This first year of college brought a lot of different experiences for me. I tackled the independence of living on campus, away from my family, which taught me time management, self sufficiency, and raised my self esteem. I studied a semester in London at City University, getting the opportunity to see the world, immerse myself in a different culture and educational environment. My courses gave me an insight into the global work force which is important in competing in the global job market. Freshman year gave me the opportunity to think about the future, what were my goals, and how was I going to accomplish them. Attending college was the best thing that could have happened to me. I met with many people, students and professors, sharing ideas and concepts that will help me throughout life.
No matter where you go to school it's really important to be open minded and be active. Unlike high school, no one is going to hold your hand and walk you through the process of picking classes or joining clubs or anything, except maybe the first semester. You also don't need to answer to anyone but yourself, so don't be afraid to ty new things, joing new clubs or try new sports, if you want to do something than you absolutely should. The most important factor in picking a school should be not only the academic, but also something that really catches your attention- like a program or sport or just their statement of purpose. A good study abroad program is also a good indicator of the schools involvement and the types of opportunities that might be available.
As a mother of three, returning to college was amazing. My two eldest children attended the same school with me. It was great to be able to "compare notes" with them on some classes. It was also a family "competition" for GPA's. (I won!) Even though this experiece with my children was great, making so many new friends and experiencing things I never thought I could again was truly amazing. I have become a better person, and parent for attending. My youngest child (3rd grade) thinks it's "cool" that Mom is going to be a teacher. My experience's have giving him a better insight of his teacher as well. He better understands what is expected of him on an academic and behavior level. Over all, this has been one of the best experience's of my entire life!
The advice that I would give myself would be do not start slacking off any time soon. Hhard work definiely pays off. Do not worry about getting into a relationship because they are in the way of your education. Take as many AP or IB courses as you can because they count for so many credits in college. you need them. The more credits you have, the less classes you have to take. The less classes you have to take, the less money you have to pay because you are not in a good economic state. College changes you and you need to start looking for a part time job. It will help pay off thing sthat you will need whne you get here. Make sure to do your best and nothing buth the best. Work harder! Look for as amny scholrships and grants as you can. You can do it !
Visit as many schools as you can so you can experience it yourself. Try to visit on weekdays and weekends so you get what its like during both types of day. Also, when attending college try to be as involved as your possibly can. The skills you learn outseide the classroom are the best kind, in my opinion. Getting involved also makes people more outgoing and helps them make friends and be social. Making sure that the schools you look at have these types of extracurricular activities is key. Its important to look at every day things that your going to want in a school, while visiting. Food, the area, the people, professors, sports, clubs, living areas, and campus activities are all things that should be evaluated during your college selection.
I think in order to find the right school you have to consider location and size. Schools are usually expensive no matter where you go but you have to decide if you think you can handle being away from home and how far is too far. You also need to take in consideration on the school size because if you are used to a smaller high school then a bigger college may seem overwhelming. One other important thing is you need to go where there are activities you are interested in and majors of interest. Even if you do not know what you want to major in if you have some interests it will be easier to weed out the other schools. You also want extra curricular activities that interest you because you will need a break from schoolwork from time to time.
I would only give myself one piece of advice: embrace the experience. College is a whole new word filled with amazing experiences. Don't get too tied down with schoolwork to forget to have a little fun. There are plenty of clubs and activites that want you to get involved so DO IT! Yes, academics are the most important reason for why you are at college, but, you will miss out on new adventures and amazing opportunity if you continue to stress over schoolwork. College should be the best 4 years of your young life don't miss out on the excitement of it all cause you won't get those years back. Now go out on weekends, let your hair down, and think about schoolwork during school days because there ARE plenty of hours in the day to get it all done.
It definitely takes a great amount of time to adjust to something that is completely different than what you have ever experienced; however as much as you might be frustrated going through the transition, you will see yourself start to change. You will see growth, positive growth into a person of society, into the person that you want to be in this life. You will learn so many things about yourself and about the world and will learn how to be a person who can contribute to your community and much later, the world. So no matter how hard the struggle will definitely seem at times, have faith and trust in yourself. Be confident about who you are, where you came from, and why you are here. I can guarantee you will make it.
It is important to first review the personality of the student entering college, and then look at the person's intellectual capability and goals. If a person can fit all three of these categories into one university, then they have found the learning environment for them. If you are an introvert/intellectual, there are many ivy league and higher education systems available for these people. If you are gregarious and intellectual, then you have found my school. If you choose to look at things on a global level, then study abroad is important. The main issue here is to figure out what you like to study, and enjoy as a hobby, know your study habits and learning curve, and go out there and you will find the right fit.
I transferred to Arcadia from another college and the experiences were like night and day. My previous school was very competitive and getting into required classes was so difficult that a large portion of students had to stay more than four years to meet graduation requirements. Arcadia really does make its students its priority. I have been able to build relationships with my professors and even professors outside of my department. This school supports my academic and career goals rather than being indifferent like my previous school. As a student at Arcadia I find myself setting higher goals for myself and working harder to achieve them because I know I have the support of my peers and professors.