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California State University-Sacramento

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

My college experience at CSUS allowed me to progress in my academic interests, character, financial responsibility, leadership ability, and personal development. My academic interests are to gain a teaching credential, and with CSUS’s liberal studies and credential programs I can easily achieve my goal. CSUS offers a variety of clubs and organizations one of which I am a member, being part of the Alpha Chi Omega women’s fraternity has given me an opportunity to enhance my character by showing myself that I accept and reflect moral integrity and dignity, social awareness, and fraternity loyalty. CSUS has also helped me improve my skills being financially responsible, for I have had to learn to be well aware of when payments are due so that my classes are not dropped. AchiO women’s fraternity at CSUS has giving me the opportunity to gain leadership by participating in campus activities and encouraging other collegian to be interested in their community. Lastly, my experience has given me opportunity for personal development, because CSUS is a culturally diverse campus it offers opportunities to enhance my cultural appreciation and knowledge of other cultures. All of the above made my attendance to CSUS highly valuable.

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School is more than just learning the materials given by the instructor. That is just one component. The resources provided by the campus are another layer which contributes to a great sense of belonging that is comparable to my service in the Marine Corps. While the cost of tuition and fees can be overwhelming, the expenses are offset by the various forms of assistance offered by the university. The advanced fitness facility is enormous and convenient for students who would like a workout between classes; the university union is a one-location for meals, entertainment, studying, and other various student activities; and the career center assists students was every aspect of employment (resumes, interviews, internships, etc…). The staff has always put their efforts into helping students succeed every step of the way. For those students who use these services and resources will be the ones benefiting the most out of their college experience. I have used these resources as well as involved myself in many clubs and organizations on campus, making the most of what Sacramento State has to offer. College is multi-layered with each layer a piece of something experienced that can be taken and used after graduation.

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Dear High School Self, Knowledge is your foundation, and college is your stepping stone for a greater future. Remember your passions, strive for what you want, and refuse to settle for less. It is okay to welcome challenges, make mistakes, ask questions, and learn from them. Take big leaps because if you fall, you can always get back up and try even harder. Push your mind as there are no limits. Challenges leave room for failure, but failure gives you the opportunity to make improvements and continue growing as a student. In order to perform well, patience, perseverance, and positivity are essential. Trust in yourself. Achieve all the degrees of your dreams as they will open doors to a variety of satisfying employment opportunities. Most importantly, a degree shows that you are educable and committed to what you do. It also demonstrates your well-rounded academic intelligence and understanding of your profession. These are a few of the necessary skills developed in college that are greatly valued in the workplace. It is your responsibility to work towards a profession that will bring you lifelong happiness. Your college experiences will most certainly make a great impact in your future of success.

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My advice to students about finding the right college is to find a college with a program that the student has a passion for in life. Find a school that will offer avenues for growth intellectually and socially. College is not a mere institution for higher learning, but also a place where experiences are cultivated that enrich the individual. A student's success in college is not only measured by the diploma earned upon graduating, but also the life lessons learned outside of the classroom as a young adult . Time management skills, abilities to make good decisions independently, and prioritizing goals are just a few life lessons a student will learn throughout their time in college. Parents who are proactive in searching for the perfect college for their child should support their child's school of choice, but ensure that their child's reasoning for wanting to attend their school of choice is justified. College bound children are a parent's biggest investment and should be given the privilage to experience adulthood for the first time attending a college the student feels has an academic program that promotes their academic strenghts. A successful journey in adult life begins in college.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would advise myself to manage my time extremely well, join many clubs, and get to know my professors. Managing time is one of the advice that I cannot emphasize enough about because when students lack good time management, they create additional stress and pressure that can possibly lead to illness, or lack of passion for their education. Furthermore, I would also recommend joining clubs to help ease the trasition of college life. When students join clubs, they can build new friendships to alleviate feelings of loneliness and become more open to exploring fun activities that can take the pressure of college work off their mind. Getting to know professors is another important tip I could not exclude because professors are reliable mentors that students can depend on and they can give students great recommendation letters for scholarships or future employments. Although these suggestions may sound cliche, many students still take them for granted. It's only when an individual is put into the college environment do they truly realize the signifance of such words; thus, it is crucial that I highlight these advice.

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Midway throgh my college experience, it would be remiss of me to assume that what I have gotten out of it is sufficiently representative of the overall experience I will have received upon graduation. Having said that, so far I have thoroughly enjoyed my university experience after transferring from a junior college (Sierra College, Rocklin, CA). To try and quantify the value of my college experiences thus far would be to neglect the prospective years of experience to come, but as is obvious in this response, I strongly value the possibilities to achieve higher education at a fine institution such as Sacramento State. I grew up in the Greater Sacramento Area, and having spent one semester at San Francisco State University previous to Sacramento State, would assert that the experience of attending a university that establishes a sense of pride and confidence -- which Sacramento State has in me -- is one worth committing to. The most unquantifiable measure of the values of my experiences at Sacramento State lay in my desire to continue higher education. Applying for scholarships such as this one is the perfect example of how a great university can encourage students to dream.

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CSUS has a strong emphasis on multicultrualism and diversity on campus. There are clubs that encourage students of different races, religions, and genders to interact and realize our similarities. Had I known that there was such a strong emphasis on this topic I would have volunteered in more culturally diverse settings sooner. While in my junior year of college I volunteered at a low-income diverse middle school. This allowed me to understand the structure of the Special Ed classroom from the perspective of the educator. I learned that the students benefit greatly from a college student that is willing to come to their classroom a few times a week and help them out with their coursework. The class that I volunteered for was included Caucasions, Asians, Latinos, African Americans, and Indian students. Students that are entering college should realize the benefit of helping students that are in need of academic assistance. Students that live in low-income neighborhoods may not be raised with the idea that college is possible for them, and they may not value their education. For college students to reach out to them would help them realize they can go to college too.

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The best advice I can offer students in finding a school that best matches your educational goals would be to first investigate the type(s) of career(s) in which you are most interested. A personal development class such as Career Planning can help you assess your strengths, weaknesses, and personality style. Once you decide upon an area of interest, explore the field by taking introductory courses at a local college, interviewing professionals already working within the field, or by working as an intern. Interviews and internships often reveal many attributes about the profession which you may not have previously been aware of. You can also learn which schools are considered most acclaimed by professionals in the field. From working professionals, online resources and/or your local college, research which degree(s) will most benefit your marketability, and which schools are considered most credible, to professionals in the field. This process has led me to choose CSU Sacramento, as I first decided to become a teacher, then learned of the best degree for me to achieve this goal, and lastly discovered that CSU Sacramento is well-known for their Teacher Education Programs.

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Throughout my college career I have acquired some useful tips to help an incoming freshman. The transition varies in difficulty with each person but there will be some getting use to the college life. The advice I would give myself is take advantage of your resources, seek a counselor immediately, and ask for help. The transition is difficult because you are thrust into a world of independence. But this new world comes with help from faculty, and peers. An important tip is to know the campus or go a day prior to find a successful route to all of your classes. Investing in a planner, is a must because teachers will not constantly remind you of your assignments and they may change deadlines when necessary. Counselors are the most useful resources on campus because they help you find the courses needed to graduate. The professors are willing to give you individual help if required and answer any questions. The computer lab and library are tools that are extremely beneficial with assignments. Your peers are helpful because they have their own experiences and advice to give. Most importantly, find a schedule that works for you and use the resources available.

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Familarize yourself with your campus, your professors and your classmates. Putting the extra time and effort into discovering the ins-and-outs of your college will make you feel more involved with your school and give you the confidence that your educational career is on the right track. That added weight of not knowing if you're missing out on a golden opportunity effects your performance as a student (disagree now, but you'll agree with me later). Develop a personal relationship with your instructors. Visit their office hours and be active with your homework. Instructors appreciate it and are more willing to help you out in times of need if they know your character and trust that you take their class seriously. You will also receive some of your most valuable education here. Professors are more open to talk about how their classes relate to the real world in their own office. You also can't receive a letter of recommendation from a professor that doesn't know you. Know your classmates and participate in study groups. Competition and the fear of letting your professors down have a strong impact on your self-motivation. Remember: Your GPA matters.

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