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California State University-San Marcos

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

I would tell myself that these days a college degree is necessary to sustain a comfortable life style. Even a bachelor?s degree might not be enough, a graduate degree ensures a lifelong career. a college education is the best investment a person could make to ensure your future. So you should try to find the best college that fits you. Also, you should stay involved in student activities and events; this will help keep you interested in school and have a reason to come back every semester. You also have a chance to meet new people and avoid loneliness which can lead to dropping out of school. I would also tell myself to apply for as many grants and scholarships, especially the FAFSA, and meet the deadlines ? those are important. College is expensive and a student can never have too much money. Also, stay on top of all your AP classes because you could skip up to a whole semester of your college career if you score high enough on the tests. Regular high school classes are important too, because the information you learn can still be useful and might also have a leg up in your college classes.

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First of all, I would advise all parents and/or students to visit the campuses they have applied to. You must be comfortable with the overall "feel" of the campus. Visit during school hours so you can really observe the students, the attitude, the cafeteria, the classrooms, the library and the admin staff. The admissions recruiters should be helpful and friendly and cater to all of your questions. If you feel as though you're not getting the attention you deserve as a prospective student DO NOT be afraid to look elsewhere. Also, don't be afraid to talk to students on campus during your visit, most of the time students are very forthcoming about the academic and student life at the schools. Once you decide on a school just remember that you are PAYING to be there. Have a good time, but be responsible and make the most of your tuition dollars. All it really takes to earn high grades is showing up to class and completing the work on time. There is plenty of time for fun and friends later, just use your college years to focus on yourself and expanding your education, you wont regret it.

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My advice is to be realistic with yourselves. Understand your own or your student's personality and strengths or weaknesses. Try to find a school who's personality is the best fit for you. Visit schools if possible, observe students on campus and speak with them. Ask questions about professors, advising, and class availability. Hearing from students can give you a realistic idea of how long it will take to graduate. If a school's personality does not fit yours don't force it, there are lots of schools out there and college is about learning about yourself as much as it is learning about a field. As a student it is important that the decision is one you are happy with and communication is key. Even if your parents are footing the bill, remember you will be the one doing the work so be honest with yourself and them. Trust your instincts but remember that college is as much a journey as a degree is a goal. It may not be an easy journey, but when you make the right decision for yourself and you reach your goal, there will be no regrets about where you took that journey.

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Misconceptions. A high school senior's perception of college is full of them. In hindsight, I laugh to think of the idealistic expectations I had those few years ago. If I could go back in time and give advice to the kid I was when exiting high school, I would have a lot to say. More than anything though, I would want to slap myself and shout, "Wake up! On your toes! It gets tough now!" The common understanding among myself and my peers was that the college experience was all about freedom. Which it is. Freedom and responsibility. I had thought only about how convenient it would be to be able to cut class on a whim, choose whatever classes you like, and participate in any number of extra activities. I had neglected to consider that to do each would require discretion. You are expected to enroll in classes on your own, and take charge of duties like purchasing books and parking permits. The freedom to be absent proves to be more of a curse than a blessing. I would tell my past self, "You're just thinking of the freedoms. Consider the duties and responsibilities as well."

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For parents and students starting their search into the world of academia, selecting potential schools can be quite difficult. My experience has taught me, and I would recommend, choosing a school based on the strength of the department of interest. If the student is interested in business, the schools selected should all have strong business programs, and additionally, strong job placement programs. Many students graduate thinking a job will just appear for them after getting a degree and that is not the case. Students will need to make sure any potential school is cohesive to their lifestyle, social setting, and career goals. The last piece of advice I would offer to anyone starting a search for colleges is to choose a school that is withing their budget constraints. Schools are very willing to offer aid, but it comes at a price. Think realisitically about the affordability of any school and decide whether or not financial aid is worth the liability, although it can allow students to have excellent opportunities to study at top universities. GOOD LUCK!

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College can be a tough transition. A good way to make it easier is joining clubs that you find interest in. There are many opportunities out there for students if they want it. I tried joining organizations such as Greek Life and Sports clubs (volleyball and wakeboarding). Still I learned more through my study abroad experience. I strongly advise students to look into a study abroad program. It opened my eyes to a new way of learning. I remember my first time in the Global Affairs Office, I had so many questions and the staff was friendly and knowledgeable on the steps I had to take. After I completed my year abroad I came back to my university and felt I had an advantage over others. I was able to take a glance at the world around me and apply it to research projects by bringing in outside ideas. Advice to parents is to always keep a supportive outlook. I have established a great relationship with my parents from being abroad. They understand me better because I know myself better, which is exactly what a good college education should accomplish.

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For the most part I was rather well prepared for college. I knew what I wanted to do and stayed with the same major. However, the best advice I think I would give myself is to make more friends and spend more time on campus meeting people and being involved. Along the same lines, I would advise myself to join an honor society to make connections with people in my field of study. I would tell myself not to be afraid to make mistakes, have fun and enjoy the social aspect of college. I would also tell myself that I can handle taking five classes a semseter instead of four classes, because then I would be able to graduate a year earlier than I did. Most importantly, I would tell myself to not be intimidated by other college students and to say whatever thought I during class discussions. Finally, I would tell myself to take German as my foreign langugae instead of Spanish. I have always wanted to learn German, but I listened to the advice of my papernts and took Spanish instead. That is the one regret that I have about college, that I am not better at German.

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Hey kid, I know you hated High School, looking at all those teachers who did not care for you or even bothered to give you an honest positive feedback from your exams; however, the University where you are going to attend is full of amazing teachers. Trust me, all those, "Good Job!" comments will become more complex and actually help you as you advance through University. From, "Good Job!" to "This paragraph was composed of several keywords that relate to the chapter which made this paper enjoyable, try to use other points of view in the second paragraph. ". What I want you to always remember is that University is not as hard as everyone exaggerates about or as nerve-recking, I must be honest, the first time I arrived at my dorm I felt lonely and a bit depressed, be ready for that by the way. However, I met my roommate and everything became more casual as if I was at home again. One more thing, I can not stress this enough, be ready to give up various hours of video games and social media hours to study and do your homework, you are a straight A student.

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If I could give the pre-college me advice I would tell myself to be more outgoing in school from the very beginning, to get involved with groups that interested me in order to create close bonds with other students with similar interests. I have only recently gotten involved with my campus and wish I had started long ago. Also, I would tell myself to take advantage of school resources, such as the librarians who aid in research, and the writing and math center where peers are hired on as tutors. I would also recommend to myself to take the extra time before class to look over my work and the course material for the day, it is worth more than the little bit of sleep or socializing. With our current budget crisis I would tell myself to visit a counselor and get myself on track, because a full course load in the beginning will help you surely graduate on time even with the unit holds that are being placed, and the classes that are being cut, making them difficult to get into. But mostly I would say live it up, these will be the best years of your life.

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Hmm, college its what my mo told it was going to be. Probably the most important transition i've made my whole life. For parents I would simplay begin with saying trust what you have bred. Your kid, child, young adult is smart and well reaised. Be confident and supportive for they know right from wrong and if they have they'r eyes set on a specific school you should be supportive in that they are reaching beyond their comfort zones to achieve both socially and academically. PLainly support their decisions. As for students manage your time wisely. College is another level of high academia, but there is room for play when you focus and work hard, as most times call for. Preperation is key, for class, for work, essays ect. Being prepared and managing your time will ensure your college success at least 80%. Moms and Dads out there just help your kid when he/she asks because they will and when they say they dont need help they do. Students furthur more HAVE FUN BE SAFE AND REMEBER YOUR IN COLLEGE TO LEARN, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL THE LEARNING YOU CAN.

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