It is important for the college search to be taken seriously and done enthusiastically. Firstly, I would advise parents and students to visit as many schools as possible as early as possible. Then, apply early - get it over with! I strongly recommend applying to multiple schools, to expand your options. Also, apply to AS MANY scholarships as possible. Never again will so much free money be at your fingertips! Parents: encourage and help with the process, but don't take it over. It should ultimately be the student's decision (of course, while still considering the parent's opinion). Students: Do your research and do what feels right for YOU. Students, once you get to college, remember these three things: 1. Adjusting to college can be tough, but keep a positive attitude and you WILL make friends. 2. You will probably be paying THOUSANDS of dollars to be there, so STAY FOCUSED! Study hard, and then you will have the time to have fun, too. 3. Finally, take advantage of all of the opportunities at college: the amazing speakers, study abroad opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and more. Learn as much as you can while you are there, both academically and personally.
I have benefited greatly from my college experience in a multitude of ways. Foremostly, I should acknowledge that I attended a junior college before pursuing my education further at a four year unviersity. I think this was a wise decision as it has proved to be a valuable stepping stone on the path to my future. My junior college provided me with sound mentors/professors who were knowledgeable and approachable, making it less difficult to communicate in what could have been a very intimidating setting. I have learned responsibility, accountability, time management, and critical thinking from being in their classes. Being apart of clubs on campus has also given me the opportunity to cooperate with others and be an active, participating student at school events. Perhaps one of the greatest values I learned by attending college, however, was a sense of community and togetherness with my fellow students. College has taught me to be open to other people and to listen to their experiences with keen ears, for if we listen to each other and work together we may find solutions to the problems that plague our world. Last, but not least, college showed me learning could be fun!
If I could go back in time and talk to my senior year self, I would tell her that everything she had worried about college was unfounded. Before entering college, I was petrified of the changes that would await me. I was scared; I thought classes would be incredibly hard, that professors were strict, that I wouldn't make friends easily, and that living away from the comfort of home would be difficult. However, after attending college for three years, I know that being able to go is a blessing. Classes, while providing a challenge, weren't unmanagable as peers and professors were always willing to help. I made more friends at college than I ever had in high school, and I consider them to be my family. While, I could be homesick at times, I was happy having freedom and independence as it gave me the chance to explore the world around me. Even though, the change was nervewracking at first, I adjusted with the support of peers, professors, family and friends. College has been a great opportunity to learn and grow, so there is no need to worry because you'll have the time of your life.
I would highly suggest visiting the school you are considering before making any committments. There is a huge difference between a school on paper and a school in real life. The only way to see if you will fit well with a school is to go and visit. The most important part of suceeding at a new school is feeling comortable. If you dont feel comfortable in an environment it makes it exponentially harder to do well. The best way to make the most of your college experience is to try everything. Have no limits no preconcieved notions and go all out. You never know when you will try something new and fall in love with it. Try intramural sports, its a great way to meet new people, get a good workout and break from studying. Don't become best friends with your roommate and a few others and stop branching out. Definately make new friends, but dont limit yourself to them continue to try new things and meet new people. Networking is important after college but it's during college that you make the best contacts. Always continue to broaden your horizons, never limit yourself in any way.
For prospective parents I would stress the importance of having your child visit the schools before making a decision. No matter how many booklets you read and survey results you study, nothing compares to seeing it all firsthand. While your visiting the school be sure to ask regular students how they feel about the institution. Tour guides may be honest, but they are trained to spin everything and their job is to sell you the school. For students, dont choose a school simply based on the cafeteria, or the beach down the street. The academics are a crucial element in making your decision. These are the classes you'll be taking for the next four years, you don't want to go to a big school where most classes are lecture taught if you know you learn better in a small interactive environment. Once you do find the right school, don't be shy! College is all about experimenting and meeting new people. You will find people you fit in with but it might take some trial and error. Finally, dont be afraid to try new things, you never know what you'll fall in love with.
If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, there is a vast amount of advice I would give. I would inform myself that those late-night talks in the kitchen before your 8 am class probably aren't the best idea, because in the long-run, he wasn't worth it. (Especially since you'll miss your favorite class.) Don't pass up all those moments though, because they turn out to be some of the best memories you'll have. Just choose who you spend those nights/early mornings with carefully. Give yourself a break. Everyone on campus has experienced what you will go through, so don't worry yourself sick over where to sit in the dining hall-This is not Mean Girls. Learn the differences between high school work and college! In high school, you spent the whole day in the same building, traveling from class to class. Most of the work (and learning) was accomplished within those four walls. The term ?homework? was a misnomer; you completed nearly all of it at lunch, in study hall, and in class. Learn how to MANAGE YOUR TIME!
Although my freshman year in college has had its ups and downs, I consider it a truly valuable experience. . Although the course load has seemed overbearing and hard to deal with at times, I feel that as the months have gone on, I've learned to utilize my time well, and get all assignments done in a timely manner. Some courses are still challenging to me, but I try my hardest to do my work to the best of my ability, but also to seek help from tutors when necessary. I know that there will always be challenges in life, and I'm slowly but surely gaining the skills I need to overcome these challenges, and break through the barriers to become the person I want to be. Living in the city is another amazing perk of residing at Emmanuel College. When I'm not studying or working on course projects, I have the option of taking in a Red Sox game, listening to the musicians in Boston Common, or simply walking around the historic Boston. All of these experiences have helped me to grow and expand as a person, building my character to whom I want to be.
I would suggest looking at different schools to compare their size and location. Then, choose what fits their taste best. Once there is a handful of schools left on the list, it is much easier to focus and pick the school that will bring out the most out of the future student. Since tuition is a major factor in many students' decision-making, it is better to figure out the financial part of the deal before commiting to a certain school. Once that is over with, the rest is up to the student. It is important to get involved in extracurricular activities on and off campus once the school is chosen. Living on campus has its benefits, because it is easier to make friends that way. College is like a training base for the future life, so I suggest taking it more seriously than high school and think about the consequences of your actions. The greatest thing about American schools is that there is an opportunity to pick a major without commiting to it from the very beginning. There is time to decide, and I suggest to use that time wisely.
My advice to parents and students looking for that ?perfect college? is to stop! You won?t find the perfect college. There will be things that happen at any school in question that make you want to scream: ?WHY DID I EVER GO HERE?? Hopefully those moments will be far and few between but they'll happen. When looking for a college for you or your child you really just need to take everything in and ask ?Does this feel right? Does this school care about me not just my wallet?? This can be hard to do with the schmooze-fest most schools put on; finger-foods, gushing students, and free gear emblazed with the school logo. Suddenly you?re thinking: ?Wow, all this for me?? DON?T. You deserve it all given what you?ll be handing over. Go somewhere that you feel, when you?re in a jam, is going to go the distance for you because that?s when it all really matters. Plenty of people find their ?perfect school? on their first try; others transfer. Just make sure you?re happy because, at the end of the day, that?s all that truly matters.
Having tranferred colleges my sophomore year, I got an opportunity to relive the application and selection process of schools. My second time around I had completely different things in mind than what I did my Senior year. I focused more on how much laundry costed, what the security of the dorm buildings was, how the meal plan worked, did the school have a church neary by, and what there would be to do on the weekends. If I could talk to myself Senior year, the first thing I'd mention would be the convenience of a school. The college I went to Freshman year was a great school, and as I originally described it, 'cute'. However, it was a 30 minute drive from any major cities, had one small pharmacy in the town, and despite being a wide open area it became a hassle when I needed to buy something or wanted to go to the movies. Although I dealt with this for the rest of my Freshman year and it wasn't too bad, I'd certainly tell my Senior year self to picture actually living there instead of just judging whether it was cute.