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Ball State University

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What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Hindsight is better than foresight, and this maxim is applicable regarding the nature of immature choices of a high school senior. In consideration of the economic and political trends of the current time, I would consider a double major in two very divergent fields. The first choice would have been in the Humanities. The second major would have been in the sciences. I would have selected a classics major in conjunction with a biology major, thus affording me professional options beyond the scope of education and academic research in the Humanities. The science aspect would have opened up numerous fields in medicine, medical technology, and other allied science fields. It would have opened the door to a variety of graduate school options that, as an undergraduate student, I was unable to anticipate with any degree of predictability. I am persuaded that diversity in one's college education is as imperative an academic function as it is in terms of social interaction or in financial investments. The remaining elective hours would have left me even more alternatives, such as enhancing either major with professional courses in education, library science or business. In essence, I would maximize the potential of my degree.

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Finding the right college can seem overwhelming. First of all, the student needs to discern what they wish to study. Visiting a career counselor will help point the student in the right direction according to the student's personality and characteristics. Narrow down the college options to those which specialize and excel in areas the student wishes to pursue. Secondly, the student should look at affordability of the school and potential scholarships available. Many scholarships offered by schools can make college more affordable. If the student excels in a certain sport, the college may have scholarships available. Thirdly, the student should evaluate the school based on how well the school's "culture" meets their needs and desires. Does the student do better in large or small population environments? Does the school have any activites/sports where the student will feel comfortable and be able make friends quickly? How is the school's academic and emotional/social support? Are there helpful tutors and counselors to help the students? This is extremely important because most of the student's learning will be outside of the classroom. Focusing on these three areas will make what seems to be an impossible decision more achievable.

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While I have immensely enjoyed my experience at Ball State University, if I could impart one piece of wisdom upon ?high school senior KyLeigh?, I would greatly stress the difficulty of being an off campus-commuting freshman to a larger university. The majority of college freshman are residing in the university dormitories, and in doing so, have the ability to socialize with an entirely new group of people, outside of the normal classroom setting. Conversely, as a college freshman, I decided to put my social life on the back burner, in order to focus solely on my academic career. As a college junior, looking back on my university experience, I am extremely proud of my academic achievements, yet I fell somewhat unfulfilled with my social standing with the university. Therefore, if I could discuss my college experience with the high school senior form of myself, I would greatly stress the importance of actively joining in extracurricular activities and organizations, and not hide behind the security of living at home. I have found myself playing extracurricular ?catch-up? in my junior year, which is infinitely harder than becoming involved in social and academic organization as a college freshman.

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Make every effort to visit the colleges/ universities you are seriously considering to attend. Often schools will look excellent on paper; however, that doesn't necessarily mean the school is compatible for you. For at least nine months out of a year, you will be eating, sleeping, studying and socializing on the campus of the university/college that you have chosen to attend. Obviously, it would be a good idea to visit the campus and get a feel for the environment. Do your homework before you go; have your questions ready, set up a campus tour and an appointment with the head of your major's department. If you are undecided try to meet with an advisor who might be able to recommend certain classes that will help you decide. It is also a good idea to look for schools that have an orientation program for new students and their parents. These types of programs are very helpful for stduents' transition and keeping parents informed, which reflects the school's priority in communication between students, parents, and its administration. Once you have YOUR college/university, get involved, challenge yourself, stay positive, and your unforgettable experience will all fall into place!

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The college experience has the potential to mold a student in ways that can affect their entire outlook on society and how they make their mark in the world. It is absolutely vital that students and their parents choose a college where there are numerous opportunities for the student to gain real-world leadership experience through the classroom, internships, campus organizations, and extracurricular activities. The chosen college will be the student?s home for the next four years so it is also important that both the student and parents are comfortable with the campus culture. Every college campus has a unique feel and no campus is exactly the same. It is important to visit multiple campuses, small and large, public and private, to determine what would be the best fit for achieving academic and social excellence. One more point to touch upon is the cost of education, which can add up quickly. No student can truly succeed in any academic environment if under the constant pressure to work a full-time job to pay off their schooling or take out multiple student loans to finance their education. Choosing a college is an exciting process so take time and enjoy it!

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Ball State has allowed me to grow and become a stronger individual. I have worked as a group fitness instructor, an assistant to the associate athletic director, and a community aide for the university apartments. All experiences were different and I was able to gain confidence in myself and can work in a variety of environments. I also have had the opportunity to have leadership roles within a sorority (Alpha Gamma Delta), the Panhellenic Council (governing body for all sororities), and serve as President for the Ball State Dietetic Association. I feel like I have been able to provide learning opportunities for my classmates and have served as a role model to those around. Upon completing my undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology, I had the opportunity to complete and internship in Melbourne, Florida in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. This experience was one of the best experiences of my life and will always cherish the education and friendships that I gained during the semester. Because of Ball State, I have been fortunate to have taken advantage of all the opportunities that were presented and did things I never thought I could or would!

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My college experience set the stage for an awesome career path which has led me to a position as an associate dean for a private college. My educational experience taught me to project positivity, exhibit flexibility and confidence, set high expectations, and demonstrate fairness and consistency. One vitally important skill that I learned was to build a solid communication among fellow employees and how it directly affects how we continue to develop the craft of educating and give the best education possible to our students. In addition to the development of good communication skills, I learned a lot about myself, a lot about the world, a lot about business and a lot about people. What is on my belief window is extremely important. I must constantly analyze critically what is most important to me and the fact that life goes on. I can look into the future with the belief that I can succeed no matter what rocks in the road I may be presented. I learned to adapt in new situations and to venture out in advantageous ways beyond my comfort zone. Having an understanding of myself has enabled me to motivate and influence others to strive for excellence.

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College is an incredibly valuable experience that is necessary for students to participate in today. I've gained knowledge, confidence, and great connections while attending college. Knowledge is something that no one can ever get enough of, and college is a great place to attain a good amount of it. At South Plains College, the professors are very intelligent, and the one thing they want most is to pass their knowledge on to the students. This great attitude that the instructors carry is contagious to all of the students. Everbody just wants to learn! It's such an awesome atmosphere. Confidence is really important to be successful in the world we live in today. No one knows how to communicate with socially awkward people that have no confidence in themselves. I've done some self discovery at colllege, and in result of that, I'm very confident in who I am, what I stand for, and who I'm representing. This is especially beneficial to everyday life. It is also very important to make connections with people. Part of the college experience is meeting tons of people, and expanding your network. I think college is an amazing, valuable experience.

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So far, my college education has been an overall beneficial experience in several aspects of my life. Going to college has made me a more independent, confident, and open-minded person. Although I face challenges and stress in several areas of the experience, it helps prepare me for "the real world" by presenting me with decision-making duties and multiple responsibilities. I can express myself creatively through my major, while still learning a great deal about my own abilities and the subjects I'm interested in. I'm also able to expose myself to types of knowledge that are un-specific to my major - things that I wouldn't be able to experience without attending college. Also, getting to know professors and classmates, as well as getting involved with campus greek life, has proved to be an overall positive way of enjoying my time here. It's been a very valuable change in my life, with both positive and negative aspects to it, to pursue a college education. However, I am fully confident that I will gain life-long memories, the necessary knowledge and experience towards an exciting career, and a degree that can carry me to success in life.

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I strongly recommend future college students visit potential schools before they make any final decisions. It is imperative that you find a school that fits you socially and academically. In order for you to succeed to your fullest potential, the school needs to match your personality; the school will not change to meet yours. I recommend talking with current students of the school you are visiting to get a better understanding of the daily acitivities that occur there, instead of listening soley to the tour guides. Upon entering school for the first time, I strongly recommend getting to know people that live near you (especially if you live in the dorms). This is a great way to meet new friends and discover new possibilities. Without having a group of friends in college, it can be tough living away from home and everyone you know. I would also encourage new students to get out and try many clubs or other extracurricular activities. These groups are not only a great social networking tool, but are also a great addition to your academics. You can learn new valuable skills while participating in many of the groups your school offers.

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