Last month, you heard from a transfer student. This month, we bring to you the perspective of a student who came all the way from the great state of Alaska to attend Siena College. Find out her reasons why YOU, especially if you're an out-of-stater, should consider Siena.

Meet Ellen Sharkey '17, an Anchorage, Alaska, native who is majoring in math at Siena. As you'll see, she's very active and involved on campus, and has a lot of great things to say about her home away from home.

Here are Ellen's five reasons to choose Siena:

1. "Dynamic and diverse community: There is always something happening at Siena, whether it's an accredited visiting academic speaker, Thursday Bingo night, or an athletic event. Never have I ever felt that there was a dull moment on campus or that there was nothing to do. Also, coming from one of the most diverse school districts in the nation, I was impressed by Siena's diverse community. The girls living in my hallway freshman year, who later became my close friends, have roots in Korea, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Poland and Italy, and I also met international students from China, Brazil, Zimbabwe and France. The diversity helped me realize that I was not alone in attending school so far away from home, and that I could find a welcoming and supportive community that could help me grow in my academic and extracurricular goals."

2. "Intimate class sizes: The major benefit of having a small class size is that the professor knows you by your name and not by a number. Additionally, it is easier to make connections and build relationships between the professor and student as well as student-student relationships. More often than not, two people who share a class together usually see each other in the dining hall, library or gym. This helped me make essential connections when I was a freshman because I was so far away from home and was able to build community."

3. "Faculty who care and want you to succeed: Each student at Siena is assigned his or her own academic advisor who helps them plan their schedule for the next semester and makes sure they meet the necessary requirements to graduate on time. More importantly, the professors at Siena go the extra mile to expose students to various fields of study and challenge students academically. The professors want to share their passions with students and lead them to greater opportunities, such as research and potential career fields. The professors also hold office hours to meet one on one with a student in case a topic needs to be clarified or questions answered."

4. "Opportunity for growth: There are many opportunities to grow academically and as a person at Siena. Between research opportunities, countless clubs and service trips, it is possible to experiment in different activities and grow as a person. I was interested in joining Irish Step Team and being a part of the Chaplain's Office and Community Living. I have friends who participate in everything from Army ROTC to being on the Student Events Board to building houses for Habitat for Humanity to playing Women's Rugby. Each student has the capability to cater to their own interests and meet other people who are also interested in the same things."

5. "Fantastic and friendly Franciscan friars: The holy men wearing brown robes walking around campus add a warm and welcoming environment wherever they go. Whether they were teaching in a classroom, presiding at Mass or socializing with students, I immediately felt comfortable around the friars. They are funny, down to earth and willing to lend an ear to anyone who needs it. Since Siena is a Franciscan college, the values of diversity, optimism, respect and service are always promoted. These values round out Siena as a whole and really made me feel the most welcomed and able to grow in the academic, social and service-orientated environment."

Thinking of crossing the country yourself to attend college? Arrange a tour at Siena; you'll be so glad you did.

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