When looking at a college you are thinking about attending, talk to some of the upper classmen. Upper classmen tend to have experienced more of the ups and downs of a particular college and can offer you insight into what exactly happens at the college you are interested in. Many times they will also tell you a lot of things that college recruiters will not tell you. College tours and recruiters are designed to put a positive spin on everything. Make sure you know what the college is really like before you invest your time and money into a college that might turn out to be the wrong place for you. Additionally, many colleges allow a prospective student to sit-in on classes which could help you in determining how the faculty approaches the learning environment. Basically the more hands on experience you have with a college the better informed you are going to be. This will make you better equipped to handle challenges as they approach as you have gained a basic understanding about the college from the very beginning.
Parents, make sure you do not push a school onto your child. Let them look, visit, and decide on their own. With that being said, they still need you to help them look at all the details of a school to see if it is the right fit. A little bit of motivation does not hurt either, to make sure your student is actively looking a pursuing a college education at a place that stays true to their beliefs, learning styles, and interests. Students, go visit all the schools that you possibly can, and maybe even spend the night on campus. It is impossible to make an informed decision based on pictures, brochures, and phone conversations. If you're interested in a school's program, go visit and meet the professors, it is the only way to truly make a choice. There is a lot to be said for a school to have all the programs and activities that interest you, and once you visit and meet students from that school, then you can officially decide if that school is the best college for you!
First is to RESEARCH, it will be difficult but if you don't find the schools that offer what you're looking for then you'll be no where and if you don't know what you're looking for find the schools that have your interests or hobbies. Second would be to VISIT the schools you are interested in. There's is only so much you can do by recieving mail and looking at it. The only way to know if a school is right for you is to put your own two feet on the campus, its one of the best ways for you to get an acutal understanding of what the school offers and how it's right for you. Third would be to HAVE FUN, the process of searching for colleges is a major pain at times, but having fun while doing it will take away some of the ease. When going through the process tag along friends or family members or both! Everyone you know is curious to know what school you'll be attending. They are just as eager to find out as you are. And once you've finally made your desicion, BREATHE!
This is my first semester as a college student, and wow, there's just so much to say. For starters, I've learned how to live on my own and it has really helped me become closer to my family because I don't see them as much. College is such a different experience than high school is, it helps students grow up and really understand that this is the real deal...we're on our own know. I've also been taught a lot, classes are so much more difficult than high school classes; but I've actually learned things! It's like all of a sudden you can't just waltz through classes anymore, you really have to try and take the time to really study. This has taught me so much, including that if I try I can accomplish so much more than I thought possible of myself. This has been one the the hardest, but best, experiences of my life. If i would have chosen not to attend college, I don't believe I ever would have realized how much I can do with my life.
If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior I would reassure myself that college life was going to be everything that I had expected and hoped for it to be. I love college and my transition was very smooth. My biggest anxiety about coming to school was that I was very close to my friends from high school and while I am an outgoing person I worried about not finding a good group of friends at school. In giving my high school self advice I would tell myself to quit worrying because I would find a fabulous group of friends; the bonds that I will make with my college friends is deeper and are more comparable to bonds that are seen within a family. I am so blessed to have my school family and having a strong school family can truely make all the difference in a college experience. My Avila Family makes my college experience the best time ever and that is what I would tell myself to look the most forward to.
I would first tell myself that everything gets better and slightly easier. So take a deep breath. High school brought along many ups and downs. Just shake it all off and keep moving forward. College will be an unforgetable time in your life. It will bring many oportuinties and experiences that you have to hold on to. Everyone wants to see you succeed even when it doen't seem like it sometimes. The college professors push you because they really do care and can see the potential and talent that you have when you don't see it. Be patient with yourself and others. There will be times when you don't think you will succeed, but don't give up, and remember that no one is perfect. Starting off in at a new school in a different state is scary, but you are strong, smart, and will greet anyone with a smile. So let thoses be your strong points, and great things will happen.
The advice I would give to parents and or students in finding the right fit for a college and making the most of their college experience would be to put aside what their friends do and where they go because at the end of the day, the students are responsible for what happens in class and are responsible for their final grades. Friends are a great thing to have and should not be taken lightly but these times in college are the now or never phase in young people?s life. I?ve seen some of my friends not attend college and are now working menial jobs just trying to pay rent and I?ve also seen older people who do the same and can only figure that they have been doing this their entire lives. That?s not the road I wish to follow and that is my inspiration, I can only hope your inspiration will carry you to choose the right decision for you.
The best advice that I could of given to myself is don't give up, stay true to yourself when making transitions life. Be motivated and prepared to climb that mountain from high school to college implementing the 3 p's; plan, priortize and know when to incorporate play. For example, college life consists of 16 weeks per semester. Most colleges offer on or off campus extracurricilar activities. The personal advice I gave to myself was to develop a routine blocked study schedule as time allows break away from the mundane life of becoming a nerd with no life, by doing that is fun and recreational allows the body to release stress and tension. Clearly then, college life does not have to be a life chore. When one finds the secret of how to balance one's priority. Finally, transition to stay focus and work to study hard.
Finding the right college for the field you're going into is the most important thing a student can do. A school with emphasis on the field you're going into will have more support and resources to help you through. Remember, you are at school to learn and make a future for yourself. STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! It is important to apply yourself completely, but don't overload yourself. Always remember to laugh and have fun! Find the balance between, school work, class, friends, work, sports, I know it seems hard but its possible, I did it and I couldn't be happier. Always strive to be the best at what you do because remember, you write your own future.
The biggest suggestion I would make to myself is to take my time. Plenty of people start college right out of high school due to pressure from friends and family or simply to stay up with school work ethic. It took me a while to choose my major (Radiology) and I had to be sure before I chose it. I only wish that I had not wasted so much time in persuing a career that I wasn't ready for. College is a privalege and an amazing one at that. It should not be wasted. Slow down, enjoy your studies, enjoy the school environment, and focus on what you want to do in the future and start right away to secure the means to gain the things you've always wanted.