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Emory University

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

The weather is generally very warm, so don't bring too many bulky sweaters. The food at Cox is way better than the food at the DUC. Printing is not free at Emory. A large amount of people are in Greek life and freshman are not allowed at parties during the first few weeks. Don't swim in the SAE pool. Emory is very diverse, so be prepared to meet people from all different backgrounds. Be open-minded to meeting new people. Don't be afraid to try new things and learn something new from others. JOIN CLUBS to meet new people, as well as talking to people in class. Emory is not as big as one thinks so don't make bad decisions. Be aggressive and independent and don't expect things to happen on their own. You have to be independent and do things yourself. Emory administration isn't that good, but everyone is pretty helpful when asked for help. Use the gym, the study rooms in the stacks, and the cool technology in Cox Hall. There is always something to do, you just have to be alert and find it. Overall, enjoy as much as you can of Freshman year because you'll be graduating sooner than you think. Freshman year is when you meet a lot of friends, but you can always make friends as you get older. Just remember to try things so that when you are ready to declare a major, you are ready. And also, be ready to have the time of your life.

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College will be nothing you dreamed of, but more than you ever expected. I know you have excelled in high school and expect the same at Emory University, but understand there will be some challenges along the way. While your grandmother, aunt, and mom may encounter complications with kidney and heart failure during college, do not be ashamed to seek counseling and persevere so that you continue to excel academically and strive towards becoming a cardiologist that helps prevent and manage heart failure. Also, realize your high school education was not the same as your new peers who may be more academically prepared than your background allowed. You must be dedicated and unashamed to seek tutoring to eliminate the educational gap between you and your peers. However, while college may have challenges and not be as glamorous as MTV movies portray, it will be a time for you to grow, learn, and laugh. Four years will produce an independent, productive young woman who, despite educational disadvantages, consistently makes the Dean’s list, leads community initiatives, and produces research worthy of publication. College will provide you with a lifetime of friends, opportunities, and positive generational changes within your family and others.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior knowing what I know now about college life and making the transition, I would give myself the following advice, make the best of the opportunities available by being involved with groups or organizations that would assist in demonstrating qualities or skills such as leadership, innovation, volunteer spirit, etc. in addition to mastering the classroom educational skills. I have now come to the realization that universities look not only at academics, but they seek well rounded individuals with the capacity to excel both in and out of the classroom. Colleges are in pursuit of students that are consistent in their behaviour be it through involvement with a particular interest group, accomplishments in the classroom by means of examinations and grades to produce citizens that can make valuabe contributions to both the university and society. In addition, I would embrace every opportunity to participate in school trips and activities to gain the exposure while developing a sense of independence. These qualities and attributes combined would assist in good time management while preparng me to function and make sound decisions on my own.

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The American minority experience can be draining but also intellectually stimulating when given enough room and respect to think about one?s own ideas. Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and later in a mixed environment of Hispanics and African-Americans, there was never a way for me to ignore what my friends learned at Bible study, the pounding reggaeton blasting in every CD player, or the different political identities they developed through each of their experiences. Whenever someone asks, ?Where are you from?? to which I reply ?Florida,? the immediate response I am given is, ?But where are you really from?? The second question usually comes from a place of utter disbelief that a brown girl with my features could be American. However, after coming to Emory, I have observed how differently, and openly, American minorities are received, how in every individual, the physical and intellectual outlooks as a single entity distinguish their values and convictions as the diversified American. As a high school senior, I would have told myself that my "non-American" look only reminded me that I am a child of many cultures, absorbing beliefs and differences of philosophy, and in that way, very American.

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I remember the feeling I experienced when I read my acceptance letter into Emory; that confusing mixture of excitement and apprehension. As Icompleted my senior year of high school, it became more difficult to distinguish the more potent emotion. I would be casted into a new community, without the familiar faces I had grown up with or the simple routine I was accustomed to. Although the prospect of freedom was alluring, I believed it would be accompanied by anxiety and even loneliness. What made the uncertainty of college?s new andchallenging environment was my fear that I would be doing it alone. Now, after surviving and enjoying almost two years of college, I wish I could have assured my high school self that by utilizing the resources available, thetransition would be more of an adventurous journey than an arduousfeat. Along with programs geared specifically towards creating a wonderful freshman year experience, the students and administration at this school show a genuine effort in helping students excel in all aspect of campus life. The biggest piece ofadvice I would offer, however, is to trust in my own strength, because too often what we think we need, we?ve had all along.

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Absolutely visit the college and try to talk to people outside of the traditional tours, which are designed to impress you, and remember they're only part of the story. Also, really think about what kinds of activities you enjoy doing in your hometown and see what the accessibility is from where you're applying. For example, look into the public transportation and proximity of parks so you can find ways to decrease your spending and get off main campus once in a while. I stongly encourage parents to let students explore on their own, because they're more likely to get honest answers from people closer to their age. Parents should be supportive about letting their children go into college undecided and excited, instead of feeling stuck in a major and possibly intimidated. Definetly explore the greater communities outside of college which can be rewarding personally and professionally in the long run. Attend extra lectures in subjects that interest you, perhaps outisde of your major, instead of starting your partying early because by the end of undergrad you won't remember the afternoons you blew off nearly as well as the stimulating new ideas which colleges can provide.

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I believe that since entering college, I have learned so much about how to interact with other people and gained perspective on what it means to be me. I would encourage "senior-me" to make a lot of the same decisions I have made so far--get involved, abstain from activities that result in conduct violations, and approach each subject with an open mind. Granted, I would have some operational knowledge about better professors to take and who my friends around campus would become. But I feel that the path I have traveled so far has managed to shape me in ways I would never be able to conceptualize without that sheer process of experience. I would exploit an element of hindsight, however. I learned in my first semester last year about my autoimmune condition. Due to shame, feeling "too busy," and a number of other ridiculous excuses I delayed seeking treatment. Given the chance to relive my entrance experience, I would have opted to take advantage of health services earlier rather than living with illness, hospitalization, and cycling through multiple medications. Though in keeping with my experience theory, I feel that also taught me the importance of being assertive.

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More often than not, high schoolers (and especially their parents), spend an inordinate amount of time selecting colleges. Every student dislikes their campus food, thinks that their dorm is too small, and even that drinking is a large part of college life and that students only socialize with their own racial group, even if the school is racially diverse. To make the most of the college selection process and subsequent college experience, look for a college with the size that you think is most suitable for you. Calm down, because everyone eventually finds their group of friends, but think carefully about whether you want a more intimate small community or a large bustling one. Of course, academics and financial aid must be the first priority. Without academics, what is the point of college? Without financial aid, how can you even attend the college? But once you settle those issues, just remember to consider the size of the school. Once you narrow those down, any college you pick will be suitable since colleges truly are more similar than different. What you make out of your college experience will ultimately lie in your own hands, no matter where you are.

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Before attending Emory University, I was rather content with myself and my intellectual strengths. I felt like I knew it all and had learned all the tricks of the trade. It is safe to say that college has truly humbled me. What this first semester has taught me is that I must stay confident in myself in order to be successful. Those that succeed, give themselves positive feedback and self-encouragement. This gives them support from within making them encouraged rather than already defeated. With this attitude, I know I will succeed, for I am intelligent and dedicated to my future. Over the course of my first semester, I also learned to give myself space for growth and to understand that the wonderful quality of life is that it is dynamic, and is only truly experienced through constant change and dynamic transformation. College is the unique time in my life to explore and undergo this metamorphosis. While in turn battling the rigorous pre-med academic track, I must remember that I will never get this specially allotted time of self-contemplation, self-reflection, and self-progression. And if I could go back in time I would use every second wisely.

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I think it is important to take people's advice with a grain of salt. Individuals' own experience and opinions of a particular college will all be different. The best thing I did before choosing my college was going to the campus, seeing and hearing everything with my own eyes and ears, and picturing myself in it. Usually there is a couple of colleges that will stick out as exceptional and "right" for the student. In terms of making the most of the college experience, try to experience and enjoy all the resources and opportunities made available by the college. Explore the library, talk with the professors, participate in a research project, join an intramural sports team... As a third year in college, I am still surprised by so many different aspects of the college that I have yet to explore. Networking is also crucial, especially when looking ahead into the future and thinking about possible career choices. Be friends with the professors, and listen to the professionals of the job markets. Once you leave the college setting, it is hard to find opportunities for learning, exploration of future possibilities, and forming valuable relationships.

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