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California State University-San Marcos

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

In order to find the right college and make the most of the college experience, it will take a great deal of effort from the student and an alert parent to allow for the student to make a wise choice of what institute to attend. I would advise for the student to be involved in the high school AVID program so that they can have the advantage of having the information about institutions requirements and atmospheric life. The student should start visiting institutions by junior year to get a feel for what location fits best for the students. The student needs to figure out what grades its going to take to attend the dream institution and which institution will be best choice for the choice of major to study. Parents can help by visiting with the student the institutions so that they can also have a picture of what and where their child will be pursuing their future studies. The parent and student should also make appointments with a counselor at the institutions to view a tangible road map of what the college experience is going to consist of.

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It feels like the world is against you, I know. Your parents do not understand you, there is pressure to be the "best dressed" every single day, and every little thing seems so important. You cannot wait to leave your house and have your own freedom. You do not want to do chores or follow the rules your parents have set for you. You want to be rebellious and do whatever you want. In the end, it is insignificant. Those high school relationships will fade. It is sad, but true. Once you are in college, it will not matter where you sit during your lunch period. You will learn that your family is, and has been, the most important support system in your life. Your parents have been with you since day one and they have stuck with you all of this time. Your parents will become the people you talk to the most and share your struggles with. Do not stress over the little things and laugh them off. Learn to treasure the time you have with friends, have fun, and live in the moment. Learn to not worry about what makes other people happy and focus on you.

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I know that you are afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and I know that what you fear the most is the thought of letting go of the life that you built for yourself up until now, but you can't let these irrational fears, or any fear, stop you from having an amazing college experience. Everyone is hurt, or knocked down the same way and fear only dictates the negative impact, so stop being afraid and realize that your fear is an indication of your weak points. You will make mistakes experience loss, from relationships to disapointment, but loss is inevitable, so rather than looking at what you have lost, look at what you have left, becasue the things that you do have left, like your talents or your friendships, will help you heal, and just as a bone is the strongest after the break, you will be a stronger person after your loss. The actual transition to college only takes a few weeks, and knowing you, you are strong enough to handle it, but I urge you to make as many mistakes as possible, becasue by the end, you will be unstoppable.

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In high school it is really easy to get caught up in relationships, and other things that potentially distract a focused mind, it can cripple the chances of fully succeeding. My advice would be to really focus on myself, and not get wrapped up in temporary problems. Also to tell myself that high school is only difficult as I make it seem, that it's much easier than college. The other advice I would give would be to value the free education that was granted to us as high school students, because things become so expenisve in college. I would tell myself to lighten up, quit stressing about things that are out of my control. I was worrying about whether my dad would be able to pay rent, I was worried about our next meal. I would tell myself that my dad loves me and he is trying the best that he can. I would tell myself to remind my parents that I loved them, and that I apperciated everything they do for me on a daily basis. Lastly, I would give myself a hug and let myself know that my depression and self harm tendencies would subside.

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I graduated high school almost three years ago. If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would buy myself a cup of coffee and tell myself to sit back, open my ears, and enjoy the warm taste of caffine as I will have to learn to depend on it. My advice would be simple. This transition is not easy. Be prepared for change and maturity. Keep your head up and smile! There will be many situations that you will not be prepared for. But it will be OK. There are situations you will get in that will cause you great sadness, great joy, and great change. I will not tell you to what to avoid or what to point towards because without the rollercoaster of life, you can not learn. Everything falls into place gracefully. You will learn from the bad days and relish in the good days. You will learn to value every single penny and work hard for those dimes. Look forward to the people you will meet and the lessons they will teach you. Lead, learn, love, and laugh. Stay close to Mom and Dad. Stay innocent.

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The best piece of advice that I would give to parents and students who are in the process of find the right college would be to go to a community college for the first two years! Unless you are 110% certain on your major, then go to a community college. You will receive the exact same education there than you would at a four-year university because the first two years of classes at universities are all taught by teachers aides anyways. You will save a ton of money and the community college will assist you in finding the career that fits you best. Also, if you maintain good grades while you are at a community college, then when you go to apply to universites, your chances of getting accepted increases by more than 50%. Another piece of advice that I would give to the students is to get involved in your school! Whether it be sports, clubs, honors program, or whatever. Get involved! This will help you to meet new friends which will make the transition period from living at home to living on your own that much easier!

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College is an important step in shaping lives. The manor in which you go about college and how seriously you take it will follow throughout your life. It is therefore important to put as much effort into college as you expect to get out of life. This takes a great deal of motivation and the only way to stay motivated in college is to pick a major that you are interested in. Remember, whichever major you choose will mold you and give you skills for life and any future career. It really does go a long way to determining if you will be happy with your career, and therefore your working years after college. Once you have your degree, no one looks at how long it took, so take your time to pick a degree you enjoy and that is suited to you. Also, take your time to complete this degree with your best possible work. If this means taking more time and learning the material more thoroughly, that is important. College is your opportunity to give yourself the best chance to follow your dreams, so choose wisely.

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A.J., you have one more year left of high school. You have made it this far. Do not quit now. You have been doing exceptionally well in all of your classes. Now it's time to step it up. Make sure you not only pass all the classes this year, but also take as much information from past classes to feed your brain. This will help you in deciding what you want to do in life and select your major. You want to start your college life quickly. Once you get accepted to the college you want to go to, do not hesitate to sign up for classes as soon as they open up for you. Make school a priority. I know friends, parties, get togethers, etc. are fun, but you have to focus. You will always have time for that. Get good grades in college. This will help you in qualifying for scholarships or even get you recognized to receive them. College is expesive, but if you get these good grades, you might get through college for free. Remember to be the best you can be and just have fun. All your hard work will pay you back.

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College has taught me more about life than I would have ever imagined. Between living on my own and managing my schoolwork, I have grown so much in the past two years. The most valuable thing I've learned was to save money and budget better. Everyone says this but until you begin college and begin paying for classes, books, bills, and rent, you truly have no appreciation for money and its worth. In addition I have learned that procrastination is detrimental in college. After having to wake up mid-morning numerous times to write an essay or do an assignment I have most definitely learned that getting things done as soon as you receive the assignment is the best policy, instead of waiting until the last minute. I've also learned a lot about different people and interacting with different types of people. College has been an extremely valuable addition to my life, not only because of the knowledge that I am receiving through the classes, but also for the incredible life-lessons I am learning.

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The most important thing I have gotten out of my college experience, so far, is a value for diversity and a greater tolerance for differences. My most challenging and favorite classes have been the ones where I've studied issues of racism, discrimination, gender stereotypes, LGBTQ issues, and women's issues. These are the classes that I feel I have been most impacted in and have grown and matured in. Being exposed to others students' opinions that are completely different than my own has forced me to open my eyes to my own prejudices and stereotypes. and rethink ideologies that I have always held on to so tightly. College is an opportunity to broaden one's visions and horizons and being an individual who is empathetic, compassionate, and aware of other?s struggles. Those who fight on behalf of others are a very important contribution to society and progression. If it were not for those who were willing to stand up and fight against injustice , our society would be a dark and unaccepting.

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