Clarkson University Top Questions

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

Courtney

The transition between high school and college is a pivotal time period in a young adult’s life. Though assimilation only takes a few months, the extent to which young adults change is astonishing. The amount of growth and independence one achieves through this stage is incredible, and looking back on my transition stage I realize a few items that I wish I could have told myself just a few months prior. If I could, I would give myself a verbal slap in the face. I would tell myself to stop being so self-conscious, so full of doubt. College taught me to dream big, because when one thinks big one achieves big. I have always wanted to be a CEO but constantly questioned if I was capable. After my transition I quickly learned that I absolutely was, and so I did. I created my very own business and achieved my dream all because of self-confidence. If I could go back, I would tell my younger self to get rid of the layer of negativity I carried, because a positive outlook and self-confidence opens doors to amazing possibilities.

Jenessa

The number one piece of advice I would tell my high school self is that life goes on. Every second of emotion spent on high school drama or embarrassment will not last forever. Once entered in college, you are allowed to be whoever you want without judgement. "Clicks" do not follow you to college and you are free to find yourself and become whatever you dream of. Another big piece of advice I would suggest to myself would be to aquire strong studying habits early as they are necessary in cellege. Do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions. Another major piece of advice I would suggest to myself would be to cherish every moment you have with your family. No matter how close or how far you go to college, time with your family is precious. You will be busy in college and you do not obtain the privelege of coming home to your parents and sibling like you used. Cherish every moment and opportunity given to you.

Emily

One piece of advice I would like to go back and tell myself as a high school senior is that college work and high school work are completely different. In high school I didn't have to work very hard, so I figured college would be the same way. It was not at all which is why I struggled so much my freshman year. I wish from the beginning I started studying hard and did not procrastinate. This is what I was glad to pass onto my cousin as she started her freshman year of college this past fall.

sara

I would be more focused in college more in my first year and do all of my general cources classes in my first two semesters

Elizabeth

If I could go back in time and advise myself, I would tell myself to not get caught up in drama or other's business. When you're constantly worrying about others and what is going on in their lives, you lose track of your own. While I was too busy getting caught up in petty arguments, I missed a few homework assignments. It wasn't the end of the world, not by far, but it set me back and then I needed to put more energy into studying for exams. Long story short, do your homework. Always ask for help when you need it, you'll be suprised by how many people are willing to help. Attend tutoring if it's offered for a certain class, even though you may think you are really great at a subject, it never hurts to practice more than you need to. College is a great place to make new friends and get involved in clubs, but don't forget to concentrate on yourself and your education...it's what you're paying for!

Lydia

If I could go back in time and talk to my senior self, my advice would be to embrace an “open door policy” while making the transition from high school to college. In both a literal and metaphorical sense, having an “open door” will help you develop a comfortable and fun environment for yourself. In the literal sense, having your dorm room door open while you are there allows the people on your floor to come in and portrays a friendly and welcoming environment. Make a point to introduce yourself to everyone on your floor and invite them to eat meals with you. If you allow yourself to, you may meet some truly amazing people. In a more metaphorical sense, having an “open door” when it comes to all the new things you encounter will help you have an easier time. You will come across different ideas about how the world, religion, politics and ways of life and experiencing these can be eye-opening if you allow yourself to appreciate them. The transition is also new to your family, so have an “open door” and call them regularly to let them know what is going on in your life.

Hristomir

If I could give myself advice about college when I was a high school senior, I would tell myself to not worry too much and that I would be fine. On the first day after my family, I began to worry a significant amount because I felt all alone and I worried if I would make friends. Luckily that feeling didn’t last long because the people on my floor and I got along perfectly. Another thing I would tell myself would not to be too confident with the classes I was going to take. I did above average my first semester without too much effort, but if I studied a little bit more, then I probably could have gotten a 4.0 or close to that. I would also tell myself to apply for more scholarships, because I could have reduced my future debt. In general, I believe I was prepared fairly well for college due to taking higher level classes and being pretty independent already.

Joseph

Going back to high school and being able to advice myself would me a remarkable experience. The very first bit of advice that I would give would be to stop complaining about the teacher in Calculus. Although you don’t understand why your teacher does some of the things she does, you will get a better picture next year. The nit picking will help you pay attention to details better. The material will come fast, so do not expect to have weekends off. You need to stop relying on your parents to help guide you. You are going to have to make decisions on your own and trust your own judgment. You also need to take charge of your calendar now and sharpen your time management skills. If you don’t you are going to be sent into shock at the amount of planning everything will take, including social activities. Don’t worry; there are plenty of social activities and social events at college. Chose your friends wisely and do not get caught up in any college drama. Remember, this is a once in a lifetime experience. Good luck Joe.

Kory

Do not be ashamed to ask for help. The tutoring center is free and the faculty are actually very nice. Put your phone away and pay attention- all the time. Go to your professors and ask for help, it's better to ask then to continue not knowing. Please stop being afraid of professors and get to know them, they are actually very nice. Also, do yoga and take deep breaths more often, it will help with your test anxiety. You can do this!

Molly

Work hard in high school. Challenge yourself. Have fun. Do new things. Find out what you enjoy. Foster your abilities in the sciences but broaden your abilities to include arts or English. Become well-rounded. Focus more on the academic and athletic sides of high school and less on the social drama side. Turns out, you won't always be friends with the same people you were in high school.

Robyn

Learn how to study more effectively, especially for subjects that are not interesting to you. The most valuable lessons you take away from high school are more about learning strategies than it is about absorbing information. Use college to learn more about thinking critically and analytically, not just how to spit back information to prove you have learned it. Question more to get everything you can out of everyone who teaches you. Following your own passion is more important than following a career path that someone else thinks is more beneficial. You do not have to know what you want to be "when you grow up" but you need to do what you love, no matter how many hurdles seem to be in the way. There is always a way to pay for everything if you work hard enough to find it, so take every opportunity you can to explore other places. Always choose to learn from experience rather than out of textbooks. Most importantly, learn to find and celebrate pride in what you have accomplished but never, ever let that be enough. Always strive for more from your teachers, your mentors, your peers, and most importantly, yourself.

Manashir

If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior knowing what i know noe about college life and making the transition I would tell myself to always be focused and have my mind on the future. It is easy to lose touch with the world and lose motivation if you steer away from your original passions or motivations. In particular this may happen as a resut of discouragement due to a bad test grade and the such. Grades are important but under the surface your reputation as an engineer stems from your knowlege and intelligence rather than your grade, so i now constantly remind myself that its the studying that counts. I would also stress the prudence of evaluating mistakes so that they don't happen again , especially those mistakes that arise from poor studying.

Samantha

I would warn myself that college is not like high school. You need to study more and get help from professors when needed. I would also tell myself to relax and enjoy the time at college; it is hard work, but I can do it. I would tell myself to pace well and apply for as many scholarhips as possible. I would encourage myself to join a club, like the ECO or sustainability clubs right from the start because they help the environment and make real changes around campus. I would lastly tell myself to believe in myself; that I know who I am and that I can do anything that I set my mind to.

fei

It gives me the ability to obtain knowledge and the passion to pursue my interested research areas. In addition, this university offers me a lot of experience to communicate with people and skills to solve problems.

Christopher

My father never graduated college. Three and three-fourths years into his experience he stopped. Never returned. This haunted him throughout his life. Not in the way that drives some people to addiction and depression, it was something subtler than that. Something that rarely came out. Something that was really only noticeable if you knew to look and if you were looking. Something that, truthfully, would have been impossible to know in any view but retrospect. There are only three people in this world that know that he never graduated. None of us know why and none of us ever will. For two of us, this is something that carries its own subtle weight in its own subtle way. The difference for me is that I understand what that mix of shame and pride in his eye was when I accomplished something. The difference for me is that, no matter his past, he still built the future he wanted for me and I can remember that look simply as pride. Just pride.

Shannon

Be involved with a number of different groups, all of which do different things, and overlap very little. Then narrow down the number of groups that you are in so that the five groups that you want to be in get the time that they deserve. The groups are vague. There could be the group of people that you sit with at lunch, that?s a group. There are the people that do yoga with you, that?s a group. The people that you live with are a group. The people that you worked with on the group project also count. Once you have your groups that you enjoy hanging out with: expand. Spend some time with one particular person from one group and meet their friends. Then meet their friends? friends. Soon you?ll meet someone that you already know. The circle will be complete and you can start again. Doing this means you know a lot of people, and if you spend enough time in each group then these people will see you as a person that they enjoy hanging around.

Jennifer

Given the opportunity to go back in time and speak to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to better research the weather and climate of my accepted school, so that the fiasco which happened my freshmen year when it became apparent I was totally unprepared for such a cold climate would not have happened. Transitioning from a high school in Texas, to a University in New York (almost Canada), I was in no way prepared for the temperature difference, and until I had acquired the proper clothing and knowledge, the beginning of freshman year was fairly miserable and cold. The experience definitely brought about a sense of humility, and taught me more abruptly, the consequences of a lack of preparation. Despite being a good learning experience, I would not wish that frigid experience on anyone.

Matthew

If I was to go back in time as a high school student knowing what I have been through this past semester, I would have to tell myself that I need a strict study schedule. I would also tell myself that not to let peer pressure influence what I know to be the right things to do, even though everyone else is partying and out havig a good time, That there will be time for all that later. Also that there is a time and place to go have fun without the influence of drugs and alcohol. Always remember that your family and close friends are there for support.

Crista

The knowledge and experience I have gained through college has transformed my lifestyle completely from high school. First year transition was rough and I went through life lesson moments. I would tell myself to always stay true to what I want to do; to not get caught up in the new lifestyle, but explore on my terms. I would read more books and newspapers to enhance my vocabulary and become knowledgeable of what is going on in my community to the world. I should never stop learning. I would have liked to have more of a mindset that there is so much more out there and the opportunities are endless. College has opened up so many doors and has let me see what I am capable of and how strong I am. I know when I was in high school I did not always believe in myself or thought I was limited to options, to opportunities really. But through everything I have gone through I have done more than I thought I would accomplish in a lifetime. I would tell myself that everything will be okay, that I will experience some ups and downs, but that I will be happy.

Kelsey

Think long and hard about your decisions in the future. You never know what is coming around the corner so be prepared and focused to handle whatever situation comes your way. Also have fun!

Kathleen

Keep your mind open to new ideas. Most importantly, make the most out of every opportunity that is passed your way. It is important to also keep trying and never give up, do not sweat the small stuff and stay persistant and true to yourself. You do not have to change yourself to attract friends, be who you are and the people that truely matter will be your friends and they are the ones that stick by you until the end. Another thing I might add is do not be afraid to speak up for yourself, and let others know your opinion too. Make lots a friends with a variety of backgrounds it opens your eyes to the world as a whole and expands your everyday experiences. Overall, just get out there and meet people but be yourself, you dont need to change for anyone and just keep an eye out for opportunities that pass your way and do not let them slip by.

Alexander

No one is truly an island unto himself. There is an interconnectedness to life. Thus, the keys to success are to reach out--to connect--and not being afraid to admit we don't know when that is the case. The formation of relationships with others, whether in your field of study or not, lay the foundation for gaining knowledge and wisdom which beget self-confidence to develop in your personal life and in yourchosen career path. Inherent in this are two things: Not being afraid to say "I don't know" and integrity. In the former, as Walt Whitman said: "Everyone is my superior; that way I can learn from them." It takes courage to admit ignorance. What will others think? Will they laugh and think you stupid? What matters is to remain centered on the notion that your existence is valid no matter how much or little you know and to carry on in learning from any source be it a small child, a 3rd-grade educated person, an academic, a peer or through direct observation or research.

Scott

Don't take everything for granted. Your supposed to be doing what God intended for you to do. Don't stress out about the little things because none of that will matter in the end.

Andrew

Do not be afraid to approach professors. They work for you. Be very diligent in getting your work done early because you will better understand the material for the test. Lastly, stay physically active. Being lazy is the last thing you want to do in your spare time. Staying active also allows you to focus on work better.

Scott

Don't be affraid to try new things. College is supposed to be the best years of your life. Don't be affraid to open up and get out of your comfort zone. Relax and ejoy the ride.

Kylie

Making friends is tough at first, but at some point into the year you'll suddenly find yourself with a few close friends. These friends will change your college experience for the better and they'll make even a trip to walmart fun. Planning out the day and determining when to do homework and engage in social activities is going to be very helpful when trying to be the most productive. Try to make time to excersise, too. The transistion from home to school isn't that bad, and it's ok to go home for a weekend every once in a while, because even though you'll love the school, it's nice to be able to just get away. And you get used to the three-hour drive. ANd you'll come to find that you miss your family, especially your parents and sometimes your brother--and occasionally even your sister. Be prepared to do a LOT of work, especially dealing with two majors, a minor, and a concentration. But if you stay focused and apply yourself, you can do it and still maintain a high GPA.

Christina

Apply to more than 6 schools.

Leigh

Finding the right college can be very difficult and can be time consuming. I suggest that a student think of three areas of interest and try to find schools that consist of those three interests. My own personal interests were mathematics, sciences, and business. My school options came from the list generated by my interests. You can also expand that to include athletics or other hobbies and interests. Once you have created a list of options, then you need to narrow it down to your first second and third choices. Some distinguishing features may be the surrounding neighborhood, distance to large towns, financial aid/support, campus community and diversity, climate, and many similar factors. Wherever you go for school, you want to be surrounded by other students who have some of the smae interests as you. Now that you are finally leaving your home for college, you will find yourself in a very self dependant position. Remain focused and dont get into too much trouble, but remember to have fun every now and then too! Make a few good friends while you are at college, they are hard to come by.

Mark

Start by looking at location, then go by type of school (liberal arts, engineering, visual arts, etc.). Once you've narrowed it down to about 5-10 try and visit all of them. On your visit really try and see what its like to live there and go to school there--this means more than just taking the tour and the info session. Ask students questions, see classrooms for the type of classes you plan on taking. In the end...go where you feel most comfortable. If you're not happy with the school you attend, you're probably not going to have much success.

Maureen

Be yourself and keep your eyes on the future. While its important to have fun, balance is key and its necesary to work hard and keep your goal in clear veiw. College can be the best experience of your life, only if you let it and make the most of your education and the connections you make. Only you know what college is going to feel right for you. Once you walk onto the campus for a visit and get that feeling, don't write that off. That feeling can be your deciding factor and its important to be in a place that you are comfortable in order to let your knowledge expand to its fullest.

Jenna

A lot of people are going to be giving you advice and persuading you to pick one school or another for whatever reason. It is important to find the right school for yourself, and to go there because you want to be there. And it's not the end of the world if you choose wrong; transferring is always an option. If you are unsure of your major, it might be a good idea to find a school that has a broader range of majors, rather than one that specializes in one field.

JEANNI

I hear people say, and adamantly believe, that humans?their minds/behaviors?are a direct product of their preliminary environment. As an individual who studies and is fascinated by the field of psychology, I exist on a different plane, in an entirely different frame of mind. If I learned anything in undergrad, it is that the developmental process of the mind/action is exceptionally more complex than that. If I were a direct product of my environment?daughter to a crack-cocaine addict and a serial domestic-abuse victim--I should be a fascinating patient in a behavioral health facility or asylum for the mentally depraved. My home padded walls or icy NYC boulevards/avenues, where I find comfort in street prescriptions like heroin. Fortunately, I am mentally intact; competent enough to be giving you?future students/parents?advice. Here it goes: consider past hardships; take risks despite them when choosing the right college! Travel fearlessly across the world or around the corner! This will help you make the most of college experiences. Allow places you go/people you encounter to shape who you will become. Though college will never define you, it will help you discover your true capabilities.

Ronald

When choosing a college it is very important to make sure that the social atmousphere of the school matches you. If you dont and the schools social surroundings dont match you it will effect your grades. Take as many college credits you can in high school it helps allot to be ahead of the ball in college and the high school courses are generally much easier than the college ones.

Joseph

When choosing a college look at the whole picture. Academic reputation is important, but for the most part there are many places that offer an outstanding education. If you know what you want to do, that is great. For many the choice isn?t so easy. It?s difficult to come to the realization that High School is over. There are many students that enter their freshman year at college and haven?t the faintest idea of what they want or where they want to go. This feeling is normal. It is nothing to be afraid of. Many people find themselves when they are exposed to the many choices and freedoms college has to offer. Another important factor when looking at schools is becoming familiar with the area. Research the town where the college is located. Go to the open houses offered by the individual schools. Learn about the culture, the weather, and the social life at each place. Research what the school has to offer. Everyplace has classes, so look beyond the classroom and into the types of programs that are available for the students. The most important thing is to be happy where you are.

Camille

I would start off by saying start early and do your research. It is never too early to start thinking about college. I attended my first college fair in 9th grade. I thought that I would never get through the heap of literature, pamphlets and brochures that I took home with me. Well, over the next 3 years I did manage to read through a ton of information about colleges. I went back to the college fair every year and each time was more prepared with better and more specific questions. Not only would the university have to accept me, but I would also have to accept the university. During my senior year of high school I had finally cut my list down from 120 to 8. I visited 6 of the 8 schools that I was accepted to and finally settled on Clarkson University for its great financial aid package, student friendly campus, and superb national rankings. Being a college student is great because there is always something to do. I am involved around campus in everyway that I can. I recommend anyone new to college to talk to everyone, because you never know where one conversation will lead.

Stacey

Don't pick a college based on its cost or prestiege. Pick a college based on how well you feel it fits you. You're going to be living there for the next four years of your life. Make sure you pick somewhere you are going to be happy.

Caitlin

Make sure you take your child to visit the campus they are interested in. I believe it helps to sit in on some classes in the field they are interested in studying. This way you get to see how the professors and students interact, and you get a better feel for the personalities and lifestyles of those attending the school.

Michelle

Researching everything about a college is extremely important. The enviornment, the location, the extra curricular activities and the majors they offer should be what makes a student and a parent choose that particular college.

Christine

Actually visit the school. Talk to students who go there. That way there will be less sugar coating. Start early in the college searching. It's important to take time and know exactly what your child wants out of colleges and life. Let your child decide where they want to go, not where you want them to go.

Matthew

Visit as many colleges as possible and then make an ordered list of the ones that you would most like to go to based on whether you like the college itself. Then narrow down that list by taking off colleges that don't have what you're interested in academically and the one at the top of the list that is still there is probably going to be the college you would like the most.

shannon

choose wisely

Daniel

Look at Financial Aid

Renee

Research every college imaginable before choosing the one that's right for you. Don't just pick the first one that presents itself just because it's easy and they have accepted you. Push your limits. There is always something better suited. Don't settle.

Jordan

Visiting the college and spending the night there is a must. I would not do it when the campus holds an event like such, because schools try really hard to impress parents and students. I wold request a stay in the middle of the semester, where you can actually see what college life is like, what the course and workload is right and how students have grown accustomed to the school. Visiting early in the semester can cause a sense of false advertisement. I would also include the surrounding area when you visit. It is easy to look up what is around, but without actually visiting the surrounding area, you can be setting yourself up for disappointment. In today's economic world, college is a very big financial burden. Take into account the cost of the school as well as possible tution increases. Be practical. Do not break thr bank to go to one college when the same education can be gained from antoher college. be sure of what you want. College is suppose to be some of the best years of your life where friendships and relationships can start and last forver. Be sure of what you want.

Gerlinde

To find the right college be sure to visit the college and talk to current students if possible. Try to choose a school because you like it for many reasons, not just because of its location or acedimics program. You need to like the overall school, not just one thing to be happy there. Remember not everyone will fit in to their first choice. If you are really unhappy where you end up, transfering is an option. To make the most of your college experience be sure to joins lots of clubs and get involved with activities that interest you. Everyone says that, but its true. This way you will meet people who are interested in the same things that you are. Be open and friendly to everyone you meet at first so you dont scare off any potential friends. An easy way to make friends at the start of freshman year : leave you door open!

Jennifer

Don't go to such an expensive school! Pay for some schooling along the way.

Katie

Don't be impulsive. Choosing a college is a huge decision. You have to visit the campus to get a feel for what it is really like, meet some professors and students who are not affiliated with the Admissions department and wander around by yourself. Choose the campus that best suites your personal interests and can help you reach your academic and professional goals. Be sure to contact the career center and look at the average salaries for the major(s) you are interested in, and ask what types of jobs and which companies recent graduates are working for. Most of all, focus on choosing the college that's right for you - not your parents, siblings, or girlfriend/boyfriend. The decision should be based on your personal goals, needs and wants. Where do you want to be in five years? Ten? Choose the college which best suites your vision for the future.

Kenny

Make sure that you have all your finances squared away, and that you have a plan to account for the money that you will be spending at school.

Mary

First off, parents let your kids make thier own choice. This is where they will be living for four years. Be supportive and give them advice. The unhappiest undergrads and the ones whose parents pushed them down a certain path. Students need to make the general decisions about where they want to be before even thinking about colleges. Small town or city? Big or small campus? State school or university? A religious school? What career path can you see yourself taking? Take the time to get to know yourself first. From that, choosing the right college should be simple. However, if you were like me and didn't know a 100% about yourself yet, go visit colleges of all types. Spend the night on campus and ask lots of questions. Don't be embarassed to ask questions either because everyone there was once in the same position. Use colleges visits as an opportunity to travel to different parts of the country or state.

Jeannie

Visit the college you want to attend! Go and talk to the students. See if they are happy, see if they are having fun learning. Ask them what they do in their free time. Ask them if they have free time! Speak with professors. Make sure the school has a good support system if you or your student will need it. Find out what clubs are on campus, and make sure you'll have a fun way to spend your weekends. Find a school that seems like it's based on your values and that just feels right. Make sure you go with your gut in the end.