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Concordia University-Chicago

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

I feel blessed to be attending SDSMT and I am studying hard for my Environmental Engineer degree. I am proud to be a good example for my children, to show them that one can change their situation to make a better future for themself at any age, through any hardships, and even with physical challanges. Also, learning about the sustainability of our earth and going to a school that values that has prompted me and my children to be more aware and contribute by recycling, growing plants and trees, conserving energy and water use, etc. I have learned to reach out to other students and professors for help with studies and appreciate the importance of networking. My children spend time at my school where they have met my professors, socialize and play games with students, enjoy their great food, and marvel at the emphasis that the school puts on "Green" living. Not only do I enjoy learning and have professional and personal goals that this schooling will help me to acheive (building my family a self-sufficient monolithic dome home), but my schooling has also opened up a whole new positive outlook on the future for myself and my children.

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Hey Dallas...Dallas...DALLAS! Yes, you! Will you please look up from your homework for like two seconds? Listen to me, it's important. You've been working like crazy for four years, getting superb grades, taking AP courses, and studying like it's goin' out of style. Don't worry, you already know you're getting into college. You already know you're getting a scholarship. What you don't know is what an incredible ride you are about to step on to. You've lived with structure, a commute, dinner on the table, quiet house at night. Are you ready for this? For the 2am pizza runs? For the last-minute projects? For the standing ovations, heartbreaks, ultimate frisbee, girls' nights, and bake sales? How about the class discussions that spill out of the classrooms into the courtyard? The professors who become second parents? The moments when you realize that you are sitting in a classroom and learning exactly what you will be doing only a few short years from now? Are you ready? Here's my advice...brace yourself. Enjoy every moment, and remember everything. It's a crazy ride, hang on tight and love it all.

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Every student has to juggle the aspects of location, price, activities offered, and relationships when determining where to go to college. There are steps that can be taken to clearly see both the positive and negative results of selecting a school. Ways to achieve this clarity can come through researching the college, talking with past alumni, and making list with the pros and cons from the information that has been collected. By using the internet to get student reviews, looking at the college's website, and by taking a campus tour, and talking with guidance counselors, a person can begin to see if each college offers the degree and social life that is desired. Insights from alumni can also give the student an insider?s view to the entire college experience, including how to make friends, budget expenses and handle the course work. Finally, by organizing the information collected in a way that displays pros and cons, a person can see if a certain college has what they need to reach their goals and create the memories that they want for years to come.

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For parents and students, I would highly recommend before settling down on one college, to visit all of the ones you are interested in, and ask many questions. Do not merely choose a college based off of a brochure or where your friends or parents want you to go. This is the time to pick what is going to be right for YOU as a student. Your parents may have loved their alma mater, but that doesn't mean that that particular college or university is going to have what you want and need to succeed. So talk to faculty and staff, meet current students and ask all of the questions you can think of, to get a good understanding of what each school is like. Consider the surrounding city and area, the climate, and types of extra curricular activities you want to participate in. Remember, this is YOUR future, the next 2-4 years (or more) of your life. Pick what fits best with you. Take advice from ones close to you, but let the decision of where you are going to college be your own. Don't forget that you are picking your your future experiences as well.

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I attend a community college in my area. When I first began school, I was young and didn’t realize the value of an education. I dropped out after three semesters. Time passed, my life continued to grow and I matured. I returned to school full-time with the idea of obtaining my Associate’s degree in Small Business Management and had no real intention of continuing my education beyond that point, fearing that I wouldn’t be able to handle the upper division course material. As I have progressed through my classes, I was honored to find that I made the Dean’s list every semester with a 3.0 or higher. Though I am in school full-time, I continue to serve in my home church ministries, work part-time and raise five children. I look at all that I have accomplished thus far and can sum up that I have done well. Through my accomplishments I have become more confident in my abilities to achieve more. If I had not returned to college to finish my Associate’s degree, I would not have gained the confidence in myself to continue on to obtain my Bachelor’s degree.

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Attending college has and continues to take me through new experiences. It has truly been a pleasure to have the opportunity to be able to attend an elite university. It has allowed me to prove to myself and others that anyone with motivation can do anything. I was born and raised in Palm Springs, California. I came from a lower income family, and as long as I can remember my family has always struggled financially. There have been many unfortunate events with my family and every experience I was put through turned me into the strong determined person I am today. College allowed me the perfect get away from my chaotic life with the family. Being so far away from home has taught me the meaning of true independence. I have learned to figure out my own financials and how to make it in life without needing my parents 24/7. Deciding to attend college in Chicago instead of California is truly an experience. At first it was a culture shock, but it has opened my eyes to new things. I am able to understand and grasp different aspects in others cultures.

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The advice I would give to myself would be the following. The key to successful years in college life is not about grades or getting the most spectacular degree that will ensure a salary of six digit numbers. The true value of college life is WHAT I want to value during college life. I have one life to spend energy on, therefore I might choose something worthwhile in college so that I can look back and say, "I did not waste time." I should not put all my focus on, "Where will I get an education, what dorm should I choose, or I need that specific grade in order to continue my life." A person who has chosen a goal or degree he or she sees worth doing and spending every second, sweat, blood, and tear will always be happy. No matter what the obstacle, no matter the rejection letters, no matter what. If you are serious in getting a degree that will lead you to a career you find worthwhile then you have that drive to succeed in college life. That is WHAT you need to value. That drive that will take you to that ultimate goal and reality.

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"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. As a college junior I am very active on my college campus. I'm a Residential Assistant on a freshman floor, captain of a track team, and somewhere between all of that I work a babysitting job, and continue working on my elementary education degree. I arived on campus August 10, 2011 ready for a year full of challenges and adventures. Once my residents, freshman girls, started moving onto my floor I started to think back to what I would have loved to know when I was in their position. I believe the only thing that would have truly calmed me were the words from Jeremiah 29:11. Knowing that my story has already been writen and that I am just watching it unfold. And when things get rough to know that they are all part of the plan, my struggles will make me stronger, my acomplishments will bring me joy, and my time at Concordia will bring me memories that will last a lifetime.

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Every college or university is looking for a student that will be an asset inside the institution and out. This is the way that potential students have to present themselves to be taken seriously. The best thing a potential student can do is to figure out their path and then present themselves as determined, driven, passionate, and ready individuals. It is this way that a student will have the ability to choose between several different universities. It is much better for the universities to be after a student that they see good potential in than a student having to fall back on their last choice because of wasted opportunity. Once the student has chosen the university they want to attend, not only will they have a better success rate, but they will more likely be able to take advantage of the opportunities that a college or university offers. One thing I've learned the most about college is that I have to fight to get my tuition's worth and the more ready and willing a person is the more they will get out of their education.

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In order to find a college best suited for you, you need to find one that has a program that caters to your needs. If you know what you want to do with your future, you can apply to colleges that specialize in certain areas. If you do not yet know what your career path will be, a liberal arts college will do fine until you discover what it is you are most passionate about. Another important thing to look for in colleges is the campus and class size. While a large school is perfect for some, others will feel more comfortable in a smaller school. It all depends on where you would feel most at home. In order to make most of the college experience, I would strongly recommend living on campus for at least your first year. Living with people allows you to get to know them much better, and you will build stronger bonds. I would also suggest an on-campus or close to campus job with a few hours a week. Finally, try to balance homework with free time, as both are important. You need a social life but you also cannot forget about academics.

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