I would first tell myself, "Get a daily planner." Starting college this year I realized that college was definately about time management. The first couple weeks without my planner, I was a complete mess. Next, I would tell myself that it is crucial to keep my grades high to build a strong grade point average because college was indeed a call to reality in becoming an adult. I would probably tell myself to dorm instead of commute because you can become more involved around the campus and have more time to study with groups of friends or even a reliable tutor. It would probably have been wise if someone told me to search for the textbooks I would need for each class and try and find them online cheaper before my classes started. I would tell myself to try a variety of classes including hybrid classes that can help me to become familar with graduate courses that are mostly online. College is an experience that a person has to "try on" and become comfortable with. If I could go back and tell myself everything that I stated above, it would be easier, but that is all part of the experience.
The advice I would have given myself as a high school senior would have been to be prepared in all aspects. What I mean by all aspects is asking myself, what is it that I want to major in, what kind of career do I desire, and more importantly, which school do I want to attend to lay foundation for this chosen profession. In addition to asking myself these questions, having all my bases covered including being financially stable would be another aspect. If money is an issue, like it is for most students, applying for employment is a critical step. For example, to become an executive chef, I would apply for internships or employment at a fine dining restaurant, a 5 star hotel, or a reputable hospital. Furthermore, I would work my way up as a dishwasher to gain that essential experience that's needed. In the meantime, I would apply for as many scholarships and grants, as I can. Once college begins, I would embark on establishing connections and networking with students in various types of majors. Knowing all of this, when I was a high school senior would've assisted me in numerous means.
Stay organized. Keep your coursework for each course separated and use a planner to mark down due dates. You, or your parents, are paying a ridiculous amount of money for this school, make sure you get what you paid for. You wouldn’t order thousands of dollars of merchandise online and never open the boxes once delivered, would you? No. So go to class, even if attendance is not apart o your grade, and yes even if all of the power point lectures are online. Also READ the textbooks. Again you paid a ridiculous amount for these books, so use them. Use the resources your school provides. The writing center, office hours, tutoring, the gym, etc., are all resource that will help you succeed. Don’t be lazy and not take advantage of these opportunities, they will all make your life easier. Exercise is your friend. Even if that just means walking three times a week, it will make a huge difference on your mental state and it is important to take care of your body. Now the most important thing to be successful in college is to get enough sleep. I cannot stress this enough. Make this a priority.
TRAVEL TO CAMPUSES AHEAD OF TIME, AND SPEND AT LEAST A FEW COMPREHENSIVE HOURS THERE. MAKE SURE YOU ARE TRULY COMFORTABLE WITH THE SURROUNDINGS, AND KNOW EVERYTHING THAT THE CAMPUS HAS TO OFFER. ALSO, DON'T BE AFRAID TO "SPREAD YOR WINGS" A LITTLE. FOR MANY PEOPLE, ATTENDING COLLEGE IS THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY GET OUT INTO THE WORLD, AND EXPERIENCE FIRSTHAND WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT. BECAUSE OF THIS, TAKE ADVANTAGE! DON'T BE AFRAID - BE OPEN TO TRYING NEW THINGS AND MEETING NEW PEOPLE. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET LOST IN THE SHUFFLE, HOWEVER. ALTHOUGH COLLEGE IS MEANT TO BE A THOROUGHLY ENGAGING AND REWARDING EXPERIENCE, DON'T FORGET ABOUT WHAT YOU ACTUALLY WENT THERE FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE! WORK HARD AND FOCUS ON YOUR STUDIES, AND ALSO MAKE SURE YOUR COLLEGE CHOICE IS A GOOD MATCH FOR WHATEVER YOUR FUTURE GOALS ARE. PICKING A COLLEGE THAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU CAN REALLY BE A TOUGH CHOICE, ESPECIALLY WITH SO MANY OUT THERE! SO, DO YOUR RESEARCH AHEAD OF TIME, SEEK AND CONSIDER THE ADVICE OF OTHERS AND, ONCE YOU'RE ALL SETTLED IN, DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO MAKE YOUR TIME AND MONEY WORTH IT!
The best thing to do when trying to find the right college is to start the search early and plan ahead. When deciding for a college, look into the future, not just the present. Consider the cost of attendance, environmental setting, size, diversity, majors offered, etc for the pressent moment as well as four or five years from now. Just because you want to become a doctor now, doesn't mean you'll never change your mind; therefore choose a school that offers a variety of choices in majors. Same goes for cost of attendance. Colleges become expensive year after year so think in the long run when trying to finance your education. The key to making most out of your college experience is to have good time management. Make schedules and learn to balance both studying and a social life. If you keep a planner or schedule and learn to stick by it, you'll have enough time to do well in school and enjoy your social life. Never study too much, which will only lead to stress, but never party too much either, for it will cause you to be backed up in school. Balance both!
There is one specific thing that I would love to go back and tell my high school self, which is to follow my gut or, more so, my dreams. I originally applied to all business schools, believing that was the most practical plan. I knew fashion was my ultimate passion much earlier on but did not take the idea of it seriously enough, so I took the only other route I could somewhat see myself doing, business. However, after multiple open houses, visits, and accepted students days, I was convinced of my unhappiness and boredom. Even my mom picked up on it when she was impressed with one of the schools' stock market labs and I stared blankly. I finally came to terms that if I want to be successful, which is determined through passion and happiness, I needed to pursue my dreams. This is when I discovered Drexel and learned of their Design and Merchandising program, the perfect combination of business and fashion. I now attend and study what feels like a hobby, not work. I wish I could go back and tell myself that if I do the research and put in the time, dreams can be reality.
Looking back (of course hind sight's 20/20), my first suggestion to parents and students who are looking for their potential fit in the university setting is to be open-minded. Personally, I was so stuck on the idea that I wanted to go down south, "no ifs, ands or buts about it", that I completely shut out many options that would have suited me better. I found myself in the middle of the country on a pristine campus--very preppy. Now, as I write this suggestion I am looking out my high-rise apartment window and looking over the city of Philadelphia. What a change! But to be honest, its the best move I ever made. I should have thought about who i am as a person before pushing for a life in the country that wasn't really me. Secondly, if the potential student has no idea what they want to do with their future life specifically--which is TOTALLY okay--I would suggest taking lots of their available general eds/elective classes to get better idea of what they like. Lastly, I suggest getting involved in something...meet people while enjoying this time in life!!!
Many students go into college without knowing how life changing it can be and have no clue until they begin. The advice I would give myself knowing what I know now about college life and making the transition is to be responsibe, manage & use your time wisely, and never give up. The first advice is to be responsible because professors aren't behind you asking, "Why isn't your research paper/ project turned in?". Once you're in college the professors consider you adults and don't ask for explanations. If you miss class it's on you and professors say, "You paid for the class so you decide whether you want to make your money worth!" A second piece of advice is to manage and use your time wisely because you will have to juggle more than one class and have due dates for assignments that are close. Buy a planner to keep track of all class assignments/ due dates. Lastly never give up because through college you'll have alot of work and at the end it will be very rewarding. Always remember that staying persistent with keeping up with your studies will lead you to succeed.
Parents! First thing is first. Don't let money steer you away from what could be the best experience for your high school graduate. There are many scholarships, grants, and loans that are available. You have to make sure you take advantage of what is out there. You must go out and seek it. Don't forget to fill out that FAFSA as early as possible! So make sure you get your taxes done as soon as possible. Once you get to college kids, make sure you make your mark! Get involved! Do what interests you. If you want to make friends, go fill out a fraternity or sorority. If you want to make a difference in the student body and the quality of student, get involved with student government and planning committees. If you like sports, play intrumurals or club sports. If you want to become the next great scientist or great author, get involved with your department and individual college. Network with your faculty and make sure they know who you are. Some closing words, keep up with your school work. It's very easy to get distracted. But also remember to have fun and get involved!!!!
If I had the opportunity to give advice to my high school self, I would stress the importance of prioritizing school assignments versus having fun with friends. My biggest regret has been that I spent too much time feeling sad and lonely while being away from home and feeling left out of college cliques. I would tell my high school self not to worry about the “college experience” and to listen to everyone who says to just focus on my school work and that the fun and friends will follow. Having a difficult freshman year of college has created a steep climb to come back from. I would explain that college courses, especially in my accepted college, are harder than in high school and require a lot more study time than high school did. My high school self was overconfident and unfocused because I thought I always had plenty of recovery time for grades without realizing the long path to reclaiming my GPA after a few bad grades. Above all else, if I could say one thing I would tell myself to stop being stubborn and naïve about school because it is very different from high school.