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Cedarville University

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

My greatest advice to myself as a high school senior would be to get involved. Aside from the fact that becoming involved looks great on resumes and scholarship applications, it's a great way to build friendships. And it doesn't have to be in the activity that you build the friendships. In college, it's shared activities of the past that can build the initial contact point for a friendship. Also, being involved in high school teaches you how to be involved in college and still balance your time. It broadens and develops you as a person. Then, of course, I would tell myself to take better notes. Even if you don't need the notes in high school, and even if you don't look back on them for reference once you're in college, it's good practice. In high school, the teachers cater to students much more, and it's easier to learn just by paying attention. But in college, many classes take on a lecture format, and it's beneficial to be able to look back at your notes later to further digest information. High school only prepares you for college if you let it.

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I honestly feel very lucky because of how my college experience has been so far. For the last two years of my life, I have not only achieved an associate degree in Networking, but also received my high school degree. No, I did not fail and have to retake or anything like that. I've been attending DeVry University Advantage Academy, in Chicago. In doing so, I have received my associates approximately two years before most of my friends. Attending college during High School was one of the wisest decisions I have ever made. One of the top reasons I’m happy to have my associates degree two weeks after I graduated from high school is knowing that I’ll be able to earn my living faster than everyone else by several years. The second reason is the feeling of accomplishment. It’s not often that you hear that a recent high school graduate has the potential of having a salary of over 50,000. In fact, I could make more than my parents with my experience now, and they have been working for quite some time, and in good jobs. I’m pleased with my college experience.

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In high school, I was strongly encouraged to take AP classes. I took many of them, and I felt as if the difficulty of high school had ruined that "high school" experience and regretted taking them. However, I see now that I am a college freshman that I was extremely well prepared for the level at which I was expected to study. As a nursing major, I am required to take difficult classes early on, and AP in high school was a really good stepping stone for that. However, as I did study a lot in high school, I wish I could have learned better time management, and how to better balance fun with work. This was something I quickly adjusted to in college, and I wish I had learned the skill sooner. I might have enjoyed high school a little bit more. Also, having known I would go into nursing, I wish I had familiarized myself with APA citation formatting in high school, and had been required to practice with it in a sociology or psychology class. College professors are very strict on this format, and I had to learn the hard way on my first few assignments.

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Choosing a college is a huge decision in life and I don't think there is any college that is perfect for everyone. When making a decision on a college its important that they have the program that you want to do, and that it has a quality education. However, college is more than an education it's an experience that transitions you from a child to an adult, from your parents making your decisions to you making your decisions. This makes it crucial to find a school that will help you get ahead not just in education but in life. Look for a school that fits your personality, what school will help you grow up? I'm not talking about what school has the biggest parties, but what school has the facilities that will aid you in making real friends, and real life decisions? Do you need a small school that specializes in one area that will allow you to fit in and focus? Or, are you a person that needs a big school with lots going on that will allow you to really try new things and experiences? These are crucial questions to answer that often get overlooked.

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If I were to give advice to parents and students about finding the best college, I would definitely say that you need to find a school that fits you best. Change is scary, I know that first hand, and going away to school is a big change so it is very scary. But it's a good change, and eventually being away will be a little less scary. The school you choose that fits the best will begin to feel like your home away from home, and you'll never want to leave. In order to make the most of your college experience I would encourage you to get involved in a variety of different activities - join a choir, an organization, a community service group, so you can meet as many different kinds of people as you can. Then from there you will get to decide which group you fit best with and form lasting friendships. While it's important to get involved, it is also important to be serious about your studies and get your work done as well though. College is all about learning how to balance everything . Once you learn that balance, you're set for life.

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The choice before you is an extremely critical one. The next four years are possibly the most important of your life, and were you spend them will make all the difference. As the president of my school says, "Think long- term, but live in the moment." It is important for you while choosing a school to look at your long term goals and plan accordingly, but also choose a school that fits you. My school (Cedarville University) is Christian, small, has a beautiful campus, and has a fun but Christ-centered student body. These are all things I was looking for, and I am extremely happy with my choice. My college also however, has a great business management program, which fits into my long term goals. So my advice to you, before you enter into the mayhem of schools attempting to gain your attendance, would be to figure out your goals and your wants in a college first, then to narrow down your choices to find one that meets those needs. Once you find those schools, visit them, and I'm sure you will fall in love with one of them. I did.

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College has been the biggest and most influential experience to play into my growth in life. Through coming into college and learning to fend for myself I was able to become an adult. When I began classes in my first semester of college I knew I would have to work towards finding a job. To support my monthly tuition fees I had to work through applying for an abundance of jobs hoping to reach my goal. After a few months of searching and a number of interviews I was hired as an employee at Baskin Robbins. I have been a customer service representative of 31 flavors for nearly a year and I have grown into my own. I am honored to communicate with all kinds of people and personalities during my day. I have learned so much from college and independence that I am no longer as shy and reserved as I use to be during high school. I have worked hard to reach these goals and the next step is to move to a four year university to continue on my journey for a bachelor’s degree. All the fears of growing up have been washed away with confidence.

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The transition to college is huge, but is something that you can successfully accomplish. It?s very important to be dedicated from the start. View your role as a student as your full time job. When you start in the fall, it is easy to be lulled into a sense of false security only to wake up a month into your new career, realizing how deep the hole is that you are in. This all can be avoided with a little planning from the beginning. Take your syllabi and write out on month calendars when large projects or papers are due or when exams will be. At the start of each week, jot down a list of tasks that need to be completed and cross them off as you do them. You can even plan out exactly when you will do what homework, if that helps. When you start to struggle with classes, don?t hesitate to ask for help immediately. Professors want to see you do well and many schools have tutoring available. Always listen to their advice. Studying with friends, you can learn information faster, too. This isn?t a road you need to travel on your own.

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Take college seriously; it may be a fun place, but if you don't study and actually look for a career, than all you'll have is a huge debt for a party. Look for a college that's in your price range, where the campus appeals to you and students seem responsible. While it's not neccessary to have a career in mind before you enroll, it's good to think of some ideas of what you'd like to do when you look into schools. Don't go to a particular college just because your friends are doing it. Don't do stuff AT college just because your friends are doing it. Saying "No" may feel embarrasing or awkward, but it makes you a stronger person, and you'll never have regrets haunting you later. Don't be afraid to ask professors for help, or if there are possible extra-credit assignments. Higher grades mean more possibilites for grants and scholarships. Make friends who'll support you, and love you for who you are. Have fun and don't be afraid to be ridiculous; you're only this young once, and some memories can only be made here.

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So far my experience at Cedarville has given me many friends that I can trust, a chance for fellowship with people from all over the world (but mostly Ohio and Michigan), a better understanding of the Christian worldview in different areas of study, and a chance to grow in all the areas of life. When I first came to Cedarville I never could have imagined that there would be so many people who would open up and love me even when I was scared of opening up to them. I always found help when I needed it, even from people who were complete strangers! When I did not have anywhere sit during lunch two girls offered me a spot at their table and included me into their conversation. The people in my brother and sister unit really became like family, and we had dinner with each other every Friday night. I cannot even fully express in words how much God has used the environment of Cedarville to change my life! If I had to go back and choose where to go to college all over again, I would pick Cedarville University again!

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