MCLA put Krista Roche '08 of Buffalo, N.Y., on the path to fulfilling her longtime dream to live and work in Boston, Mass. The sociology major, who minored in criminal justice and social work, is a paralegal in the Consumer Protection Division in the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.
"I'm 100 percent positive this would not have happened if I didn't go to MCLA. There's no doubt," Roche said. "It's because of the staff, the faculty, President Mary K. Grant - everybody. If you get involved and you really commit to it, then you're going to be successful. Everybody at the College wants to help you, so it's a matter of, 'Do you want to help yourself?'"
As a New York State high school student, Roche traveled to Boston on a school trip and fell in love with the city. "Ever since my sophomore year, I was like, 'I need to go live in Boston.'"
Affordability, however, was a large factor in her decision of where to attend college. Roche knew she needed to find a public school and considered going to a SUNY (State University of New York) institution. Then she received a postcard in the mail from MCLA.
"I saw the picture of Main Street with the American flags and the Berkshire mountains in the background and I said, 'Wow. I need to go visit that school,'" Roche said.
Through MCLA's Advantage New York (ANY), she qualified for tuition savings. ANY provides academically qualified students from New York with the opportunity to attend MCLA at a substantial savings off the annual cost of attendance.
For students who live outside Massachusetts, the annual cost of attendance at MCLA - including room, board, books, tuition and fees - is normally $23,050 per year. ANY reduces this amount to approximately $14,600 per year.
Living and learning in MCLA's small-college atmosphere, Roche found she was able to walk up to anyone and to talk to them and ask them questions.
"I guess it's accessibility," she explained. "At big colleges you can't find out information as easily with thousands of people. In a small community, everybody knows each other and everyone's willing to help out."
This experience instilled confidence in Roche. While at MCLA, she served as the president of the Student Government Association (SGA), was a student ambassador, played on the women's basketball team and was involved in numerous clubs.
"My parents didn't recognize me after my freshman year. I was very shy in high school, and as soon as I went to MCLA, I came out of my shell. It was ridiculous. I felt completely comfortable and I grew up so much. It's just a very enriching environment. I don't know anyone who feels uncomfortable at MCLA, just because it's such a close community. That's the best part about it. You're going to be successful at that school," Roche said.
"I did not anticipate working at the attorney general's office at all. It keeps me on my toes. It's challenging, but that's good," she said.
In addition to New York, students from Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine may qualify for tuition reductions, depending on their location and major. For more information, go to www.mcla.edu/Admissions/value/nebhe.