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Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

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

As I approach my younger, naive self, I extend a friendly smile and handshake in preparation for my well-informed lecture. My extensive experience in the workforce and college has surely granted me the ability to convince any youngster of the life-lasting benefits of continued education. As my experiences, insights, achievements, and advice stream from my mouth as fresh water does from a pitcher, I realize the expression of my former self is all but somber and displaced. Apprehensive and stubborn in adolescence, I was never the type to be swayed by anyone- likely even my future self. If I would discuss options for the future with my past self, I would simply say, "Continue on your path, your experiences and judgment will guide you to greater heights". This is precisely the epitome of my story- many tried to convince me to continue my education, but my own life experiences were the deciding factor. There is no doubt in my mind that even my enlightened self would not be able to convince the younger me- nor would I despair at the failure. My success today exists only because I achieved it after laying a foundation of life-changing experiences.

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My first piece of advice is not to make money or the lack of it the determining element for the school of your choice. A lot of times we write off really good schools and the opportunities they will provide after one look at the tuition cost. There are far too many scholarships unapplied for, grants, and financial assistance available from ever keeping a potentially great school out of your reach. Secondly, stick to the basis to narrow your search down. Ask yourself four simple questions. . . 1. How will this school match up to the academic and social standards I am looking for in a school and its community? 2. Does this school offer the best department programs for my intended major or areas of interest? 3. What est. distance would I prefer living away from home? 4. Will I be satisfied with the area's seasonal weather? Once you answers those questions compared to the schools you're considering, you be on your way to finalizing the best choice for you. To make the most out of your college experience is all up to the attitude you carry within yourself. My advice, be positive, proactive, and never assume anything.

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If I could go back in time and give myself advice, it would be to research the schools you are considering. Try to speak with students that actually go to the school and try to observe a day in their shoes. A lot can be learned by speaking to the students who have been at the university for a while. In order to get the most out of your college experience, you need to assess yourself and decide what your goals are, both academically and financially, and how you intend to achieve them. This will lead you to decisions about whether or not you should commute, or live on campus, meal plans, as well as other expenses related to college. What you intend to do with the degree you are pursuing is also pertinent information to have. If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail, enter college with knowledge to succeed. This means you must do some leg work before you arrive. Once you arrive, plan on attending orientation and familiarizing yourself with your campus and surroundings. Lastly, know what services and amenities are included in your tuition and utilize them! Enjoy the experience it goes quickly!

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I advise students and parents to focus first on a major or area of interest, then to narrow down potential schools based on their location, cost, and the impression received from them when visiting campus, along with other relevant factors. In order to make the most of the college experience, students should live on or near campus to have easier access to activities. Students should make an effort to see what groups are available, especially those relevant to potential majors, as they give students the chance to interact with upperclassmen in their field. Upperclassmen are often very willing to offer advice on classes and projects, can help one decide if one has chosen the right major, and may help with networking later. Be sure to keep up with homework and research and form study groups or ask teachers and upperclassmen for help. If one's curriculum allows, one should take a few classes in other fields not directly related to one's major to expand one's horizons and pursue other interests, which builds life and research skills, as well as offering a chance of pace and the chance to meet more people.

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As a freshman college student, there have been many life lessons I have learned thusfar throughout my college experience. I have grown to become a very responsible and independent young adult who holds herself accountable for doing --or not doing- assignments and other important school related tasks, and to become a more self-sufficient student. I have also learned to best use the resources that has been alloted by my college to my advantage. My time management skills have become a dominant fixture that I use to accomplish the tasks that are give by my instructors andthe other significant duties of life. My communication skills have definately matured from this experience. I have learned the proper and appropiate ways to communicate with my peers and instructors. It has been valuable to attend college. Other than to receive an education, it has significant to gain these important skills, because I do not know whereelse I would have learned them. College is important for those who want to grow and learn things about life and themselves that they probably whould have not learned anywhere else.

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Selecting a college is a difficult but very important thing a someone's life. The first thing that should be taken into consideration is the availability and quality of the students' desired field of study. If they are undecided about a major, select somewhere that has a broad range of available courses of study. Another important thing that might be important to people is location. Decide how far they would be willing to go and look for colleges in that area. Visit as many colleges as you can. Some people say you will get "the feeling" when you step onto the right campus for you. Cost and availability of financial aid is something else to consider. To get the most out of the college experience, the student really has to stay focused. It is so easy to get off track and focus on the less important things about college. Having a social life is important and beneficial to the college experience, but it shouldn't be the most important thing. Chosing the right college for you can seem like an overwhelming task, but taking the time to find it is definitley worth being happy for four years.

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The most valuable college experience that I have received is the feeling of dedication and perseverance, through the pursuance of my personal goal. Not only do I wish to obtain a college degree, I wish to do so without any debt, and thus far I have succeeded in paying for my first 64 credits. This has taken incredible commitment because not only have I gone to school full time, I have been working as close to full time as I can get. I have also made incredible sacrifices since I graduated high school by attending college for seven consecutive semesters, including summer semesters. In the past, I have been known to make various crafts and sell them at local craft fairs, on top of collecting over 5,000 soda cans in order to help pay for college. The last seven months have also been more trying due to the fact that I have been homeless; however I refuse to stop attending college. The last two years may have brought me through a roller coaster of emotions but it has taught me the most important lesson of all, sometimes you have to do the imaginable in order to make your goals.

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If I where to give parents and students advice for finding the right college I would suggest doing a general search on the internet first. With this general search you answer a few question about yourself and what you think you are looking for in a college. Once you have answered all the questions the search gives you a list of results of colleges that meet your requirements based on the questions you answered. Then i would suggest visiting the colleges and meeting with someone in admissions. They are there to answer any questions you might have and provide you with as much information as they can. I also encourage you to take a tour of the campus, sit in on a class, and even try the campus food. In order to make the most of the college experience I suggest keeping on top of your studies as well as participating in some school functions and maybe even join a club. This is a great way to make friends and it can also provide with a support system. I also recomend for the student to set some time aside for themselves. Most of all i recomend to study hard.

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When looking at potential colleges it's helpful to consider what you're looking to do. Sometimes thats getting a specialized degree in a field you already know you love, and other times its a stepping stone to deciding where you fit. Schools range in size and location, but that's not everything. Originally attending a large school in my home town, I struggled to find my place. It wasn't until I took a step back and considered what I really wanted to do did I find where I belonged. This happened to be a small, liberal arts college in a tiny, spot-on-the-map school, which originally I would have turned my nose up at, but turned out to be one of the premier schools in the nation in my particular field of study, Computer Animation. College is all about finding who you are as a person, and who you want to be in the future! So, although the partying and nightlife might seem enticing at a particular school while another has a great academic department, consider where you might find the happy medium and ultimately where you want to spend the best years of your life!

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One very important lesson I have learned from my college experience is to stay focused on you goals. For my first two years at the University of California, San Diego, I knew I loved psychology but did not know where I wanted to go with it. By the end of that summer, I rediscovered my passion for helping other people and decided to pursue nursing as a career. Within the next three years, I was able to graduate out of UCSD with a major in Psychology and a minor in Public Service, specializing in health. I was able to in three years what many students take between four to five years to accomplish. Now, I have gotten accepted into the Georgetown University School of Nursing to get my Bachelors of Science in Nursing within fifteen months. Prior to entering UCSD, I was usually just told what to do and everything was just handed to me. Staying away from family and attending a challenging school taught me a lot about myself and how to be responsible. I feel like I would have never been able to become so independent and motivated if I did not go to UCSD.

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