Educational excellence, value attract more applicants
An increasing number of students and their parents are discovering that MCLA offers a first-class liberal arts education at a great value.
Last December applications to Massachusetts' 15 community colleges, nine state colleges and five University of Massachusetts campuses were up 20 to 40 percent. Leading the pack was MCLA, which that month experienced a remarkable 60 percent spike in applicants.
While the dramatic difference in tuition between public and most private schools is one explanation for the increased interest, after a visit to MCLA, parents and students are also impressed by the caliber of the College's academic offerings.
Students at MCLA experience many of the attributes that private colleges offer, including small classes and quality academic experiences that prepare them not only for future job prospects but for admission to graduate programs. Faculty members also get to know their students and provide opportunities for undergraduates to pursue research by their side.
"Families are recognizing that strong academic programs do not have to come with a large price tag and the value of an MCLA education is very competitive and affordable," says Denise Richardello, MCLA vice president of enrollment and external relations. "We have parents and students who are looking hard at the outcomes they expect from a college and the cost must be within reach for them, especially in these economic times."
Joshua Mendel, associate director of admissions, speaks with families about what put MCLA on their radar.
"They feel like they are getting an incredible value at MCLA," he says. "However, what made them fall in love with us are the opportunities available to their students and how accessible our faculty and staff are."
Applications aren't just flowing in from in-state students. Prospective students include those from New York state. Through the Advantage New York (ANY) program, they find that MCLA costs less than colleges in their own state system.
"MCLA is a Huda family tradition," says Rosanne Huda of Pittsfield, MA, mother of Evanna Huda '12, Larissa Huda '09, and Andrea Huda '05. "We've found the winning formula: a quality education at an affordable price situated in the beautiful Berkshires. We've been able to send our girls to college without them having any loans."
Darsa Donelan '09 of Adams, MA, sums it up this way: "I liked that I could pay for my college and my rent while working at McDonald's. I could not afford other schools plus my rent on what I earn each year. Also, MCLA's physics department is the best!"