As a student in business administration, Ashton Darrett '11 of Brooklyn, N.Y., began his college career with a smart economic decision. MCLA not only is affordable, "I am in my senior year and I have yet to take out a loan to pay for school," he said.
Beyond cost, MCLA has provided Darrett with the education, experience and skills he will need to be successful in his career.
"I love how much the school offers, despite being so affordable," Darrett said. "The experience the teachers offer, and the abroad programs and organizations on campus rival that of any major college or university. I also like the family atmosphere this college has."
What's the best thing about MCLA? According to Darrett, it's the size.
"The school is small enough where everyone can always see a familiar face in the crowd," he explained. "The professors and administrators are personable and genuinely care and want students to succeed. This fact is backed up by small and manageable class sizes where each student has a sufficient amount of attention from the professor."
Darrett said MCLA is preparing him for the challenges he will face upon graduation.
"MCLA is prepping me to go beyond my expectations and character. If I don't understand something, I have learned here at MCLA that it is okay to ask for help or further clarity," he said. "I am learning that there are abundant resources available to anyone, if they are willing to look for them. MCLA is helping me to focus and aspire to be more than just good. MCLA encourages me to be great."
At MCLA, Darrett is encouraged to step out of his comfort zone and to open his eyes to the world around him. Last spring, he traveled to China, an experience he said changed his life.
"It's one thing to read about the Great Wall of China, but it's another to actually climb it," he said.
All that a student learns at MCLA can be applied directly or indirectly to their career and education, Darrett said.
"A liberal arts education molds well-rounded and multifaceted students. MCLA gives students the tools and know how to go into any field of work and excel. In the field of business, I am learning how to speak to people, coordination, group motivation, and financial management while still having a background of American history, anthropology, American literature and being musically inclined," Darrett said.
In addition to working as the student assistant to MCLA President Mary K. Grant, Darrett is an orientation leader, a co-facilitator for the Campus Conversations on Race group, and a member of the Pathways volunteer program - through which he inspires local youth to go to college.
According to Darrett, "You learn a lot about yourself by helping others. By being an orientation leader, I have gained a great deal of interpersonal and public relations experience. Orientation leaders also get to know faculty members and staff on a level more than that of a student teacher relationship. It is this kind of relationship that births internships and mentoring. ... All my experiences here have pointed me in the path of helping others. No matter what I decide to do as a career, be it a lawyer or business consultant, it will all be for the betterment of others."