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Dallas Baptist University

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

There are numerous aspects of college life I would have advised myself to consider when I was still in high school. First of all, in order to have a more accurate representation of a college or university, I would recommend spending quality time on campus, such as staying over in one of the dorms, eating in the cafeteria, sitting in on a class, walking around campus, and talking to students and to faculty. My experiences have shown the necessity of truly acquainting myself with a situation before I commit to it. Furthermore, I would advice high school seniors to intentionally search for a loyal group of friends on campus as soon as possible because having close friends whom I could rely on away from home was a key aspect in enabling me to adjust. I would also counsel practicing and learning not only effective study habits , but also quality lifestyle habits while still in high school. Freshman college students educated in how to care for themselves in terms of health, nutrition, sleep, studies, and friendships could make the transition much easier. Therefore, I would clearly advise taking several steps before high school graduation to best prepare for college life.

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Knowing what I know today about college life and having made the transition, if I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would advise myself to study more and develop better study habits. I would also advise myself to be more disciplined with my time. I would emphasize the importance too of preparing and planning a schedule for my studies. I would advise myself to apply myself more overall. I would give more attention to learning how to write good essays. I would advise myself to eliminate distractions. Being more courageous and confident in attempting assignments are also things I would advise myself. To sum it up, if I could go back in time, I would train myself to: use my time more wisely, be more courageous, have more confidence, try harder, develop better study habits, and be more disciplined. I would also advise myself to have a greater appreciation for the blessing and opportunity to get an education. Beyond this, if I could go back, I would even advise myself to have a vision or plan for my career and how I might like to reach this goal through my education.

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Some advice I would give to prospective students and their parents include looking at as many schools as possible, asking the really tough questions to both current students and faculty, and if possible, staying overnight at the school. From personal experience I wished that I had looked into more schools before agreeing to go to DBU. I had nothing to compare it to, and seeing now some of the other universities that my friends attend, I might have made a different choice. If you are looking for a big sports town or a lot of weekend activities, DBU is not for you! Make sure that the school you are agreeing to pay for, is what you really want. Also, I would make sure to ask anything and everything to the faculty and staff before handing over your checkbook. Financial aid has been a tough road for me, simply because I didn't know all it involved beforehand. Finally, by staying overnight at an institution the student is able to see all the behind the scenes not viewed in a typical school tour. You will be able to observe interactions between students, professors and staff that cannot be imitated daily.

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The best advice I could give parents and/ or students about finding the right college is to be flexible. There is no such thing as the perfect college. Look for a school that fits most of the characteristics you are looking for and then be willing to work through the things that are not so perfect. A positive and memorable college experience is possible only with an open mind and a flexibility that will help students to persevere. If a student is attending a university only to learn, they are only getting half of the package. The other half comes in giving back to your school and to those who you live life with every day! The school itself is nothing without the participation and enthusiasm of its students. Specifically to parents I would say, be flexible with your student and allow them to grow during their college experience. They will be learning so much and making some of the most important decisions of their lives and they will need your support, but will also need you to trust them. Encourage them to do things on their own and help them to become as financially independent as they can be!

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Education matters. Investing time and money in your future is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. It can have an amazing return. If taken seriously and thought of as a full-time job it can benefit in so many ways. Education gives you, good social skills, confidence, self-gratification and new career opportunities. Going back to school has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. It taught me I can be pushed to limits I didn’t know existed. One of the key elements to good learning is caring and dedicated instructors. If they show you that they care, then you began to care. You are encouraged to take ownership of your future. The university setting is a cultural amalgam that introduces students to the world’s diversity. We have the opportunity to learn that despite our differences, we are one. Education provides phenomenal career opportunities. From a young age I was told “In life a lot of things can be taken away from you, but one thing that can’t ever be taken is your education.” If you remember these words, your education can take you as far as you are willing to take it.

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Knowing what I know now about college and life I would one, start the college application process during my junior year in high school. Looking back now I would have opted out of getting a job and focused my attention on studying. Another thing that I would have done differently is to start applying for grants and scholarships during my senior year in high school. I regret not applying for one particular scholarship that I qualified for. I should have done so anyway just in case I needed a plan ?B?. The last thing that I will do differently is to work harder to improve my grade point average. My freshman year in high school was hard. In that it was my first year in a different state and environment. I made good grades however during my sophomore year I stated associating with the wrong crowd which ultimately affected my school attendance and grades. My priorities were jaded during high school. Looking back now although I did not excel as much as I could have academically I received lifelong lessons and skills from my first job that I could not otherwise have attained.

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The most important part of having a great college experience is attending a university where you know you will gain the most value from the amount of money you spend. Any university can find professors who don't care about their students, but it is so important to find a school where the faculty and staff CARE about students as people and not just a number. A university where there are small class sizes is more likely to dedicate more time to developing student's minds, as they are able to get to actually know the students. I go to Dallas Baptist University, and I feel like my college experience has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have grown so much spiritually, and even at the worst times, I received so much encouragement from every which way. Finding funding for school has been very hard, but spending this amount of money on my education is worth it, because I feel like I will be prepared whenever I enter the real world. I think that's what a parent/ student should look for when they are trying to find the right college; a university that cares.

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Do not be afraid. Do not fear anything. Because this is only the beginning of a beautiful, empowering, strengthening journey that you will remember and use to guide you for the rest of your life. Do not worry about being inadequate. You work hard and do your best, just as you always have, and you will exceed the expectations you set for yourself. College is a challenge, but you already have everything it takes within you to succeed fully. Simply continue the hard work you've committed to in highschool, and you can achieve all you desire. You are stronger and smarter than you think. And about making new friends? That is the easiest part. BE YOURSELF. And people will love you. Even if you think the real you isn't cool, funny or pretty enough, people are drawn to others who simply want to remain true to themseleves. It is only in that place that you will find who you truly are on this journey- which is the most important part. So go on a search to find yourself. In education, philosophy, arts, etc. all the things you will encounter on this journey. Let it lead you to you.

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Going back in time and advising myself about the transition from high school to college, I would stress the importance of focusing on academic studies and grasping the concepts of the subjects. While socializing with friends and being noticed or popular has some affects on your self-esteem, academic progress and success is far more gratifying. Selecting social groups that are engaged in succeeding in their educational goals would be a better choice of associates. Learning good study habbits and English paper formats are tools essential to the college work set before you while transitioning. Learning how to schedule your time for classwork and socializing will become allow you to have less stress while attending college. It is also important that you utilize your resources and inquire all that is available to you at the school you are planning to attend. This may include on-campus social groups, counseling, and on-campus health department. Apply for scholarships in advance. Complete your financial applications before the deadlines. Stay focused and have fun too.

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To do some self-reflection would be my advice to my younger self. For starters, I would let Little Alexia know that the only way to make lifelong friendships is to first prove herself friend material. I would tell her that while it is okay to be focused on achieving her goals and keeping her eyes on the prize, she should always make time for others and the friendships that await her. I would even give her a heads up to be less oblivious and more receptive to the boy in her first DBU class of the day that keeps turning around and staring at her. Overall, I would let her know that there is more to college life than academics alone. I would also teach the younger Alexia how to apologize to others even when hurting them unintentionally, as well as how to forgive herself. On a positive note, I would let her know about the leadership role that she would assume on campus. Most importantly, I would ease her mind about the future. I would assure her that as she progresses in her life and in her studies, all the pieces will gradually come together.

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