Questions Frequently Asked by Prospective Students

And the Rationale Behind the Answers

  1. How do I get into Marist College?
    There is no sure formula for gaining admission to Marist, but one of the fundamental steps is making sure the program you’re applying to is the one which best suits your educational and career goals. The application is the tool you have to present yourself for consideration to the admission committee as an ambitious, unique candidate. Beyond excellent academic performance in a tough academic program in high school, one of the most important factors in the decision is determining whether a candidate will be a positive addition to the Marist student community. Extracurricular activities and personal accomplishments will show the committee what you have to offer; the better job you do revealing your talents to them, the clearer their image will be of what you can offer Marist.
  2. Can I apply with more than one major?
    No. When you apply you can only choose one major or concentration. We recognize that with 30 majors available across our schools, a student may have a sincere interest/match with more than one program, so you may also choose not to declare a major while applying.
  3. Can I change my mind and switch my major once I get here?
    Yes. You can change your major, minor, concentration or advisor through the Office of the Registrar. These actions do require signatures from the appropriate faculty, and are processed after the necessary paperwork is complete. You can change programs as often as you like, but be aware that each major has requirements and prerequisites that need to be complete, and switching may require additional classes or semesters.
  4. Does Marist have a drug and alcohol abuse problem?
    Among 4,200 undergraduate students, there are certainly those with personal problems including the misuse of alcohol and use of illegal drugs. At the same time, there are large groups of students who spend time organizing alcohol and drug awareness programs to educate the Marist community about the dangers substance abuse poses. There are also hundreds of meetings and activities every week that don't involve the use of alcohol or other drugs...plays, concerts, speakers, sports, dance classes, great restaurants, students have plenty of substance-free options of things to do. The decision to drink or use any other drug belongs to the individual, and how well that individual is prepared to make the decision is in part a reflection of experience in high school and appropriate parental guidance.
  5. If I'm not in the Greek System, will I have a good social life?
    Even if you are in the Greek System, you may not have a good social life. It is up to you and your priorities. There is certainly opportunity at Marist to find the most diverse personality types anywhere and once you begin making friends, you may find your friends heading off in lots of different directions socially.
    There are plenty of things to do outside the Greek System. Most students are involved in at least one or two clubs or teams. Within these organizations there is plenty of "social life" -- everything from forming intramural teams to holding dances and parties. On top of that idea, add the dozens of concerts and plays and hundreds of films you can attend throughout the year in Poughkeepsie and on campus. You may find the nucleus of your "social life" is the lounge in your dorm, the dance floor at The Loft, or hundreds of other places.
    One great thing about Marist's Greek System is its openness. Since many undergraduates are not in houses, you will find circles of best friends who are mixed between fraternity members and non-members. A good share of the guests at most fraternity functions are not members of houses, so don't feel you'll be "cut off" from Greek life by not joining a fraternity or sorority.
  6. Is Marist's campus safe?
    Yes. And we are proactive to keep it safe, too. The goal of Marist's Security Department is to protect the life and property of Marist's citizens. This is effectively accomplished through crime prevention education and thorough security on the campus. There are always security guards patrolling in cars or on foot. The Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (or SNAP) is a student escort service, and the Blue Light Security System are some of the most visible of Marist's safety measures.
    Security telephones with bright blue lights are located all over the main and East campus areas. These phones can be used for instant communication with the Marist Security 24 hours a day. For students who do not feel comfortable walking alone at night, SNAP volunteers are available to accompany them from any campus location to any other campus location. No community the size of Marist is totally crime-free, but the College takes every precaution possible to keep crime at a minimum on campus and in the surrounding areas. Since we are located in a non-urban environment, the job is somewhat easier than it would be elsewhere.
  7. How tough is the academic pressure?
    Each new student needs to determine his/her own limitations. That may mean postponing auditioning for a play until next semester or giving up the marching band in order to keep up with schoolwork. No one will tell you that four years at Marist is easy. It is hard work from freshman year to graduation. But the pressure you can feel at the beginning should lessen as you learn to manage time more effectively. Each freshman student is assigned their first semester of classes, and are given a schedule that is designed to help them learn time management and how to balance their workload and other activities. In addition, the Office of First Year Programs will assign every freshman student a freshman mentor. This is a full time paid professional who sole purpose is to help the students with their transition.
    There are plenty of opportunities to get extra help for classes. There is an academic advising center, writing and math labs, and tutors available for almost every subject offered. The Academic Learning Center in the Cannavino Library is also a great place for students to drop in and ask for extra help, or meet with a peer or staff advisor. Of course, every professor has scheduled office hours each week where students can get individual help, and they're also accessible by email and phone.
  8. Can one socialize and keep up with schoolwork?
    That depends on a person's social agenda. You can't usually go for even one day without doing some studying, but there are times when the workload seems light and times when it seems heavy. There will be days when you can get away with only an hour or two of work and then spend the rest of the night with your friends, but there will also be days (or even several days in a row around final exam time) when you'll have little time to socialize.
  9. What's there to do in Poughkeepsie?
    Poughkeepsie and the nearby towns offer endless things to do in your free time. There are several bars and dance clubs, as well as historical sites and museums. The Samuel Morse estate is located just a few minutes down Route 9 as well. The Chance Entertainment Complex features a concert hall and other entertainment venues for smaller acts.
    Just up north is Hyde Park, the birthplace of FDR. The Vanderbilt Mansion and property is a great place to go for a run or a picnic lunch. There is a roller rink and two drive-in movie theatres nearby as well. If you're interested in a gourmet meal or snack, the Culinary Institute has several dining locations and a bakery.
    For even more options, Marist College is located just 90 minutes away from Manhattan by rail, and we're located less than one mile away from the Poughkeepsie train station. Student Activities sponsors trips to the city for Broadway shows and other sites, as well as ski trips and other outdoor ventures.
  10. How large are classes?
    The average class size is 20-25 students and there are no classes with more than thirty students. Our student to faculty ratio is 15:1, so students will receive plenty of individual attention. Class sizes tend to be slightly larger in core curriculum courses, and smaller in major-specific ones.
  11. Do professors teach all the classes?
    Yes. All Marist College classes are taught by professors, not graduate students or teaching assistants. Many of our professors are full-time faculty members, and others may be adjuncts who are experts in their field (for example, a Sports Reporting adjunct professor may be the sports editor for a nearby newspaper).
  12. What kind of help is available for students?
    Marist has help available for almost any kind of problem students encounter. To summarize, Marist offers free professional psychological counseling to all students through the Health and Wellness Center  in the student center and the Byrne House. All appointments and counseling is held confidential. There are personal growth workshops offered frequently for students who want to learn more about themselves through interaction with others. For people seeking religious guidance, Marist's Campus Ministry is one of the biggest clubs on campus and is non-denominational. Our Lady of Wisdom Chapel holds Roman Catholic masses, and students of other faiths can arrange for carpools to places of worship in the area.
    Each freshman resident hall (and the Commuter Lounge) houses at least one freshman Mentor. They are there to meet with for everything from questions about scheduling to battling homesickness. Accommodations and Accessibility is available for qualifying students, and some of their services include note-takers, special testing areas, and other valuable resources. Overall, there is plenty of help available for most any situation, but the responsibility lies with the student to take the first step in finding it.

Additional Questions

These are questions to think about and be prepared for. For some questions there are no right answers - simply answer from your experience or find someone who may know an answer.


  • Did you get to know the professors that taught your classes? Did you feel comfortable going to them with questions or asking for help?
  • Am I allowed to take classes in other majors? In other schools? Will I be in classes with only students in my major or college?
  • Was there time to do anything else but study? How much time did you spend a day (week) doing homework?


  • Do all students live on campus? Are the freshmen all put together? How do you decide where you want to live?
  • Did you feel overwhelmed by the size of the school? Did you feel lost? How did you get around campus?
  • If I'm interested in getting involved in ______ activity/club/organization, how do I find out about it?