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Drexel University

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

Determine for yourself, whether or not you believe your child will be comfortable in a setting where responsibility is longer forced upon them but for the most part, expected of them. It is easy for students to choose a college where they will be the farthest distance from their parents in order to have "freedom." However, in several cases this freedom can end up hurting a student because they are not ready for this responsibility; only a parent can determine whether or not they are ready for that, not a school brochure or a campus visit. Afterall, the freedom your child exhibits at school IS their greatest responsibility and their most potential factor to excell or fail. In my opinion, social networking should be the second thing to discuss because I have found college students to be much more diverse and therefore, open to all types of people. Most certainly your child. The most important thing a parent can do for their child at this stage in their life is to help them decide a school where they will be driven to pursue academic excellence and mature as an adult without the aid of your hand. "Study now, party later."

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I have learned the meaning of the words patience and persistence from my college experience. By attending college I learned that no one can instantly be good at something and that everything requires time and practice. Having learned this principle after spending countless hours studying and going to class I can apply it to other aspects of my life. I didn't think that I would ever complete a 26.2 mile marathon, but after learning that everything takes time and practice I was able to finish not one, but two. My philosophy courses were also enlightening and everyday was filled with new ideas that I had never even thought about. Thanks to those philosophy classes my outlook on life has changed and I'm more relaxed andhave taught me to analyze my beliefs in an objective manner. Taking logic courses have also helped me tremendously especially when it comes to making important decisions, such as voting for new laws and presidents. Attending college has been immensely valuable for me to attend because it allows me to understand the world and people around me with much more clarity than when I was a young child.

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I have just finished my first trimester of classes. From the moment I moved into my dorm, I met a group of people that are as focused on their studies as I am. They are down to earth and accept me for who I am. I was concerned that I would be pressured into drinking and partying, things I have never done and have no interest in. This group shares my disdain for that kind of fun, and I have found true friendship here. The new independence that I am learning is bolstering my self-esteem. I miss my family and enjoy being with them, but I no longer need to depend on them for everything. Along with my faith community, they taught me right from wrong, and I now use that knowledge to make my own decisions. Academically, I have enjoyed the hands-on nature of the classes at Drexel. While most of my friends at other colleges are immersed in core curriculum, I am immersed in my television production major. While they have been fulfilling math and english requirements, I have been storyboarding, filming, recording sounds and studying how artists use light. The Drexel experience is surprisingly fulfilling.

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I'd advise students and parents ro research the school they interested in. Take a weekend to visit the visit the school and look for the following: the social atmosphere, student's opinion about the study he or she is interested in, the distance between campus and home, and overall finances. While researching these factors consider whether is the compatible to the student's preference. Furthermore, the outcome of social gatherings shouldn't be the primary factor in finding the appropriate college. There much more to college than partying at wee hours of the morning. Students should think about the curriculum they are interested in. They should focus whether they will enjoy applying what they have learned in the long run. Once student's have chosen the college they have select, parents shoudl fill out the FAFSA forms early. The earlier it is filled out, the faster parents can act on the difference if the full scholarship isn't applied. Lastly, students should be aggressive on the scholarship opportunities they possess. The benifits to most grants and scholarships is students don't have to pay them back.

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I have two pieces of advice to offer. First, plan far in advance for financial aid; it may take you longer than you anticipated to get what you need. Starting to look in the February or March before the beginning of fall term is not too early. Second, shop for books. Drexel University, at least, suggests that you budget around $2,000 for books for a year. While books are more expensive than many people anticipate, you can often find them on the internet and in used book stores for much cheaper. Some useful sites are Craigslist, Half.com and Abebooks.com. Additionally, many books are often listed as required but that is not always the case. You may want to purchase the main text book for a course and hold off on secondary materials until you get a syllabus. If you prefer to buy your books online, it is best to buy all materials before classes start, since shipping times vary. Be prepared and informed on how to return books. To avoid purchasing textbooks, many professors put copies on reserve at the campus library. Other college/university libraries or local public libraries may also have them available.

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Knowing what I know now, I would have chosen a public univeristy with more affordable tuition that also had a cooperative internship program. For example, Akron University or the University of Cincinnati would perhaps have been better choices for me. With the economy in this condition, the value of a $30,000 or more per year education has been devalued in terms of finding a position after graduation that makes it possible to afford the student loans tied with such education. Also, after having spent the past five years in downtown Philadelphia, I would have preferred to attend a school outside of the city. It was difficult to justify having a car on campus due to crime and general wear and tear on a vehicle, and with Drexel's distance from a grocery store and other ammenities life became somewhat difficult for me there. All of these things were difficult to see prior to attending the school, and overall my experience was positive. Needless to say, I learned a lot about myself in the time that I spent there and at the end of the day I got that degree which will ultimately find me the job I want.

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I believe that the most effective way to express my knowledge about this topic is to use a comparison. College is akin to many of the progressive paths you will encounter throughout life, perhaps the most relevant being your career path. Who would have thought your part-time job at Cracker Barrel could be used as a life lesson? The difficult transition from high school to college is going to hit you like a ton of bricks. You will soon discover that cramming 15 minutes before an exam is not going to cut it anymore. Similarly, the changeover from waiter to project engineering intern will open your eyes to the ‘real world,’ along with all the challenges it presents. Much like a career, a direct correlation between the amount of effort you put forth versus your level of success exists in the classroom. You need to put in the hours if you intend on setting yourself apart from the pack, just as an employee motivated to receive a promotion may work overtime. However, do not forget to make time for yourself as well. I am sure even the most motivated employee has attended their fair share of happy hours.

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Choose the school where you, as the student, are most comfortable. Don't go to a specific college because other people you know will be attending that school. You will meet people and make friends. Look for a school in the type of setting you enjoy with activities on-campus or nearby that you find pleasure in. You will have free time away from your studies and you'll want to spend this time doing something that you find relaxing. Never forget that you are attending college in order to both learn your field of study, but also to learn about yourself. Finding the balance between academics and your personal life is key. Parents, help to guide your child when he or she is choosing a college; however, allow them to make the final decision. Your opinion matters greatly, but the student will be the person attending this school for the next 2-5 years, not you. Be supportive and encourage your child. Even if they live on-campus they still need this from you. Sometimes college can be rough and a few encouraging or supportive words from family gives the student that motivation they need to keep going.

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The first piece of advice I would give myself is get enough sleep, eat right, and communicate with my family better. In the quarter system of the university it is very difficult to stay up to date with current events and go to the gym to stay stress-free. Thus, I would tell myself to manage time better to have enough time set aside for enjoyable things like my friends, family, and the gym zumba class. Additionally, I would tell myself not to get bogged down if I don't understand something because there are TA's willing to help and professors wishing the best for thier students. The second piece of advice consists of a more futuristic approach. It would have been beneficial if, during high school, I networked more and therefore had more employers, teachers, friends, family to rely on when it comes to apply for coop positions thats essentially everyone on campus is competing for. This would allow me to fell a little less stressed and more hopeful for my career choice as a physician. In the end, I would tell myself to accept failure at times and follow my gut on some aspects of decision making.

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If I could go back in time and provide advice to my high school self, I would tell myself to listen. Listen to everyone and everything, but listen carefully. Listen wisely. Listen to your parents, for they have more wisdom and experience than you (you won’t understand until you listen). Listen to your teachers, because they will guide you with valuable life teachings that go far beyond the classroom. Listen to your friends AND your foes. You might be surprised to catch some attributes that can help you discover yourself sooner, rather than later, in life. Forget those doubtful, confusing monsters inside your head. Listen to your heart. It will guide you to believe in yourself and pursue your passions, dreams, and your destiny. Listen to the silence of your soul, and learn to enjoy it. You will appreciate this silence when you get older, no matter what spiritual path you shall endure. Most importantly, always, always, always, listen to your gut instincts. This will help you carefully decide between some of the easier and the very difficult, life-changing decisions that await you. Just listen.

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