Emily, you have worked so hard to reach this point in your life. You picked up the pieces of your troubled past and ran foward; plowing through any obsticle that you encountered. College is indeed a reality and you will be leaving home in less than a year. What on Earth should you expect? Sure, everyone has their own stories to tell and advice to share, but how can you prepare yourself? College seems terrifying. At this point you are probably thinking that professors are more like mythical creatures than actual people and you are awaiting the terrors of shared living space. Let's not forget the all night homework sessions. But, I have good news. There is absolutely no reason for you to worry. As long as you are responsible and keep your work ethic, college will be the most amazing experience of your life. Don't be afraid to befriend those you normally would not. Talk to your professors. Apply to research programs, becuase you never know, you might just get accepted. The worst thing you can do is stress and doubt yourself. College is such a life changing transition, so sit back and enjoy it.
Making the most of the college experience... I can hear my mom echoing something close to this statement. I made a mistake in choosing the wrong school. I realize now I chose a school that is not for me and in fact is far from my personality. But with that said I still am "making the most" of my college experience. Sometimes it's not about where you are but it is about your attitude. Attitude is everything and positivity goes a long way. I have learned to surround myself around supportive individuals and avoid those who are negative. If you have a bad attitude you won't fit at any school. Avoid the small schools- my school lacks diversity and isn't a realistic setting for the "real world." Small colleges tend to also have students who form cliques and who don't dare step foot out of their social circle. Even though small colleges have lower student to teacher ratios I would gladly give that up now. Being at a small school only means small-minded people. So go big.... find a school that is saturated with diversity, culture, and opportunities- you won't regret it, I promise.
Hello highschool self. I have a very personal piece of advice for you to get you ready for college: Start working now on getting rid of your tendancy to procrastinate. This will save you from much sleep deprivation, you will earn better grades, and have less stress your first semester in college. Sure, you are getting away with procrastinating on your papers or projects for class in highschool and still getting really good grades now, but that is not going to be the case when you get to college. Your professors will know from the quality of your work, (and how awful you look in class), that you slapped your assignment together the night before. You will not get the grades you are used to with this approach when you are in college and that will shake your confidence. Instead of doing your assignments all at once, do a little bit every day and try to finish your work a day or two early. This lowers your stress level immensely and will give you enough time to have your assignment proofread at the writing lab. You will then definitely pull A's across the board.
I would let myself know that college is a great opportunity to learn responsibility and that you can not truly be prepared until you step on campus and mom/dad drives away. It definitely is not like the movies. Everything in life, college included, will be what you make of it. Make friends, that does not mean you are leaving behind your high school friends. Be willing to open up and let others in. Take risks! Go outside of your comfort zone and join a new group or become an officer for something you might not have in high school. Just because you were the President of the school in high school, you may not want to be or even be able to be the president of your class in college, and that's okay! Know that the relationship you have with professors is often very different than relationships with high school teachers. Have fun (when the time is appropriate, and sometimes when it isn't). DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF! Be true to yourself, your morals, your faith, your family, and your friends. Enjoy, because the real world isn't all it is cracked up to be.
I am the oldest child, therefore the first to go through the college search process with my parents. What helped me the most in making my decision was getting out there and taking advantage of all the colleges had to offer. I went on tours at every college I applied to, I did overnights, ate meals at these different schools (trust me, liking the food is important), I sat in on classes. I graduated with 100 kids in my senior class in high school, big universities were intimidating and I liked the specialized attention small colleges offered their students. This was a huge deciding factor for me when deciding where to apply. Now looking back on my decision I am pleased to see what was important to me has held true. Once school started I joined clubs early, got involved. It was the easiest way to make friends, if you're in the same club you most likely have something in common, I joined sports and went to the gym, also great places to meet people. Although I live 1 1/2 hours from home I stayed on the weekends, it was by far the best way to make friends.
What I've gotton out of my experience at Elmira College is a seed. Lots of little seeds actually, from all kinds of people. Metaphorical seeds of course, what I mean is that there are amazing people who have experienced incredible situations. The great thing is that experiences can be shared as well as the lessons learned form them. The trick is to be able to get people to open up to you and you to them. When you really learn accept people for who they are then you are able to see past just what your eyes are showing you and what the heart has been telling everyone all along, we're all in this together. For me Elmira had just the right factors that allowed me to realize this and because of that I shared wonderfull conversations with people. This is where that seed comes in, that little piece of wisdom you get from having a completely spontaneous and wonderfull conversation with whom only a few hours ago was a stranger. So take that little seed of wisdom and let it grow so that you too can share a little seed with a friendly stranger.
Finding the "right college" is perhaps one of the most difficult decisions that a young person will have to make. I agonized over the choice for a year, especially since I was the first in my family to go to college and therefore I was not familiar with the whole process. I think that the right college for each individual should be a place where they feel safe, where they feel they will learn a lot, a place where they have courses that the student feels he or she will truly enjoy, a place that has many activies and athletics to be involved in, but most importantly, a place in which the student feels comfortable and at home. Once I set foot on the Elmira College campus, I knew that this was the place for me. It was a smaller school, a beautiful campus, and had everything that I wanted. After just graduating, I know that I made the right choice. I have made life long friends that I will continue to talk to forever, I received an ivy league education at a private school cost, and I matured and grew into the person that I am today.
While visiting the campus, be sure to talk to students that are walking around. That will give you a general idea of how the community of the school as a whole is. Also, talk to the students about what things they like and dislike about the campus. They're the ones that know best. Make sure you find out what the freshman living situation is going to be like. Ask how roommates are selected and if you can choose your own. Get a good look at a typical freshman dorm and see if you could picture yourself living there. Get a good look at the places to park on campus, because in the winter, wandering around a parking lot trying to find your car can be stressful. Find out if it costs anything to park on campus. Find the nearest bus stop for town/campus transport. Visit the school's library. See if printing or copying costs any money and how much. Find out how accessible the internet is thoughout the campus. Ask what there is to do on the weekends. Pick up a copy of the school's newspaper for a better idea of what is going on there.
I would tell myself that before I even begin looking for colleges, I should know what I am looking for in a school and what I am not looking for in a school. It could be anything from size, types of dorms, sports, activities, and number of students. I would also tell myself to seriously consider the distance a school is from home because living without your parents for the first time is tough. Distance from home is something that I would tell myself to carefully consider becasue the farther you are form home, the tougher it is emotionally. I would also tell myself to prepare and practice time management skills in my last semester/term of high school becasue time management is crucial when dealin with the college workload. I would also tell myself that I should practice social skills. When going to college, especially if you do not know anyone at the college before you get there, it is crucial to make new friends so that way you can have study groups and people to hang around with on the weekends so you are not lonely.
If I could go back in time and give my high school senior self advice about the transition to college what would I say? First I would tell myself to pay better attention and try harder in my math courses because it’s really not as hard as you think it is. I would also tell myself to take the SAT’s and apply to colleges, because working on cars in a body shop isn’t as great as you might think it is. I would also stress how important it is to go to college right after high school, because it would be a lot easier to transition to college then as opposed to waiting till your 33 years old and married with a baby on the way. Also to listen to the advice mom and dad give you, they are not really trying to control your life. By following the values they taught you will keep you from making some bonehead decisions along the way. Now only if it was really possible for people to go back in time and set themselves on the right track, just think of the improvement in life everyone would have.