Since ninth grade, Mallory Walling had planned to attend a small, private college in Vermont. She was accepted, but the looming tuition bills made her think twice.
As high school valedictorian, she qualified for the full-tuition Vermont State Colleges’ Valedictorian/Salutatorian Scholarship, so she started looking at state schools.
The first in her family to attend college, she knew how important it was to continue her education. Her dad didn’t want her to “make the mistake that he did.”
Still, she feared getting lost in the crowd at college. And as she scrambled to switch colleges two months before school was to start, Mallory began to panic. She worried that she didn’t know what she wanted to major in.
Vermont Tech made her feel at home. An administrator gave Mallory her personal cell number and told her to call at any time.
Mallory liked Vermont Tech’s small size, which emulated that of her high school. It felt like her graduating class of 35 students, where she had tight relationships with teachers.
“Vermont Tech was a much better fit, right from the start,” Mallory recalls. “They were so kind.”
Her first year at Vermont Tech, she was a little reserved and lived off campus. It took that same administrator – Jean-Marie L. Clark, associate dean of the Williston campus – to reach out once again.
“I didn’t have that many connections. I wasn’t that comfortable yet,” Mallory says. “Then Jean-Marie asked me to work for her, and it was exactly what I needed to enjoy college."
After graduating, Mallory found a job as an HR assistant in a local staffing agency, and she says that it's a good first step.
"I've said it before, but the administration is absolutely outstanding. They take such a personal interest in each student and doing all they can to help them be successful," Said Mallory "I didn't know it, but I needed a mentor. And Jean-Marie took that role on wholeheartedly. I am thankful to still call her my mentor today, even after graduating."
At Vermont Tech “we have the most spectacular faculty and staff who are genuinely interested in us,” she says. “In a small class, you don’t have the option to not participate.”
Mallory also had a good message for new students, "My advice would be to simply get involved. Join student council, go to all the events, sit with someone you don't know and start a conversation."
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