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Bowling Green State University-Main Campus

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

Others know more than me! No one cares what I think! It doesn’t matter whether or not I participate! I arrived at college with this mindset. Although I had always done well academically, I lacked self-confidence. I had always been introverted and self-conscious. I silenced myself when I could have participated and been more involved. During my second semester at college, I had a professor who based 30% of our grade on participation, and required that we speak at least once during each class. At first I was terrified. I had always depended on my written work to earn good grades. Now I had to risk being laughed at; being ridiculed. But no one laughed. In fact, people liked what I said. They responded well to my thoughts, ideas, and questions. As the semester continued, I began to get more engaged with the class content and I found that class discussions added greatly to my understanding. That class truly transformed me. Although, I still occasionally struggle with shyness, I now realize that what I have to share is important. I discovered that I learn more from actively participating in class than from passively sitting and listening.

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I would stress the importance of education, responsibility, and always planning things ahead of time. Having many different options for my future, whether for further education, for jobs because you never know what may occur in life, things change, mindsets change and what I may consider or plan today may change today, so it's important to have secondary plans just in case the first one doesn't work out. I would also warn myself not to be slothful in starting and completing classes and home work because unlike high school, in college it's not free education so time is very precious and your success is based on your work, effort, focus, and careful use of your time. I would also encourage myself to spend and save my money responsibly because college includes application fees, tuition, book expenses, room and board, dining, and other costs and it would be wise that I would watch how I spend money and what I spend it. Lastly I would encourage myself to try and achieve everything that I strive for, because is discouraging when time has passed and you look back wishing there were more things you could have accomplished in life.

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I would advise students to do their research. Find a school that has a program they would be interested in. Also find out what the school requires in terms of General Education courses before they can get into their major's program. Knowing these things beforehand can save on hassle when trying to schedule classes later on. I would advise parents to help their child in determining what school is best suited for them. In terms of location, how far away are they going to be, and how long is the drive between home and school. Safety, what type of security is in place? Do they have actual police patrolling the campus or only campus security? In terms of education, what kind of school will my child be attending: Liberal Arts, Conservative, Religious Based, State School, Private? All of these things are great in determening what is best for your child. Class sizes, Male to Female Ratio, Extra Curricular Activities on campus. Looking into all of these things can better prepare not only students but parents as well as they look to take the next step in their lives. These steps can help ensure procuring a quality education is possible.

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High school passes by quickly and most graduating seniors cannot wait to attend college. They anticipate college to be the most marvelous years of their life filled with many different experiences. They never notice how their time at high school can highly impact their college years. Unfortunately, I was one of those students; however, when attending college I soon realized that I was not fully prepared. If I could go back to high school, I would have been better at time management. If you do not know how to properly manage your time, it sometimes can be overwhelming. At college, your time goes quickly divided between attending organization meetings, completing multiple paged research papers, and studying for your midterms and exams. Also, I would have changed my approach to my classes. Instead of catching senioritis or not studying, I would have noticed how critical it was to be fully prepared and engaged in class. In college, a teacher does not care if you are missing class but it does reflect in your performance in that class. I would advise myself to be ahead of the game by taking any opportunities granted in high school.

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If I could meet myself as a senior in high school, I would, after the initial shock, have some advice to share with my former self. Aside from the obvious advice, warning that things would change quickly after graduation, I would advise myself to be more motivated to explore my interests and strengths, making room for mistakes, because even though college is a good place for exploration, it can also be a place of discouragement and the crushing of dreams. Getting good grades is one thing but finding your passion is quite another. Be aware and appreciative for what you have at home, from the important like family and friends, to the insignificant like private bathrooms and home cooked meals. Once you?ve stepped off the stage at graduation, you?ve stepped onto an emotional rollercoaster that may not end for four to six years. Colleges aren?t perfect, and even being at your first choice of schools won?t make you happy everyday. Listen when others tell you to get involved and do it. You?re going to learn to think and many aspects of your personality will be stretched so far that it hurts, but keep going.

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Making the most of your college experience is understanding that what you get out of it is what you put into it. This saying also influences your choice in which college is the right choice for you. Education is very important but so is having extracurricular activities that can stimulate or promote your inner passions. When visiting campuses take a tour but don?t just listen to what a tour guide has to say, instead interview some students and see what campus life is like from their eyes. Ask about their thoughts on their professors, and find out how easy class scheduling may or may not be. Also ask about how quiet campus can be for studying purposes and the availability of academic resources. Find out of there are any clubs you may be interested in, and how many students participate in those clubs. Look around the campus also to find out what you may do if you venture off-campus. Will you need a car? Also ask yourself about the cost of attending the university, not just for tuition, but for living life as well. Find out what ways the university helps students financially to be able to attend.

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In my late twenties I received a Bachelor?s Degree from the Education Department in Child and Family Community Services while holding down two jobs to pay for my education without financial aid assistance. During this time I was also married and running a household. If, I could go back in time and talk to myself as a senior in high school I would stress not to hesitate, and wait so long to pursue a degree. LIfe would of been less stressfull, if I would have worked on completing my degree straight out of high school. Then I would of had the opportunity to be just a student, with less distractions and obstacles. I would also say not to doubt myself. I also think that entering college after high school would be a smoother transition rather, than waiting over six years. I would also highlight meeting early and regularly with an advisor. I also would emphasize to commit to a major. I changed majors, which cost me more money, and time in the long run in regards to classes/tuition. All of these things would have made my high school to college transition a better experience and more sucessful.

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Look for a school that gives you plenty of options, and don't choose a particular major just because you happen to have a scholarship for it. You (or your student) are going to learn a lot about yourself in the first couple years, and that includes finding out that perhaps you really would rather major in something completely different then what you first signed up for. Also: make sure that the school you choose to attend has transferrable credits. You may think you're going to stay put for the next four years and that very well may be so, but don't limit yourself in your choices. START APPLYING FOR SCHOLARSHIPS AS SOON AS YOU CAN. It's almost never too early to start and if you apply for just one everyday, you boost your chances of getting your tuition completely paid for crazy lots. When applying for scholarships, don't dismiss the small amounts! If you only look at the thousand dollar plus scholarships, you're most likely competing with a larger crowd, and all the little scholarships add up fast. The more time and energy you invest in your education, the larger your return will be.

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For finding the right college, it is extremely important that you apply to as many schools as possible so that you are sure to find one that is best for you! Check out each school's website for information and try to visit campus if possible - take a parent to help you remember details and ask important questions. Take some time to think about your decision - don't decide based on something minor, such as friends who attend. Make sure to conside factors such as cost and whether or not the school has your major. In order to make the most of your college experience, it is important that you make friends! I would say that is the most important thing that you can do. Be friendly and open to new people, and attend social events oncampus! Get involved with extra-curricular groups that you are interested in - having something fun to blow off steam is important and this will also help you meet other students with similar interests. Acadmeically speaking, it is very important to keep on top of your schoolwork and I would definitely recommend meeting with an advisor to make sure you keep on track!

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Find a school that makes you feel comfortable. You are going to live their, learn their, and have fun for several years of your life. Decide if the campus is welcoming and if the students/staff are friendly. Chances are, if you have narrowed your decision down to a few schools, you could probably create a happy student life at any of them. Choose one that could not only provide you with a great social experience, but also professional experience and opportunities. Also, examine their extra curricular programs. Chances are, if a school has hundreds of groups, organizations, and clubs on campus, the students are generally involved and love meeting new people. Once you schoose the school that suits you best, dive into the college experience. Get involved in extracurricular activities, clubs, and organizations. Allow yourself time to focus on school work and studies, but also grant yourself the opporunity to meet new people and have a good time. The "college experience " is something you create on your own, and have complete control over during your limited years at a university.

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