I would not trade my experience at Ashland University for anything. My time at Ashland has helped shaped me into the professional, intelligent, and career seeking person that I am today. I not only received a great education at Ashland, but I also acquired "real life" experience through internships/ student teaching/ and a number of volunteer opportunities. Throughout my four years I took part in a number of social "campus bonding" events and even though we were a very small school, you could feel the school pride run through our campus. Ashland's moto was "Accent on the Individual" and that is exactly what I felt like each and every day that I was on campus.. I have earned a great education, life long friends, and professional experience from AU. I have taken everything that I gained from AU and I apply it to my professional life each and every day. Without going to AU I would not have gained the extensive amount of knowledge of my field. AU opened my eyes to the many career options available to me and helped me to decide to further my academic career by attending Graduate School to persue my teaching licensure.
Students should really research and visit any college that they are planning on attending. Sometimes, just the physical atmosphere can determine whether or not you will be happy there. Once you decide on a college, it is very important to prioritize. There isn't always time to do everything you did in high school, so you need to know that school work comes first. Although doing well academically is very important, it is also very important to spend time doing what makes you happy. People find happiness in different things, and it is important to remember that you might be different than your fellow students. Whether you like to read in your room, go out with friends, or just rest, all students need to take time to for themselves. To make the most of your college experience, it is most important to remember why you are going to school. Some people spend their college years as if the end result was just to make friends and party on the weekends, but some people always remember that their future depends on what they learn and how they develop while in college, and those people get their money's worth.
Everyone goes to college seeking a good education; one thinks of professors and exams. While my education is of great importance, it is not the only thing that I have gotten from my college experience. I have also gained new skills, a support system, and truly, a second home. I work as a student caller for the Admissions Office. Through this job, I have gained the skill of comfortably talking on the phone to someone I don't know. Independence is another skill I have gained. I do everything for myself at college - no one is going to do it for me. These are just two of many important skills I have learned that I will use for the rest of my life. In college, I have also gained a support system. In the organizations I am involved in, I know people in each one whom I can count on to help me out. My professors and advisor also provide assistance. I have made new friends, who are always there for me. These people are the reason why I consider college to be my second home. Together, these things are what have made my college experience so very valuable.
College is a time where students gain an abundance of independence. It is a time where family members are not going to make sure the homework is done, and each morning you are on time for classes. College is a time where students become more responsible, and have to make their own decisions. Students are faced with many more decisions in college, and students have to draw a line where there is a time to study and time to have fun. When making the transition from high school to college, it is totally all right to be nervous. Another aspect that helped make my transition to college easier was meeting my roommate during the summer before I attended college. This made the transition easier because I already had a friend on campus, and we consult each other if we have a problem. Another way to make new friends on campus is to leave the dorm room door open. By leaving the door open, people will stop in and say hi or even stay a while and just talk. Explore organizations that interest you, and do not be afraid to step out of the comfort zone.
Before selecting a college, it is extremely important to find where you fit in best. College is a huge investment in your time, effort and future, and it is not cheap. My best advice is to come up with a list of the most important characteristics of a potential college. After coming up with your ideal values (size, reputation, location, living arrangements, extra curriculars, etc.) find schools that best match these qualities. Campus visits are also important, as you can really get a feel of the vibe of the campus. Don't settle for what school you "should" go to. Your friends, parents, and boyfriend/girlfriend will really have an opinion of what you should do. Don't let this influence your decision too much, because you will be the one attending the school, not them. Do what will make you happy. This is probably the most imortant piece of advice I can give to anyone looking at college. Do what makes you feel good, get involved, and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. You only get one life, make it count.
During my senior year I was very idealistic about college. I was recruited to play softball and I did not have to worry too much about how my college was going to be paid. I also had my parents to rely on to help with any additional expenses. My dad, in particular, did quite a bit to help me realize my dream of playing college sports. Little did I know I would suffer a career ending injury and return home. Without the financial help of the athletic scholarship I am now finding that paying for college is not as simple a possibility as it once was. The injury I sustained matured me in many respects. My priorities have changed so quickly and I realize how much I want a college education and the amount of work it will take to get it. I am determined and willing to do the work. I have gotten a part time job to help pay for expenses. My advice. Life is much more real than the insulated world of high school. Listen to the adults. Listen to your parents. Growing up does not have to be painful. I do not have all the answers.
I feel the parents and students should agree on their process of finding the right college that best fits the student. The student should make sure that they look at around and visit before even making a decision. Just by visiting it and looking at the campus helps the students get a feel for what they are looking for in their college experience. Students and parents also need to find out about how much the school is willing to offer you in scholarships and grants. Know how much you can afford and what you may need help on. Talk to the administration, let them help you to satify your needs as a parent and also as a student. A student wants to feel comfortable in the school they choose because that is where they will be most of their time, studying and learning their careers for the future. Students want to make sure that a college is right for them because that is what will make their college experience worth it in their end. Take the time to really figure out if that college is right for you and not anyone else.
The most valuable thing I have gotten from my college experience is freedom. Freedom to make choices, make mistakes, learn and grow. I commuted for the first two years of college and that got me nothing. I had to leave home. I had to live in a dorm and make life choices on my own. The only way to become who you were meant to be is to leave the nest, go to college, join an organization to develop your resume and leadership skills, make a ton of mistakes, fail a class and learn from it all. The greatest freedom of all is knowledge. Going to college gives you the knowledge to get into the career of your dreams so you can learn more and make more. Had I not attended college I wouldn’t have had the opportunities, internships, and sisters that have already made me a better person, and will continue to help me grow and become me. Going to college got me out of a small rural town where had I not left the most I would ever make of my life would be to get married & have babies. College gave me the chance to be more.
As a student, I would say make the most of your limited time looking for the right fit first. Even if your parents want you to go to a specific university, if you don't want to, you don't have to. Money is tight, I know, but you need to find the education that is right for you. I never would have made it in a bigger public school, so I picked a private college in a farming town. You will find a way to get there, or wherever you want to go, if you want to be there. As a parent, let your child grow. You know all about money, the decisions, the stress of academic life plus social life, but you cannot be your child. Your children will experience things differently than you, and in doing so, will need to find a place that fits them. It may not be your choice for your child, but it isn't your choice to make. Being involved in the decision of which college, what state, etc., should be enough to let you know that your child cares enough about you to respect your suggestions and take them to heart.
If I could go back in time to when I was a senior in high school and give myself advice about college life and making the transition is that do not think college is stereotypical. I went to my senior year and the summer before college thinking that college would be like the movies; There would be parties every night, you would get a horrible roommate, people would be having sex all the time, and I would hate it there. With all these thoughts running through my head I was terrified to leave for school. I built college to be one big party, and I am not the parting type. The time came to leave and go to Ashland, the first couple of weeks, I kept to myself, went to class and came back to my room and shut my door. This got very lonely and boring. I finally started to get out and make friends. I wish I would have made friends earlier and not sheltered myself from everything because I was scared of all the stereotypes. None of these stereotypes were true; it took a couple of weeks but I love school now.