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Cornerstone University

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

Choosing a college is a huge decision that should not be taken lightly. The best advice that I can offer in finding the right school is to visit, find a bench in the middle of campus, and have a seat for a while. As a safari guide would say, "Observe the unsuspecting students in their natural habitat." What kind of atmosphere does the campus have? Ask students and faculty first-hand what they think of the school. Admissions counselors will rarely talk about any of the school's negative aspects, but impromptu interviews will yield a better, comprehensive portrait of the college. The biggest question that parents and students need to ask after visiting is whether they can see that school as home. Students will be making a new life at college, and to make the most of their experience they should get involved in one new activity every year. From intramural sports and fraternities or sororities to academic organizations and activist groups, the most enriching college experience is one that gives students the opportunity to gain perspective from the people and activities around them without the stress of overcommitment.

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I would encourage parents and students to visit colleges they are interested in, and attend one in which the students seem to love the school they are going to and are having a great experience. Chances are, if the students seem to love their school, you will too. It is also important to take into consideration the degree in which you want to study, if the school has that program, and if it is well known and recognized. Religious affiliation was a big factor for me, but isn't a factor at all for some students. I wanted to go to a school that taught what I believed, but also presented me with other views I could learn about. I knew by going to that school that I would be supported and uplifted in my Christianity, and not persecuted. I could learn about my field of study through a Christian worldview. I would encourage parents and students to take religious affiliation into consideration. In order to make the most out of his/her college experience, I would encourage the student to always have a good attitude, and persevere in school academically, socially, and emotionally throughout his/her college years.

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Nothing. Well atleast if I'd want to save my breath, I'd save my time for something more worthwhile. If I felt like babbling on about how ACT scores will make or break you, how you should start saving your pennies since you learned to count, and that on the contrary to what most highschoolers wish to believe; being a hardriven student really does pay off throughout college. You see, all of this is extremely valuable information and if taken seriously could lighten the college struggles. But as a senior in highschool I was hardheaded in the sense that I thought I already knew everything there was to know, and my favorite answer when it came to my future was, "Oh, I'll figure something out." I was convinced that I was on top of the world. But low and behold, life came around and I realized I wasn't. With a new profound sense of maturity that one can only accommodate through complete independence, I saw how utterly unprepared and stubborn I was. I received plenty of advice from parents, teachers, and counselors; but getting past myself and taking what they said to heart was the real challenge.

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Before beginning the college search, I recommend first deciding what kind of college the student is interested in: big or small, public or private, etc. I recommend visiting prospective colleges. In my college search, what was on paper in college brochures was very different from what the college was really like. I always walked away from a college visit with a very firm decision: I loved it or hated it. I recommend applying to multiple schools so that the tuition price after financial aid (what you will actually be paying) can be part of the decision making process. (The financial aid package comes out a few months before the final decision must be made.) In making most of the college experience, find the right balance of class and fun. Don?t waste money flunking out from too many late night parties. Go to class, but there is also more to college than the classroom. I consider living on campus crucial to experiencing campus life. Most college students are broke, so learn how to have fun for free/cheap. Get creative; you don?t have to sit at home if you?re tapped on cash.

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Dear Reader, College students spend four years of classes with professors we may or may not like, classmates we may or may not come to know, and material that will sometimes overwhelm us. Study what you love. College life is doable: you find your strengths, ablities, and limits. It's okay to work within limits you already know. It is good to celebrate your strengths. We can seek help; we can continue to learn to help others. There's a chance we'll meet best friends, but don't stress about meeting them the first day; some will find them, some won't. College stretches, but also fills. Don't just become what you will be, also spend your years being what you already are. This is a chance to start over, but you carry all of yourself with you when you step onto a college campus. It is our chance to look backwards, but remember you can't write a second draft of the past. We can revise our life-styles now: don't waste it. Live today fully while preparing for tomorrow. Work hard. Relax. Miss home. Find home. Love with all you are. You'll be okay.

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The advice that I would give to parents and studets who are trying find the right college is to start early! Make sure that you get your applications in early. I work in the admissions office at my University and it is essential for prospective students to get their applications in early if they want to be considered for scholarships as well as first choice on housing and classes. I would also recommend that students visit several colleges, because you can learn so much about the college or university by visiting that you cannot learn on the website. Really look at how the students and faculty treat you and how well they are able to answer your questions. The other thing is once you have picked out the college you would like to go to get involved in campus groups and activities right away that way you are sure to make friends and do things that interest you. The other benefit of this is that some groups look really good on resumes. Last but not least work hard and have fun college is suppose to be some of the best years of your life so make the most of it!

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I would tell myself to take as many Advanced Placement (AP) courses as possible. These classes would have not only prepared me for college level courses, but they would have also given me the opportunity to receive college credits. I would also tell myself to be more outgoing. If someone is more outgoing, they will be able to make more friends. When you are going to a new place where you do not know anybody, it is important to be outgoing and make as many new friends as possible. Another piece of advice that I would give myself would be to try out multiple different studying strategies. If someone tries out many different studying strategies, they would be able to find out which strategy would be most effective for learning large amounts of material in a small amount of time. I would also tell myself to make sure that I became a good writer. This is because a large amount of assignments in college are papers. The final piece of advice would be to make the most of the time left with my current friends because you do not know the next time you will see them.

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I would tell myself to save as much money as I possibly can because going to college full time and working two part-time jobs can get frustrating quickly. Especially when they are in two different cities. I work in Grand Rapids during the week and I drive home every other weekend and work in Jackson. My social life is nonexistent and my studying and homework take up all my extra time. I know in High School I thought it was a waste of my time sitting home on weekends doing scholarships. But I did do them and they paid for my first year. I only wish I would have done more my Freshman year because now I'm working to pick up the difference. I would also tell myself to visit multiple schools and not pick the first one you visit. Colleges hype up visiting days and give the prespective students an unrealistic view of what campus life really is. Research the school and find out if the courses are available for your intended major. Otherwise you will be changing majors as I did from Pre-med to Education. The closest Cornerstone got to Pre-med was Biology.

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When looking for an appropriate college, think about what is most important to you. When I was searcing for a college I placed social life and faith based programs as part of my top prioreties. At my school, I found them both, but I also found opression because I overlooked the friction between my sexual orientation and the conservativism of the school I attend. Make sure to dig into all aspects of your life and read the mission statements and goals of the schools you want to to attend to see if the school is a great fit for you. VISIT THE SCHOOLS YOU ARE RESEARCHING! While visiting, ask if you can spend the night in a dorm or with a student and ask them questions about their time at the university. Try to talk to a diverse group of people, freshman through seniors, black, white, gay or straight. Ask people to be honest with you about their experience with the school they attend. Let that visit simmer for a while before you visit another school. You don't want to visit a ton all at once or you may not appreciate what each school has to offer.

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First, make sure the school offers your major. If it does, go check it out. Look for sense of community and how open the students and faculty are to you (the visitor). Next, sit in on a class; while listening ask yourself "is this professor keeping me engaged as a learner or am I going to fall asleep?" Only four more things...eat some cafeteria food. If you are going to live on campus you may have to eat in the cafeteria and you do not want to have to starve. Stay night in a dorm if possible (this is a test of the dorm livability). Find some current students at that college or university and ask them their opinion of the school. Finally, go to financial aid and figure out the cost of the school and how that will fit your budget. If you do this with more than one school, compare and contrast after having looked at all your options. Hopefully, after all of this, you will know what school you want to attend. When you are finally at your school of choice...go to class, make new friends, graduate, and most importantly enjoy, because it goes quick.

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