The following is what I would say. Jenell we need to sit down and talk about college. You are now a senior and should have some idea of what you would like to study at college. College is a big step from high school. I know you have been studying hard to maintain good grades, but college is very different. College teachers do not remind you of up coming assignments. They do not ask for them, but expect you to turn them in on time. Should you not be able to attend class, you need to notify your instructor, and obtain your missed assignments. You should have a couple of your classmates numbers. Jenell, do not declare a major when first beging college. Complete your basic studies and give yourself time to decide on what you want to study. Keep your grades up, ask questions, and participate in class. Should you not understand something request clarification, most likely there are others who need clarification too. Rememberyou are paying your instructor to learn, so obtain the most out of each class. Jenell, remember to have fun, study hard, meet new people, but be careful. Live life to it's fullest.
If I were to travel back in time and provide myself with advice regarding college, there are several things I would bring up. First, I would be sure make myself aware of application deadlines. Many colleges have early application deadlines, rolling admissions or just early deadlines in general. Becoming aware of application deadlines allows time to adequately complete the application, write thorough essays, and provide your highschool with an adequate amount of time to send the appropriate paperwork to the university. A second piece of advice I would give myself would be to decide on a major as soon as possible. After deciding on a major, it is much easier to find colleges. While it may seem hard to decide on a major, it will eventually save time as it is easier to find a college specializes in a specific field. A final piece of advice I would offer mysef about college life is to try to pick a college that I would truly see myself succeeding in. Picking a school in an aesthetically pleasing area will do nothing in helping me succeed if the academics of the school are poor and I won't be happy.
As a high school student, I was used to being in the same classes with the same group of students for four years. As a college student, you may have a class with a set of students you may never see again. If I was to give myself some advice as a high schooler, I would recommend joining a club to connect with a group of students to form lasting relationships. Because I was a commuter student, I figured I had no time to participate in such activities. However, I now see I could have had a much richer, and fuller college experience if I had formed friendships with others on campus instead of only traveling to campus to attend class. Friends can help encourage you in your studies, and provide a support system in times of emotional distress. I have lost contact with most of my high school friends that attended another university, and have discovered how important it is to have a network of friends. Thus, I would recommend to myself, and any new college student to get involved within their university to establish friendships that will be supportive and make their college life more enjoyable.
If I could go back to myself in high-school I would have a lot of advice to give myself. Starting with dorm life, I would say to be patient with others and not be in my room all the time, to get out and make friends. Staying in the same room with the same people you get "cabin-fever" which leads to disagreements and stress. You live with these people, you have to set rules to help reduce mis-communications. Regarding school work I would tell myself to stay organized. Lack of organization is the reason keeping up with school work seemed difficult. Keeping my assignments written down would have made it easier to remember when things are due and to not get behind in class. The biggest thing I would stress would be money. I would give advice about budgeting and saving money. On top of all the school stress, dealing with financial stress leads to lack of focus on school work, and can destroy a student. I believe high school students aren't fully prepared for college until they spend atleast one semester there. They realize they have a lot of responsibility that they have to control.
Trying to find the perfect college is not about the overall size, prestige, or class size. The most important aspect of a university is the ability of the student to excel in their academic and post academic life. Each person must evaluate their learning style and then match that to the university. For example, ask yourself are you timid? If so, you might want to look at a small school. I have returned to school for a second bachelor's degree in order to pursue a Ph.D. at the age of 30. I have graduated from an Ivey League school the first time. I have found that a smaller state university has as much to offer in Kentucky than the Ivey League without the cost or pressure. Many factors have been evaluated, and the last look I gave was the prestige and other such surface factors normally promoted. Take the time when you visit to meet with professors, the financial aid department, sit in on a class, and other key departments. The help you get then is EXACTLY what you will get when you become a student there. These are the true factors one must base their decision on.
If I could go back, I would tell myself to take some time off before I started school. Taking time off to work, question myself and allowing the world to open my eyes has strengthened my pursuits in my passion. When I first started college, I was a Marine Biology major. Many of the related experiences formed and shaped me as a person. From holding seastars for visitors at a science center to training as a euthanasia technician, I went through a huge personal growth. None of these experiences were obtained from going to school. I did not have the drive and failed my science classes. After taking a year off, I discovered that I did not actualy want to be a veterinarian and that there was another route to my dream job. Within my first semester back, a charcoal peice I did was in a student show. After three years back, I am now more excited and driven then ever before for my studies. I am refreshed in my outlook and have have seen my life without higher education... And quite frankly, I was "scared straight". Noone wants to clean toilets for the rest of their life.
I would ask the student what they are interested--what career path is most appealing to him or her. Finding a school with a strong department for the prososed field of study is important. I had to change schools to do what I wanted, and I couldn't be happier doing what I want at my new school. Secondly, what kind of campus is the student looking for? Does he or she prefer a small, quiet campus or a large, busy one? If you need to be around lots of diverse, interesting people a small school might not cut it and the student would just get bored with school. And a large school could be scary to someone that would prefer a more laid-back environment. To make the most out of the college experience, I would suggest that the student makes themselves available to potential friends. They shouldn't be afraid to approach people they think they could be friends with. Also, the student needs to remember to do his or her own thing...they should go to campus events they want to go, not ones that the "cool kids" are attending. And never give in to peer pressure.
I would tell myself and others that college is amazing. The experiences you have and the people you meet will change your life forever. There is no reason to be afraid of transition. Getting out and getting away from home will be a growing experience for you personally. You will find out who you are and what you can truly do when you set out on your own. Things you never thought you would have to do will knock at your door, and somehow you will prepare yourself for the challenge. College is a chance to become wiser through knowledge and social experiences. Realizing the one person you can always depend on is yourself. No one else can write those 10 page papers or pull an all-nighter for the big physics exam for you, it is your choice whether you succeed or fail. Friends you meet in college will be those you CHOOSE to befriend, those you make an honest connection with. You will make friends that last a lifetime and learn information to take you into a new stage in your life, educationally and personally. College will be a wonderful experience in itself.
College has been an eye opening experience. I have learned so much in just two years at school. The primary reason that i've learned so much is because I actually want to be there. I choose the courses to take which makes me interested in the subjects. I would have never imagined that I would actually retain as much knowledge as I have. I come home each night and actually get excited about what I've learned in the classroom. I exercise my brain fully each day that I attend. I am attentive and alert to all the information and experiences that are provided in front of me. Each class I think about moving closer to the goal of someday having my dream career. I would recommend college to anyone questioning the process. It has been a valuable experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. The journey has been difficult, but no good things come easy. In addition, no one can ever take away the knowledge that I’ve gained. Not only has college given me an education but it has allowed me to be comfortable in my own skin and find the person that I truly am.
Choosing to go to school in Kentucky, a 14 hour drive from where I was born and raised in New Jersey has been an amazing experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. So far, and so early into college, I already feel more well rounded and adjusted to the world outside the "bubble" of my hometown. College is going to prove to be invaluable to me in the job market and in the real world simply because I know more about what makes up the world we live in. People are going to talk different, think different, and be different, and I really have learned to appreciate that. I've also learned that making a mistake is not the end of the world. Mistakes are meant to be learned from. Whether it has been walking into the wrong class, answering a question in class with another century in mind, or making the wrong roommate choice, there is nothing that cannot be learned from and improved upon. College has made sure that I learn to laugh at myself, and make friends that I can laugh along with. Overall, college has been a learning experience in so many ways.