Driving through those gates that read “Marist College,” passing by Tenney Stadium, continuing up through campus behind the library, then swinging all the way down by admissions to see that breathtaking Hudson River view, is quite a settling experience. Marist College is a school with not just a beautiful campus in the Hudson Valley, but a community with a huge alumni network and somewhere many families have a legacy. Every year the school grows it changes in structure, creates new curriculums, and provides new opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. What doesn’t seem to change, however, is the large population of siblings that are enrolled at Marist either at the same time, or after another member of the family has left. Because of how many siblings go to Marist during some of the same years, it’s interesting to understand why this is such a common desire at Marist, and how those actually feel about being together in a college environment.
With Marist being a smaller, (5,000 undergrad students) more selective school with a 39% acceptance rate overall, the school is clearly high in demand for enrollment. Because of the increasing population of siblings on campus, one can’t help but believe that Marist has an affinity to accept an application more so if a family member attended or currently attends the school, adding to the close community experience this school provides.
When really narrowing down sets of siblings in the school, I got a chance to ask some on their thoughts about actually having this connection in college. From the older sibling’s perspective, the younger sibling’s perspective, and a perspective from twins, I found the top trends and mostly benefits, in their feelings attending school with a sibling.
Trends from a younger sibling’s perspective:
- Older siblings have an influence on why the other has chosen to come to Marist
“I was definitely influenced on choosing Marist. All Nicole would talk about when she came home for breaks was how much she loved school and never wanted to come home. Also with her being on the dance team my parents and I would visit for games so we would always get to experience what the school was like and what it had to offer.”- Rachel Havill Sophomore, sibling of Nicole Havill Senior
- The amount of homesickness is either non existent or subdued because of having a sibling
“I have been homesick a couple times this semester and my sibling helps by talking to me and bringing me out to lunch. I feel like I need her to just talk about things that are going on in my life one on one, especially as a freshman.”- Nick Crocco Freshman, sibling of Brianna Crocco Senior
- Older Siblings have become more of a friend now
“Overall I love going to school with my sister because it is comforting to know that I will always have someone to turn to if I need help. It is also nice to go to school with my sister because I can go to her when I need to get away from anything stressful or things that are putting me down. Its like going to school with your best friend!” – Christina Malatesta Junior, sibling of Amanda Malatesta Senior
- Marist was their first choice of school
“Marist was my first choice of schools – I was originally between Marist and Oneonta but Marist felt like a better fit; I felt more at home since I had already visited so many times and got to know the scene more having a sister already been there 2 years.”-Rachel Havill, sophomore
- Siblings went home before mid-semester break at same time as other sibling for other obligations
“I went home a few times before break because I had family obligations. I had my cousin’s bridal shower, a wedding, and I went to a Jets game. It was such a relief having Ally to go to and from Long Island with in these situations.”- Lauren Butz Sophomore, sibling of Ally Butz Senior
Trends from an older sibling’s perspective:
- There is a desire for their younger sibling to have the same experience
“I had such an awesome experience at Marist and I wouldn’t change a thing, and I want the same thing for her. It’s nice seeing her go through the same things I did and have the same experiences as me because I know how great they all are.”- Nicole Havill Senior, sibling of Rachel Havill Sophomore
- Take on a motherly role naturally
“At school it’s obviously a time of a lot of fun, but I do take on a motherly role just making sure Lauren is taking the right classes and making good decisions, especially in terms of people she surrounds herself with.”- Ally Butz Senior, sibling of Lauren Butz Sophomore
- Gotten a lot closer because the younger sibling needs more guidance than when at home
“We’ve definitely gotten a lot closer. We text more than we ever have because she is going through the same things I did as a Junior so she’s constantly asking for advice- whether it be registration, housing, social life, etc. There’s also such a sense of maturity when entering college so we are able to relate so much in that sense.”-Amanda Malatesta senior, sibling of Christina Malatesta junior
- Really funny and somewhat weird to see them out at the common Marist bar scene
“It’s kind of weird seeing him out because I’m not used to seeing him in that setting, but I wouldn’t call it annoying. I don’t find anything annoying about him being here. My family is really close so we were raised having a really good relationship.”-Brianna Crocco, senior
- Makes more of an effort to hang out than the younger sibling does
“I Definitely make a lot of effort to keep our relationship strong. My brother is more of a relaxed type and I’m really outgoing and hyper so I’m the one who makes the effort to hang out. Especially since I have a car, it’s a lot easier for me to do so.”-Brianna Crocco, senior
Besides the idea of siblings being enrolled at Marist in different graduate years, I got a chance to talk to freshman Tatum Flood, who actually came here with her twin sister. It was clear when talking to her that is it very important for these twins to remain together, as she told me, “When choosing which college we wanted to attend, we factored in the dilemma of one twin getting in without the other. We came to conclusion that if one didn’t get in then the other (who did get it) wouldn’t go to that college.”
For certain sets of twins, life is always something spent together, especially in social settings. As freshmen in this situation, one would conclude that it would make adjustment a lot easier having such a companion, as Tatum confirmed, “The only times we don’t see each other are when we are in class and have club meetings. I prefer being around my sister because it gives me a sense of comfort and being together makes us both so happy!”
Tatum and her sister did choose to come to Marist together, and in fact had an older sister who graduated a few years ago to influence this desire. Over all it is clear that Marist seems to be something that runs in the family in terms of education because of the reputation it has. From talking to many pairs of siblings it’s clear that they all really only feel more benefits being enrolled together.
Siblings will always fight, but in the end it’s a great support system to have when moving into this phase of adulthood. They all also concluded that their parents feel the same way too, especially because it’s a lot more convenient for the entire family and makes visiting their children something more exciting. Such a strong community of family relations does show how word of mouth can truly influence another family member or close friend to embark on this unique college experience. As years go on, and more students get accepted, it will be very apparent how many more people are related in the Marist community.