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Graduation Ceremony

March College Success Newsletter

As spring approaches seniors are receiving college acceptances and making the decision as to where they will spend the next four years, and juniors are starting busy visiting colleges and putting their college list together. 

In this month's newsletter, you can learn about majoring in business, understanding the hidden costs of college, about the digital SAT, and more!

Enjoy the latest edition!


Topic of the Month
The Digital SAT

The SAT exam is going digital! Discover the key changes, features, and strategies to ace the revamped Digital SAT in this comprehensive guide.

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Money Matters
The Hidden Costs of College


College financial aid packages should start arriving this month, but when you begin to compare your out-of-pocket costs, be sure to include expenses that go beyond room, board, and tuition.

Image by Leon Wu

College Spotlight
Marist College

Marist College is a liberal arts college located in Poughkeepsie, New York, serving about 5,000 undergraduate students, across 47 undergraduate majors

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Now is the Time
Planning College Visits


Learn how to maximize the college visit experience through proper planning and an open mind. This guide offers tips to make campus tours efficient yet enjoyable.

Image by Matt Ragland

Major Spotlight

Business majors make up about 20% of all undergraduate majors. Learn about different options, such as business intelligence, management, applied economics, and accounting. 


Support Corner
Making the College Decision as a Neurodivergent Student

Learn about some key factors to consider when making the final college decision as a neurodivergent student. 

Topic of the Month
Digital SAT: What You Need to Know

As technology continues to shape our educational landscape, the College Board has announced a significant update to the SAT. Enter the Digital SAT, a revamped version of the traditional exam that brings the test-taking experience into the digital age, while maintaining the integrity and rigor of the assessment.

Test Format and Scoring

First and foremost, it is imperative to understand that, with the Digital SAT, the test sections and scoring remain unchanged. Students will still encounter the familiar sections—Reading, Writing and Language, and Math—presented in a format similar to the traditional paper-based test. Furthermore, the scoring methodology remains consistent. 


Test Navigation and Features

Students can now bring their computers into the test center, creating a more personalized and user-friendly testing experience. It is recommended that you use your own computer since you are most familiar with its functionalities and interface. Make sure to fully charge your computer as you may not have access to an outlet. If you don’t have a device, the College Board recommends you borrow one from your school, friend, or family member. Be sure to check with the College Board for more detailed information. SAT Device Lending. To streamline the process, students are advised to download the digital application the night before the test, to alleviate stress and avoid last-minute technical issues.  During the test, a proctor will provide an access code, granting students entry into the digital exam environment. Once the test is accessed with the code, all other applications and functionalities on the computer will be disabled to maintain test security and integrity. Navigating the Digital SAT is intuitive and user-friendly. The test interface displays questions at the top of the screen, with answer choices conveniently listed below each question. A timer is featured at the top of the test, allowing students to monitor their progress and pace themselves accordingly. One notable feature of the Digital SAT is the ability to flag questions and return to them later within the same section. This allows students to manage their time effectively and revisit challenging questions without feeling rushed. Additionally, students taking the Math section will still be provided with a formula sheet, ensuring fairness and consistency in problem-solving. Furthermore, there will be a calculator embedded in the online test, which will be available to students throughout all the sections.

Adaptive Exam Structure

The adaptive nature of the Digital SAT introduces a dynamic testing experience tailored to each student's proficiency level. Upon entering the Math section, you will find that the first module serves to establish a baseline, determining the initial difficulty level of the questions presented.  As students progress through the exam, the test adapts the questions to each student’s performance, adjusting the difficulty of subsequent questions accordingly. This adaptive approach not only shortens the overall duration of the test but also ensures a more personalized and efficient assessment of a student's skills and knowledge.


Managing Test Anxiety

With the new changes comes the need to manage test anxiety effectively. The Digital SAT's adaptive format may initially catch some students off guard, especially as they encounter questions of varying difficulty levels. The more familiar you become with the types of questions and timing of the test, the more relaxed you will be on test day. One of the important factors in taking the digital SAT is practice. Try taking a full-length practice test simulating the test day environment. This should be done using a computer adaptive test. That means no cell phones or other distractions. After receiving the results, you will know which areas to focus on. Continue this process until you have achieved your desired results. Learning breathing techniques to focus and calm your nerves will also help on test day. Get to the test site early so you can settle in. Make sure to get enough sleep and eat a healthy dinner and breakfast before the test.


For those who want to opt out of taking the SAT, make sure to check to find schools that are test optional.

College Spotlight
Marist College

Poughkeepsie, NY

Marist College, nestled along the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York, is known for its comprehensive liberal arts education and experiential learning opportunities. The institution offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in fields like business, communication, computer science, and the liberal arts.


What distinguishes Marist is its integrative approach that bridges classroom theory with real-world applications. Through internships, study abroad, research projects, and community partnerships, students gain invaluable hands-on experience. .

By the Numbers

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 5,379

  • Graduate enrollment: 1,043

  • Women: 53%

  • Men: 47%

  • Admission rate: 42%

  • Average High School GPA: 3.6

  • Student Faculty Ratio: 16:1

  • Campus Type: Suburban

Student Quotes

  • “The classes that are geared toward your major are very interactive, relevant, and interesting. The core curriculum takes up most of your study time.”

  • “If you're a people person, Marist has nice people. If you're not, Marist has nice scenic views, a grand library and well-equipped gym for you to tune out the people with.”

  • “Marist is definitely a school where people like to go out and have a good time. Most of the student population does that.“

  • “Food in the dining hall can get repetitive, but if you switch up your meals you'll be fine.”



Academically, Marist combines a comprehensive liberal arts core with extensive pre-professional programs. Classes feature an interactive, seminar-style approach with an average size of just 21 students, with less than 6% of classes being larger than 30 students. First-year students enroll in a learning community focused on developing critical skills like communication and problem-solving.

Marist offers over 50 major fields of study spanning arts, sciences, business, technology and more. Particularly strong programs include business, communication, computer science, and media. The college emphasizes hands-on learning through internships, research projects, and collaboration with industry partners. Marist College also offers numerous graduate programs, as well as a Doctor of Physical Therapy & Physician Assistant program.


Unique opportunities include a fashion program in New York City and options for accelerated bachelor's/master's degrees. Overall, Marist provides an enriching educational experience that blends theory with practical applications.



Diversity and inclusion are priorities at Marist College. The student body represents a wide range of racial, ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Approximately 85% of undergraduate students receive some level of merit based aid, and the school meets 74% of demonstrated financial need for accepted students through a combination of grants, loans, work-study, and scholarships. 


Additionally, Marist has taken steps to make the campus more welcoming and supportive for underrepresented groups. This includes initiatives like a LGBTQAI+ Resource Center, interfaith space for spiritual practice, and programming promoting diversity awareness. The goal is to cultivate a richly diverse community where students of all backgrounds can thrive academically and personally. Marist recognizes that diversity drives innovation and prepares graduates for success in an increasingly global society.


What one word or phrase best describes the typical student at Marist College?






Campus Living

Over 90% of freshman students live on campus and over 60% of all Marist students continue to live in campus housing. Housing options span traditional residence halls, suites, townhouses, and apartments - many recently renovated or newly constructed. Several living-learning communities allow students to reside together based on shared academic interests or identity/cultural affiliations.

Campus Life

Marist has an active and vibrant campus life. The Student Government Association oversees over 100 clubs and organizations spanning interests like media, performing arts, community service, cultural affinity groups and more. Popular annual events include concert performances, comedy shows, outdoor festivals and cultural celebrations. Marist's location in the scenic Hudson Valley provides access to outdoor recreation like hiking, boating, and more.  New York City is also easily accessible, just a 90 minute train ride from campus. While academics take priority, Marist also fields 23 NCAA Division I athletic teams. The Red Foxes compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. About 25% of students participate in club or intramural sports as well. Recent facility upgrades include a convocation center, baseball stadium, and renovated fitness centers.

Learning Support Program

Marist College offers a Learning Support Program dedicated to empowering students with Learning Disabilities and/or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder by offering tailored academic support, learning strategies, and advocacy skills. Through personalized guidance, the aim is to foster independence and enable students to thrive as active members of the global community. The program includes weekly one-on-one sessions with a learning specialist, each lasting 45 minutes. Geared towards self-motivated, diligent, and goal-driven individuals requiring academic assistance and accommodations, the goal is to ensure full integration into the college community. Participants are expected to fulfill the same graduation criteria as their peers at Marist, reflecting our commitment to inclusivity and equality. Prospective students should have an understanding of their learning obstacles, a willingness to embrace assistance, and the ability to independently apply strategies learned during sessions. The Learning Support Program operates on a fee basis, catering specifically to students whose primary disability is a Learning Disability and/or ADHD.

Random Things

Marist in Manhattan: Marist offers several programs that allow students to live and study in New York City for a semester. The Fashion Program is based in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, providing fashion merchandising and design students direct access to the heart of the fashion industry. The Media Program gives communication and arts students the chance to intern at TV networks, magazines, PR firms and more while taking classes in a professional Manhattan studio. 


Study Abroad: About 50% of Marist students study abroad before graduating, taking advantage of opportunities spanning over 65 countries. Popular destinations include Italy, England, Australia, Spain and Ireland. Marist offers semester-long study abroad options as well as shorter options over breaks or faculty-led course attachment trips, such as two weeks in Barcelona and Madrid to study fashion trends. Marist has a branch campus in Florence, Italy, offering bachelor's & master's degrees, as well as a #1 nationally ranked Study Abroad program.


Hudson River Access: Marist's riverfront campus provides direct access to the Hudson River for the crew team as well as recreational activities like kayaking and sailing through the Longview Park boat launch. The Hudson River views from the library and other areas of campus make for a serene and inspiring learning experience!


Marist Polls: The Marist Institute for Public Opinion conducts highly respected public opinion polls regularly featured in major media outlets like NBC News, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal. The student-staffed poll has earned an A+ rating from FiveThirtyEight for its statistical methodologies.

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Major Spotlight

Business is among the most popular majors in the U.S., according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, comprising nearly 1 in 5 bachelor's degrees. Business majors explore fundamental business principles and practices that enable companies to run efficiently. Students pursuing a business major often study multidisciplinary concepts so they can develop strong communication, leadership, and analytical skills.

When considering a major in business, research different programs and how they align with your goals. Below is a sampling of options:


Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence prepares students for analyst positions. The degree combines management, marketing, technology, and data analytics. No computer programming is required; rather, you will develop skills enabling you to manage and interpret large amounts of data and, most importantly, use data to make management decisions. Some skills you will learn are data collection, integration, analysis, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

Business Management & Administration

There is a subtle difference between administration and general management. Business administration is concerned with the detailed operations of running a business, while business management is about overall leadership and seeing the bigger economic picture. A business management degree focuses on planning and organizing the activities of a business or organization in order to achieve its goals and objectives. In contrast, a degree in business administration provides a broad background and allows the student to focus on a specialized area of business. Both business management and administration degrees typically include the same core subjects, including marketing, accounting, economics, and finance. These subjects give students a background in how businesses work, from how products are sourced and manufactured to how they are marketed and sold, and finally, how the money is managed and used to grow the business.

A student of business management will generally then go on to take additional courses in related areas that may include communications, logistics, decision-making, information systems, and human resources.  Often, a business administration student will specialize in a specific area such as marketing, accounting, finance, entrepreneurship, healthcare management, international business, or operations management.

Applied Economics/Economics

Applied Economics/Economics prepares students to pursue careers that use data and economic principles to address real world problems such as food production, trade, environmental, and sustainability issues. Students learn to weigh competing pieces of evidence critically, make sound decisions, and communicate their findings to various audiences. Economics is a significant theoretical model of how societies function. Applied economics is the implementation of that model broadly and in a myriad of specific circumstances. 



Accounting majors learn how to create, maintain, and audit a detailed and accurate system that displays the finances of a business or organization. They study the theory behind accounting and learn how to analyze the financial position of a firm or organization.

Accounting majors often work to become certified public accountants (CPAs) and provide expertise in business finance for a wide variety of industries. Many programs allow you to select an area of specialization, which can help you if you know what career you want to pursue after you graduate. Bachelor's degree programs in accounting can help you develop financial problem-solving and decision- making skills. Types of specific accounting degrees include:


  • Real Estate Accounting

  • Management Accounting

  • International Finance

  • Auditing

  • Mergers and Acquisitions


Career Paths for Business Majors


Business Intelligence

· Computer Systems Analyst

· Data Scientist/Engineer


Business Management & Administration

· Advertising, Marketing Manager

· Financial Manager

· Sales Manager

· Credit Analyst

· Public Administrator

· Systems Analyst

· Health Administrator

· Systems Analyst

· Human Resources Manager


Economics & Applied Economics

· Compensation, Benefits Analyst

· Financial Advisor

· Economist 

· Investment Banking Analyst

· Global Markets Analyst

· Business Operations Analyst

· Financial Analyst 

· Actuary



· Budget Analyst
· Financial Examiner

· Accountant/CPA

· Auditor

Money Matters
The Hidden Costs of College

College financial aid packages should start arriving this month, but when you begin to compare your out-of-pocket costs, be sure to include expenses that go beyond room, board, and tuition.  These costs may vary from one institution to another, but they add up quickly.


Books: According to the College Board (2021-2022 academic year), full-time undergraduates at a four-year university spent an average of $1,240 on books and supplies. Buying new textbooks from the university bookstore is expensive. Students can look on Amazon, Cheapest Textbooks, or even Barnes and Noble, and they can also buy used textbooks to save money. Another possibility is the campus library, though this option may not always be available because of the amount of text books available. When done with the books, consider reselling them.

Food: Meal plans differ from college to college—buy the plan that best reflects the way you are likely to eat. According to the Education Data Initiative (August 2023), college students spend an average of $410 a month eating off campus, in addition to the average meal plan of $331. Food costs also vary depending on the location of the college.

Transportation: Distance from home and availability of lower-cost travel options should be considered.  If you will be traveling by air, buy tickets well in advance for peak travel periods such as Thanksgiving.  Bringing a car to campus? Better add in the cost of parking, gas, and maybe some parking tickets.

Greek Life: Costs associated with going Greek can be expensive.  In addition to chapter dues, initiation fees can range from hundreds to even thousands. Sometimes even higher costs are incurred when living in a sorority or fraternity house rather than in campus housing. Special activities also can be costly.

Club and Organization Fees: These can include fees for intramural sports, political groups, or professional organizations.

Studying Abroad- Expenses are often incurred including air travel, living expenses, and visas.  Some colleges will provide stipends to cover additional expenses so that more students can experience a semester abroad.

Decorating and Furnishing Living Spaces: Dorms usually provide basic furniture and lighting. Students will need to provide their bedding, lamps, rugs, and posters. Once they move off campus, they may also need to buy furniture, beds, and kitchen supplies.

Emergency Expenses: Though unpredictable, they are inevitable, whether it is a trip to the emergency room, a car repair or a lost laptop. It is helpful to have some money reserved.

Now is the Time
Planning College Visits

College visits can be exhilarating and exhausting. Planning will help to reduce stress and increase enjoyment.

Before visiting, it may be worth previewing a college by watching a virtual tour. When deciding your itinerary, choose a balance of colleges that fit academically and socially. You can always visit more colleges after receiving acceptances. The ideal time to visit campus is when college is in session. This gives you a chance to see the hustle and bustle of campus. When planning visits, make sure to sign up for an official walking tour and an admissions session. Allot at least three hours on campus. 

When on the tours, parents should stay closer to the back of the pack and encourage their child to engage with the tour guide. This is an opportunity for you, the student, to ask questions such as: What is the best way to meet people? What kind of clubs are there? As an undergrad, will I have access to professors? The most frequently asked question is usually, “How is the food?”

If possible, schedule a meeting with a professor in the student’s department of interest. Are the facilities up to date? Are there research or internship opportunities for undergraduates?

After the tour, if you have time, go to the dining hall to taste the food and observe the atmosphere. Are kids sitting together or alone? If comfortable, talk to some of them. Ask why they chose this college. What do they like or not like? What is the campus like on the weekends? What is the surrounding area like?

One of the ways to add some fun to touring is by visiting the surrounding area. If you love ice cream, find a local store and indulge. Do this with each college visit and compare the ice cream. If ice cream isn’t your thing, maybe it’s an independent bookstore. Whatever it is, make sure your teen takes notes and pictures. This will help when trying to remember the atmosphere of the school.

Keeping an open mind during this process is important.  Some colleges will likely resonate with you, but not your child. Help your child reflect on the visit by asking open-ended questions about what they saw, heard, and thought while on campus.  Listen carefully to your child’s reactions before sharing your impressions. 

Take notes, as your child may forget to write down information.  Most importantly, enjoy this time with your teen before they head into the next chapter of their lives. Try to build some downtime and fun activities that have nothing to do with college and enjoy this exciting journey.

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