My main advice to parents and students about finding the right college is to go and stay on campus for a night or two. Don't go on weekends that the school hosts in order to have hundreds of high school students there to "experience" their college or university. Schools always put their best foot forward on these weekends, which isn't a bad thing, but you really don't get the real college experience. I visited all of the schools I was seriously considering on a normal weekend. I knew immediately when I stayed at Cedarville that it was the right choice. These experiences were the main things that helped me make my decision.
Make sure that the student really wants to get the most out of their college experience if they are going to a private school. It is very beneficial to save money and to go to a state of community college and then go to a private university after that if finances are tight. Choosing a christian university can be very helpful in helping a student to become more grounded in their beliefs while still having the structure/boundaries that such a university provides. Above all if your student is not happy with their selection it is never to late to transfer out of a school and find a school that better fits the students needs.
The major advice that I would give myself as a high school senior is to be open more with people and know that you will learn many things about life from people! When in high school, you tend to think you know more than you actually do and from hearing life experiences from friends here, I have seen just how little I know. I also would advise to myself to be weary of people who don't understand what being a good friend actually is and will discourage, not encourage you. This happened to me once this semester and I was not prepared for it and didn't know how to respond to a friend who told me I hadn't been a true friend.
It's important to look at more than one school and visit each of them before making your decision. There are a lot of good schools out there, but not all are right for everyone. Visiting the campus, especially when classes are in session gives you a really good feel for what the school is going to be like if you choose to attend there. Also take advantage of opprtunities to get involved while attending whatever school you choose. So many of my really close friendships started by getting involved in various orgs and other activities on campus. When picking a school, look at the extracurricular activities they offer.
First and most important is to seek God more. You think that you have it all together but you have no clue what is ahad of you. College will bring all sorts of new experiences with school and outside of school. If you keep God first with daily prayer and devotions and prayer you will be so much better off than I am now. The other thing is to get rid of any repeated sin right now. It will be best to deal with before you get to college because they will not go away once you get here. It will only stay the same or get worse. You are doing a great job, study hard and as dad always says, Keep God First.
Really, when it comes down to it - choosing the right college has very little to do with it being "right" on paper. It has everything to do with finding your niche wherever you go and finding your way to leave a positive mark on the school when you leave - for others to experience. Also, when you graduate, the piece of paper that says you did what you needed to get through is nothing compared to the experiences you'll take to start your future. So, stress little about where you're going to spend the next four years or so of your life and focus on the details once you get there. You'll do great!
I've grown and matured a considerable amount since i've attended Cedarville University. I've learned good study habbits and how to balance my work load and social life. Being a nursing studnet, my work load has been very demanding and requires me to carefully give my time to various venues. I've very much enjoyed playing intermeral sports as a source of stress relief and enjoyment. I've learned that having fun and developing realtionships is just as important as my studies. These lessons in and outside the classroom have proven valuable in my life now and i'm sure they will in the future as well.
I think that I would tell myself that it is okay to be myself, and that I should never have tried to change who I was to fit in or to attract a boy. I would tell myself that the right friends and guys will love me for me. I would also tell myself that I should go to a high school where I would have more opportunities to grow. I would also make sure that I spent more time with family, and I wish that I had respected my parents more. I think that high school would have been a lot easier if i had done that. I also think that things would have been easier if I had really given my school work my all.
I would tell them to go where it fits, if you want a big school don't settle for a little one, and the other way around. The experiance is what you make of it, if you choose to always be down and never talk to anyone, then you will not have a very good time, but if you put forth the effort to do something and meet people then you are going to have a better time than just sitting in your room. Don't try and be something or someone that you are not, changing because of someone else is not a good thing, you need to change because you want to change not because someone else wants you too.
I have learned a lot for my classes and the experiences I have had here. I am currently a journalism major, and find that the professors encourage me to do my best and inspire me to do all that I can. I have also learned a lot from the chapel we attend and have gotten close to God throught my experiences there. My friends in the dorm are close and we can tell eachother about practically anything, especially when we need people to talk to. I also have my boyfriend who goes here as well, and I enjoy spending a lot of time with him as well. Going to Cedarville University is worthwhile.