Marist College - Comments and Student Experiences|
Social life is alright; no matter what you can find friends with similar interests. What I will say, though, for anyone who likes to go out that people are generally going to the bars in Poughkeepsie, so if you're looking to party but cannot get in, you may have some difficulty there. There are frat parties here and there and are fine, but Greek life isn't huge like it is at other schools and even they mostly go to the bars with everyone else. Overall the people are alright; you're gonna have some unpleasant or stuck up people wherever you go, but my experiences with other students have been mostly positive and as long as you have a solid group of friends the rest doesn't matter.
Poughkeepsie is absolutely massive, so luckily there are ways to get around when you cannot have a car (really just freshman year). Fridays and Saturdays there is a shuttle to the Galleria and Stop&Shop, and a semester pass is very cheap. There are also a ton of cabs (all of which flock to Marist at night and are at cheaper rates depending on where you're going). Poughkeepsie has seen better days, and parts of it should definitely be avoided. However, there are some places in and around it that are quite fun. And the restaurants nearby are quite good - especially if you want a break from dining hall food, which is not terrible but nothing special - and fairly priced. Another great thing about Poughkeepsie is that it is a train ride away from the city, so if you ever want to get out for the day it's not a hassle.
The one aspect that definitely needs improvement, though, is housing. It is guaranteed freshman and I think sophomore year, but for juniors and seniors nothing is guaranteed. Marist uses a priority points system, which determines in what order you get to select housing. Obviously the better you and possibly your group's points, the more desirable housing you'll get. Having bad points could even mean that you could not stay on campus, although a lot of the people I know who were in that situation reapplied for housing immediately and were placed into rooms. On the topic of off-campus housing, there plenty of houses and apartments that are rented to students (a cheaper option than on-campus housing, for the most part). There are plenty within walking distance, but are usually more expensive and not as nice as the ones further away (and can do so because of their location).All in all, for the price of tuition you are paying, the education you would receive at Marist is a pretty good deal. I absolutely love it here and have had generally good experiences, so I would recommend this school to prospective students. As with any other school, do your research and see what is the best fit for you.
President Murray is anal compulsive about having a beautiful campus, so you'll know where your tuition is going. Constant lawnmowers, weed wackers, construction for a new building, etc. on campus. What people won't tell you is that the winters are much colder on the campus than in other parts of town, because there is nothing to block the wind coming off of the river. You'll fall in love with that river view in the warm months, but from December-March you'll hate walking there. Some parts of the campus smell like a dead animal because of these trees they insist on planting because they look nice. If there's no further proof that Marist is form over function, they completely redid the cafeteria (it's now called a "dining hall" because it sounds nicer) to make it look like a castle interior, except they somehow made the food WORSE and took away a lot of customization options that made the food good in the first place. The other food places on campus are all run by Sodexo and they jack the prices every year, without giving you any extra debit money on your meal plan. Total ripoff.
The area is a mixed bag. You'll need a car to get to almost all of the good stuff, and you can't have a car until you're a sophomore (the school does have two zipcars and Poughkeepsie has $3-4 cabs). By the way, there is not nearly enough parking on the campus. If you're into active stuff, Marist is a great place to go with a ~20 mile long rail trail/pedestrian bridge only a mile away from campus and the Mohonk preserve over past New Paltz. There's two national parks, Vanderbilt and FDR, a 15-20 minute drive north. There's a movie theater, a mall, a roller rink, and an ice rink in the area as well.
Poughkeepsie itself is a total dump. There's currently a heroin epidemic going on in the city, and you can't walk anywhere at night with less than 4 people or you could get assaulted (the campus itself is very safe). The usual practice is to pregame in your apartment/room/house and then go out to a club/bar, most of which you will need a fake ID to get into (fortunately, most aren't very strict). Again, the cabs take you directly there and back. If you're looking for a huge house party school, Marist isn't for you.
The student body is mostly homogenous. At first glance, you'll find the typical Marist student is a rich white kid from Long Island, New Jersey, or possibly Connecticut. Marist loves pocketing money, so they lowball kids on financial aid and basically dare them to come to the school. You do have to look hard, but you can find kids from different backgrounds.
Marist boasts at having nearly 100 clubs and activities, but many of them are just clubs for people in the different majors to join (an accounting club, teaching club, etc). Frat life is a joke here. The good sports teams are all non-spectator sports. Men's basketball has been bad for years and plays to an empty building. Football is bad, outside of one year. Women's basketball is great, but even they only get high attendance for their opener and one other game.
Finally, as for academics, I can only speak from my experience and not the other programs. The bottom line is out of over 40 classes I took at Marist, less than a quarter of them will actually help me in my career and I felt like I wasted my money. Communication classes all give you the exact same information, which is mostly common sense, just under different course titles. I also took computer programming classes, which were more difficult, and the professors there had a "if this is so easy for me it should be easy for you too" condescending attitude. Marist did absolutely nothing to help me get an internship or a job in my field - their career center I found to be useless and cookie cutter, they didn't bring in any companies in my field for info sessions or career fairs, and my faculty advisor gave me better advice.I generally enjoyed Marist, but for over $40k (and contrary to what they say, they are cheap with financial aid), I would advise you to look at your state schools first. You may be able to get the same or better experience for a lot cheaper. I don't look at my diploma proudly nor do I have one of their alumni license plate covers, put it that way.