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Marist College

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What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Marist reawaked my sense of worth as a writer and student. I had been out of school for a year, silently deliberating over whether or not to return (I had done two years at a community college at that point), and I wasn't sure where to apply. I'll admit it: getting accepted to such a prestigious school bolstered my ego. On an aesthetic note, Marist is beautiful! Getting to surround myself with its expansive buildings and lush landscape is a joy - when I graduate, I plan on returning here to take advantage of our library. I'm in it right now as I type this, and it always facilitiates learning for its students, alumni, and even faculty. Some of my classes have demanded that I participate in group work. I'm not a fan of group projects; but arguably, group discussions/projects are valuable, and not only because they foster the convergence of ideas. If you tend to be overbearing, you have to learn to temper your creative fire and acknowledge the ideas of your partners. If you lean more towards the non-aggressive end of the spectrum, you get to practice being more firm about being heard.

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Picking a selection of colleges to choose from may seem difficult, but the real challenge arises when you have been admitted to more than one and have to make one of the biggest decisions of your high school career: which college to pick. Being weary of the process myself due to my amazing experience at home in high school, and being in a bit of denial on growing up and being deemed a "college student," I know the mixed emotions of crossing that line from adolescent to adult. Visiting schools you consider your options is the best advice I can give. Until you step foot on campus with other potential and current students you can never get a feel for the life you may have there. Involving yourself in any way possible--either through atheltics, extracurriculars, clubs or on-campus work--you are bound to meet people with similar interests that will make your college experience amazing. Put yourself out there. Be a part of your campus, not just a member. You're going to stress about work, but balance your time and remember that the paper or test will be over with, but so will college. So, enjoy it!

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The student should ask him or herself these questions and find the school that best reflects their answers. Do they like big city life, small towns, or medium size towns? Do they like being in large or small classes? What type of teaching allows them to learn the best? Do they want to be close to home or really far away? Do they like the campus because it is important to visit the school before deciding to go there. What is the area surrounding the school like? Are there places close enough or on campus that will satisfy your needs? How challenging do they want the curriculum at their school to be? Does the school have the major you are interested in pursuing? What type of classes does it offer for that major? If you aren't sure about your major does the school have one or more majors that seem interesting? What type of extracurricular activities does the school offer? How much does it cost to attend the school? What financial aid and scholarships aare offered? To make the most of your experience get involved on campus and make friends. Hang out but also do your school work.

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Dear High School Danielle, Breathe! Everything is going to be alright! Living away from home, saying goodbye to High School friends, and ending a relationship with your first love are not the end; they are the beginning of a brand new chapter in your life. A chapter where you are the star, and are able to control your destiny. Transitions are always difficult, but the one you are about to make will forever change you in a beautiful way. You will meet new friends (some who will become friends for life), take academic courses with professors who will inspire you, and be a part of a tight-knit community on campus that will encourage you to better the lives of others. As FDR once said, "there is nothing to fear, but fear itself." There is an entire world of opportunity awaiting you at Marist. One of the reasons why you have been successful so far is your tenacity, and the fact you never give up once you set your mind to something. I can promise you that type of drive will guarantee your success at Marist College. Good luck, although I know you won't need it! Love, "Future" Danielle

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One of the most important things to remember when you are choosing your college is how comfortable you feel there. When you are visiting, look around you and notice the people walking around on campus. Try to schedule some sort of visit to the school, outside your regular tour. As a tour guide, I know that there are certain canned answers you must give while working, mostly for the parents? sakes. However, you should really try to spend a day or stay overnight with a student. This will give you a better perspective on what students do on campus, how a real room actually looks, and how the cafeteria food tastes. Also, you want to choose your college based on academics. Sure, you want to go to college and have the time of your life, but you should not just choose a school because they have ?really awesome parties? or because you heard everyone gets drunk all the time. You are at college to learn about a field that you want to pursue and, unlike your general high school education, you will use what you learn in college in your future. That is the reason why you are attending college.

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Dear High-School-Me, Take a deep breath: you will survive. I know high school is tough; it's bound to be! You have gone through standardized testing, social cliques, first kisses, first dates, finding your niche, late nights, and the occasional mental breakdown. Because of all you've been through, I understand that the idea of college is daunting and you do all you can to avoid the subject when anyone brings it up. This is all I want you to know: you will be fine! The transition into college is going to be a tough one just like any other transitions you've faced. Being away from home is the toughest part but you will soon make this new school your second home. You're also entering a new crop of unknown faces but you will find your support system. College is NOT high school. Do not be afraid of not wearing the right thing or not saying the right thing either because college is where you learn to make mistakes. Most importantly, college is where you learn to turn mistakes into learning experiences. This transition will take time but it is the best transition yet. Be confident.

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I would advise parents and students to sit down and come up with the most important aspects they want their school to have in order for them to be happy. Then, using those aspects they should research and try to find a school that has as many of those as possible. In order to make the most of the college experience my advice is to be who you are and be open to all the possibilities that await you in college. Joining clubs and sports as well as community service groups will help to meet new people and allow you to make life-long friends as well as become an involved and well rounded individual. I reccommend studying abraod in order to broaden your horizons and learn about the different amazing cultures in the world. I am currently abroad - best descision of my life. College is the last stop before hitting the real world so you need to make the most of it and take the opportunity to grow as an individual into a successful member of society. Everyone says college is the best 4 years of your life so picking the right college to spend them at is essential.

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The first thing I would say to 17 year old Denise is "be proud of everything you have accomplished academically and athletically." My college experiences have been both positive and negative, and it wouldn't be fair to address the negative components only. As a senior I had the opportunity and drive to become salutatorian and captain of my cheerleading team. While transitioning into college I have struggled in both categories that I normally excel in. I began to think that my goals and dreams died. My advice to myself would be to keep striving to be great, and remember that I was put in this situation because I am capable of taking the world by storm if I am willing to work hard. I stopped being optimistic and that has changed my outlook on life as well as my capability to get back up and try again like the 17 year old Denise would. I would tell myself be prepared for the mental and physical breakdowns and know that they will make you stronger in every aspect of my life. Last but not least, I would tell denise to keep her dream alive no matter what.

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Family: Mom, Dad, Christie, Paige. Growing up I have had great relationships with my parents and sisters. Every summer my family and I would go up to our boat on the St. Lawrence river. Sometimes it was challenging because as I became older I had a push and pull of wanting to be with my friends more, and my family less. I would complain and give them a hard time. This only resulted in a weekend where my parents struggled to not scream at me; as I look back I deserved that. The biggest thing that I learned coming into college was the value of family. By senior year I was always gone, and it didn't bother me because I knew they were there. I would still wake up and see them, answering their "dumb" questions. But the morning I woke up in my dorm room, my family wasn't there. And I realized my most memorable relationships were with them. The annoying questions I normally dreaded would have sounded like music to me that morning. If I could tell myself one thing it would be: treasure every moment with your family because they are the ones who matter.

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The best advice I can think to give students who are choosing a college is to pay attention to the overall atmosphere of the campus. No matter how great the academic programs are at a particular college, a student isn't going to be happy there if the campus atmosphere conflicts with their personality and priorities. For example, a student who is intensely academically focused may not do as well at a school that stresses social and extracurricular involvement on campus because that atmosphere may detract from that student's studies. On the other hand, a student who is a fun-loving, sociable person who loves to be involved in a variety of activities may not do as well on a campus that has a more serious atmosphere and focuses mostly on studying and academics. The college atmosphere also the location of the campus because that will effect the amount of time that students spend on campus. The campus atmosphere was one of the deciding factors in my college decision and two years later, I am completely sure that I found the right college for me.

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