First off, I would tell myself to start applying for scholarships there and then. College is hard to pay for I would prefer to not take loans until needed. Second, I would tell myself to not worry about general ed classes yet, and instead dive head first into the core requirements for my major and the foreign language. I would remind myself that I?m smart and can handle the full 15 units if I don?t slack off ? Stop playing video games, Self! Perhaps I would go to the local JC during the summers to start my GEs. Not as important for graduating but still an essential part of college: I would tell myself its okay to meet new people and try to make friends.
I wiil advice students and parents not to be driven by how famous and prestigious a university is. I always wanted to attend a prestigious university but there students and faculty hardly ever talk, classes are saturated and you loose the whole family concept they try to picture in brochure. At a small well equipted campus I have find all I was looking for; and education, friends not only in classmates but in faculty as well. My academic life in small campuses is just right for you to learn and not be depressed. Find a school you will become a part of it not a school where you will only be a number and a significance in what you pay them.
Starting off at a junior college is not always the most exciting or fulfilling experience, but it definitely allows young students to realize where their interests really lay. Transferring to Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) from a two-year community college gave me the focus and drive to do the best I can in my major coursework. And, although CSUSM was not my first choice of colleges, I have been able to connect with many other students and participate socially and academically more than I did in high school. The important thing is not to let your expectations weigh you down and sour a genuinely good and valuable experience.
If I had the opportunity to talk to myself as the na?ve high school senior I once was, I would probably remind myself of a number of important things I should have taken into consideration. Such as, studying for my ACTs and AP exams, passing one or more of my advance placement tests like US history or Enconmics would have helped me in the long-run by accumulating college credit to that particular class I took the exam in. I would also remind myself about how crucial it is to focus in high school in order to prepare me as a college student by not procrastinating, following deadlines, instructions, and rules.
I would advise to at least answer the following questions to yourself when starting college: Is the college you want to go to close to home? Is it financially affordable? Does it meet your academic needs? It is suitable for you in terms of off campus living (retail stores, etc.)? If there comes a time that you indeed are not happy at the college you first attend, re-evaluate your needs and how thing are progressing for you academically. Get involved with an on campus group, whether it be on a sports team or in a fraternity/sorority group. Making friends around you will definately make college life easier.
I have gained a variety of experiences both good and bad from being in college. From doing my first team project with a person from a foreign country who I could barely understand to being on my own and living with roommates for the first time. College has helped me grow into a better and more diverse person. On top of gaining experience that will lead to a career being in college is a world among itself that will teach you many things about the world if you let it. While I 'm not so happy about the debt I obtained while in college the information I received more than made up for it.
As a high school senior, I really wish I would have focused on what school was going to give me the best experience. I ignored the facts and picked a commuter school in sunny San Diego to save my parents the burden of paying the out of state tuition and me the burden of dealing with cold and wet weather. This year I am giving myself a do-over and transfering to a school that is school spirited, apart of the community, in a college town, and of course going to give me an excellent education. These are the qualities I should have been looking for in a school my senior year.
start your research early. never rely on your advisors word as the final option or the TRUTH. double and sometimes triple check what you hear. Seek out internships, develop relationships with professors. Keep all of the papers you write because sometimes they can be "recycled" pick the college location where you would eventually like to start your life that is because you go to the job fairs and have the massive job interviews near the campus you will be graduating from. engage in campus likfe early, those networks and connections will help you in the future.
Pursue Financial Aid and don't let your parents' income hold you back from getting the financial help you need. Take the plunge and live in a dorm, it's a real life experience worth not missing. Get together with your friends and find out where they're all going for college and what their plans are, some of them are just as afraid of the great unknown. Find that perfect someone to show you around campus to help ease your fears. Don't be afraid to grow up because going back later won't be any easier with kids, a job, pets, etc.
One advice I would give to parents and/or students about the right college is let the students pick the right college for themselves. If it's not the college they prefer then it will be hard for them to have most postive college exprience from it. The only thing a parents can do is to give them alternative choices of schools, but ultimately the student should decide which college to attend. The parents are there to guide their children/s to their choice of school to attend. ATTEND SCHOOL TOURS, parents and future students.