The journey will not be a straight line. You will not come out of college with the same career asperations and life visions you went into. The experiences you are most afraid to try will be the ones you cherish, that you turn over in your head an adult when things are uncertain. Don't be afraid of going abroad. You can and should never ben ashamed of asking for advice. However, remember that you already unciously know what you want. Listen to your gut. Take photos. Take photos of all those moments that seem fragile and transient. Don't be afraid to make mistakes or to go have stereotypical college experiences. The time to be an adult comes sooner than you think. You can trust your college friends with your hardships. When you are diagnosed with thyroid cancer junior year, you don't need to bear it silently. Your friends are stronger than you know and won't begrudge you help. Never let yourself stop writing.Once you reach graduate school, it will seem so important to learn to be professional, but don't allow yourself to lose the love of capture a moment in words on a page.
I would tell myself a great number of things. Firstly, I would say to make more friends early on, to live and experience college by taking risks and joining organizations. Secondly, I would push myself to find a mentor early on and develop relationships with several faculty who truly care about their students. And lastly, I would inform myself of how important research is at Carnegie Mellon. These three combined encompass all that I wish could have been, and I perhaps would alter given a second chance. Much of the past few years have been discovering myself as a person and defining who I am, what I want out of life, and who I should spend that life with.
First off, don’t smorgasbord your college experience. In college you'll have so many opportunities that you've never had, and initially, you’ll want to take advantage of them all. You’ll essentially bite off more than you can chew,and with a school like Carnegie Mellon, you are going to need CPR if you do so. Choose a concise, yet diverse set of activities to consistently get involved in. It’s truly a matter of organization and prioritization that you will later thank yourself for. Also, if you got by easy in high school, take a deep breath and brace yourself, because college is definitely the deep end of your academic swimming pool. Undergrad studies are meant to be challenging when it comes to work and workload, and your professors won't hesitate to deliver from day one of classes to the last final of your spring semester. But you didn't decide to go to college for easy A's, right? Nevertheless, when you are in over your head, don’t be afraid to call out for help. Your greatest relationships are forged in trials and tribulations, so reach out when you are feeling the heat.
No matter how many college tours you go on or how prepared you may be, you will not be able to replace the rollercoaster experience college is going to hand you. Nothing to do but suit up and embrace the ride.
It's going to be busy and scary and confusing. Everything's new, from the way you live to the way you learn. This isn't meant to intimidate you, it's meant to help you understand: college is an adventure, a rollercoaster. Those ups and downs are coming, ready or not. So embrace them. Ride the ride. Understand that things don't always go according to the plan, and that's okay! Instead of panicking, accept the falls, brush yourself off, and work with it.
You're going to be a changed person when you come back, I can tell you that much. Keep in mind that even when things change, you are the ultimate decider of how you, as a person, change. If someone or something is important to you, make an effort to keep it in your life. You'll be thankful you did.
Good luck! Be safe, have fun, and embrace that rollercoaster.
Apply to more scholarships while in high school. It's much more difficult as you age.
What I remember most vividly from being a high school senior was this bizarre notion that there was only one "right" path for me, and that it would be indicated by what college I got into. I was terrified of being the one who came back home from a failure, unhappy with where I was. I love my college but what I've discovered is that even the things that perhaps were unexpected and not "perfect" have influenced me in anything but a negative way. If I had the opportunity to reconnect with my former self, I would simply try to communicate the message that whereever you end up, you are still you and always have the capacity and opportunity to make the most of it.
If I were able to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would probably be much further in my education than I currently am. There are many pieces of advice I would give myself, but they all boil down to one main point-- be prepared. Be prepared by mapping out which classes you need to take and meeting with your school counselor early enough to make sure you know what you need to take, when you need to take it by, and make sure the classes you're taking are transferrable. Be prepared for a whole new world full of unfamiliar faces and customs you may not be used to. Be prepared for the endless nights of studying, writing, and taking notes on reading assignments.
If you don't remember any of this a year from now when you're off to college, just remember one thing for me-- it's okay to make mistakes. College is a time to find yourself; a time to completely mess up. Just make sure that when you make a mistake, learn from it. This way, the more mistakes you make, the wiser you'll be.
The number one piece of advice I would give would be to learn how to sit down and study for longer periods of time. One of the biggest problems face is my inability to sit down for extended periods of time to study and finish assignments. I feel like it also has to do with learning and understanding time management. Time management is another thing I wish I could have perfected back in high school. During my first semester, I struggled with studying for different classes and completing homework assignments because it was so different from high school. The work load and what is expected of me on exams is far beyond most high school standards. So, time management and study habits would be two very important things I would tell my high school self to work on extensively before coming to college.
To start with, I would have told myself to go to college right after high school! The biggest regret I have in life is that I waited so long to go back to school. I believe that making the transition from high school to college would have been alot easier at that time then it was a year ago when I decided to go back. I had to retrain myself to take notes, study, allow time for homework, etc. I believe a college education is one of the most important factors in a persons life. Not only will it help you secure a good paying career that you like, but the self-esteem that it builds in yourself when you accomplish these goals is worth so much more!
I think it’s important to know that even though you are bout to make a huge transition, you are still you-- a changing you but you nonetheless. You feel that you're "over" parts of your life. You think that you're ready to give up things like theater because you don’t see a future; try thinking creatively, are there are other theater jobs besides what you’ve done in high school? Consider this: Dramaturgy is a career and a major-- who knew? Don't underestimate the power of your passions. It's important to listen to your heart in conjunction with your head so that you can spend your time doing what you love which will make it easier to succeed. You're going to transition into college life just fine. You'll make friends, lose friends and find a new family just like you did in high school. Remember that everyone is adjusting, so everyone is terrified and unsure of themselves. Listen to your mom, she's right about that electric kettle-- you're really going to want that. And don't spend any money on a bathrobe. They're useless. No one uses them.
If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior there are a couple of pieces of advice I would give myself. The first is that the world is full of different paths in life. From just a college perspective I see chemical engineers, creative writing students, programmers, and architects. The possiblities from a college education are expansive and should not easily be overlooked. Another piece of advice would be to expect nothing. One thing I learned is that trying to predict how your current or upcoming semester will be an impossible task. Oppurtunity and obstacles are always coming forth and each can only be dealt with at the present moment. Approaching college with an open mind and understanding of your present self is the best you can do. Lastly I would tell myself where good friends are to be found in college. During my first two years I joined different groups and participated in alot. The search was interesting and fun, but when you have good friends by your side college becomes a communal experience. You share more sad and good moments with familiar faces, which always make them mean more.
Don't get hung up on that one pretty girl you met on the incoming freshmen Facebook group the summer before going to college. It's not going to pan out and while you're on that wild goose chase, you could have been meeting the other girls who were going to end up in your social circle and would have been much better for you. Instead they will end up in wholesome committed relationships with peope who aren't you, and you can't even hate the other guys for it because you'll end up becoming good friends with all of them.
In other words, my advice to you is that you'll become much better socialized in college than in high school and you don't need to fall for the first girl that pays attention to you.
I would tell myself to be true to myself. Don't worry so much about what others think. Stick to your principals and don't get caught up in the gossip mills. Also, take more time to help others.
In senior year after I got my acceptance and rejection letters, I almost didn't visit Carnegie Mellon. I had gotten unto UCLA, and I thought that was all I needed. My parents told me that if I still wanted to, I could go visit one school out of state. I didn't mind taking a day off to travel, and Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh had looked interesting and fun. Just a few weeks later I flew out with my dad. On the way there, I expected to see the city a bit, tour the campus, and then confirm with UCLA as soon as I got home. By the end of our trip, I was completely in love with Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon's campus, and the school's personality. I enrolled right away. I've already told some graduating seniors I know that if you feel the pull on a campus, no matter where it is, follow it. I've loved nearly every minute of my year there (perhaps except for finals) because even though I've lived in Los Angeles all my life, Carnegie Mellon is not just my school, but my home. Every student should find their home.
I would tell myself that finding the right college is more about knowing yourself than comparing statistics or rankings. I spent so much time trying to balance my college list that in the end I wasn't even sure how I felt about all the colleges. I got so caught up in the pressure of finding a college that I would be comfortable at, but also help me in my future career goals. There was so much to think about, and so much great information from every single college I looked at that I got caught up in all the technicalities.
Throughout the entire college process, I was sure that there were dozens of colleges I would be happy attending. The problem was finding the one I would be most happy at. But it would have been easier to know what that best fit was if I had learned more about myself. If I had known what environment and programs I needed to grow and challenge myself, I would have been more sure of my choices and could have saved myself a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
You have a lot to look forward to. College will be better than high school, and the transition isn't that terrible. First semester will require some adjustment, even if you're prepared for the change. Be sure to take care of yourself. Even if there's tons of stuff you want to do, remember to keep your life balanced between academics, social life, personal life, sleep.
I've taken classes and I've done projects. I've done the homework and taken the tests. They have taught me much and in no way do I doubt that I have become more educated than I could ever imagine. However, even with all the typical tasks of a college student I think what I have gotten out of college goes past that. To me college was an awakening, a realization that the reality of the world was a lot more different than I had pictured when I was in high school. I caught my first glimpse of what it was like to shoulder all my responsibilties by myself. I made my own decisions. It was no longer about what looks best to wear or when was I going to meet friends. It was about, "how do I allocate my time today?". The steps I need to take to achieve success are known, and experience has been my teacher in following through with my goals. With what I've learned through experience and through myself I am confident in tackling tomorrow.
In the short year and a half that I've been at college, I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned how far I can push myself, and I've learned how to better interact with other people.
Engineering school, even after only the first year, has assaulted my mind with problems to solve. Every homework assignment, whether it be in Calculus, Electrical Engineering 100, or Computer Science, means that I will be staring at a problem, thinking of problem solving strategies and multiple methods to approach a single problem. Even the challenge of paying for college has changed the way my brain works. Faced with a 55,000 dollar tuition and inadequate support from my parents(though they are doing their best), I have been forced to become an entrepreneur, and I've learned to deal with stress on an entirely new level. I know that after graduating from a top engineering institution with a dual degree in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, I will be very well equipped for a career in which I will be in a position to significantly improve the quality of life of some demographic of the population, a dream I've had since I was a child.
The main thing that I have gotten out of my college experience is self discovery. With every seemingly meaningless task or event that I attend to, I end up learning so much. Not only do I learn about the event itself, but I also learn about my personal interests. College had been more of a social experience than an academic experience. Even though I am paying for a degree, I am getting so much more. Because most people at Carnegie Mellon live on campus, we have become enclosed in our own Carnegie Mellon bubble with its own social norms and mores. This has been the most valuable part of my expereince at college, because this can be directly related to the future and the workforce. In the future, everyone becomes enclosed in their own work bubble. Having the skills to learn and adapt quickly to an enclosed environment is important beyond belief.
I have only been in college for a month now, but I feel that it has been much longer. So far, I have gained a new aspect to life and have created relationships with others that will last for a lifetime. Living by myself apart from my family, I knew that it wasn't going to be easy, but the college has been accepting and has become my second home. The people in my dorm, in my classes, or those I met at events are people I will cherish forever. The lectures that I attend convey the wisdom of the professors and I only wish that I will be able to contain the vast knowledge that they convey. College has been an opportunity for me to become independent and I feel privileged to be able to attend Carnegie Mellon University.
Overall, I have gotten so much out of my experience in college. I am so happy with my choice at Carnegie Mellon. It has pushed me to be as successful as I possibly can be and has allowed me to stay involved in extracurricular activites in school and outside of school. I would not choose to go to school anywhere else because Carnegie Mellon has allowed me to become an independent person and grow as an individual. Although the academics can be difficult at times, it is a great experience to be challenged. With Carnegie Mellon located in the city of Pittsburgh, I have been able to have numerous opportunites for internships and volunteer jobs to help out the environment and the community. I can only hope that through this experience, I will be able to succeed in the next three years and be prepared for life afterwards.
Carnegie Mellon is a wonderful school for majoring in a communication design program, but more importantly it is a great school for creators. Creators of art, music, robots, computers, and just about anything. With its rich diversity and its hands-on approach to learning, Carnegie Mellon provides the right atmosphere to cultivate people who are insanely serious about their disiplines. The passion and admiration you develop not only extends to your field of study, but also to your peers'. The interactions between scientists, aritsts, historians, etc. are what give Carnegie Mellon its character. Heated discussions with your peers and professors over lunch are a common occurence, and so are midnight soccer and tennis matches in the dorm hallways the night before a huge project is due. Carnegie Mellon University has already established itself as a school known for producing young geniuses, but maybe the key to the success of Carnegie graduates comes from the fact that they learn how to have fun at school. I cannot imagine going to school anywhere else. Despite the back breaking hard work and time that goes into each project and paper, its sharing the experience with others that makes it all worth while.
College has taught me many lessons. Whether it is separating white socks from red tee shirts while doing laundry, not waiting until the last night to begin studying for a big exam, or appeasing my roommate because I sleep three feet away from him every night, college is chalk full of life lessons. Many believe that the main lesson of college is to find something you enjoy and pursue it as a career. This is an important aspect of college, but it overlooks an important idea. In order to find a passion, you must first know who you are. Through the introspection during the long nights of studying, the bickering between roommates, and the little frustrations like finding your favorite socks are now pink, I found out who I am as a person. This has been the most valuable aspect of my college career.
In my first year of college I have learned how to manage my time and my priorities without the guidance of my parents. I also learned how to interact with new people and make connections. Also, particularly at Carnegie Mellon University, there are many resources and I have learned to obtain the most help that I can to ensure that I do the best that I can considering what is available to me. These things have helped me grow up and understand what it takes to succeed out in the world. My freshman year has been valuable not only for the excellent quality of the classes and professors but for the broad range of ideas I was exposed to. Coming together with students all over the world has really changed my perspective of a lot of things and caused me to gain knowledge and experience in areas of life that are not in the classroom. Also I witnessed politics firsthand with the event of G20, which took place in Pittsburgh. In addition, I have formed the closest bonds with the people I met in the past year and my life has truly been changed.
it has been three weeks since i started college. However, it's great feeling that i gained lots of experience in this three weeks.
being in college help me grow more in my life. i go to Community College of Denver. CCD have enormous diversity around the compuss. i never felt like home. people in CCD are very helpful. ccd is helping me prepare for my four years degree. they have great solution for student who is willing to achieve their goal. they have many program that will help students to get great experience out of it. but i am looking forward to get involve in many other programs and gain more experience. i am taking Associate degree in science and planning to transfer to University of Colorado Denver. and major in medical and miner in doctor. thank you so much for taking time to read this essay. and i will look forward to hear from you..
Ultmately I find the most valuable part of my time in college has been the people I've met. I feel blessed to have met a group of individuals who are so passionate about their art and education that they are willing to go beyond the classroom to learn those skills that are important to them. We learned so much from one another and without them, my time at college might have been a total waste.
I haven't been in too many college experiences, I graduated high school in 2009. I went to a vocational school my junior and senior year of high school. I have been working in a salon doing hair. I want to get a business degree, and further my education. I do know when I've visited colleges that I've learned an unbelievable amount on differnent aspects of life . You have to be focused on why your there, and realize that college is'nt about having the most fun. My goals are to be the best that i can be and to get the best education, I can contain. The more education a person has, the more opportunities are given to them. Education is so valuable to have because no one can take it away from you, you will know what you know no matter what! I have the drive and the determination to go the extra mile, and in college your going to have to take the extra mile more than once. I hope that i will succeed with greatness, and love every minute of it!
I admit that while attending Carnegie Mellon I was not always satisfied. I felt humbled to be around so many classmates who were intelligent, academic-oriented overachievers. It was overwhelming to be around people who had the same educational values and work ethic as mine. But looking back on the experience, I am grateful that I attended. College life allowed me to become more independent and more responsible. Since I was living away from home and from my parents, I developed better time management skills in order to tackle my large workload and make time for a social life. I had to take care of buying groceries, cooking meals, and doing laundry, which made me appreciate that my parents work during the day and still have time to take care of my brother and me and household chores.
Aside from growing up and maturing while at school, I discovered that the most valuable part of Carnegie Mellon is its community. The professors and alumni really want students to succeed. When applying to graduate school, my professors were more than happy to write my recommendations, and when reaching out to alumni, the alumni offered me helpful advice.
I have been privledged to attend three excellent campuses in the Central Ohio area. My college experience has allowed me to expand my career from social work and psychotherapy into nursing. I have been awarded the opportunity to learn with a diverse range of professionals in many different areas of expertise. Had I not attended college, I would have missed the opportunity to connect with this wonderful group of educators and fellow students. The boundaries of my education have been expanded in ways I could not imagine before I attended. Not only has enriching my education allowed my salary to grow, it has also opened doors for other experiences, such as travelling to underprivledge areas to provide care. The college experience has allowed me to expand my horizons and become a well-rounded, knowledgeable, and compassionate caregiver to those in need of assistance, now in social work and soon in medicine.
Thus far, hard work and dedication. I have always been committed to my work, but going the extra mile is really worth it when your in a school like this. The reason I am even filling out this is so I can attend summer courses offered as well as continue my education.
I would tell myself not to be concerned about what others think, including faculty, unless I respect their opinions. I would rely more on my intuition and the advice of those who care about me. I would concentrate on learning and less on grades. I would spend more time cultivating friendships.
Decide what things define who you are and hold on to these things more tightly than you hold onto your slowly shrinking piggy bank! If you do not decide ahead of time where to draw the line when it comes to changing who you are, you will become someone that is merely a reflection of all of the people who influence you. College may be about redefining yourself, but always remember that your past defines you as you begin to experiment with who you are.
It is important to really take the time to consider all of your options. Being caught up in the love for your high school is not an excuse for not putting in the effort when looking for a college. While you may get into a great school with a great reputation you should not base you decision on that alone. Additionally choosing a school for financial reasons is never a good choice. It is so important to visit the schools and get a student's perspective. Within the first few minutes of being on a campus you will know if you can be happy there. College is about developing your social skills just as much as it is improving your academics. If you don't feel comfortable, you will never achieve your personal best in anything. I was the student who had everything going for them in high school however my lack of effort towards making the right decision for college resulted in a lot of second guessing my first year. The name on the diploma means far less if you didn't actually use the four years to find out more about yourself and develop as a human being.
If I could go back and give myself some advice as a high school senior, I guess the first piece of advice that I would have to administer would be: ?Don't worry about all of these stresses that you go through. One day, they will all be worth it...? I'd say, ?Please, don't lose sight of who you currently are and ? even when others bring you down for voicing your opinion ? even still, deliver your voice; help others find theirs. Make sure not to keep your aims on simply making a living, but instead, on enriching the world. Strive to improve yourself in any way you can. Know that all the experiences which you will have ? even the bad ones ? are experiences that you have to have if you are going to help others from them. Learn from your mistakes, and give others the gift of learning from your them as well. BE BOLD but, don't disrespect people in the process. Just go for it ?shoot for the sky ? because even if you lose, you won't lose the lesson. If even but a little, I hope this advice can help you nonetheless...?
Looking back, I do not think I had the traditional college experience. As my friends raved about parties and discovering a new social life, I often found myself questioning my own choices and experiences here at Carnegie Mellon, one often filled with more anxiety than alcohol. However, now finishing my most rigorous year yet, I've come to realize that many of original doubts about college were in fact just a fear of not being like everyone else. Some are born to jump into new experiences like a hot tub, while others inch in as if any change in movement would suddenly turn the water into ice. And I, without a doubt, am the latter. My high school senior always regarded this self reflection as something to hide. As if, not jumping immediately, was cowardly. But having learned more about myself than I could've ever imagined in these past years, I have realized something great. Taking the time to appreciate new experiences requires great patience and also a great deal of confidence. To my high school self, life is not a race. And if nothing else, entering the hot tub slowly can only show off your swimsuit even more.
Knowing what I do now about the independency in college, I would advise my high school self to begin understanding that education is truly based on your own determination and willingness to learn. Although there will be many great resources available, ambitious students, and knowledgeable professors to help you, it is up to you to push yourself to learn. However, I would also tell myself that I should not expect learning to be perfect.
Mistakes are a major part of learning, and especially of life. Therefore, I hope that I could have seen that it would be inevitable, and also reasonable to make mistakes while transitioning into college. The mistakes I will make are only worth it if I learn from them, and push myself to work harder. This self-realization will help with the first piece of advice to push myself to work harder. After all, education is an individual experience that lasts much longer past the college years.
I would say go back to highschool, it is less complicated than getting a GED.
Rob, you need to focus more time on getting a job and finding scholarships to pay for Carnegie Mellon. You're going to have a lot of work to do when you get there and you need to be able to support yourself. You should also know that it won't be how you think it's going to be. You'll be let down in some ways, but very suprised in others. Keep yourself open to new things and try to not harbor bad memories from the past. Always remember that your music is the key to everything in your life. Follow your heart's song.
If I could go back in time to give myself advice about college life, I would tell myself that studying hard is important, but that making friends and having a good time is more important. Going to a difficult and challenging school, you can easily get swept up with work, grades and papers, and it can all become overwhelming very quickly. However, having people that you can trust and an outlet, whether in the arts or sports or greek life, will help you maintain a balance between school work and a social life. With that balance, it is actually easier to get work done because you are not blinded by the amount of work and lack of free time that you have, but rather you know that there are people around that can help you, and something that you can do to take your mind off all your stress and just relax. Ultimately, if you spend all your time studying, you will forget to have fun and really that is the most important thing to do while at college.
Keep on doing what you are doing. Never give up.
Prepare ahead of time and pay attention to how high school teachers enforce different types of learning, and figure out which style of learning works best for you.
Avoid the mistake of trying to find the "best" college--it doesn't exist. Instead, find the college that will "fit" the best. When chosing between several colleges, investigate what each has to offer in terms or organizations, academics, extracurriculars, and campus life. Imagine what a typical week at each school might be like. When visiting a school, don't be afraid to approach professors and current students with questions. When talking with students on campus, it's a good idea to ask why they chose the school and if they wish they'd gone somewhere else.
Once you've decided, prepare to open your mind to as many new experiences as possible. The great thing about college is that you can be truly independent. You're free to try anything--so do it! Now is the time to learn from experience and gain long-lasting wisdom. Don't let people fool you into believing that college is all about school work. Studying and doing well is important, but chances are the most important lessons you'll learn at college won't be in a classroom. Follow your dreams and grow!
Even if you aren't accepted to your dream college, don't close your mind to the college you decide to go to. How you feel going into college will reflect what you get out of it. Make the most of your opportunities.
Make sure that you actually spend time on campus on your own, no tour guide, and try to find your way around and feel comfortable. Try to spend a night there as well and talk to the students who go there who aren't paid to take you ona tour for an honest opinion of the college. Sit in on a class related to a major you might want to pursue. Most importantly of all, take the time once you get there to take advantage of all the different things they tell you about during orientation regarding the different activities and clubs there are.
Determine what is most important to you (being close to family, city life, academics) and choose you're university accordingly. Don't go to a college that you can't affored because you won't be able to concentrate on doing well academically and socially.
To students-- Don't start or continue to compare yourself to your peers. This really is your decision and your decision only. It's not about what college is ranked the highest or "sounds" the best based on other peoples' experiences. In the end, it really is what you make of your own college experience that counts anyway. Attend the college you want to go to not only for your future but for yourself-- you'll appreciate it as time goes on.
To parents-- This is one of the toughest decisions a kid has to make, as I'm sure many of you already know. Be supportive, don't make demands, and try not to set limits. It breaks a kid's heart to be accepted into a school and not be able to go because of financial issues, overprotective parents, or just plain close-mindedness.
(By the way, I meant to select the 18-20 age range on the survey, not 28 and over.)
Junior year of high school I began applying to colleges; but to be honest, I had no idea what type of school I wanted to attend. Big? Small? Urban? I had no clue. I ended up applying to any and every school my test scores matched. By the end of senior year, I had a much better sense of myself and what type of environment I could flourish in. I was only a year older, but during senior year I was able to talk to my peers and discuss the pros and cons of different types of campuses. Then the acceptance (and rejection!) letters started pouring in around march and april. Luckily, I had plenty of choices because I had applied to so many schools. My best advice to anyone applying to college is to give yourself options and variety. You many change your mind and decide a smaller, or bigger, or closer or whatever type of school is what you really want. But if you've only applied to one type of school (say, small liberal arts schools) you may regret it. So be open to different types of schools and don't limit your future!
No one really knows what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Even those who were born with the mindset of becoming a doctor realize the very real possibility of change. In regards to picking the right college, you should find a school that resonates true to you. It could be a social aspect, or their extra-curricular activities, or the mascot, or even the way the name sounds. Any decent college will give you a solid education; so what really matters is your interests. You have to realize that college is a stepping stone for your adulthood, which may or may not deal with a lot of academics. Some students come out of college with a BS and apply to a fine arts graduate school. It is those small interests that really stick and may possibly turn into a career.
Choosing the right school is hard, but in the end it has to be a choice for you. A lot of people will give you advice, some of it good, most of it bad. What they have to say is beneficial, but more beneficial is what you think about it. Don't let other people make your decision for you, because ultimately you're the one who'll be spending four years at the school you choose. When I applied to college, I had only one goal: go out-of-state. I like that my search was so open-ended; I got to visit a lot of places and see what I liked and what I didn't. My choice was made as soon as I walked onto my school's campus. It was the first place I felt at home; the first place whose paths I could see myself walking to class. It had all the right qualities: lots of extracurriculars, good class sizes, well-known professors, and it was away from home. That's what college becomes: a home away from home. It just has to be somewhere you can be comfortable.
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