical skills necessary for success in college and in society. All students take classes that fit into the Core Curriculum. 

First-Year classes include:

  • First-year Symposium

  • Ancient/Medieval Culture

  • Philosophy

  • World Languages

  • Foundations of Social Science (economics, education, political science, psychology, sociology)        

  • Major Courses

  • Elective Courses

*If you are a biology, chemistry, education or business major this may vary slightly.

What will my professors be like?

Each and every faculty member strives to see you do your best and reach your highest potential possible. You can bet that you will not just be a number here - your professor will get to know your name, and get to know who you are. Our staff is very approachable and is always willing to help.

What is a faculty advisor?

At the Mount, we see advising as a form of teaching. That is why each Mount student is paired with one of their professors for regular advising sessions. These meetings are meant to help you define and achieve your long-term personal and career objectives and keep you on track to reach your goals. Beyond the formal matters of approving course schedules and monitoring your academic progress, your faculty advisor has probably already had you in their class, so they really get to know you, your interests and goals, and dreams for the future.

What is Symposium?

FSYM 101 First-Year Symposium, or more commonly known as "symposium," is one of the first courses you take as part of the undergraduate Core Curriculum. This class operates as an introduction to college and to college-level writing, and your professor for the class serves as your academic advisor until you declare a major.

How will I be successful as I transition to campus life once August Orientation is over and I start classes?

Apex Discovery Office

Designed to help First-Year Students transition successfully as quickly as possible during your first semester on campus, the Apex Discovery Office is your first-stop, one-stop premier resource to assist in navigating Mount procedures, policies, practices and programs in order for you to have a seamless transition to college all the way through graduation. In defining and executing your pathway to success: (1) Student Success Coaches will help you develop your Mount 4-yr Plan; (2) Peer Leaders, an upper-class student, will serve as your human navigator during your first year; and (3) the Tools for Academic Success (TAS) series -Tuesdays at 4pm- will help you with navigating college classroom success and your personal and professional life.

What majors and minors are offered at the Mount?

The Mount offers more than 70 different majors and minors. Visit the majors and minors webpage to learn more about what is offered at the Mount.

Where can I find employment at the Mount?

There are jobs available campus-wide. You can check out the jobs page in the Human Resources Office  for information about available on-campus positions or visit the Career Center to explore other career opportunities.

What is there to do in the area?

There are so many activities available to students on the Mount campus. Take a look at all of the amazing activities the Mount has to offer. While there is A LOT going on at the Mount, there may be times you want to explore the surrounding area. Check out our local attractions.