Photograph by Paula Ilissyn
Our assistant editor Jessica Friedlander, who graduated from Wallkill Senior High School, knew that she wanted to stay local to attend college. “My family is a big deal to me, so I wanted to be close,” she says. In 2003, she applied for early admission to Marist College — even though she had never been there. “I had heard so much good stuff about it,” she says. After she was accepted, she visited the campus. “I went in the spring, it was gorgeous. I fell in love with it. My mom said that I could commute, but I told her, ‘No, I want to live here and make it my home.’ ”
Next came the big question: could she afford it? She landed academic scholarships from Marist and the local Hudson Valley Scholars program, received TAP funds, and topped it off with loans from good old Sallie Mae. “I couldn’t have done it without the scholarships,” she admits.
Academically and socially, Jessica got the most out of her four years at the Poughkeepsie school. “It is a very social, open campus. I never wanted to go home,” she says, adding that her family would come to visit her there. “The classes are pretty small, and everyone I know was very close to their professors; I think that really heightens your class experience.” She served as a resident assistant for two years, and graduated with a double major in studio art and English.
If she has one regret, it was not choosing to study abroad for a semester. “I always thought I wouldn’t have time or it would be too expensive,” she says. But she did take a course called “Visions in Italy,” which culminated in a three-week tour of the country. “It was, by far, the best experience of my college career,” she says.
Like Jessica, students both young and old are choosing to attend one of the many two- and four-year colleges located in our region. You can read about other students’ experiences, get the facts about tuition, admissions, and programs, and find out what’s new and noteworthy at our local institutions of higher learning in our cover story on Valley colleges.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor in Chief