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Boston College

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

Dear me, "College is about resources. Use them." University success can be defined by the choice between utilizing one's resources and letting them fall to waste. In a community designed for your personal success, the vast wealth of collegiate resources is literally inexhaustible. You have four years to break as much ground as possible. Upon admission, education is no longer about competing with your peers for the best application, but about generating the private objectives that challenge your greatest asset and overcome your greatest obstacle: yourself. Every facet of the university environment is engineered to support the most extensive exploration of self. To be anything but ravenous for personal expansion is fundamentally self-abusive. The fear of that expansion can either fold you or fuel you, though it takes bravery to ask the questions of others and yourself that you don't know the answers to. By avoiding the interpersonal exchange that the college culture uniquely cultivates, you are depriving yourself and others, diluting the fuel. Tapping your resources is the key to enriching your person. It takes a village to raise a child, and a university to build an adult. Digging the foundation, however, comes down to you.

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*Stay true to the person you are, while finding the environment that will foster the person you might be.* Before you start considering which schools you might go to, begin by creating two different but equally important lists. The first list should include 'things that you hope to get out of college.' This list should include things like what major you will have and whether you want to pursue specific athletic or professional goals. These are functional and academic considerations. Then you should make a list focused on your personality. This list should consist of 'things that make you happy.' When forming your second list, consider what size community you thrive in; whether you like sporting games, volunteering, singing, or political debate; what geographic region you'd like to live in; and whether you value diversity amongst your fellow students. Both lists are crucial. You cannot focus on what you want out of a school and ignore what you bring to it. College is about learning academically, but it is also about personal growth and discovery. This means not only concentrating on the education and environment at a perspective school, but also considering how a school will help you grow.

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Many high school students aren't thinking about the future and are more focused on gaining acceptance through their peers. As a result, less time is spent concerned with the future and more time is wasted. Hard work in high school is rewarded with scholarships, getting into better colleges, and the overall satisfaction of honest, hard work. There are so many different clubs, sports, student government positions, and summer opportunities available if you would only look. Though it can be easy to feel like time won't allow many different activities, careful planning and sacrifice can create more time in a day than you would expect. Different clubs like the National Honor Society, Leo Club, and academic clubs can promote global thinking as well as secure friendships. Also, sports provide exercise while encouraging focus and determination. Student government teaches important leadership and social skills necessary in life. High school doesn't have to be considered the “worst years of your life” as many call it. If you would look beyond the need to make friends and simply engage in the school and the world around you, you'll find there's a lot to offer, even at Kauai High School.

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College life gives the student a crash course in independence. High school is over, the parents are gone, and one is forced to try to make many new friends in the span of the first few weeks of college. This part of the transition is probably the toughest. Do not pretend to be someone you are not when making friends; these friendships will not survive the semester. Also, students are increasingly trying to fit into the "hook-up" culture that now pervades most campuses. I urge seniors to think twice before partying and drinking; the consequences of these actions can either be relatively benign, such as an embarrasing moment, to more severe penalties, such as loss of friendships and even an arrest if caught drinking under the age requirement. Colleges usually have a myriad of other activities that one can enjoy on campus besides the typical college party. Academically, college courses are definitely more challenging. Time management is the key here; keep up with your work. Set up regular times each weekend in which to do homework. Use the libraries, tutoring services, and office hours your college and professors offer. The only way to perfect this strategy is to practice.

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Finding the right college involves time, research, and commitment. It may take all of senior year and may even continue into that freshman year after you thought you had already found the right college. My advice to parent's and prospective students is to make sure the student has been exposed, or actually visted and experienced the different college milieu's. Be patient. College campuses vary in all shapes and sizes and there are many factors to consider from transportation, work availabilty, to the size of the classroom. All of these aspects interrelate and there needs to be an appropriate balance to fully enjoy college as a whole. Finances are of the absolute necessity and students and parents should make sure that the student can afford all four years and make sure they choose a school where this is a possibility. Finances can significantly affect how much of the college life from the learning to the social living that the student is able to participate in. Extracurriculars outside of the classroom, such as a job, club, sport teams, are of the utmost important in making friends. Also, remember, drinking buddies are not real buddies. Form friendships first.

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My college education has thusfar exposed me to experiences that I have never had previously, and has truly inspired me. Whether it be sharing a room among four people, participating in fascinating discussions with my peers and professors alike, or any number of other new enterprises, I have found it all very enjoyable. My favorite activity so far, was a retreat that i attended with a group of about 150 freshmen called 48 Hours. On this retreat, known all accross campus for being a must as a freshmen experience, we heard testimonies from current seniors about their transitions into college life. They all had wonderfully inspiring stories about their early struggles, and the ways in which they were able to turn their lives around. It really got me thinking about my own misgivings about my transitions, but in such a way that I felt comfortable hearing that I was certainly not alone. The conversations with other freshmen afterwards were equally humbling, and i felt a real connection with people who were complete strangers only the day before. This experience captures the mentality here at BC, and has proven that my experience has been and will continue to be invaluable.

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Presumably most people would advise attending the school from which one receives "the feeling." Yes, if you are one of the lucky few to have "the feeling" go for it. But for the rest of us "the feeling" is merely an ever elusive wonder. My decision process was quite arduous, as I came down to two terribly similar schools. In pursuit of "the feeling," I resorted to ridiculous practices like trying on each school's t-shirt, hoping one's billowing fit would in some way illuminate my college choice. My efforts proved to be futile and I was left utterly confused. So, I instead began to examine a different sort of fit ? how did I perceive myself to fit into this school? Such a question can only be answered by visiting perspective schools, participate in tours and information sessions, but most importantly meander through the grounds and try to picture yourself at the school. Once enrolled my advice is simple: get involved! Find something you are passionate about and pursue that interest. Challenge your high school perspective and formulate beliefs that are uniquely your own - rooted in self examination and experience. Carpe diem! Four years go by awfully fast.

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Although today, we, as Americans, face an economically trying time it is important to still put your son or daughter?s needs first. College may only be a four year fraction of their lives; however, depending on the college or university the memories will last a lifetime and the degree will bring opportunity for a lifetime. Every college will have sporting events, parties and other social activities as well as academic adventures, but where the schools differ are how easy they make the students adjustment from living at home going to high school classes 7am till 3pm compared to living away from their loved ones and having a sporadic schedule of events. The university that makes the adjustment period easiest for a student will have the student academically focused sooner and give them the ability to gain friendships faster. Once the adjustment period ends, in order to make the most out of college, the student needs to let his guard down and be open to new things such as joining interesting clubs. Finally and most importantly keeping your dorm room door open for visitors because you never know when the friend of a lifetime may pop in.

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I think I would advise parents and students to focus on finding a college that is a good fit for the student, and not necessarily focusing only on college rankings and selectivity. Many parents and students get too caught up in school rankings, but in the end it is most important to be successful and comfortable at your college. I have also seen a lot of high school students participate in activities just because they think it will look good on their college application. It is more important to pursue your own interests and passions in high school rather than doing things just because they may impress an admissions committee. Once you are in college: be yourself. Do not change who you are to fit in with a certain group of people. Interesting and worthwhile people are those who appreciate you for who you are. Broaden your horizons! Try new things, college is a wonderful opportunity to experiment with potential interests. Do not be afraid to approach people and go into things alone. Remember that in the first year everyone is looking to meet new friends. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet a diverse group of people.

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The very first college experience I had was held at Cascade Medical School. My course at Cascade Medical School was to recieve my certified nursing assistant 1 (CNA1) certificate which is required by law to be an official CNA. The required CNA1 training program is a minimum of 75 hours of classroom and 75 hours of clinical training, which I have already completed in a duration of one full month. My first college experience was somewhat similar with my high school years because the time spent in both school was equal to 8 hours a day. In my 75 hours of clinical training, I performed duties that were within the scope of practice of a CNA1 at a small assisted living facility. I was able to learn how to assist clients with their daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, transferring, ambulating, feeding and toileting. I also performed tasks such as measuring vital signs, positioning and range of motion. From what I have experienced in my schooling, I realized that I have a passion to work with people who are in need, especially those who are ill. That is why is has been valuable to attend Cascade Medical School.

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