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Drexel University

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

I personally know that choosing the right college for you or your child is an exciting and nervous time. You have to find an institution that offers the major that you want, but if you have not decided what you want to major in yet, then an institution that offers what you may be interested in in the future. I recommend visiting the campuses and taking the tours that they offer to get a feel of how the campus is and the activities that occur during that time. Another advice I think is useful is to ask the tour guides, current students, and administration a lot of questions about the campus and life there. I'm sure they will be happy to answer them. Once you have been accepted into the institution, you should talk to your classmates, stay focused on your schoolwork, and socialize on your free time. I would like to emphasize that time management is very important. Also, I find that some students do not like talking to their professors but I strongly recommend it because they are always willing to help and they will know that you are trying to understand the material.

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The best advice is to free yourself and embrace change. Prepare for the cost by searching for scholarships early on. If you aren't very social, practice and hone these skills as it will only help in the future. Take care of any personal issues at home so that they don't impact your life later. Live on campus and get involved! Make as many friends as humanly possible freshman year, and continue to do so. Although the main purpose of college is the degree, social enrichment is much more important as a young scholar as there are some things money can't buy. On a complex urban campus make sure you spend at least a good week or so really getting to know the layout. Take advantage of the location and explore the city. Sit down and really consider what your goals are besides getting the degree, and how to ensure success. Don't worry much about the cost or post graduation employment as an engineering major. Don't be afraid to approach others and also to ask for help when you need it. Always be on the lookout for new programs and bare in mind the course requirements.

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Knowing what I know now about college & making the transition, would be to follow your dreams & make the transition confidently knowing everything there is to know. When I entered college, I figured I'd eventualy figure everything out & all would work out perfectly. Now that I look back as a sophmore in college, I wish I had educated myself more about my major instead of going for what my parents want me to become, & secondly, learning more about different ways to pay for college. If only I had done things correctly the first time, my family & I would not be in the state of financial instability that we are in now, but you live & you learn. I know now what mistakes NOT to make & how to do things CORRECTLY when I help my younger siblings as they apply for colleges & financial aid. Being the first in the family to attend college, I didn't have anyone to help me & therefore my advice to myself would have been to educate myself on the most beneficial ways of transition into college, & when it comes to choosing majors, be smart and make the best decision for YOURSELF.

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After everything I have experienced in college, I would recommend to keep doing what you are doing. The opportunities you will have in college are very rewarding and the classes will prepare you well. My only recommendation is to not spend too much money on unnecessary expenses. Your friends are everything. Spending more time with them, both on academics and not. The connections you will make will definitely stay with you for the rest of your life. Currently, I am writing this from Tohoku University, Japan, on a year-long study abroad opportunity. It is easily the best decision I have ever made. I did not decide to study abroad until well into my first year of college. I recommend that you take more time to prepare for this opportunity, from taking more Japanese classes to studying more about the culture and language. There are plenty of opportunities waiting for you here. Be very careful when looking for a place to stay, as many places are very costly. Don't end up picking the one that will hurt our wallet the most, but do remember to love wherever you end up.

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I will be the first in my family to earn a college degree and that has now become my purpose in life, to help benefit another's life through teaching. I now understand now the benefits of attending college. The dedication, self-discipline and responsibility that each one of us has to make our mark in this beautiful world of ours. I did not attend school, particulary high school, very often. I want to stress to our younger generation, that attending school and applying yourself, is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. It's never too late to become what you dream and live the dream. Anyone who says that you cannot be what you strive to be obviously does not know the power of determination and dedication. My experience in attending college has not only increased my thirst for knowledge, but has also strengthened my self confidence, through the many advisors and administrators, that I can earn my degree and I will earn my degree. Plainly put, saying "no" to getting a college education is simply not an option. Feed your brain, it's hungry......for knowledge.

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Trust yourself. Be open to legitimate advice from others (friends, family, enemies, etc.), but remember that every aspect of your life should be and is your decision in the end. If you think you are making the right choice about something, think it over a little more before you completely commit. If you know you are making the right choice, then do it. Others may think they know best, but only you know what is best for you. Also, know this: everything will get better. It may not seem like it right now, and this may be rather difficult to believe, but trust me (yourself), everything will get better as long as you continue to give life a chance. Some things are not easy, but that does not mean that they are not worth it. It is cliched but true: what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. You will come out of this mess much stronger than you ever could have imagined. So you know what, accept it, be proud of yourself for it, cross that river, and hit the reset button on our life and turn these bad past experiences into truly useful, personal experience.

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I would advise parentst and students searching for the perfect college to speak to as many students at the colleges they are interested in as possible. These students are what makes up a college or university and they represent what the school stands for. They are the ones who actually go to the classes and know first hand what the professors have to offer the students; they are the ones that run and attend the extracurricular activities. The students are the most valuable resource you have and can only meet with them, see how they act, dress and intereact with eachother if you visit the college or university. Students, if you can see yourself playing frisbee with the students out by the quad, or playing an instrument at the football games with those who attend the school you are interested in, it means it could be a great fit for you! Also know what type of academic program you are getting into and the types of classes you will be taking in that major or program. A current student who shares your interest or career goal could tell you this information as well.

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Dear Thomas, Here are some tips to take into your freshman year. You are about to encounter some of the most amazing english teachers you'll ever meet. So stop have anxiety about those "poor" writing skills, you'll do just fine. You are also about to run into some of the hardest math classes you have ever expirenced. I know that your good at math and that your excited to learn about calculus for the first time. However, you should start learning some calculus now through some online videos. Trust me, you calculus is unlike any other math you've taken and having some knoledge prior to class will make the transition less harsh. You know that pain you feel in your legs when you play basketball but you haven't told anyone about. Those are shin splints. That will get worse unless you take a week or two off from playing basketball so your legs can heal. When you get on campus, you'll be walking way more that you think you will. That will put more wear and tear on your legs than you think so go see a doctor immediately to prevent serious injury. Sincerly, Thomas

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For students, think about what works for you. Understand whether you can live in a big city or a small town away from home. Share your personal space with someone else. Can you push yourself academically or do you preferre a small classroom where the professor knows you ? Research the places that are likely to higher someone with the degree you will have. If it's a big city business then go to school some where with access so you can get your foot in the door. Don't focus on party schools and social scenes, every school has one. Parents, make a list of what is important for you as a parent. Finacial aid, living conditions, safety, stress management, etc. Then go to the open house and ask all your questions until they are clearly answered. Better yet, ask the students that aren't paid to run the orientation, they're more likely to tell the honest truth and not just what the college wants you to hear. SEE ALL THE DORMS!! Some are kept in better condition than others and sometimes your child may not be able to choose which one he or she will be living in.

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Dear Self, You are going to come across many obstacles that will distract you in the near future. Whatever you do, stay focused on your school work. This part of your life is so simple yet, so critical. It is simple because you only have to go to school, do your work, and you will be able to have whatever your heart desires. The reason this part of life will be critical is because you can possibly save yourself thousands of dollars by getting good grades which could possibly lead to a full scholarship. This way once you graduate your money will be free to spend on whatever you want instead of paying back student loans for the rest of your life. Drexel is very expensive and if we do what we need to do now, we can eliminate that problem. I also suggest that you either do some volunteer work or take on a leadership role during your senior year. It will be highly desirable and knowledgeable for your future. Adopt the phrase, "don't make excuses, make a way." This will allow you to always stay focused. Our success and happiness will come if you do these things.

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