From a California Dream to a New York State of Mind

Growing up in sunny southern California has its perks.  Once you reach the license age of your life, everything becomes accessible and your social life takes a turn for the busy.

Disneyland, concert venues, movies, shopping, and the beach are just a few luxuries this state offers year around. It’s only natural that when it’s time to apply for colleges, California natives apply to only schools in California, or the occasional Yale and Harvard.

I wasn’t any different in my initial search, but what I soon discovered is that trying to get everything you want out of school was impossible.

In my junior year, my counselor encouraged me to make a list of things I wanted in a college, to help me focus my search and figure out what would be important deciding factors later on. I used this list to research schools and kept getting discouraged as I couldn’t find schools that could offer the things I wanted.

For example, I could find a school with strong academics and good study abroad program, but it wouldn’t have my specific major focus. Or one school would have my perfect major, but wouldn’t require internships and wasn’t in a convenient location to pursue them yourself. Probably the biggest factor above all was the cost and the lack of scholarships a school would offer or poor financial aid offers.

I couldn’t believe at how much a school could cost, and I promised myself I wouldn’t make a crazy loan decision so I started going to out of state school showcases in my area and through my school. The speakers really encouraged me to pursue a school out of state and just simply take the time to research my options.

So I started narrowing down locations that would best help what I wanted to pursue, Public Relations, Marketing and Music were my main focuses.

It didn’t take me long to realize I needed to go to New York, the mecca for business as well as one of the greatest states in this nation.

I really wanted to find a school a little out of the city, it’s a little more affordable and I wanted a community. But, I needed this school to have a strong internship program as well as a high job rate upon graduation.

Also, I wanted to be able to study abroad and well as the college have a name itself. With all this, I was able to search on U.S. News College Rankings and found my perfect school that had everything I wanted, Marist College.

Maria at the Poughkeepsie Train Station

It probably isn’t hard to realize that I decided to attend this school, not only are the educational and activity opportunities fantastic, but they also offered me a great financial aide package.

Not only was I happy, but so was my parents pocket.

I actually just came back from spending a couple days to visit the campus for orientation and getting to know the staff, my heart was warmed at how welcoming everyone was. Plus, the campus looks like Hogwarts, not even exaggerating.

My hard work has paid off and in the fall, I’ll be a Marist College Red Fox. Obviously, the distance will take some getting used to, but with everything it has to offer, there is no doubt in my mind of my success at Marist and for the freshmen class of 2016.

— Maria Gabriela Gironas, Class of 2016

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