Davidson College Top Questions

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

Jonathan

My advice is maybe the simplest, but also the most difficult to follow -- don't stress! College is an incredible opportunity to figure yourself out; your interests, your passions, how you think, what kinds of people you enjoy, how you like to spend your time. Think about it, high-school-self -- from 7am classes to after-school sports to after-that music practice to late-night homework (whew!), your time was pretty mapped-out and regimented. College is a whole different world. You set your own alarm clock, you plan your own schedule, you decide what clubs to join or not join. But, like Stan Lee said: with great power, comes great responsibility. (Well, he was actually quoting Voltaire, but you won't learn about French Enlightenment philosophy until Junior year!) That responsibility, high-school-self, is to give everything a shot. Push yourself and learn new things; you'll never know if you have a knack for rhythm unless you join the African drumming circle. You might have never discovered your photographer's eye without entering a dark room. The choices can seem overwhelming, but never forget college's ultimate, and most important, purpose -- discovering your passion!

Karen

Stay on top of your work. Make a daily schedule for yourself of what you want to get done in a day and stick to it. Use weekends wisely; they are not all about free time, but also a major time to catch up and get ahead on work. Do whatever it takes to pay attention in class because the professors are your best resource. Do NOT be shy to speak up in class and go out of your way to make sure you are doing everything that needs to be done to shine in class. Be yourself, if you try to change in order to make friends, your friendships won't last. If you act naturally, you will find people who appreciate you for who you are and that is how to make lasting relationships. Don't be too concerned with pleasing others all the time, do what you need to do to be happy and successful. After all, this is YOUR education and YOUR time to learn who and what you can be.

Bridget

Why haven't you applied anywhere yet?! All those scholarships you're up for, please complete the applications. You've always been a little indecisive, now is the time to figure out what you want out of life. You need time to plan your next steps and go after your goals. Life is short. Embrace who you are and run with it. You're going to have a very bright future you just need to apply yourself. Trust me if you don't buckle down and put in the effort now you'll regret it later. College is one of the best things that will happen in your lifetime. You will never learn as much and meet as many new people in your life as you will in college. Chase your dreams! Don't be afraid to set your goals high and go after them. You'll need this knowledge in the future. This is the most important decision you will make. It governs where the rest of your life will lead. It's the first step in taking control of your life and living it the way you want and deserve to. Go for it! Make me proud!

Alexandria

If I were to go back in time, I would tell myself that it's okay to take a break year between high school and college. I would advise not to let the stress of other peoples' academic expectations for my future control my choices. High school students seem to be pressured into automatically attending college right after high school. The truth of the matter is, not everyone is ready to jump right into college. I would tell the "high school aged" me to make sure I was pursuing a career path because I have a passion for it, not because someone else thought it was a good fit for me. Another thing the high school me needs a little help with is procrastination. If you do decide to attend college, don't wait until the last second to do assignments. College assignments are nowhere near as easy to rush through as high school papers and projects. Take your time, start working early, and make sure you truly understand the subject matter. Don't be afraid to ask questions because the things you learn in college frame and shape the future you.

Roi Din Shadau

I would like to encourage to all my high school junior guys , I aslo felt like as you alll when I was your time and age .Now I became know alot of things can't change and get with our nice memorial in high school life .It's so free and so lightful in life and It's aslo important time to us because we should and must know our dream at that time so we can choice and dream our life pefectly.High school life is really good in friedship and realtionship with the new environment .In college, it's alittle different and so much different .At that we can't dream and we must do our dream to be real thing.When I got my college of Nursing , I had many difficulty to stable in my place and college . I met many kinds of friends and strange things .A lot of assignmetns , praticals make me challeges to get my achievement .I became mature and learnt alot things from my college .But atually , I really happy andappreciate my course and school because it's my dream since my childhood .So I can say , I could figure out my dream .

Aria

I would tell myself to look for a school that has a strong ethnic/minority population and ask about the social climate for minorities. I would research diversity of faculty and initiatives to further diversify facultly, staff, and students. I would research new reseach initiatives in education and ethnic/racial issues too. I would tell myself that although money is important, the social and academic climate of the school is more important to your spiritual, mental, physical, and social health. Going to a college or university that doesn't have the social and academic offerings that you need isn't worth going to, no matter how much money they give you.

Jennifer

Be prepared to open yourself to possibilities. It is so easy to shy away from social situations and keep from expressing yourself, but in college, you make a lot of decisions about the type of person you will become. People should get to know the real you, so they can learn to love and accept you as you are. Also, sometimes the best thing to do after a long day is to turn on the radio and just dance.

Melissa

If it was possible for me to go back in time and give myself advice about college, I believe that I would tell myself, "Things are going to get very rough. You are going to have to fight with everything that you have to make something out of yourself because things are about to get even worse than what they have been. I know it has never been easy, but you are about to be thrown into the adult life way before you even had the chance to be a kid. You are about to have to fight for your future because you are about to be put into a predicament where you have to make up your mind to either fight for what you believe in or have nothing at all.

Nathan

Parents: if you have done a proper job raising your children to the age of 17 or 18, then they should be responsible enough to select their college. Trust them. Question them, push them, make them explore alternatives, but in the end when they come to you with a decision, trust them. Students: if you're as lucky as I was, you'll find a place that feels like home when you visit it. You will want not to go back home when you're done touring. If not, do your best to picture yourself living daily life at each school you visit. In the end, it's not whether you have five or six mind-blowing experiences, it's whether you have a good time almost every day of your four years. A lot of that depends on the people. I personally recommend seeing how many students know professors by first names and go to dinner or lunch with them regularly. You'll know, when the time comes, what the right decision is (make sure you tell your parents that, too).

Brenna

Shop around. Go on lots of college tours and think about what you want to study. Parents: don't push your kids into one choice. It's their education, so let them make the choice. Students: don't pick a school were you can just party a lot. Think about what you want to do with your life after college and pick a school that will help you achieve your goals.

Kiara

Find the place that fits you in the most aspects of life. No place is perfect but aiming for the best possible fit academically, socially, financially, and emotionally will make anywhere feel like home

Annamarie

Visit every college you apply to and really get a feel for the campus, faculty, staff, student, and administrators.

Sharlee

Pick the college that feels right to you. Not your parents. I would strongly advise that you visit the college before to see if you fit, and if it fits you. If you can get along with the people, and you feel at home with the campus. You will know that it's the right college for you, you will just feel it. So stand up for what college YOU want to go to. If your parents say that you should go somewhere else, don't back down. Because then you will regret it. But whatever college you go to, make the best of it--whether it was your first choice or not. Take the classes you want, not the ones your friends are because you will meet new people. It's okay to make new friends and have old friends drift away. It's a time to discover who you are--so just have fun and be who you are--not necessarily who you use to be.

Maria

When I first thought about college, I decided I wanted a private, small liberal arts school. Somehow, during the application process and getting swept up in school ratings, where friends were applying to, etc I ended up applying to a variety of larger schools and some state schools. When it came time to decide on a school, I looked back over and found that the one that suited me most was in fact Davidson, a small private liberal arts school which I had applied to half-heatedly while getting caught up in applications to Berkely, Georgetown, and Boston University (to name a few). Looking back over my choices, I realized that even though these other schools might be bigger names, I in fact would be a better fit at Davidson: a school in a small, close-knit town, very green and beautiful, a lake campus, 4 hours from home so a good distance, and with wonderful professors ready to assist you, or just sit and have coffee. I realized that I needed to look at MY needs, MY interests. In the end I choose based on where I could thrive, rather than which school would look best on my resume

Andy

If possible, stay overnight or a weekend with a student at the school you think you're in love with. Try to envision yourself in that environment and evaluate if you'd be happy there.

Jonathon

Students should take advantage of overnight programs for prospective students in order to better experience a day at a school before making a decision. Sit in on a variety of classes; science and liberal arts classes differ and the professors that teach them are very different. Attending one class will not provide an accurate picture of class at a particular school. Consider some off-campus experiences that you would like and look at schools that will provide opportunities for those experiences.

James

You are the one who is going spend these next four years at the school you choose. Thus this choice is yours. You are the only one who is is going to feel the full weight of this decision. Don't sell your soul- it doesn't matter what other people think. Ultimately you are deciding what kind of person you want to be. Yeah, this is that big a decision! The place you choose to go will shape you in ways you cannot yet image. You need to think about what kind of person you want to be and how a each college on your list can help you get there. Do your research. Email professors, email students, visit campus, sit in on classes. People love to talk about thier schools. Let them talk, ask good questions, and listen carefully. You have been a child until now. This is the time to take control of your own destiny. Where you choose to spend your college years is the place where you will grow up. Where can you see yourself growing up? What about that place will make you grow? Remeber: stay positive, you have a lot to offer.

Honna

Follow your heart and your gut...if it feels right. ..it probably is.

SHINJIN

I would ask them to spend a lot of time in researching for the right school. I think it heavily depends on what parents and students prefer in their education.

Julia

Apply to saftey schools that you would actually attend. Go with the school that makes you happy, not the name or the best one that you got into. Ask tons of questions on tours. Talk to people who aren't giving you a tour. When at school, make time for yourself, your community and your academics, find balance, enjoy it.

Brooke

Start early and maximize your options. Understand what you want from a college, which can withstand some compromise, as well as what you need from a college, which is much more critical that you find. Don't get caught up in the frenzy to attend a well-known school. Surround yourself with people you like and admire because there's a good chance you'll start to pick up some of their attitudes and ideas.

Eleanor

Go visit the campus and go where you feel at home on campus. Also, surround yourself with friendly , loving people. If people are not nice when you visit, they will not be nice when you go there.

Elizabeth

For students, I would say choose a school that feels right. Don't go to a school just becuase your friends are going ot because you think it will be easy. Do what feels right for you. If you get into your "reach" school, go. I think you will be suprised at what you can acheive when surrounded by highlt motivated and academically stimulating classmates. For parents, don't let money get in the way of your child's dreams. If the school is right, everything will work out. Don't push your child to go to your undergraduate school. Your child is an individual and you will be suprised at how much they grow once in school. Let them follow their heart, not yours.

Julia

Visiting a college campus is the one of the best ways to findthe right college for you or your son or daughter. Meet the faculty and students in the areas you are interested in studying, check out the facilities and dorms, and if possible, spend a long weekend there with a current student. This way you will get a glimplse of the typical school day and weekend in the life of a student at the college. I found that after the visits, my heart was already leading me to the best fit for me. Once you're in and are beginning your college journey, try new things. College is a time when you figure out who you are, what you enjoy doing, and what you're good at. Get out and meet people. Network. Get involved with the community around you and take advantage of free services on campus. Remember that academics is your primary reason for being there., so keep it top priority. Always introduce yourself to professors and keep a running dialogue with them. Good relationships with professors can be valuable for opening doors in research and other opportunities. Plus it's helpful when needing recommendations.

Margaret

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Jayson

Visit schools for their personality along with their degree programs.

Mattew

find out your every preference by visiting a diverse collection of different schools

Gary

My parents had a very strong say as to where I will go. I never really wanted to go to the college I am at now and I feel I could have enjoyed myself more had I gone somewhere else. Let their children have a say in where they want to go. It's their experience. Of course the opinion of the parents is always respected, but I feel that the student deserves a say and should ultimately pick.

Ericka

What I did not realize when I was first selecting the "college of my dreams" is that college will often also be a home-away-from-home. I have discovered that it is most important to find the college where one's heart and mind meet, or in other words, a school where one can excel academically but also socially. Growing mentally is just as vital as growing emotionally and spiritually. Finding the "perfect" school is a process that takes a lot of soul-searching, understanding, and support. I have seen many students hindered from going to their "dream schools" because parents have been afraid to let go of their child. Parents must be supportive and not lose a wonderful opportunity! Students must have faith in themselves. College means challenging yourself. Don't cheat yourself out of a great education because it seems too difficult. When the bar is set, you can make it. Once you find this school, look at its social atmosphere. Research, visit the campus, talk to alumni! Most of all, think about who YOU are. What do you value? Medical school? Studying abroad? Making friends for life? An artsy climate? It's YOUR future!

Amber

If the perspective doesn't have a career set in mind, choose a college based on what he/she wants to do while they're in college, not necessarily what they will be doing after they graduate.

James

Make sure you go visit the schools and do an overnight visit.

Jacqueline

Trust your gut feeling, don't allow yourself to get in too far over your head academically, and if you don't get in to your dream school (or don't know what your dream school is) keep an open mind and a positive attitude as you beging your college experience. Just about everyone can find their own nitch at college, just sometimes it takes a while. Don't get defeated, and really try to form friendships. At college your friends become your family, so I believe they are the most instrumental element in determining one's happiness and success.

Claudia

You will get out of anything you do as much as you put into it. I strongly believe that this is the ultimate truth, especially with college, and higher education. The truth is that while there are both small and large colleges, both top tier and bottom tier colleges, and both pricy and inexpensive colleges, what you do in your time at college defines your own outcome. Do not squander your youth and opportunities, and give yourself completely to the once in a lifetime college experience that has been given to you. Leave behind inhibition and prejudice and open yourself to everything new and promising. Furthermore, take the advice of others, but ultimately, rely on your own judgement and intuition. You will make and live your own future, and you will learn yourself and where you belong through your own decisions. Do not let anyone push you or make you something that you are not. Finally, embrace the things you learn and the people you meet, because there is nothing else in the world like being at college.

Laura

Future college students must realize that this experience will be completely separate from their past life and will shape them into the adult they will be for the rest of their lives. That being said, when making this very important choice, while they should listen to the advice of councelors and parents, the ultimate choice must come from them alone. If they are to succeed academically and enjoy the experience they can not allow themselves to be pressured into the wrong choice for them, however prestigious the school might be, or whatever family history dictates that particular choice. And it is absolutely essential that the students visit the college campus at least once in person. Sometimes the smallest thing causes that click in your head that tells you the school is right for you. Listen to your insticts and then don't look back.

Molly

When I first began the application process, I was bogged down with all the important questions associated with a college decision: big school or small school; north or south; and of course, strong football or basketball team. On one particularly stressful evening, my mom sat me down and imparted some words of wisdom: "When you step onto the right campus, you'll just be able to feel it." Keeping this in mind as I began visiting schools, I found myself worrying much less about the statistics, facts, and graduation rates connected to each school. I began to focus instead on the community, and how I felt I could fit in and contribute to it. As a delighted sophomore at the school of my choice, and more importantly as the daughter of a happy mother, I would be humbled to pass along this same advice. By placing less importance on the school as it appears on paper, and more emphasis on whether you feel that you belong, you will find yourself in an environment where you can truly excel. If one is able to take pride in their community and peers, the college experience will truly be enriching and rewarding.

Khalil

go where the money is best

Lindsay

Believe in yourself. Study hard for the SATs, but remember your high school work matters too. When looking at colleges, have your parents go to info sessions while you talk to current students. If you're an athlete, take all five official visits even if you don't think you'll go to a college; you'd be incredibly surprised at the gems you might find. Once in college, study hard but make friends. Check facebook to keep yourself sane. Treat your roommate well. Try not to lose touch with your friends back home, and hang out with people on your hall a lot. They'll help you meet new people. Listen to the people who try to help you. Don't try to do everything in one semester. Explore classes you aren't familar with. Sleep in every once in a while. Most importantly, never let a test, an admissions letter, a coach, a professor, or a setback make you doubt how much you're worth.

Michael

First and foremost I would say consider the size and location of the school you are interested in. Some students do better at large urban universities, while others thrive at smaller small town colleges. While it may be hard to do, focus on the academics first and foremost when looking at what you want to get out of the school; does it offer a choice of degrees that you would be interested in or programs that you would like to try? Then I would recommend looking at the academic rigor as well as the extracurricular options that the school offers, because as Mark Twain beautifully penned, "I never let my schooling interfear with my education." While there is plenty to be learned in class, college will teach you many important life skills through the people you meet and activities you undertake that have no relation to your academics. I would also recommend considering living conditions of the campus, whether you would prefer a school where the entire student body lives on campus, vs. one where most upperclassmen live off campus. Finally, there is the feel. Visit as many schools as you can, and see which one feels best for you.

Josiane

Definitely visit!!! You never can tell how you'll really get along in a place until you see it for yourself. It's kind of a gut feeling. You'll know in your heart whether or not it's right and if it's not don't be afraid to say so. Undergrad is important but it doesn't necessarily make or break your future. Find a school that has all the things you love, even if it's something as random as a cooking class. Use college to really explore where you fit into this world and the ways that you can impact it for the better. It's also so much better to find a school that offers counseling sessions (especially free ones). College is THE time where you'll most likely change the most and sometimes it really helps just to have an objective and sympathetic ear help you figure things out. I would have been so unhappy if I didn't have my counselore and even if it's taboo don't worry because there are tons of people who need counseling and just don't have the guts to seek it out.

Matthew

When I was applying to college I thought the goal was to get into the best school I could get into so that it would look good when I was leaving high school, but in all honesty you should look for a college that is going to fit you. You should look for things that you like about your high school and avoid things that you do not like about your high school. College is a special four years and you should strive to find a school where you can challenge yourself but at the same time be able to find friends and enjoy the many adventures of college such as living on your own for the first time and going abroad. The people you meet in college are also a major factor as you will want to surround yourself with stimulating conversation and bright, fresh ideas that can spark whole new directions for you and your life beyond school. Finally, school spirit is very important so I think it is crucial that applicants should look for a place where the students truly love their school.

John

Please try not to stress out to much. Enjoy the end of High School, when you are at a school forget what the guidebooks say and try to imagine yourself there. Talk to students and professors who are doing things you would like to do, ask students what they are doing, are those things you want to be doing. Gauge how excited students are to be at school. If students are happy with the education they are recieving that is a good sign. Do not ask questions about your AP scores, ask students what they did that day, what is it that students compain about the most. See if it feels right, be patient, stay calm, and enjoy yourself!

George

Allow the prospective student to spend a night on campus, and to wander around the campus alone, so that they can engage with the current student body and gain insight on what the campus is actually like when the parents and administration are not around.

Peter

When you're touring campuses, the right college should just click for you. If you can see yourself strolling down those brick pathways to get to class, or sitting in a certain chair on the patio overlooking the stadium, or going to every single home basketball game, then you've probably found the school that's right for you. It should be about what is a good fit for your personality and your goals in life. If you want to work hard and be proactive about making a better future for yourself and your community, choose a school with a tough academic curriculum and a very motivated student body. I also advise finding a school where class sizes are smallest, and interaction with professors is at a maximum. Larger schools tend to utilize teaching assistants more than professors, and it just isn't the same as having a twelve-person seminar with THE American expert on Somalia, who just happens to be your professor and your personal academic advisor (true story). A good social scene is always an important consideration, too, because college is also about personal growth and learning how to interact with people.

Bryan

My first piece of advice would be to visit the school and talk to a current student (student tour guides are not always the best source though). Look into aspects of the school that are not normally mentioned but are crucial to college life such as; what do students do on weekends, places to eat and quality of food, laundry services, speakers that come to campus. An overnight stay can also be helpful for developing an idea of a school's student life. Don't be afraid to ask friends for their opinions about a certain school because the more you know the better. Lastly, don't just think about your major and look at schools from that angle. The amount of time spent towards academics is minimal so think about what you want to do or try while you are in college like studying abroad or hosting a radio show when picking schools. As an extra tip that may help, research any future plans the college is working on because a new Chemistry building your junior year could be the detail that makes or breaks your decision.

MIKE

Make sure that you actually visit the campus of any school that you are seriously considering attending. Also, also talk to students AND professors at the school. Try to do this outside of the normal school tours. Talk to graduates of each school and find out how well prepared they were for the real world.

Steve

Visit the college you think you may like for a few days, especially when school is in session, not during holiday breaks. I visited a couple schools during their holiday breaks and had trouble seeing what life actually was like there. Also, if you are able to, the prospective student should spend a night or two in a dorm with a sponsor student attending the college because this is where you will actually feel like you are at the school to the best possible extent. Good luck.

Chris

Don't look for the most elite/prestigious place. Find somewhere where you feel comfortable learning, academically, socially, spiritually.

Pete

1. Don't just take the tour... find a way to talk to the actual people who make the school what it is: the students, the professors, the administrators. Interview them, ask them the tough questions. If you can, ask students from each class, Freshman through Senior, about what they like about the school, what they dislike, and what they would have done differently. 2. Find out what alumni do after they graduate. This is a litmus test of the strength of the school's curriculum - if you find out what people are able to do after they graduate from the place, you'll get an idea of how well the place is able to prepare their students for life after studenthood. 3. Sit in on some sample classes. Try to visit a good variety of classes (subjects you know you're interested in as well as subjects you're not yet sure about!). 4. Students: spend a few days at the college. Shack up with current students for a few nights - you'll get to know what dorm life is really like, what the students are really like (when they're not putting on a show at college tours).

Andrew

1) Find a place where there's plenty to do with your free time 2) Find a place that allows to major in your interest (go to business school if interested in business) 3) Find a place where you can relate to others (bigger schools safer bet if unsure)

Lauren

College can be the best time of your life - and it is largely what you make it. Any school can become a party school with a group of friends and one professor could mean everything to your academic experience. Finding the right college is a combination of factors to consider, city or suburban, small or large, Greek life or not? Talk to students, stay overnight, talk to professors after class visits, chat with recent alumni and try to get a feel for your daily life. At the right college, the students you meet will be engaging and interesting to you, the professors dedicated and the social life an exciting prospect. Once you get there, it is entirely up to you. Make the effort to get to know your professors. Volunteer on campus and meet people. Limit the drinking so that you will actually remember college. Take different kinds of classes - otherwise you will never know what you are really good at. Be tolerant and open to new ideas but don't be afraid to defend your opinions, argue, and grow. Make good decisions about credit cards and money. Nothing ruins graduation more than being in debt. And have fun!

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