Culinary Institute of America Top Questions

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


I would tell myself that no matter what obstacles come up, there are always people willing to help if you just reach out to them. It's ok to depend on your family for support and counselors to assist in the decision making process. Stay in school and channel your energy towards improving your future because you are ultimately responsible for your success. Planning is very important, also. Do not wait til the last minute. Managing your time and money is a learning process. Take a course in high school if you are able. And don't give up! Anything is possible with God and family on your side.


Don't rush. Take the time to figure out what you really want to do in your life. I started college while still in High School , graduated early, and started at a four year university when I was 17. I had a great time my first time through college, met some great people, but I slowly realized that what I thought I wanted to do, Forensic Chemistry, was not at all for me. My last semester at my last school was a study abroad in France and through that experience I learned that something I really enjoyed doing, cooking, could actaully become a profession. I had applied to the Culinary Institute while still in France, got accepted and did all of this without ever seeing the campus. Glad I did. Before applying I was actually hesitant because I didn't know if I should be applying to the top culinary institute in the world; but it all worked out for the best. The last thing I would tell myself as a high school senior- taking time to figure out what you like is ok, even if it mean taking a semester or year off of school. It's worth it.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself that working the long hours during my senior year and summer before college will definitely pay off. Working almost every day to save money for college was sometimes very bothersome, but I knew it had to be done. I would also tell myself to spend as much time with my family as much as possible since it is quite difficult to come home often when school is four and a half hours away. Don't be afraid to be yourself and make friends from all different scopes of life. Since I attend the best culinary school in the United States, there is a wide variety of people that attend the school and at first I was shy. Once I opened up to everyone, I enjoyed school much more and felt like I was more willing to take on the world.


As a highschool student I was rather rebellious and this was due to the sadness I felt being a foreigner in a foreign country. I come from a single parent home where my Ma wears both the trouser and skirt, when she announced that we would be moving to America utter shock and anger were my emotions. I carried this anger throughout my highschool days and was borderline flunking, my mother was shocked that I even graduated. So if I was to go back to my senior year in highschool I would not have changed a thing. Attending community college was my wake up call and I have been able to hold a decent GPA and stay motivated and focused and now that I have graduated from there and I'm attending the CIA, I am proud that I have come thus far. The more I think about it, I am grateful that I was not as focused and nearly failing in highschool because it was the wake up call I needed to get my act right. The thing I am most grateful for now is my mother making the decision to bring us to the land of endless opportunities.


I would definately tell myself to do more research on the college and really get a better grasp on what this college has to offer, so that I am better prepared for college. I would also tell myself that giving myself a bit of time off is for the best, and that it helped me by going out and working in the real world.


Be open to anything and everything--within limits of course. Don't shy away from a school or future because it isn't the "norm." If you truly love something and are passionate about it, pursue it! Be open to all people, you'll meet a lot of them. People are what make the world what it is and you can choose to create your network or live in the past (hint: start your network NOW). Stay positive. Never, ever let pessimism cloud your vision. It's so much easier to unhappy and feel sorry for yourself then it is to be joyful. Remember that you chose where you are and you make the experience of college what it is. If you don't like where you are, you can always change. Enjoy life for it offers, take this experience for its fullest because the next stop is the real world. Make mistakes and learn from them--never stop learning.


It's been clinically proven that a human being does not make adult, responsible decisions until the brain is at least over 21 years old. For this reason, I would tell myself to be more patient, organized and studious. I would tell myself to carefully reflect on my choices before making a final decision. Many young students make poor choices in their friends, studies and habits during college. I would tell myself to be a stronger person; to not be lead, but to lead.


Always remember that the goal you want may vary but do not get down and look ahead. Use as many outlook as possible. Be open to new experiences and never stay stagnet for too long. There so many places you can take your career, so plan for what you want. Shoot for the highest and slowly you'll get there.


Iti s interesting to look back over the years since I have graduated high school. I have now attended two schools (this time as a career changer). My first career was as an actor, the current as a chef. What is interesting is that both careers are artisticly driven, both are intense programs, both were career/proffesional driven. The common thread I notice in myself that has benefited me most the second time around is to take advantage of everthing around you and be the greatest sponge possible. Study extra subjects, read beyond the reading lists, attend various seminars provided. Ulimtately, the more you focus, the more the payoff in the long run. Don't just try to get by, but really internalize everything there is to know and learn about the subject at hand.


I would tell high school me that it is very important to save money. College is very expensive and financial aid doesn't always cover the full cost of attendance even though it is a big help. Giving up going out to the movies and dinner every weekend is not necessary!


I would tell myself to take every moment in, because at college so much happens, it is hard to remember it all. I would explain how at The Culinary Institute of Ameica, everyone becomes a family and there are so many people with the same interests and values that I have as well. Mostly, I would tell myself to stay on the track I was heading and enjoy what life brings!


Save up that money! Focus on what you really want and work hard for it. Never back down. Take a few months off or even a year before going straight to the CIA, work hard, save that money, potentially buy a used car and having some spending money on hand. Experience living on campus, the whole college experience for at least the 1st yr of college and after extern potentially look for roommates and find an off-campus apartment. Don't be scared and enjoy the little time you have in high school with your friends and family, you won't be spending much time with them after high school. It is ok to make some stupid decisions because that's part of life, learning from you experiences and doing something different when they come up again. Begin working out now because gaining those freshmen 15 pounds in the CIA it's actually 30 pounds! But most important of all, do not under any circumstance ever doubt on yourself, believe in your strengths, appreciate your weaknesses, and always keep your head up.


Dear Elissa, Hello, you don't know me yet, but you will in a few years. As weird as this may sound, I am you in the future, writing to myself in hopes of guiding you down the best path as you (we) leave for college. I know that in spite of your brave face in front of Mom that you are scared about moving across the country, making new friends, college level classes, and figuring out public transportation. I know you are thinking: "What if my roommate hates me?" "What if I can't find my first class?" I bet you are also thinking: "I can't wait to be in a big city where everything is faster, bigger, and better than here!" "I can't wait to make my family proud and make all the sacrifices worth it!" Life has a way of being the best thing that ever happened to you; and even though it may throw you a curve ball here and there, just believe in yourself and you will come out on top. Believing in yourself is the best thing you can do right now. Trust me - I did. See you in the future, Elissa


I would like to tell my self that take your time know what you want to do with your life first do not pick the first career choice that comes to mind it or what other people want you to do with your career choice its your life make the right choice for you .Also there are lots of information lots of help people who are there to help you succeed when you need help go out there and get it Do not be scared to get it help and believe in your self that you can make it. Last word always always go with your first instance do not dolt your self.


College is needed these days no matter what field you go into. Some were there is school for you to go to you must find it and go. You do not always have to go to a school that will make you go broke so start of a community collage and transfer into a school that will accept the most credits so you don’t have to spend as much. You will meet people of different backgrounds and customs don’t be afraid to learn something from someone else about a religion that is not your own you can always take the good and leave the bad.


I would tell myself not to expect the typical "college" experience. Outside of the kitchens and bakeshops, there really is not much going on. The weekends are boring and the campus is dead. I do love the school and the program, but life outside the school is really minimal.


If I could go back in time, I'd tell myself to stick with my education. I dropped out but got my GED when I was 17 but I feel I had stayed in school and worked harder at that time I would of had the motivation to go to college sooner. Instead it's taken me this long because of having a child and no time to finally make time for myself and what I want to do with my life. I would have told myself to take it slow and worry about myself. My circumstances were rough, I had to quit school and take a full time job when my parents lost their jobs, my mom moved to another city and got a job and I stayed and worked to take care of my 3 sisters and brother. Make sure they finished the school year and I became the mom for a while until my mom found a house and stability to move us all. But I would do it over again if it comes to my family.


I honestly don't know that I would attempt to give my-then-self advice. If I (me-now) offered advice, I (me-then) would have probably thought about it and then forgotten it and been distracted by something else. Always having been an experiential learner, I knew then that I would have trials unique unto myself. I wouldn't change a single interaction, day, or minute. Collectively those moments, while sometimes incredibly painful and alternately blisteringly hilarious, have led me to this moment. Those unique trials have taught me that few tools are more necessary than humor, faith, singing at the top of your lungs, and keeping close the things that move you. If anything, I (me-now) would have just listened to my-then-self.


It is not as frightening as you think it is going to be. If only I had realized the truth of that previous statement sooner. Leaving home for the first time and heading to college 1300 miles away, I was utterly terrified. As the hours passed on in our car traveling East, I became more and more convinced that I was making a terrible mistake. As we arrived at school, I remember this gut wrenching feeling of excitement and fear overtaking me. I knew in my heart of hearts that this was the school for me, and even if I made no friends and didn't fit in, I had to tough it out. Looking back now, I realize how ridiculous and naive I sounded. I would like to inform you, that college is not as terrifying as you think it is going to be, you will make friends, you will fit in, and you have nothing to worry about...(until finals)....


I would go back and tell myself that I needed to just relax. Also that I need to work at a faster pace and get ready for the rest of my life.


If I could go back in time to talk to myself as a high school senior, I would be sure to save more money before entering into college. It is difficult to make ends meet while paying for tuition, living expenses, and loans from a previous college degree, but especially while being a full-time student.


You really need to start applying for more scholarships for several hours each and every single day. I did over time, not quite as much, but I did, and I have yet to earn a single one. Well, that's a lie. I got one for $400 dollars, but because my family worked at the place. That's aside the point, you need to get your butt into gear and do something about the money situation. You are not special. You are an average white female trying to earn money. Start applying now all the time and you WILL get something. All it takes is a couple minutes of your time for one. A couple hours is worth a few years. Start now before you regret it.


As a high school senior I felt pressure to enroll in a 4year college and declare a major immediately. I wish that I had taken the time to decide on what I really wanted to do instead of what I thought I should do. I spent five years taking classes to become a civil engineer. I spent thousands of dollars on classes that I had zero interest in. If I had really thougt about things I enjoy attending culinary school would have been a no brainer. Choosing a new career path is the best decision I've ever made. I would also tell myself that getting involved in more social clubs on campus might have made the transition to living away from home easier. Clubs really are a great resource for making new friends and enjoying college life. Being very shy it was difficult for me to make new friends without the help of a club setting. I think extracurricular activities are almost as important as academic classes. I believe that being involved with activities on campus as well as being successful in your academic life leads to being a healthy well rounded individual.


I would tell myself to step it up, in college no one asks you for your homework, if you don't turn it in you fail simple as that. I would also say its fun but you need to work hard to play hard


Be open minded to roommates, buy labels to label everything you don't want others to use, learn to be patient, and take time to yourself. If you spend all your time in school work or with roommates and friends you will never be happy you have to take time to yourself and learn to let the little stuff go.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to find something to study that I am passionate about. I have come to the realization that you do very well in school when you are excited to learn the subject and are fully into learning. If you are just going to college because it's what you are supposed to do in life, you will not succeed. You need to find something that you love and go to college to follow that career path. Once in college, you need to concentrate and do your best in your school work. Of course, everyone needs to enjoy themselves, go out and have fun. Though, you can't let this take over your college experience. I recommend learning the fine line between going out to have fun versus partying too much. Just remember you are there to be a success and to do well in life. By doing well in school, you can follow your dreams and turn them into a reality. You will be so proud of yourself once you succeed, nothing would have been worth getting in the way.


To be truthful. As a high school senior. I was so focused on the wrong things. I don't know if I would have even listened to MYSELF. But if I could get myself to truely believe any advice I had. Well, the one thing I didn't realize until resently. Without a degree you can do good things. With a degree you have the oppurtunities to do great things. There are schools that focus on what interests me. I can afford it. And I CAN do it! I have a nack for relating to youth/young adults. With my degree and certifications. I will have the chance to help guide this age group. So maybe, I will be able to reach someone, like myself. Share my focus and knowledge with them. Hopefully making a difference in their lives. Present and future. Something I wish had happened to ME as a HS senior.


During my senior year in high school I took a lot of AP and honors classes and the workload was a lot to handle. Some of the classes I took do not apply to my career and I really just took them because they would bring my GPA up. If I could go back and give myself some advice I would tell myself to work at a place that is related to the baking and pastry arts field instead of taking so many advanced classes. When I first got to school I had very little experience in the field because I did not have a job that related to my future career. Therefore, the advice to myself would be to work in a baking and pastry job instead of spending all of my time on extra school work.


I would tell myself to be more dedicated in my science and math classes, and not coast, but truly devote myself to learning all that I could. I would say that expanding your horizons is necessary, and to not limit the type of classes I am willing to take, because stepping outside the box will help you, although it may be frightening at times. I would also say that I should get a job in the industry - even a low/entry level job - so that I am exposed to how it works, in order to better judge whether or not I would truly like to pursue a career in that field. Be engaged in activities on campus; they are there for you to enjoy and as opportunities to enrich your life, so take those opportunities and run with them!! Join extracurricular clubs, attend sporting events, immerse yourself in the college atmosphere, because you only have four years to engulf yourself in it, and those four years fly by more quickly then you can ever imagine.


I would tell myself to go to school as soon after high school as possible. It wont matter as much what you are studieing as the fact that you have a college degree. Only 1{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} of Americans have degrees from a 4 year college. Your quality of life will be so much better if you go to school sooner rather than later while you have the time.


If I was able to go back in time and talk to my past self than I would have a lot to say. First, don't take life for granted and live each day of your life as if it is your last. Believe in yourself and your capabilities because you will go far. Study harder and try your best. Don't just look out for number one and help others. College is fun, but it also takes hard work and determination. You will experience ups and downs on this journey called life but with each failer and each success try to learn from them. Do not go to art school sure it's your dream but listen to reason and go to community college first. Sure the experience maybe great but so is the cost. But most importantly do not forget where you came from because it will get you to where you are going. Life is hard but it is worth the trip! Work hard, study hard, and put God first in everything you do! At graduation kiss your mom. Thanking her for her courage and support. Most importantly do not be afraid to take risks! Stay positive!


Oh, if I only knew! This is my second time around in college, so my advice to myself the first time would be, work harder! Focus more on the classwork and less on the social life. The friends will come, no matter where you are. Think about the things that REALLY matter to you. Consider saving money for the future - we need it! Take every available opportunity, especially those that put you in alternate environments, like studying abroad. I have many fewer options to take now than I did then because I have a family to consider. I wish I had taken the chances then...but I am doing everything I can now to make up for what I missed.


Moving to New York from Hawaii was a huge transition. The nerves ran deep during my last week of summer through my first week at school. There are many things that I wish I could have told my high school senior self to prepare me for what to expect and do for my months at college. The first thing of advice I would give myself is to not get distracted by non-school related activities and to pay more attention to school work. Finding and making friends shouldn’t be on the top of my list when I start school, they will come naturally once all of the kitchen classes start. I wish someone had told me how important reading was, whether it was assigned or not. It would have helped a lot if someone had told me that extra reading would allow me to excel in all of my classes. Lastly, I wish I could tell my high school self that it is extremely important to get a job and continue looking for scholarships as soon as school started. By knowing all of this it would have made my first and future years in college a lot easier.


If i was able to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, and knowing what i know now i would tell my self to take college seriously. I would let my self know that college is no joke. I have already spent 60,000 dollars on my culinary arts degree and im not even half way done. I would tell my self not to live in student housing because the food is awfull and there is too much drama. I would also tell my self to take every opportunity givin to you by your teachers to volunteer at events to help others. Last, i would tell my self to take college on day at a time and that everything will work out one way or another. College is full of stress and if i could go back to my self as a senior i would let my self know not to freak out over everything that happens..its just life.


“Study!” This may not be an eloquent remark but it's the most direct and important thing I could have said. Ironic since I heard this from so many people: parents, teachers, and advisors. I'm not sure it would have made a difference coming from the future me; however, I can think of nothing better to say. Students will adjust to the new environment, make friends, and decide majors. All these things aside, the foremost reason for attending college is to receive an education; in order to do this a student must study. I was whooley unprepared for studying specifically and the rigors of the college classroom in general. Many times I felt as though I was playing a game of catch-up. Thankfully, I did catch up; in fact, I am graduating with an associates this year (all the while maintaining a 4.0 GPA) and am going to attend Northeastern Illinois University in the fall for elementary education. It took me a little while to figure out how to study but I did. Though much time and effort could have been saved if I had taken the time to learn this skill in high school. So, “Study!”


I f I had the oppurtunity to go back in time and tell my self one thing as a senior it would be, to stay focused and don't let anything get you off track. That offers will come your way but in the end you will want what you have set out for yourself. That commitment and accopmplishment is the best fullfillment in life. And to close the converstaion I would say "and make sure you listen to your parents, they do know what they are talking about".


Apply for more scholarships.


I would tell myself to mentally prepare. When I started college I had a hard time because I thought it would be easier to be away from my family and friends than it actually was. I would also tell myself to get in the habit of following a schedule. At school if you aren't on time, then you fail. It's important to stick to your timeline so you get everything done on time. I would also tell myself to grow a tougher skin. Not everybody is a nice person, and you have to be able to take their criticism, and not let it affect you in a negative way.


I would have told myself to put more time into study. The more I get into a habit of studying and prepping myself for learning, the easier it would have been now. I would have also mentioned to myself the importance of keeping up my GPA. I lost out on some opportunities of getting accepted into a more prestigious school cause of my low high school GPA. I feel I am lucky now to have been accepted by a high prestige cooking school such as The Culinary Institute of America. I would mention the importance of taking advantage of extra curricular studies to broaden my knowledge. These are the main focus points I would try to engrave in my younger brain.


If i were to go back to my senior year, I'd probably tell myself to save more money, and to apply for more scholarships. You don't realize how quickly your money dissapears, especially when you're a full time student.


If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to make sure I take care of my body. This means not overworking myself, getting an adequate amount of sleep every night, and telling people when I have too much on my plate (no pun intended). Yes the freedom of college life may sound appealing at first, but it's so easy to fall behind in such a fast paced environment like the CIA. It's also easy to overload yourself when your doing something you love.


I would tell myself to study harder and take my classes a bit more seriously. Also to start thinking about what I want to be. I wasn't quite sure in high school. It would be good advise to tell myself that the college professors aren't as easy going as high school teachers, they don't care if you don't pay attention because it's your money that you are wasting. Don't under estimate the importance of studying and have good study habits. This is your future and if you don't take it seriously then you won't be able to get a good job because others won't take you seriously.


Take Math, French or any other foreign languages. Do not involve yourself in any criminal activities. I was able to graduate top of my class because I did not get involved with anything illegal or criminal. I studied with very extra time and got involved with the community. I volunteered with children evening class teaching younger children about the little I knew about life. I would encourage students in high school now to get involved in some volunteer opportunity in their communities.


If I had the opportunity to go back in time I would tell myself to study harder and to start working in restaurants so when I came to this school that I am now ( The Culinary Institute of America ) I would have much more experience in my field and be more prepared. I would also had told myself to start applying for financial aid soon.


In the short comment, i'll give myself an advice as " Always try your best untill you hit the bull's eye! and whatever you do , never ever give up!" In addition, in your life, there is no such thing impossible, because I'm possible, I could make it possible."


It does not matter what the task is, always do your best. It does not metter whether or not you like the task or the situation at hand, you will have better results if you go through with a good attitude. Things worth having are worth working and waiting for. Trust God and everything else in life will fall in its own place. It does not matter what everyone else thinks about you. You have to live your life because no one else can live it for you. If you allow what other people say and think interfere with you living life and obtaining your goals, you are the one that loses, (you know how we hate losing). Never give up.


I would tell myself to study hard and maybe consider other choices. I would say to apply to other colleges too. Also I would tell myself to be a little more responsible about the financial aid and apply ealry instead of putting it off. I would tell myself to apply for more scholarship and finally I would tell myself to remain calm try not to panic. I would tell my senior self to learn to step out of my comfort zone. Since college is a social place. I would also give him adivice on choosing the right people to be friends with. If you feel someone is to crazy stay away from them. So thats about it for the advice I would give to myself.


I always told myself, the one thing I regret is doing poorly in high school. I thought I was invincible and that things would just fall into place for me. I had dreams of going away to Emory University and winning academic scholarships. If I had the option of going back in time to talk to myself as a senior in high school, I would say “never give up”. I did remarkably well in my senior year, but since everyone told me I wouldn’t get into any out of state colleges because of my previous grades, I didn’t follow my instinct to apply to my dream colleges. I know now that colleges also look at SAT scores, recommendations and extracurricular activities. I would also tell myself that college is more intense than high school, because they require more from you as a college student, so try to prep to be a good college student by taking AP classes, going to seminars that prep you for college and maybe even get a job so I could learn more responsibility. If I took matters into my own hands, who knows what may have happened.


The next three years of your life will change your mind of what you have planned to do with your life. At the CIA you will learn more about yourself than you have thought you already had. Work hard and ask as many questions as you can. Strive to be the best and don't settle for what others are doing around you. Get to the class early and be the last to leave. Learn to love youself and know that culinary arts is your passion, so embrace it!


The best advice I could give myself as a high school senior is not to be afraid. Not to be afraid of making mistakes, and not to be afraid of excelling. College is a learning enviornment, and while it is important to take everything I do seriously, it is also important to enjoy what I'm doing. For most of my first year and externship I was in a constant state of panic, in perpetual fear of doing anything wrong. I didn't take chances, or truely allow myself to delve into the material and the opportunities presented to me. Completely obsessed with what I had, I didn't realize what I was being offered. Equally as important, I cannot be afraid to stand up for myself. I finally gained respect at my externship not for my hard work, not for my talent, but for not acquiescing to everything my Chef said. I finally spoke to him as an adult and abandoned my passive agressive behavior. With this advice as a senior I could have resolved myself to not fear my ability to grow as a chef, nor the stregnth of my words, and finally to learn with reckless abandon.