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East Tennessee State University

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

Generally, I would emphasize the needs both to take my studies more seriously and to change my attitude; I tended to discourage easily. Because of my father -- who was gifted in Arithmetic, as were my brothers -- these courses were especially poignant. In elementary and junior high schools and to my utter consternation, he tutored me. Memories of his constant berating, screaming, and cursing are still vivid. By the time I was in high school, my attitude suffered. Understandably, I rejected his further evocations of assistance. Moreover, my freshman Algebra teacher reminded me of my father. Before my classmates, he bellowed pejorative names and belittled my efforts. If I had the opportunity to rescue myself from my emotional problems recurring, I would offer encouragement. I would tell myself that although I may not be gifted mathematically as my father and brothers, still I surpassed many others. Simply I needed to apply myself better and to spend adequate time studying. Furthermore, I would illustrate how I was equal -- and in many cases superior -- to my family in English and foreign languages and in social and earth sciences. I would tell myself to consider college my opportunity for redemption.

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College is nothing like high school or anything else kids are introduced to before they attend college. The freedom achieved when you leave home can be incredible, however it can also be a curse. Temptation is everywhere. The biggest challenge I have discovered is balancing school, work, time with your family, and time with friends. It is easy to come to college wanting to experience everything new and interesting you find out about and consequently letting your studies and grades suffer. I am majoring in biology and am in the pre-medicine program at my school. When I first began school I decided to join a Honors-in-Discipline Biology program which has recently turned out to be a terrible decision for me. I discovered that it involved extensive time in the labratory that I am not interested in. However in taking the scholarship for it I lost another scholarship that I can not get back, one that I could definately use next year. If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would make sure to convince myself not to accept the honors scholarship and instead to take the other offer.

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The best advice given to me before entering college was given by my grandfather. He told me to take to heart my next four years of school as they will determine every year afterward, for the rest of my life. This is the advice I would give. I think going to college, making friends, and having a social life is extremely important, but not to the extent of being trashed every night of the week just because your parents won't know. Study hard, the results will payoff. Another piece of advice I would give to high school students is to start looking for scholarships while you are still in high school. Take advantage of all the campus learning and guidance services, which are almost always free. Be involved in your school, wether it be fraternities, intramurals, or volunteering as a research assistant. Make a friend out of your professors and you will find that they are more than willing to work with you. Finally, keep a level head. If you go into college looking to party all the time, you will regret it. Be diligent and inquisitive and your college career will propel you to a lifetime of success.

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Adam, I know you want to get a "real college experience" and this is your chance to go somewhere big, away from the smalltown boredom. Trust me on this; you do not need to attend a huge school to enjoy college. Please take school seriously. Playing hacky-sack in the courtyard will not benefit you in any way. You are an extrovert, I know, but there will always be time to socialize. When there is classwork to study, do it. If you do not hold it together in this first year, you will waste every bit of money awarded to you and spend the following four years recovering from bad academic decisions. Please believe that college is not an experience you can drift through like high school, where good grades come easily. You do not want to waste the beginning of your twenties spinning the proverbial wheels. I implore you, study, and study well. You have the ability, and you should not waste the wonderful mind you have for any length of time only to have to prove your intellingence later. Please invest your time wisely, and you will have few regrets with so much accomplishment.

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College is a whirlwind of emotions and experiences. From the depression of leaving my friends and family, to the joys of meeting new people and experiencing a part of life that I have never been exposed to; college has been a time of self-discovery. Yet, if I had the chance of going back in time and advise my high school self, I believe that I would graciously deny. Why would I turn down such an incredible opportunity, you may be asking? As I said before college has been my time of self-discovery. I believe it is a combination of all the wonderful and miserable experiences which shape a successful person. Mahatma Gandhi once said, ?Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.? Making mistakes isn?t something I fear; it is an essential part of the human experience, it is how we adapt, and it is how we learn to appreciate those things in life worth appreciating. So why then would I rob myself of such wisdom by telling myself to avoid my mistakes? For those current seniors that may stumble upon this letter, to you I simply say, good luck.

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If you want to pick a specific college to attend for 4 years, it helps to know what type of field you want to enter, because that helps with the process of examining programs offered by various universities. If you know you want to go to college, but don't know what field, a better idea might be to attend a community college, or remain undeclared at a school close to home. For many, it is inevitable that price will be a major issue, so be sure to tour the schools and talk to students, faculty, and alumni to help assess the overall value of the education you will receive. Be sure to gather as much information about financial aid as possible. Making the most of your college experience involves finding a balance between what you do to pass your classes and what you do for fun. Studying too hard can become monotonous, and at a certain point probably unnecessary. Conversely, partying too hard and not paying attention to your classes can hurt attendance and grades, not to mention cause of lot of unpleasant stress. Leaving time set aside for work and play is a must.

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If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I'd tell myself to hang in there and not get discouraged. I'd impress upon the younger me that college is an amazing adventure and learning experience. Attending college is one of the greatest events of my life because it allows me to continue my education with much more depth and freedom than I have ever been privileged with before. I'd tell my high-school self that seemingly insignificant decisions I make every day--about friends, about studying, about what I choose to do for fun-- matter very much in who I will become. For every high school class I'm bored or disillusioned with, there is a college class that will teach me, transform me, and open new worlds of interest and imagination for me. I'd tell myself to study harder than I've ever studied, because knowledge and expansion of my world view matter. I'd encourage myself to dream bigger dreams and never settle for an ordinary life. And finally, I'd tell myself not to worry so much, to have confidence in me, and to remember to have fun.

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Firt off, don't be like I ORIGINALLY was, and think that you MUST go to some prestigous ivy-league school to get a good education. I used to think that you had to attend Harvard or Yale (no offense) or somewhere like that to get good job opportunities. Going to a university that works around YOUR schedule, has advantages for YOU personally, ignites YOUR academic fire, and that prepares YOU for the real world is the best way to go. I'm so glad my parents shed the light down on me and told me to go to ETSU, because they do work around my schedule, they have a great pre-med program for me, they challenge me academically, and the university has really prepared me for things I probably would not have learned at Princeton or Vanderbilt (no offense). Be who YOU are. Grow and mature in a university that encourages you to excell to your fullest potential, that helps you meet new people, to experience college parties, to live in a dorm, to broaden your mind and perspective (and perhaps change it). So don't go by what others say, be who you're meant to be.

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First off dont skrew around. You might not think that high school is very important but trust me when you start applying for those scholarships and schools, what you did in high school determines if you get that money or if you get into that school of your dreams. It really prepares you for the classes you have in college too. When you get to college the teachers dont want excuses they dont care if you missed the homework, no second chances. Your in college and you have to be responsible. Secondly learn to get involved and be outgoing. I came from a private high school with about 300 kids to a public university of 13,000. I knew 4 people on the entire campus. If you dont make friends and get involved in things on campus you will be miserable. Making friends and joining clubs is so much fun and one of the easiest ways to make friends are by joining clubs because those people are going to have similar interests or beliefs. But even though it may be hard at first because you dont know anyone it is totally worth it to put yourself out there.

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I believe the best advice for parents and students who are trying to find the right college are choose a institution you know you will be able to make your home and one that includes the best program for your desired major. Individuals need to be able to call their college a home because the majority of the time they are spending a minimum of 5 hours at the institution, therefore they need to be able to feel at place and relaxed. Further, if this was not so certain persons would feel anxious and lonely if they could not call their college a home. Lastly, students need to be able to choose a college that will best suite them and their major. For obvious circumstances you first need to look at a college and then figure out if they provide what you want to study. Moreover, students need to then figure out the best institutions for their form of study. The main reason why we go to college is to get an education so by picking the best place for your major you are already putting yourself in front of others also in your major. who did not.

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