Frequently Asked Questions

Where do Mary Baldwin students come from?

Students come from over 30 states and 17 foreign countries.

What are the advantages of attending a school the size of Mary Baldwin?

Small classes provide individualized and personal attention with an opportunity to balance academics and social life. Also, there is increased opportunity to participate in organizations, sports, and school functions.

Student/Faculty ratio: 10:1

Average class size is 16

Mary Baldwin is committed to personalized education. Our professors and staff know more than your name; they get to know you. They will help you achieve more than you ever expected, providing: academic guidance, internships, hands-on experience, individual learning plans, and focus on physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.

The campus covers over 54 acres. It is located one block from historic downtown Staunton, Virginia. Because the surrounding area is relatively small it provides safety and security.

What are the personal services available for international students?

You’re never without a friend who knows how to help international students adapt to the challenges of college in a different culture. Mary Baldwin assists you every step of the way:

  • F-1 Visa assistance
  • Orientation for international students
  • Special Mary Baldwin 101 section — a semester-long course for new students introducing you to college life in the U.S. and helping you become part of the campus community
  • ESL course taught every semester
  • International Student Handbook
  • Support with ICE regulations and tax requirements
  • Pick-up at airport, train station, or bus terminal
  • Academic advising by faculty experienced with international students
  • Tutoring in all subjects at no extra cost
  • Special activities and field trips
  • Local host families or “International Friends”
  • Mary Baldwin Ambassador peer mentors

What services can the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement offer?

The Spencer Center promotes engaged learning and service, both locally and internationally. In addition to providing a support system for international students, the center offers:

  • Community service and study/volunteer abroad opportunities
  • A forum for dialogue on an array of civic and global topics
  • Guest lectures and panel discussions on topics such as hunger, healthcare, and human rights
  • A study abroad fair and community service fair
  • Foreign language conversation hours

How many students go on to graduate school?

20–25% go directly after graduation.45–55% go within 5–10 years after graduation.

How do I register for classes?

You will meet with an academic advisor who has experience working with international students to talk about class registration. You are encouraged to look over our Catalog for class offerings and descriptions.

Are there computer labs on campus?

Yes, every academic building has a lab (see student computer labs.) All residence hall rooms, classrooms, offices, and laboratories are connected by a 100Mb Fast Ethernet network using fiber optic and twisted pair cable. This network provides access to the college library, the Internet, voicemail and telephone services, and video services.Students are encouraged to have their own computers in their rooms. There are more than 180 work stations in the labs outfitted with hardware and software appropriate to current courses.

Is there financial aid for international students?

There is no work study, assistanceship, or need-based financial aid for international students; however there may be academic scholarships based on SAT or TOEFL scores.

When is international student orientation?

Orientation takes place the weekend before the opening of school each fall (see the College Calendar). International students arriving in the fall semester are required to participate in an orientation program during their first week at Mary Baldwin. Ongoing orientation to Mary Baldwin and the U.S. college experience is provided through a special course, Mary Baldwin101: Introduction to College, offered every fall semester. English as a Second Language (ESL) courses in composition, reading, and writing are taught in the fall and spring semesters. These courses will help prepare students for their work in all classes (how to write American style research papers, literary critiques, and essays) and fulfill the Mary Baldwin English requirement. International students can get additional help from the Writing Center, the Learning Skills Center, and from student tutors.

What do Mary Baldwin students do for fun?

International students become involved in every aspect of campus life, from working on the student newspaper to playing sports. There are more than 30 student-run organizations and more than 300 public events on campus each year. Annual events, such as Apple Day, mixers, theatre, music, lectures, and coffee houses offer a richness and diversity of options. About a third of Mary Baldwin students are members of American ethnic minorities, reflecting the rich diversity of the U.S. You’ll discover it is a truly welcoming community where you will make life-long friends.Downtown Staunton and the surrounding area offer a rich variety of history, dining, art, theatre, music, and shopping. Students also have access to larger cities such as Washington, D.C. (2.5 hrs), Richmond (1.75 hrs) and Roanoke (1.5 hrs) where they can enjoy shops, museums, and theaters.Wintergreen and Massanutten ski resorts are both a short drive from campus. Shenandoah National Park, national forests, and recreation areas present unlimited opportunities to enjoy backpacking, hiking, rafting, canoeing, and camping.

What sports are available?

Varsity athletics include tennis, volleyball, basketball, softball, cross country, and soccer. Mary Baldwin competes in the NCAA Division III and participates in the USA South Athletic Conference. Club Sports are dance, fencing, field hockey, riding, and swimming.

What is the town of Staunton and surrounding area like?

Staunton is a small vibrant town of about 24,000 in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, a travel destination for visitors from all over the world. It is a cultural center for the region, and Mary Baldwin’s downtown location means that students can easily and safely walk from campus to movies, restaurants, coffee houses, art galleries, theater, and shopping. The American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library are within two blocks of campus. Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and other natural areas are half an hour away. It takes less than three hours to get to Washington D.C., and about four hours to get to Virginia Beach. The climate is temperate, with average winter temperature dipping to -5 °C, and average summer highs reaching 32 °C.

What about transportation to and from Staunton?

Airport Address Phone Distance from Mary Baldwin
Valley Regional
Weyers Cave, VA 24486


15-20 min.

Charlottesville-Albemarle 100 Bowen Loop, Suite 200 Charlottesville,
VA 22911
434-973-8342 50-60 min.
5202 Aviation Dr Nw Roanoke, VA 24012 540-362-1999 1.5 hours
1 Richard E Byrd Terminal Richmond, VA 23250 804-226-3000 2 hours
1 Saarinen Cir Sterling, VA 20166 703-572-2700 2.5 hours
Washington National Airport Arlington, VA
703-417-8000 2.75 hours

Mary Baldwin will arrange for students to be met at Shenandoah Valley and Charlottesville-Albemarle airports. If you are arriving at another airport you will need to arrange your own transportation to the Mary Baldwin campus. Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport also offers transportation to and from the Mary Baldwin campus. A minimum 24 hours advance reservation is requested. The prices are $30 one-way or $50 round-trip. To make a reservation, go to http://www.flyshd.com/ground transportation/airport-shuttle.html, send an e-mail to shdshuttle@flyshd.com, or call 540-234-8304.


Amtrak’s Cardinal train runs from New York through Washington DC, Charlottesville, and Staunton, then on to Chicago. This premier passenger train operates three days a week. For information call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) or visit www.amtrak.com. There is also an Amtrak station in Charlottesville.


Greyhound Bus service is available in Charlottesville (310 West Main Street). For information call 434-295-5131 or visit www.greyhound.com.


Private Taxi Service

City Cab is located in Staunton (532 East Main Street), call them directly at 540-886-3471.

Driving Roster

A list of Mary Baldwin community members willing to transport international students for a nominal fee is available in the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement. You can also ask friends, RAs, faculty, staff, and International Friends for assistance with local transportation.

How do I get an application and catalog?

What are the requirements for applying to Mary Baldwin as an International Student?

  • International Student Application for Admission
  • Official High School/Secondary School Transcripts
  • Official High School/Secondary School Diploma or Certificate
  • Official University Transcript (if desiring to transfer credits)
  • Recommendation Forms or Letter of Recommendation from Counselors (two are required)
  • Personal Essay
  • Official TOEFL or SAT Scores or Other Standardized Scores
  • Certification of Finances Form and Documents Supporting Financial Ability

Is a formal interview required for international students?

No. However, we encourage you to make an appointment to meet with an admissions counselor when you visit the campus.

What is the deadline for submitting an application?

  • The deadline for early decision applications is November 15 of the senior year. You are notified by December 15 if not earlier.
  • The deadline for regular decision applications is April 15. Our “rolling admissions” policy means that students are notified as soon as possible after we have received their credentials.
  • The deadline for transfer applications is August 1.
  • Spring application deadline is November 1.

What are the Grade Point Average (GPA) requirements?

There is no absolute requirement, but the average is 3.2.

What does room and board include?

Room and board includes housing and a meal plan. International students are paired together (preferably creating multi-national roommate pairs), and placed in dormitories with American students to promote English-learning. The residence halls have free laundry facilities, common lounges, and kitchens. The Mary Baldwin meal plan (19 meals per week) is included in your room and board fees. There are many options for every meal, with lunch and dinner offering meat and vegetarian entrees and made-to-order stir-fry, salads, and sandwiches. The staff is happy to work with individual needs and will even try out some of your recipes!

Can students have phones in their rooms?

All residence halls are equipped with telephones and have voicemail services. Traditional students may also have a TV, stereo, and refrigerator in their rooms. VWIL student privileges depend on class year.

Do students need a computer?

Computers are recommended but not necessary. There are several well-equipped computer labs on campus.

Is Internet access available in the residence halls?

Yes. Every student room has access to the Internet, video cable services, and telephone voice mail service.

Is the campus safe?

Mary Baldwin has one of the best campus safety records in the country. Mary Baldwin provides 24-hour security. Security phones are located in parking lots and near dormitory doors. The surrounding area and Staunton provide a generally safe environment. If there ever is a reason as to why students may be at any risk, the school immediately provides the students with information through our very own BAM alert system (such occasions are extremely rare).

How do dining facilities on campus operate?

Hunt Dining Hall is the primary dining facility at Mary Baldwin and is designed as an eat-in venue. Hunt offers a well rounded variety of foods that include a salad bar for lunch and dinner, vegetarian options at every meal, sandwich bar at lunch, and there is always friendly staff that can accommodate your dietary needs. Students may also eat at The Nuthouse or at the Ham & Jam Pub. The Nuthouse and the Ham & Jam Pub are designed to accommodate a fast turn around and to-go packaging.

What is the TOEFL requirement?

A score of at least 500 on the paper TOEFL test or 173 on the computerized TOEFL test (scores below 173 or 500 will be reviewed on a case by case basis) or a score of 3 on the APIEL (scores below 3 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis) is required for admission. Mary Baldwin College’s TOEFL institutional code is 5397.

Are there ESL (English as a Second Language) classes offered?

Yes, they are offered every semester. These courses prepare ESL students for academic writing (with particular emphasis on analytical reading) and on writing short essays that meet acceptable standards of organization, logical development, sentence structure, and the mechanics of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Emphasis is on extensive composition and revision.

What should I bring with me?

To make it easier for you to pack, we have put together a list of items for you to consider. When you arrive for orientation, one of the first things we will do is go shopping, so you can purchase the things you need. Students in the past have found it easier to bring the essentials and buy the rest once they move in. It is also a good idea to contact your roommate as soon as possible to decide on the important things you will want for you room. Mary Baldwin provides each student with a room that has a bed, desk with chair, closet, dresser and a connection plug for telephone, cable and internet. Most of the rooms have at least one window and a heater. Air conditioning is limited to Hilltop, McClung, King, and the PEG residence hall.

Here is a list of items that students find useful to have once they are here. Students will also have time and transportation to go to a store and purchase these items:

  • alarm clock
  • bedspread
  • blanket or comforter
  • carpet
  • computer
  • cooking utensils, cups, plates, silverware
  • curtains
  • cleaning supplies (detergent, cleaners)
  • drying rack
  • electrical strip
  • fan
  • hangers
  • hot pot (to heat up water or soup)
  • iron
  • desk lamp
  • thermometer (health supplies)
  • sewing kit (scissors, needles, thread, buttons)
  • sheets, pillow, pillow case, mattress pad
  • shower caddy (to carry your shampoo etc. to the bathroom)
  • stereo or radio
  • telephone
  • towels
  • trash can
  • umbrella