Bryn Mawr College Top Questions

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

Catherine

I had actually thought of this a couple of days ago-- in high school, I attended an extremely competitive school where people would always try to intimidate you, which affected me in numerous ways. I would always worry about what I had to do to get ahead, but I realized that this action of trying to beat someone else was always wrong. I should have strictly focused on just 'me' and not worry about someone else or trying to beat other students around me in my high school. It was just as important that 'I' did well for myself, not to just beat someone else. That is no way right in living my life. By attending Bryn Mawr, with such an amazing group of women, I have learned to not worry about everyone else and to just worry about 'me,' making sure that I do the best of my ability. So, if I were to tell myself any type of advice while still being a high school senior, I would have said to just take care of myself (and to get a few more hours of sleep here or there!)

Sara

After an intense 4 years of high school, I wish I had known to take a break. When classes started at college I realized not only were they harder than high school, but I was not excited about the academic challenge. I was burnt out by the stress of high school, and the all the changes in my life, yet I felt pressure to jump right into college. I wish I knew that gap years are common and can be incredibly beneficial to many students. At college, I tried to do too many new things and didn't have the courage to reach out when I needed help. I found out too late that my professors actually weren't that scary, and really did want to help. Through taking second semester off, I was able to realize that it's okay to take a break, and it's sometimes necessary to ask for help. On my semester off I worked retail, which helped me make money and take a break from intense academics. Now the new school year is about to start. With my energy renewed, I am ready for the challenge!

Julianna

If I could go back to high school and give myself a single piece of advice, it would be: “Don’t worry, you can handle it.” This statement is vague but incredibly applicable and, as I have found in college, accurate. I have discovered in my now three-year experience of higher education that certain classes, assignments, and social situations can be daunting. I have also discovered that these anxiety-inducing areas of my life are completely manageable and that I excel more often than I fail. I can be resourceful, creative, innovative, and confident even when I didn’t think that I could. The discovery of this independence has been not only exhilarating but comforting. There is a security in knowing that in any situation it is entirely within my abilities to seek help, restructure my strategy, and take the time to work through a problem or challenge. In high school this kind of independence was not absent but rather fledgling, so my feelings of autonomy and personal security were absent. I appreciate everyone in my life that supports me but I’d like to go back and assure myself that I am definitively my greatest resource.

Jillian

Everything happens for a reason, especially with college, so do not be disappointed if the end results are different from what you wanted. You are the person who will be going through the college experience, so apply where YOU want, and make decisions that are best for YOU. If this does not equate to your dream college, that's okay! There are surprises everywhere, and college is what you make it. There are always other alternatives if you are unhappy, but don't wallow. Be proud of where you go, and try not to dwell on what could have happened. Be excited for your future!

Danielle

Enjoy every moment! When the stress crops up, you always feel like, "This is the worst! I just want to fast forward through everything!" No. Savor that moment. Every second, every minute that goes by is a second and minute we will never have again. So live life richly, and look back with as little regret as possible. Give yourself lots of stories to tell your grandchildren :) And for goodness sake, smile more, the SAT isn't all that hard :P

Megan

The world awaits you, my young self. I know you’re excited and you should be! Everything changes, but most of it is up to you on whether or not it’s a positive change. High school was a hard journey both emotionally and educationally. But college doesn’t have to be the same. I made the mistake of bringing so much of my high school emotional baggage with me over to college. I should have just let go and saw the start of community college as the new beginning it really is. I’m begging you to do it in my stead. Let of go of the hurt and open up to the possibility of new friendships. Try to trust others and see the good in people. As hard as it can be at times, just be yourself, people will love you for it. Get involved! Yes, you need to study and keep up with homework, but there’s so many clubs and organization you could get involved in. Join one; it would be good for you. One last thing, you know that planner you have stuffed in a desk drawer? Get it out and use it!

Shannon

If I could talk to myself in high school, there are three pieces of advice I would give myself. The first piece would be to take a study skills course and study. College is so different then high school and you can't pass if you don't do the work regardless of how smart you are. I flunked out of the first college I went to because I had no idea how to open a book. The second piece of advice I would give myself is to take Jacob with me. I had my first child at 16 and left him at home while I went to school. I didn't have any reason to take on the responsibility of my life and left that to those around me. I think that had the responsibility of my life been something I had to take seriously, I would have taken many other things in life much more seriously. The last piece of advice I would give myself is to respect myself and my time and to know that both are important. By not believing these things, it left room open to believe that nothing I did was important.

Nichole

Advice I would give my high school self would have to be, decide to go to college soon, start appling for scholarships and grants long before graduation, and last but not least study more.. Attending a vocational highschool I thought I was all set for the workforce. I decied to work because I didnt think I could afford college. Since graduation I got a full time job welding. Talking with all my friends about when they leave for college and how excied they are to leave our small home town I soon regreted not even trying to get finacial aid and apply for college to persue my dream career. I took the second best choice to my happiness and no one should settle for less when it comes to the rest of your working life. A job wont be a job if its what you enjoy and I never understood that until working in a job I was good at but just wasnt what I was truly passionate about.

Yekaterina

College is a time where you learn to live on your own and care for yourself. At Bryn Mawr, you are expected to be responsible and have strong moral character. There is a great amount of trust from staff and faculty to the students. Living in the dorms with or without roommates is a learning atmosphere equal to that in the classroom. You are expected to manage your time, to attend class, and to take care of your needs, such as hygeine and healthy eating. College is a transition between living at home and living on your own, a time when your basic material needs are provided but you are responsible for their proper utilization. It is a time to learn to work hard and also find time to engage in activities that you enjoy and to spend time with friends, who you will keep for the rest of your life. It is a magical four years of exploration, self discovery, and time to make mistakes and to learn from them. Enjoy!

Kelsey

I would tell myself to never be afraid to take advantage of an opportunity.

Christopher

I would tell myself to become more active. To get involved sooner and to things today! Don't put of things until tomorrow and seize the day. There is so much you will lose out on, but it's not to late. Get out there and do the best you can, you only live once. The sooner you get stable the more fun you can have. Don't be afraid to get out there and meet people socialize and make connections with people. And most of all be happy with yourself. Don't worry too much about what other people think as long as your living for you and doing what is right you can't go astray. PS, the Patriots win the Super Bowl in 2002 ;)

Kelsey

I would tell myself to never be close-minded and to work for what I want. I would also tell me that I should take advantage of all of my options and to explore new opportunities.

Jacklyn

Having gone through my first semester of college, I think that the best advice I would give myself if I could go back in time, is to simply trust myself and the skills and smarts that have taken me this far. I would tell myself that college is a new setting and it is inevitable that not being the best of the best right off the bat is not at all unlikely, seeing as you need time to adjust. I would encourage myself to go onward despite any future bumps in the road, for nothing is impossible.

Rima

Be honest with yourself and search yourself for you priorities and inclinations, both natural and fostered, from now. Lay out a path so that when you're feeling lost or tired you can just take it one step at a time. Regularly reevaluate your path, and don't be afraid to alter your path in a healthy way. Don't sever your ties with your family and the community in which you grew up. They can support you on your path and help you figure out your goals once you have your diploma in hand. For graduation is rarely accompanied by an AHA! moment. Also, it is so important to GIVE BACK. People's strengths are brought out when they serve their neighbors. Get involved with tutoring younger students--you'll be surprised how much advice and friendship you can offer! You'll remember when you had those same questions, reflect on how far you've come, and continue to set your goals higher. Learn about the cultures around you and across the globe. Always do your best and remember to keep the innocence and creativity of a child while learning to be responsible.

Ankita

Apply to colleges that fits you. If you hate the place you are going to, you won't be able to do what you're supposed to! Do an overnight and talk to current students. Get involved in a LOT of activities, they're the best way to meet people. Oh, and facebook is a wonderful site to meet other prospectives. Relax and have fun, you're approaching the best years of your life... but remember, college is hard work. Don't have pre-determined opinions, go with it! Discover new passions, interests and meet everyone, network like crazy!

Jillian

I would probably tell myself, "You know what your morals are, don't let anyone question you when you know what is right and wrong or just not right for you personally, go to Small Group more often and make sure you do all of your class readings."

Lillie

I would tell myself to slow down and really think about where I'm going and where I want to go. I would take the list of colleges that I was planning to go to and cross out every one that I was applying to just because of the name. Then, I would create a completely different list based on where I really wanted to be and where I felt my heart was. Despite everyone elses opinions of where I should go and what I should do with my life, I would make myself work toward and really feel what I (emphasis on I) wanted. Then I would let myself know that when I did get in college, wherever that may be, that I would need to take care of my happiness as well as my school work, that I didn't need to be close to the first people I met (i.e. my roommates) and that there are plenty of very interesting people at school that are worth meeting and getting to know. Most importantly, I'd tell myself that even though I went to a small public school, I'm smart and talented and should believe that.

Emma

Don?t commit to one school or one career path too soon. College is a time to explore all available options, and you should be aware that many students will change their minds about their passions at least once during their college careers. College will expose you to options you may not have known about, or classes you may not have thought you would like, that may become your passion. Take school seriously, because this is training for your life. Do not waste your time partying or drinking every weekend if you know you should be studying. That being said, make sure you have a social life! Spending too much time with your nose in the books is not healthy.

Sandra

Dream, wake up, work for it! Always work hard, no matter which college you go to.

Rose

I would advise keeping a journal. I have found, in the process of working on transfer applications, that writing about my day to day experience helps me to understand the aspects of my life that I enjoy, and what I shy away from. Visiting colleges with those journal entries in mind helped me to see how I would potentially react in that environment, and then further journaling about the college visit helped me to solidify what I like or did not like about the college. The writing process really helped me to hone what was troubling about my college experience, and what I wanted in its place.

whitney

even if there are drawbacks choose the school that fulfills the element that is most important to your happiness (i.e. if you will be miserable without a substantial social life, choose a school that has a better social life than academic reputation or if you will be unhappy without a degree from a school with a substantial academic reputation, choose a school that holds academics above social satisfaction, etc.)

Weezie

I would absolutely advise parents to let their child engage actively in the search process. Pushing your student is going to do nothing except make them feel pressured to seriously consider schools that they may not want to attend, either to please their parent or to spite them. Allow the student to seriously consider those programs and future careers that are of interest to them; whether a parent approves or disapproves of a student's academic and life choices will not matter once that student is at an institution. There is always a chance that the student will become interested in something else, as so often occurs, or that their interests during the college search process ring true and they find themselves in a promising academic program or career in a discipline that they care about.

Christi

Find a school that is socially comfortable for you. You can be an English or Chemistry major anywhere. Grad school is when that becomes most important. For your undergraduate career find somewhere where you know you will make friends and has clubs that appeal to you. A large part of you education is not just in the class room when you're an undergrad.

Stephanie

The most important aspect of the college search is visiting the campus and getting a feel for the campus's environment; a school could look great on paper, but when you visit it, it just does not feel right for you. To make the most of the college experience always be open to new things, whether it's a class in a department that is totally different from your major or a club or activity that you have never tried before, or something else. You never know you just might find a new passion.

Janet

Choose the place that feels right to you. I must have taken classes regularly at 4 different colleges throughout my undergrad experience, I saw how each college brought out some parts of me and hid others. In the grand scheme of things, going to the "right" college is not that important, but it does affect how you will change. Although I would have been equally well-educated at any of the four college I attended (UPenn, Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, Haverford) my personality and character would have been different. This is something to take into consideration. Are these students the kind of person I aspire to be? As for making the most of the college experience...just remember that it is YOUR experience, and you always, always have options. Very few things are set in stone. If you are unhappy with something, as long as you can figure out what you want, you will be able to find a way to get it. Be positive and open and brave, and never give up. And never forget to have fun. "It's only life, afterall. "

Anna

Research and VISIT your top 5 colleges! Planning is key- go when students will be there. Walk around campus after the tour to get a feel for the place. Ask yourself, "Is this the environment for me? Do I fit in with a lot of the people here? Does this feel right?" Many times it takes a while to sink in whether a place is right or not. Give yourself time and don't forget to give an interview! An interview can be the one thing that tips the balance in your favor.

rachel

make sure to have an overnight first to garner the true campus experience befor choosing a school it helps you gain a real feel of the social aspects of campus you cant excel as aperson unless your happy with who you are and your surroundings/friends

Katherine

It's important to find a college where you just feel inherently comfortable. A great education is important, but there are many different schools at which one can learn and accomplish great things. But the part of college that will really make the difference is how you feel about your school, and how you feel about yourself while you're there. If you are constantly worried, upset by your peers, your social situation, or anything else, however small it may be, it will distract you from making the most of your academic and cultural education. so when looking at colleges, it's most important to feel comfortable and have the things that are important to you. The college experience itself is up to you. As the student you are no longer held by the tight standards and requirements you had in high school. Feel free to build your own schedule, take the classes that interest you, get as involved as you want with your activities, and take ownership of your time. College is a wonderful experience, and one that teaches lessons both inside and outside of the classroom, but you have to make it your own.

Amanda

Visit the schools you are applying to! You will never know if a school is right for you if you just base your decisions on what you read in books. The moment you step onto a campus you will feel whether or not it is the right place for you--no article or rating can give you that sense of belonging that you may find at a school you never expected to like. So visit a lot of schools! You need to visit way more schools than you're interesting in applying to because you need to figure out what you like. You need to figure out how it feels to be on a campus you DON'T like as well as how it feels to be on one in which you fit perfectly. Taking the time to visit as many schools as possible is the most important part of the application process that I can think of, remember: no matter what Princeton Review or CollegeBoard or Campus Discovery tells you about a college, YOU are the one who has to be there for four years. YOU need to find the right fit.

Mimi

find somewhere you'll be happy

Keely

I would like them to know that which college they choose is not the most important thing. A lot of student's satisfaction with their college experience rests on luck (Do they like their roomate/the people on their hall, is their dorm well located, do they like their professors?) and what students make of it (any college can be boring and lonely if one doesn't get involved and interesting if one searches out new friends and things to do).

Amy

The college finding quizzes struck me as unhelpful, but one college kept popping up. I begrudingly travelled to tour it, but as soon as I set foot on campus, I knew I was home. It is difficult to narrow down your choices and figure out what you want, when you have never experienced college before. The important thing is to keep an open mind. Once you come up with a list, visiting the campus is the most important thing. Ask yourself if you can really picture living there for four years, and answer honestly. No one ever said they wished they had studied more in college. Having fun and developing solid friendships is key in your first year. It will get you through the next three (or four). That does not mean, however, that you should ignore your work. You are there to learn and when you find something you love to study, it will fulfill you in ways you did not think were possible.

Jessica

The most important thing to remember about college, to really get the most out of those tuition dollars, is that you are there for the betterment of yourself. For probably the first time in your life, it's completely up to you what you do with your time. The Internet, friends, alcohol, and drama are all great forms of procrastination, but you really don't need to shell out more than a few thousand dollars a semester to find those diversions. Learning, too, can occur outside the classroom, but the kind of learning that goes on in the hallowed halls of higher education isn't readily inferred from life experience; hence the academic sphere. So be sure you're where you want to be, and if you're not, remember that this is also this first time in your life you can actually change how your education progresses. Investigate shared courses, participate in campus extracurriculars, change the community around you for the better. Being about yourself also means considering the environment around you. College is about making yourself and making your community what you want them to be.

Christine

Going to a liberal arts college is a great experience, but it's not for everyone. When you're in high school, job prospects are far from your mind, but once you are finished you will wish you had gone somewhere that had a better job placement program.

Stephanie

Find a school where you will get a good education. I can't tell you how much I value the education I got at Bryn Mawr now that I'm in graduate school. I learned so much about research, writing, and thinking critically and it has put me far above my peers. No matter where you go, you will make great friends and you will enjoy the campus activities you choose to participate in. But you can't get a good education where you get to know your professors personally, engage in the research process, and think critically in every class just anywhere. I loved Bryn Mawr for many reasons, but sports, clubs, friends, and social activities were things I would have enjoyed at any college. So find a college where you will learn everything you can and get the most out of your education.

simone

Really take the time to visit each place thoroughly and try to act as if you were a student there as best as possible

Kelsey

Visit as many as possible to find one that would fit well for you.

Elise

Do not choose a college based on one aspect, your interests may change, that college will not. KNOW YOURSELF. Choose a college with many offerings that interest you now. Choose a college with many offerings that don't interest you now (because they will later.) UNDERSTAND HOW YOU GROW. Think ahead. Where will your interests take you? What school will best develop these interests into a variety of options for your future? YOUR HAPPINESS WILL NOT DEPEND ON YOUR COLLEGE'S NATIONAL RANKING. Make your decison for yourself. College is about learning how to be self directed- now is a good time to start practicing. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. Your college will offer an abundance of offices, programs and staff dedicated to aiding your college experience- USE THEM. You are dynamic- PROVE IT. Get involved. Develop positive relationships with professors. The "Real World" is quickly approaching. Do not hide from it. EMBRACE IT. Search job postings for a better outlook on what lies ahead. Fatten up that resume. PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE, LIVE IN THE PRESENT. Make friends. Study. Party. Eat well. Sleep well. Take responsibility for your actions. Get excited. Get focused. Relax. ACHIEVE BALANCE.

Elizabeth

Finding a college that fits is a very stressful experience, but no matter what you will find one that you will love and get an amazing education from. It always works out and it is worth all of the work that goes into getting there.

Laura

Before you start the application process, make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Then brainstorm things that schools could have that would overcome your weaknesses, and play to your strenghts. If you're naturally shy and had trouble making friends, you want a school with a strong sense of community, a good freshman orientation program, extracurricular activities that you are interested in, and lots of activities on-campus so that you don't have to do the legwork to find people to be friends with. If you're really independent and motivated and enjoy going beyond coursework, you want a school where undergraduates have opportunities to do research and work closely with faculty. Know yourself before you start looking at schools - whether big cities make you anxious, whether small towns make you claustrophobic, whether you are fine flying home twice a year or if you need to be within a 2 hour drive. When you know what you're looking for in a school, you'll be able to tell whether the places you're considering will be a good fit for you!

Elizabeth

During the college application process, I was offered a full-scholarship to Bryn Mawr College. Unfortunatley, it was recinded on the basis that I was not "diverse enough", i.e. I was a lower-income inner city-kid who happened to be white. I was still accepted to Bryn Mawr, however and decided to attend because of its stellar academic reputation, thus abandoning my original desire to attend a fine arts conservatory program at other institutions to which I had applied and been accepted. At Bryn Mawr I was able to persue studies in fine arts, the sciences, literature, religion and anything else I could think of. If it was unavailable at Bryn Mawr, the faculty and staff would help me to find a class, internship or program at another institution at no additional tuition. I did struggle financially, working 3-4 jobs in addition to my rigorous academic schedule, directing my own theatre company, representing student government, student outreach, volunteering and mentoring. Whew! There were many times I felt like giving up, but the support of my fellow Mawrtyrs was unrelenting. I stayed, earned 2 degrees and am entirely satisfied I made the right decision in attending Bryn Mawr.

Megan

If you find a school that fits your personality, the other stuff will fall into place.

Sarah

try a little bit of everything. but parties are fleeting. your gpa goes on your resume, not how long you can do a keg stand.

Amy

Students should visit a lot of colleges, especially ones that they choose themself. They should visit them with family, and if they still like them, apply to those schools along with safety and reach schools. Then, they should attend all accepted students weekends. I chose my school because I identified with the students I met at that time, and I knew that I wanted to become a person like the upperclassmen I met. I saw the person I was meant to become in these students. I can't say I was 100% sure about my decision, and I certainly considered transferring. I did not feel a part of the college community until second semester Freshman year.

Jessica

The most important thing to do is to spend time at the college you are considering- take a weekend off and go visit the university, spend time with the students (preferably by sleeping in a dorm). Attend a class or two, and make sure to check out what there is to do in the are that the school is located in. It's the only way to figure out whether or not you will be able to live there for four years!

Meldon

Don't base your decision on how far away from home the college is.....get out of your surroundings! Go somplace new! You may be missing out the best education and friends of your life!

Sandra

1. Money is an issue. It made me feel guilty having my father pay for my $48,000 tuition and not enjoy college. It's just not worth it unless you know you'll enjoy college and what you want to do. 2. If you are interested in Medicine, Law or some other professional job, definitely attend a smaller school. 3. ALWAYS RESEARCH THOROUGHLY ABOUT THE COLLEGES YOU ARE ABOUT TO ATTEND. You never know if you might have bad luck and attend a "safety" college. 4. Alumni connection is very important. For example, UC schools have a poor alumni net work because the schools are so big and public; whereas Bryn Mawr College has an excellent alumni network. I chose Bryn Mawr College over UCLA. I hope my choice was worthwhile. 5. Don't worry about the name as much. Nowadays it's what graduate school you came out of that matters. 6. Don't think College as somewhere you go next because everyone else is doing it. Definitely attend and graduate from a college, but if you want to take a gap year between high school and college do discover your passions--do it.

Kerlyne

Visit the campus. That is the best way to see whether a student can truly vision themselve being there for most of the year. Also having family or a close family friend close enough to the school is a plus. This helps because no matter what anyone says everyone gets a little home sick and needs familiarity around them.

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