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Elizabethtown College

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

(Elizabethtown) College provided me with many opportunities to discern who I am and who I want to become. Specifically, Elizabethtown's motto, "Educate for Service," aided in my continued love for service. It has also played a huge role in my personal life and in discerning my career goals. Currently, I am in my second year as member of Brethren Volunteer Services, serving with a nonprofit in Wichita, Kansas called Trees for Life. During my graduate work, I aim to continue this spirit of community service by volunteering in and around my campus and community. Once my graduate work is complete, I hope to incorporate my love of service through work with non-profit organizations in my community. My college experience also opened my eyes to the world around me and the injustices within. My study abroad experience in Northern Ireland not only opened my mind but my heart as well. While abroad, I gained many new skills and became independent, not only academically, but in my daily life as well. Ultimately, my college experience was one which is priceless, concerning the amount of things I learned about myself and for the growth I have done.

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First I would suggest making a list of colleges that you are interested in. Then visit them. Upon visiting them, make sure the school offers your program of interest, and any extracurricular activities that you may be interested in, such as sports. You also should look at the campus community. Another words will you feel safe and comfortable at the campus? After all, this will be a home away from home. You should enjoy your experience. In addition to these things, it might be valuable to speak with the professors there to get to know them. Something important to me was the size of classes. I didn't want to be just a number to the college; I wanted to have as much individual attention as possible. I would look into class sizes suitable for yourself. Additionally an important factor is financial aid. I would look deeply into this to ensure you can fund your education. Once you are finally at your college you should become involved as much as possible and go above and beyond academically. Most importantly, enjoy your college life because you only get it once! (And call your parents once in awhile. They will miss you!)

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I would advise students to search out colleges that provide majors of interest to you - even if not the "exact" major you are looking for. You're still very young and most likely not positive about "what you want to be when you grow up"! If you have been fortunate enough to grow up in an environment of happiness (home, family and activities ) then search for a college in an environment that closely resembles that. If the opposite is true with regard to your upbringing - then look for a school that offers what your home life did not. For parents - I would advise you to be involved in your son or daughters life long before this important decision making time. Then you will be able to act as not only an "advisor" but as a confidant as well. Encourage your child to a field and environment you feel they will prosper in (socially, academically and personally - not JUST financially), but in the end - AND IN GOOD FAITH - let them know it is their decision and you will be behind them 110% (even if you have to "hold your breath" and "cross your fingers" - without letting them know - at first).

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Finding the right college can be a difficult and daunting task. My advice to parents and students would be to visit as many colleges as possible, making sure to document the visit in some way by grabbing brochures or pamphlets, or simply by taking notes. The easiest way to narrow down the search is to look at state schools versus private colleges. Listen to your student and allow them to make their own decision because being comfortable is the most important characteristic a college can provide. If you aren't comfortable with the people you meet, the places you see, or the food you eat, then you will not be able to enjoy your college experience. This may sound corny, but I knew Elizabethtown College was the right choice for me after taking a tour and meeting an admissions counselor; two steps I strongly recommend. In order to know if you will fit in at a school, you must visit it in person. If you are interested in a school--schedule an overnight visit and sit in on a class. If you can see yourself at that college in the coming years, you know you have found the right place.

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In order to find the right college, you really should do and overnight. Most colleges have overnight programs where you can stay with a student, go to their club meetings with them, go see the sites in town, and eat with them in the dining hall. You really get a firsthand look at what defines life on campus at that particular school. You should also sit in on a class of your particular major and go on a tour of the facilities with your parents. Dorm and Classroom quality can have a serious impact on your ability to learn. Furthermore, to make the most of your college experience, you have to consider it a time of re-identity. In college, you are no longer bound to the reputation you earned in high school. Be exactly who you want to be, not who your friends conform you to be. Finally, take advantage of all the benefits the school offers. Often tutors, academic counselors, and professor one-on-one advising is often covered in your tuition, so there is no reason not to take advantage of it. If you really want to succeed, you can't be afraid to ask for help.

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If I could talk to myself as a high school senior, I would continually tell myself not to worry about how tragic my roommate situation might be and consider how much of a best friend I can be to my future "roomie." I will reassure myself by saying that I am not leaving home forever and by departing for so long, I may actually realize things about my home life that I never did before, like how much I need to get out of such a strict routine, because flexibility will become useful in many ways. Another piece of advice would be to take advantage of gaining freedom. Moreover, I would tell my senior-self to stay true to my morals, beliefs, and unique personality in order to make great friends. Finally, if I could, I would go back to tell myself to take every chance I can to get to know the people I will be living with/around for the next few months so I can more quickly discover how awesome they really are. Overall, I would tell myself to just relax and enjoy every second, because this experience will be greater than I ever imagined.

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My advice to high school sudents is to "BE YOU"! You want a college to accept you. Yes. But more importantly you want to be accepted for who you are and all you've accomplished. When you're being interviewed don't play a role or put on a fake image of the person you think the college is looking for. Tell the truth. You won't have to prepare as much and it's easier to remember. When I was interviewed I said "I listen to country music and I enjoy reading a good book now and then." It turned out being myself paid off because the interviewer liked country music too. All parents should worry about their children getting into college. It's one of the biggest steps in their life that will take them into adulthood and shape their minds for the future. Parents are a driving force for high school students to even think about attending college. A child's goal in life is to make their parents proud and one way they can do that is to get into and graduate from a great college. My advice is to help your child make you proud.

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Don't be pressured by what other people are doing. In the end, where you go or who you go with does not matter; you make your own college experience. If you want to succeed, then you must put the time and effort in, and work for it. Alternatively, if you want to be more popuar and have fun while still being prepared for the working world, it's up to you to make that balance happen. No matter where you go, this is true, so don't think going to an Ivy league school is the only way to be taken seriously, or vice versa; don't think that just because someone got into a really high-ranked private school that they're automatically better than you. Everyone is different and has their own strengths. Just go with what your strengths are. Don't worry about anything else. In the long-run, you will be happier if you are true to yourself. Don't try to be something just because of the money or because what your parents want you to do, etc. If you are true to yourself, this is enough to carry you through the toughest times.

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Don't set your heart on one particular college until you have been there and experienced the vibe on campus. It is true what they say that you will know when you go there. It may not be immediate and obvious, but you will know where you feel most comforable and part of the community. Also it is a joint effort of both parents and students to pick the right institution for their family. Students, listen to your parents when they offer a suggestion about a school because they have your best interests in mind Parents, be sure to let your son/daughter have the last word when picking their college because it is them who have to spend their days there. Once you get to college, dive on in. This is your chance to be exactly who you want to be so embrace that and make the most of it. I would strongly advise against going to college with someone you know. It is a freeing experience to define who you are exactly as you want to be seen! So seize the experience entirely and have a great time. It is a pivotal time that is all yours!

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If I could go back to the high school that I attended and be a senior once again I would definitely talk different about college. Now as a college student I see things different. I would advice myself not to slack off at all. Especially if their helping you with college expenses. As myself my first semester of college wasn't that tough I would actually do all the work that was assigned to me. Now my second semester in college was tough I really slacked off, now I'm paying for that. I didn't meet my standards for two classes, since they helped me with paying my classes now I had to pay for those two classes if I wanted to register again. I'm paying those classes and I will be going to school this coming semester. In high school teachers would actually care and tell you constantly when a paper was due. Now in college it's something else teachers tend to not care as much, and they usually don't remind you as much when something is due. If you keep telling yourself that you will get thru college you surely will.

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