Marist College Academics?

I really would like some input on this - I posted over in New York Colleges this morning and didn’t get a response, so I’m putting this over here, too. Any parents familiar with Marist over here?

My daughter was accepted at Marist, received some nice financial aid and was also accepted into the Honors program. But she is worried about the academics there. She was also accepted at Brandeis and Franklin & Marshall but the financial aid at both schools is so much less that either place would be a struggle.

Can anyone tell us if she would be challenged at Marist, given that she would be in the Honors program? We live on the West Coast and are unfamiliar with Marist. We’d really appreciate input from people familiar with these schools. Thanks all! She is down to the wire on this decision!

We visited Marist for an Honors Program info session and tour for D17.

On the plus side, it was a seemingly safe, absolutely gorgeous campus right on the river. They were also, hands down, the happiest bunch of kids I’ve seen on 20+ college visits. The campus was buzzing with activity in the middle of the afternoon, everyone held doors for each other, said hello to each other as they passed, etc. It really stood out how happy and friendly they all were. Anecdotally, our friend’s son is a junior there and is having a great time.

On the downside, the academics, even in an Honors Program info session, didn’t seem all that rigorous. At other schools we visited, we left thinking, “wow, she’ll be amazingly well prepared for a job/grad school coming out of here.” At Marist, we thought, “wow, this would be a fantastic school for the right kid,” but she’s not necessarily the right kid.

If you haven’t already, I recommend that you visit the Honors Program link on their website and call the director of the Honors Program and talk about the program with them. (They were super friendly as well, and encouraged follow up questions from the crowd). Also, go to the Marist Page on College Confidential and search “Honors Program”. You’ll see other threads on this topic that will offer more perspectives. Good luck!

I have no first-hand knowledge, but while our HS kids who attend are not the most scholarly, they are all solid students. D’s good friend, an intelligent and talented scholar, was offered a very tempting package by Marist. No doubt there are plenty of excellent students who are at Marist for that reason. I really don’t know about the academics, but given its location I will take a totally unsubstantiated guess that there are probably some good professors who are there because of the nice location and reasonable proximity to New York. Vassar is right nearby too, so at least Poughkeepsie probably has a reasonable college scene.

I am sure it is not as rigorous as F & M and Brandeis, but if it were me, I would be confident that my child would get a good education. And no doubt that it will be what she makes of it.

Hi, thanks so much for your reply! It sounds like you have the same feeling that we do about Marist. We both loved the campus and the atmosphere. I think it would be great for a lot of kids, including probably my other two children. This daughter is more of a quiet, scholarly, intellectual type. Thanks for your perspective. I think she’s going to try this “Talk to a Marist Student” thing she found and see how that goes. It’s so hard to judge just based on a short visit and some online statistics.

Hi! I am a current Marist student in the Honors Program. I was in a similar situation as your daughter - Marist offered me the best financial aid package, and acceptance in the Honors Program. After meeting some Marist students and the Director of the Honors Program (who I HIGHLY recommend you speak with, he’s great) I decided that it was the place for me. I think Marist is similar to most schools in that the academics are as rigorous as you make them, and the Honors Program helps you do just that. The professors are hand picked by the Honors Director, and the Honors Program offers lots of opportunities for independent research with them. Just to give you a brief description of my life on campus: I am a political science major with a minor in communications, in the Honors Program, have a job on campus, and make the Dean’s List every semester. All of my friends and I are in the Honors Program, and we are always in the library together - we love it. We all often remark that being in the Honors Program is our favorite thing about Marist. One of the best parts about the program, I think, is the diversity of the type of student you find. I love going to programs that highlight honor students’ works because I get to see the incredible and wide range of work my peers are doing. Everything from nanoparticles to the election cycle - Marist Honors students are doing research. What makes us all alike is that we are dedicated to our schoolwork, and we really do bond over that. Lastly, to comment on workplace preparation. As only a sophomore, I have secured a summer internship with one of the top political communication firms in the country this summer through a Marist alum. I hope this helps, and I am happy to answer any other questions about the program.

As a current Marist student in the Honors Program, I hope I can be of some help! The Honors Program has, without a doubt, been the backbone of my career at Marist.

I was invited into the Honors programs of all the schools I was accepted into, and Marist was the only one that I felt provided not only academic excellence, but also a strong sense of community. I decided to live on the Honors floor my freshman year, which was by far the best decision I could have made for a smooth college transition. In addition to making instant friends (who I still live with and consider my best friends three years later,) the Honors Program used the space to invite faculty to speak with us about topics they were personally passionate about. These informal events allowed me to get to know faculty in a different environment than the classroom, and get to participate in meaningful conversations with my peers.

The Honors curriculum at Marist is purposefully built not to overwhelm students by making them take an overwhelming additional amount of credits, but rather to provide a more enriched and personalized experience of current credit requirements. For instance, all Marist students must take a First-Year Seminar, but Honors students take an Honors level FYS. I find this a very practical approach to the Honors Program, since it allows me to fulfill my Honors and regular academic requirements with enough room to also be double minoring.

Instead of describing the program as challenging, I like to describe the program as enriching. The classes are a lot of work, for sure, and require a lot of time and effort, but they are not intended to make you fail. Rather, the program strives to provide students with opportunities to graduate as socially engaged and responsible members of society, with real-world experiences to also make us employable.

The additional requirements above and beyond the regular Marist academic program are the Honors Civic Service and Learning classes, Honors by Contract, and Honors Senior Thesis. All of these classes aim to provide students with opportunities to go above and beyond the typical college experience. It is in these classes that I have gotten to work one-on-one with professors, which is a huge opportunity, especially considering at some schools with large lecture halls the professors may never know your name. With the Honors by Contract and Senior Thesis specifically, you work with a professor of your choice to develop a project, the content of which is flexible according to your major, interests, and intended career path. Marist students who complete the Honors Program graduate with a closer relationship with professors and have experiences that are impressive to discuss in an interview or on a graduate application.

The Honors Program has never failed in providing me ample opportunities to attend conferences or lectures, both formal and informal, to make my college experience memorable and gratifying.

I wish your daughter the best of luck in her decision, and if you have any additional questions (both about Honors or the school itself,) please feel free to ask!

Daughter will be a freshman at Marist this fall. Accepted into Honors program and recruited to play a sport. We were in a similar position to you and your daughter… accepted into other exceptional schools including Bucknell, Lehigh and Cornell but chose Marist because it was a balance of strong factors, albeit not as revered as the other options academically. I think what it came down to was falling in love with a school rather than the “idea” of a school… everyone thinks they want Ivy but you need to explore how happy your daughter will be there for the next 4 years. There will be plenty of smart students at Marist! One additional thought… my daughter will major in business and definitely continue on to a business/graduate school after Marist… today, the Masters is the new Bachelors… the goal is to have a great college experience and put yourself in position for a great job or acceptance into a well respected masters program. In the end, everyone justifies their choice… your daughter is clearly a strong academic… now focus on the happiness quotient so that she comes out well rounded. Good luck!
BTW… did you visit F&M? I know the school very well and you need to make sure the school is a “fit” beyond just the classroom… not sure if the ROI justifies the expense… IMO

Hi! Me again. I forgot I had written this article about the Honors Program for the Admissions blog, and I thought it would be good to post here :slight_smile: