Making sure you choose the right college can be hard, especially in your senior year of high school when you're already in over your head with fighting off the senioritis. My advice would be to start researching colleges early--as early as you have an idea of what you want to do. Investigate the programs of study at the colleges you have in mind, email admissions advisors, and set up a date to visit. Visit all your possible candidates, if possible. Make a list of pros and cons based on what you find our during your visits and decide which colleges deserve a second (or third, fourth, and fifth, as was the case with me) visit. Ask advisors if you can meet with or exchange emails with some of the professors in your intended area of study. Not only will you become more familiar and comfortable with your options, you'll display yourself as conscientious and involved in the planning of your future. Apply for state and federal financial aid as early as possible and make sure you keep all your deadlines marked. Once you've made your decision, things fall into place. Enjoy college--it's wonderful!
I would say, "Jon, college is the greatest experience of your life, and we're making the best decision in going! You will learn so much and be so much more knowledgeable. Jon, go to Kent State University and don't turn down the acceptance because of money issues -- it'll work out somehow! Instead of applying again after you've completed one year of college, just go. Even though you'll be happy, you won't be where you want to be. Start applying for scholarships! You will regret not going to Kent State University - it's the perfect match for you! We'll eventually apply again for the Fall of 2011, and be accepted again! Let's just hope we can find scholarships so we won't have to decline them again. Jon, we have so much potential and care about the world so much, and something so unimportant as money is our biggest issue. We'll search for Jobs throughout the year, and none will be hiring - we'll think about selling our own car for Kent State Money, but we can't. Jon, my advice for us is that we continue to strive and move forward."
The first thing I would say is STUDY! It is always good to make good habits before it's too late, because now it's going to be hard to get into the swing of sitting down and actually looking over notes for longer than ten minutes. I would also force myself to fill out all those scholarships I let slip through my fingers because I just knew I was going to get a Pell Grant. Well that was definitely not the case. And I would definitely make sure that I focused more on the different aspects of each college. Just because one may may be cheaper, does not mean that's a great school for you. I know many people always say go where the money is, but I've always been the type of person to follow my heart. I would also focus more on the band, you never know what blowing an instrument could do for you in college. I would have done more traveling so I wouldn't have gotten homesick the first week here. Having more college friends that had already purchases the books I need for my freshman year would have been nice.
I'm not sure that I really would want to go back in time as a high school senior, but if I could, I would definitely give myself some advice. I know that I would tell myself to dedicate my final year of high school to making the very best grades that I could and to learning the most that I could in my final high school year. I made A's and B's in high school and maybe an occasional C if it were a class that I really did not think was necessary or of much interest to me. I did not know until after graduation how important your GPA is to getting scholarship money for college. Almost every scholarship you apply for has a very high GPA or ACT score as a minimum requirement for even applying. Therefore, only the smartest or highest achievers have the best chances for receiving scholarships. I did not realize this until after graduation. I am the youngest of four children that my parents have sent to college, and I know now that this has been a real financial struggle. I could have done more to help!
I would tell parents it is primarily the student's choice, they will be the one having to attend and to study. If you want them to do well, they need to be in an atmosphere they are comfortable with. I would tell students to really, really, study the colleges they wish to attend. When I visited some, they were not at all what I expected. They need to find students or acquaintances to show them around or answer questions. I think students need to look at the graduation rates of the colleges and the success and satisfaction of the graduates. You can tell a lot about the school from the alumni. If they are active and give back to the college and its community and students, they feel strongly about their experiences and more than likely you will as well. I think parents need to check on attendance and grading policies, and information they can receive, if they are paying for the education, they have a right to know the money is being well- spent.
College is a place to find yourself, discover what to do with the rest of your life, make friendships that last a lifetime, and possibly even find a lifelong partner. So much of one's life is determined in college that it is extremely important to select the college that best accomodates that person's individual wants and needs. Look into all aspects of a college before selecting it: academics, size, location, scholarships, student/faculty ratio, and any other individual concerns you may have. To make the most of your college experience you should come to class prepared and study hard. No one will force you to go to class so you have to be self disciplined and go on your own. With all the new-found freedom of college it is easy to stay out too late or not study for a test, but just remember to balance your social life with your school work. This way you can have fun AND do well in school and enjoy this wonderful time of your life to the fullest!
If I could go back in time and talk to myself when I was a senior about college, I would give several points of advice. First of all, I would say that it is important to focus on your studies and keep the grades up. The main reason you attend college is to get a good education that you can use to be a productive and contributing citizen. I would also say make good friends and have fun along the way. A part of the college experience is enjoying those who you are around and making friendships that will last a lifetime. Lastly, I would say to get involved. I would recommend getting involved in student government, intermural sports, clubs that you are interested in, work, or any other opportunity to meet people and put yourself out there. I think it is importmant to get the most out of the time that you have in college and also give back of yourself. This will make you a fullfilled person.
When students are choosing a college they should choose a college that fits their personality and one that will encourage academic growth. Also, do not choose a college because all of your friends are going. In addition, when choosing a college review the curriculum for your major and compare it to other colleges. After you have compared the curriculums decide which curriculum will provide you with the necessary skills to be successful. Furthermore, when choosing a college check out there extracurricular activities. I would advise that entering freshmen get involved on campus. Joining various organizations on campus helps student become familiar with how things on campus works and it helps students make friends. Also, I would advise students to develop time management skills. There will be plenty of social gatherings, but keep in mind your school work comes first.
If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior knowing what I know now about college life, I would probably tell myself that a small university probably is not the best choice for me. I would also tell myself not to be so hard headed and to listen to my parents when they told me what my best decision would have been. I would have told myself not to be afraid to go to a university three hours away not knowing many people there because I could easily make friends. I would have chosen the larger university that is further away from home because they offered me excellent scholarships, and now I worry about having enough money to stay in school. I would have definitely told myself to breathe, and think through my college decision more thoroughly because I now know that I made the wrong choice for myself and I can not go back and change my mind.
Students should always go to a school with an open mind. Don't think about all the things that could go wrong. It's a new experience and you should grasp on to college life. If you don't know anybody there, don't hesitate to make new friends. It will all work out for the best. Try to get to know the campus and become familiar so you won't feel as home sick. Being in college is a true learning experience. You will do some things that you wouldn't have ever done at home. Enjoy your time away from your parents. Being yourself is always a good thing. It may be hard for some parents to let go, but they knew that the day was coming soon. To the parents, it may take a while to get use to, but just let the students be college students. I'm quite sure your training has done the well.