Colgate University Top Questions

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


Honestly, these past few years have been frustrating and given the difficulty I’ve had getting a job, I’ve often questioned the value of my bachelor’s degree. Based on my experience, it seems like anyone with an undergrad degree in the sciences inevitably has to pursue an advanced degree to excel in any career path. But my undergrad experience played a pivotal role in the formation of who I am today. Receiving a liberal arts education forced me to explore the world through the eyes of different philosophers and historians while simultaneously doing so as a young scientist. Colgate also gave me the opportunity to explore the world, when I went abroad for my junior year. I hadn’t expected to have as much of a cultural experience as my friends in Europe. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I went to New Zealand, I lived with students from Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, China and one from the U.S. One night each week, we took turns cooking a signature dish from our native cuisine and we would get to know eachother. What I didn't expect to find was how similar we all actually were.


The university helped to disagnose me with depression which has greatly increased my quality of life and for that I am ever grateful.


If I could go back and give advice to my high school self, my key advice would be: don?t stress! My last few semesters in high school leading up to college apps were almost miserable, as I pulled constant all-nighters to get all my work done, and would kick myself every time I received less than an A (which, sadly, was rather often). I had told myself ?Ivy league or bust? and had set extremely high goals. When it came time to turn in forms to my school?s college counselor, I was told I needed to expand my list of schools a little bit, as I only had a handful. So, naturally, the night before they were due, I went online, looked at a couple of random schools I had never heard of, searched for the schools with the nicest pictures and casually added them to my list. Included in said schools was Colgate. As it happened, I would end up going to this Colgate place, a name I had never heard away from the bathroom counter, and loving it. The point is, everything works out for the best because I couldn?t be happier now!


I would tell myself to not be afraid to try everything. As a freshman in high school, I was really intimidated to try new things and join new clubs. It wasn't until my junior year when I realy started to appreciate everything my high school had to offer and take full advantage of the many extracurriculars at school. Upon graduating, my only regret was that I had not joined the many clubs of which I was then a member sooner. I thoroughly enjoyed being a member of many different activities and I learned a lot. I met so many great friends in the end of my high school career and it would have been nice to have gotten to know them in the beginning of high school rather than at the end.


Meet every person that you can, whether they are upperclassmen, underclassmen, professors, bus drivers, custodians, and espescially the lunch ladies. Don't get discouraged about your grades or your social life because there are always people around you in the same situation; you just have to find them and befriend them. Always keep exploring every inch of your school. Don't go into school with your hands in your pockets and your blinders on because you've got to shake a lot of hands and go on lots of adventures and soak every second of it in. Don't worry about what other people think about you. Do what you want to do because people will respect you for that and there are surely other students similar to you. You may have been towards the top of your class in high school, but so were all of your other classmates at your college/university, so don't freak out about other kids who are smarter than you. You've got to be flexible and roll with the punches in college and when you feel like you are at the end of your rope, just tie a knot and hold on.


If I could have given myself any advice before I went to college, it would have been to believe in myself and to take chances. There was a reason they chose to accept me into Colgate University; they thought I fit. That being said, if they believe in me, why shouldn't I believe in myself? I would tell myself that it is actually nice to be on your own and have to make your own decisions. Yes, it is scary at first, but whether something good or bad comes from a decision you make, the result feels much more satisfying when you make the choice for yourself. I would say, "Grace, you have a head on your shoulders, or else you wouldn't be here. Keep your chin up and never let fear hold you back from what you believe in. Trust in yourself because you are all you will have during the difficult transition."


First off, I would tell myself to chill out and cheer up. I had a horrible senior year fraught with stress-induced anorexia, my grandmother's death, and depressed and suicidal friends. I thought that I would never get over it, so I started my freshman year still brooding, stressed, and angry; I missed out on a lot of opportunities. However, with the new start and friends, I was eventually able to begin the healing process. I would tell myself that I will become happier and that the still raw scars from senior year will fade. I would tell myself to get going, do something, try new things because that is the way to healing, not sulking in my dorm room and replaying all the bad times. Secondly, I would tell myself the three rules that always need to be followed: never fall behind, be responsible, and don't forget to relax. If I knew these rules beforehand, I would have learned more quickly how to manage my time as well as not stress myself out to the point when I couldn't even focus. Lastly, to have fun and be outrageous - to finally not be afraid to be me.


Honestly, I was not personally very nervous to go to college. I felt like I was at a stable point in my life and mature enough to move onto the next part of my life. Once I got to school, however, orientation weekend was extremely overwhelming. I felt nervous all the time. I did not know how to act around all these new people and I could not remember anybody's name, which only added to the stress. Despite the uncomfortable weekend, I grew to love my orientation group and consider some of those people my best friends at school. It is important to embrace all of your experiences at school, even those initial ones that make you feel nervous and out of place. Perserverance is one of the most important traits to hold onto when you start college. Although you will be put into situations that might make you want to back out of your decision to go to school away from home, you must perservere. You will never be able to further mature if you are quick to give up. By staying involved in campus activities, you will soon feel comfortable and love the college experience.


Be prepared to depend on yourself a lot more, and be prepared to deal with beaurocratic annoyances a lot. Try to look at what majors you might be interested in and seriously consider that when choosing colleges. Spend a night at colleges that have that option so you can get a good feel for the atmosphere of a campus.


I would tell myself to get as involved as possible. The only reason I have the friends I do is because I wholly invested myself in the campus radio as soon as school started, However, I should have initially been friendlier to people instead of writing them off as people I didn't think I'd get along with. I spent too much time searching for the perfect friends instead of making friends with the people that there were. To try to correct that, I pledged a sorority and am now becoming friends with girls I don't necessarily have anything in common with. The important thing is to keep an open mind, especially at such a small school.


I would tell myself to not think about my boyfriend's college choice or let that affect me. Instead, think about what kind of school you want go to...what type of people do you want to live with, what type of classes do you want to take, how much are you willing to pay. I would tell myself also to stay closer to home... there are many advantaged to being able to go home for breaks and vacations.


I would recommend that students visit as many colleges as possible. While brochures are informative, nothing gives as much information to a prospective student than visiting the campus and experiencing its people and atmosphere. One may find that he isn't interested in a school he liked from a pamphlet, or that he really likes one that he wasn't sure about. Making the most of the college experience is different for everyone. However, the main purpose of college is to get an education. While partying is fun, it won't be fun to fail a class or flunk an essay because of too much drinking. Of course go out, but don't overdo it. Have fun through venues other than parties as well - join clubs or sports. Having balance between your social and academic lives will make the college experience less stressful and more enjoyable.


It is important to have a fairly good idea of what you would like to study in college, as well as knowing what businesses recruit on your campus. That way you can talk with the current students when you are visiting your prospective colleges and be assured that the right courses are available, along with strong professors in your chosen field of study and also that careeer placement oportunities are all in synch with what you hope to accomplish in your college years and beyond. Visit the career placement center for past data on job placements. One other thing that I have also learned from having an older sister attend the same school is to have an idea of where you might like to work after graduation and where the majority of the college graduates find job placement opportunities. Having your friends move to the same city after graduation is a plus. As corny as it sounds, it is so important to get involved in a variety of activities at whatever college you attend. You will have more fun and create more opportunites for interaction with a variety of students that you might not have interacted with otherwise.


1) If you have the resources to visit colleges before you make a decision... do it! Being able to walk around on campus is so helpful. You will know right away if you want to be living there for four years or not. 2) If you have the opportunity, talk to some of the students around you. A big part of your college experience [I take that back... a HUGE part of your college experience] has to do with people/relationships. What are the kids like? Do you have similar interests? What do they do in their free time? 3) Write down on a piece of paper [just in bullet points] the things that are most important to you that you would like to see at your future college. Find the match. OR... on a piece of paper, describe the characteristics of your IDEAL school. Try and find a school that has these characteristics. 4) A college experience is what you make it. Take advantage of all the resources that are available to you. It will be one of the few times in your life that everything around you is catered to your learning experience. Make the most of it!


Finding the right college requires finding your second home. When visiting schools, consider both academics and social life. But, ultimately, the social environment is more important than any academic program that the school provides. College is about growing up. Freshman right out of high school can't know what they want out of life, they should find a school that can make them happy so they learn life lessons. Those life lessons will get you further than any specific formula or class. Then when you choose your school. Enjoy yourself, within reason. Decide what you want to do with the rest of your life later. You will learn what is necessary to reach your goals if you keep an open mind.


Go to the campus even if its not on your top list of schools, take the tour, and then decide. I felt the energy on Colgate's campus and knew immediately that it is where I wanted to be.


Finding the right college: Don't simply go to the best school you get into. Visit many different types of schools (large state schools / small liberal arts schools) in different parts of the country. Evaluate the pros / cons of each school / region and eventually you'll be able to develop a realistic list of schools. Go to the one that you liked the most, not the one that is the hardest to get into. If you aren't happy at college you won't do well, and a great degree with a poor GPA looks worse than a normal degree and a great GPA. Making the most of college: two words - time management. Developing a good balance of work / fun is key to success and happiness in college.


Visit the college before you decide for sure; you will know the moment you step on campus if it is right for you. The school's reputation should not be a deciding factor. Most likely no matter what school you choose, you will enjoy it as long as you are flexible and willing.


When you are walking around a school, choose a place that you feel comfortable walking around. If you don't feel comfortable on the campus when you visit, it will never seem right if you choose to attend that school.


You need to really know what sort of environment you want (cold/hot, small/big city), that kind of stuff. Look at as many colleges as you can, go on tours, ask questions. Make sure that all the places you apply to are a good fit with your personality. Also make sure you know what you want to get out of college ahead of time; if you want to do research, make sure the places you apply to have good research programs. If your not sure apply to liberal arts universities, they provide many oppourtunities to decide what you enjoy. And remeber that college flys by really fast, and will be done before you know, so try and find a place you will enjoy and love.


To find the right college, focus equally on who you are as a student and individual, as well as who you want to become. This way, you won't be a fish out of water to begin with, but also you'll have a place where you can become who it is you want to become. Once you're in school, open yourself up to all possibilities--don't limit yourself to activities that you've already tried before or those in which you know people involved. Everyone experiences that uncomfortable beginning feeling--it's just whether you conquer it and really come into who you should become, or you submit to it and lose out on opportunities to grow.


Always go to the college that you like the most, not the one with the highest "ranking." I'm so glad I selected my University, but it was far from the best-ranked institution to which I was accepted.


You NEED to visit the campus because the people in the brochures are NOT always the one's that you'll see on the campus. Make sure the school gives you enough money for you to actually attend so there is no strain when it comes to buying school books or traveling from home to campus. Make sure the school gives a fair amount of attention to the course of study that you may be interested in majoring in. ASK QUESTIONS TO THE STUDENTS! Sophomores have the best opinions of the campus because they got through the homesickess and the struggle to fit in but they still have somewhat of a fresh perspective of the campus. College rank does matter especially to your reputation because some people will judge you based on that. Plus, its good to attend a school that you work really hard to get into.


Apply to a lot of schools and keep an open mind. Find a major you're really passionate in, and follow what you WANT to do, not what you think you should do. You'll find yourself accelling, and enjoying what you're learning if you follow that. Do extra-curriculars starting from your first semester-- its such an easy way to meet people, including upper-classmen. Consider rushing a fraternity/sorority. if at the end you decide its not your thing, no biggie, but at least you tried.


Choosing the right school isn?t a scientific process at all; don?t bother with SAT scores, lists or rankings when you make the important decision about where you want to spend arguably the most critical 4-year period of your life. Sure, these ranks and measurements are important, but nothing can compare to the way campus feels to you when you visit. Talk to as many current students as you can and ask them what they like?and don?t like?about their school. Notice the atmosphere of the dorms, the dining hall, and the academic buildings. Are you comfortable? And more importantly, is this a place where you can grow? Once you?ve made your decision and arrive on campus, take care of these three aspects of your life: academic, social and extra-curricular. A satisfying college experience depends on figuring out the best balance between those priorities. You might not know right away what is best for you, but that?s ok: freshman year is the best time to try out something new. Ask for guidance if you need it, take risks, meet as many new people as you can, and don?t forget to sleep!


Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart. Make it liberal arts so you can be well-rounded and informed about everything. Someone who knows more than their specialty will go far in life. Those people are the groundbreakers because they always think outside the box first by conglomerating fields.


The college application process is such a game, but don't try to fgure out the rules, just go for what feels right and what you love. Never apply anywhere that you don't love - so don't necessarily apply to too many schools.


Honesty is the best policy. Students and parents should be honest with themselves about what branch of knowledge the student should be pursuing. Students, don't try to force yourself into a field of study because it sounds like a good idea. Go with your heart. Parents, support your child's interests and talents. Help him find the field that is right for him. The family should also be honest with themselves about what is affordable. It may be enticing to accept an invitation to attend a brand-name school, but if the only way to put the student through college is to take out tens of thousands of dollars in loans, think carefully. When that student graduates, he will be handcuffed by debt and less able to follow his dreams, unless of course his only goal is to make 6+ figures. Think carefully about these decisions, then choose a program and a school that 1) offers an excellent program in the right field of study, and 2) will be affordable for the person(s) who will pay tuitition. Think carefully, and remain honest.


Keep your options open, your apparent first choice may not be the actual school that is a perfect fit for you. I would have never imagined going to Colgate University, but it has been the best school I could have ever been accepted to. College is suppose to be an amazing experience for everyone, and with hard work and studying along with a good balance of having fun, it can be a great experience. Also don't be discouraged if what you intended to do in school and what you wanted to do with the rest of your life is not something you succeed in in college. I came into college expecting to go on to medicine, but along the way I learned that it wasn't right for me. I'm not saying give up on your dreams, but do something that you are good at and that you do enjoy at the same time. Failing isn't a bad thing if we learn how to overcome our failure and take our defeat with pride and dignity. I wish I would have learned that sooner. Now I'm graduating college persuing law and I couldn't be happier.


Finding the right college is about figuring out who you are. When you are honest with yourself about the things you want for yourself, the right environment can be easy to find. Visiting campus and speaking with actual students are the best ways to determine how you might fit in there and are often extremely enjoyable. Moreover, the notion that there is a singular "right college" for you is probably not true. College is all about finding an environment you can flourish in and the people who will encourage you to do so. Making the most of your college experience is all about taking advantage of this environment and these people. Try new things, meet new people, and go new places. Everyday is an opportunity to wake up and have the best day of your life.


Parents/students, please consider the personality of the student and how that would fit into the atmosphere of possible college selections. Be open minded about your selection and do not be afraid to go to a college that will test the borders of your comfort zone. Look at college as valuable experience that will develope you as a person, not just get you a piece of paper to show at an interview after four years. Consider the amount of money you will owe after you graduate and educate yourself on expected monthly payments you will make for all bills after you live on your own and begin working full time. Lastly, if you have a strong desire to go into a specific career, be sure to go to a school that has a strong department in that field with interniships available. Do not be afraid to be on your own and meet new people. Accept it as a personal challenge that you will benefit from later and enjoy shortly into it. Decide with your instinct. Take the information others give you with a grain of salt. Visit possible schools and see for yourself. You'll know where you belong.


NO MATTER WHICH COLLEGE YOU APPLY TO, VISIT EACH CAMPUS AND STAY OVERNIGHT BEFORE YOU MAKE A DECISION. It's so important to get a feel for the campus, to talk to students candidly and to visit a class or two. Also, try to go out with your host and see if the social scene is to your taste. Realistically, most people just enroll in whichever college delivers the best finaid package, but no matter how little you pay for college, it's not worth having a sub-par college experience. Go into college with an open mind: you will probably change you major three or four times before you finally decide what you like, so take classes in various disciplines to figure out which you enjoy the most. Do what you love, not what your parents wished you loved. Get involved with campus activities, ESPECIALLY FRESHMAN YEAR so you can get your name and face out there. Stay on top of your work and seek out your professors for help whenever you need it (they love it...usually). You should have an amazing time at college, so work hard, play hard, and don't forget to do the laundry.


Follow your heart and don't let the pressure get to you.


Finding the "right" college is all about finding the best fit for you! Each college has something unique about it, something that makes it memorable, but finding the "right" college truly depends on whether you want to go there and can picture yourself living your next four years at that particular school . Try to choose a school that makes you excited at the prospect of going there and partaking in the activities you hear about students doing. Once you get to college, my advice is to involve yourself in a variety of activities that appeal to you, whether you've done them before or have never heard of them! Participating in clubs, sports, and activities in general is the best way to meet people and get excited about being at a new school. You may end up being a part of something that changes your perspective, goals, or group of friends! (I decided to be a part of my school's newspaper with no prior experience and am now thinking of becoming a journalist someday! ) The point is, college is what you make of it; everything you do is by choice, so choose wisely and enjoy every minute of it!


Your friends are your strongest aspect of college. Meet and get to know career services early.


Do the research. It's the only way to know that you've found the perfect school for you. It's overwhelming but most people have an idea of what they want and when you find it you'll know.


Get involved! College is fun if you want it to be!

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