My number one piece of advise would be to get involved. You only experience college once. Get out into the community and invest in people's lives. I myself serve with Young Life and enjoy it greatly. As far as finding the right college, choose a place where you feel welcomed and where you can be yourself. Find a college with good community and friends that will last. Making the right friends is important and being who you are is as well. If you go into college feeling like you always have to impress people, then you won't be yourself. Also, do your best academically your first year. This year is critical in forming study habits and trends for following years and once your GPA is set high it is harder to miss your goals. As for parents, encourage your students to pick a college where you feel comfortable letting them become adults. Another words, don't let your kids go to the party school. You can still have a ton of fun without partying, guarantee that!
My number one piece of advice would be to visit each of the colleges of interest to the student and/ or parent. You can read a lot of great things on the internet and see interesting pictures, but until you see how students at the school interact and how they treat visitors, you won't be able to discern whether or not the school is a good fit for you. In visiting, you will have the opportunity to see what the campus offers academically, socially, spiritually, etc. Most importantly you will have the chance to ask other students about their experiences at the school, their likes and dislikes, their values and core beliefs, and the relationships they've made. Once you select a college, stick with it through thick and thin, and you will make the most of your experience. Always remember, you're only in college for four years (well usually!), so take advantage of the opportunities you have to be a part of something that may not be an option in the future.
I would tell myself to go with my heart. I would not have been here today if it wasn't for the past. Granted I am not in college but if I was I wouldn't have met present family. I would however tell myself in the past that I am definately going to be a teacher and just be patient. If I hadn't met my present life I would have told my past life to go for a teacher degree and don't stop. Be less worried about work and more worried about school, work on my english grammar. Do not go to school just to prove to your mother wrong, go to school for your future, for your future family, and for yourself because as a job as a teacher you could help your husband pay for things, give your kids things that you couldn't have paid without a degree, and show your kids college is part of life in order to succeed in life. Also it gives summer time with your kids, makes traveling easy. It is a perfect job to do with my love to teach without too much time away from my kids.
In selecting a college or university, there are many practical considerations one may make. A few of these may include fields of study available, cost, and location. While these are important factors in choosing a college, one may find a college that meets all the above requirements, but is not desirable. Some colleges are just a better "fit" for certain people. A person may feel more or less comfortable at a school depending on its size, the personality of the student body as a whole, and the worldview that the college leadership promote. I believe a person should take these feelings of compatibility into consideration. If one is not comfortable at a school, no matter what other requirements are met or not met, one is likely to be miserable and regret the choice. On the other hand, if a person is able to attend a school in with which he/she is satisfied, that person will be likely to derive greater benefit from his/her college experience.
Alexander Graham Bell was quoted, "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." Throughout my highschool years studying has come very easy and not required alot of preparation. I could put many things off until the proverbial, "Last moment." However, if I could travel back in time to my senior year and change one thing, it would be to start applying to colleges mch earlier and really taking time to thoroughly check them out. There are a vast multitude of choices available to a student considering college, and you really do yourself a disservice by not spending the adequate time and research neccessary to find what is available to help you achieve your desired goal. The decisions you make at this point can be pivotal in shaping the outcome of your future. Preparation is truly one of the most important keys to help influence the chances of success in one of possibly the most important decisions of your life.
When you get your syllabi for your classes, don't get overwhelmed and think "I'm not going to be able to do this!" Believe it or not you can. Set aside a day where you can organize you syllabi, put your assignments down on a calendar of when they are due. Each day set a goal of what you'd like to accomplish and make sure your realistic. Don't set the goal to high or you'll be disappointed with your self. You don't need that on top of the stress involved with school. Another key thing is that you have balance. College can't be all school work or it's guarenteed you will go crazy. College also can't be all fun or you can say goodbye to your degree. Set aside a certain time each week when you do something fun. When you do school work focus on the assignment at hand, don't think about all of the other assignments you need to do. Take it one assignment at a time, day by day and you will make it through. Remember to enjoy college!
As far as finding the right college, I would say to give a lot of consideration to who you are. Consider your personality, likes and dislikes, passions, etc. and go from there. Find a school that fits who you are because that is where you will end up being the most comfortable and most likely perform the best. For example, I operate better in a smaller setting so if I had attended a large state school I would've felt very out of place. To make the most out of the college experience, get involved. On any given college campus there are opportunities to get involved with music groups, athletics, clubs, community service, etc. Find something and have fun doing it. Also, make time for social interaction. Work to keep a balance between your academic schedule as well as spending time with friends. I can almost guarantee you will make the best friends of your life in college - make the most of the time you have with them.
With graduation just a few weeks away, I am in the bittersweet process of reflecting back over the memories and opportunities and maybe a few regrets from the past four years. I am thankful that I chose a college that fit my values and personality, and pursued a course of study that I was passionate about, instead of looking for the cheapest school just to get a degree to get a job. I would strongly advise students to work hard to excel from the day they step on campus; to love learning; to get to know their professors and not be too proud to ask for help when they need it. I would suggest that they take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, but choose wisely and not get distracted by time-consuming activities that have no meaning. Most of all, I would encourage making time to establish deep friendships - the kind of relationships that will continue long after the college years are over!
I reccomend thoroughly researching many colleges and narrowing down the potential colleges by visiting and taking tours. Many times, the easiest way to evaluate a college, is to visit and stay with a college student in the dorm. This gives the prospective student an opportunity to experience college life and ask students questions. Once I visited Cedarville, my mind was made up and I didn't even apply anywhere else. Once the parents and/or students have narrowed the college decision down to a few schools, they can start the application process. I reccommend applying to very few colleges to save money and time. One thing I found very helpful when I started out as a freshman was to try to be involved with all of the transition activities designed for freshmen and transfers. It was hard, as a shy freshman with no friends, to get out of my room and go make friends, but it was a good move.
I would recommend getting away from home. I did not like being so far away at first, but I think it is an important part of the College experience that you are out on your own and experiencing life as an adult, making your own decisions. If you get home sick, just stick it out for at least a semester and try to do a whole year. You may be surprised how well you adjust in such a short amount of time. Also, time management is key! It is so easy to waste time hanging out, watching movies, being on facebook, etc. If you utilize your afternoons to get all your work done, you can enjoy your evenings more and get plenty of sleep! Do the reading that is assigned and this will also help you to understand your class work better. If you focus on your studies it will be worth it in the end when you are equipped for a career that will support you that you actually enjoy doing! Good Luck!