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Emory University

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

The Law of Attraction states 'your expectations determine your reality.' Your college experience is what you make it. Some spend their time buried in books, while others devote their time to social activities. The key is an equal balance. Grades are important, but so is sanity. Devoting ALL of your time to studies will leave you book smart, but not happy or socially adept. The key to making the most of your college experience is to find a perfect balance. Finding the right college can be difficult, however it?s not impossible. To pick the college best for you involves a great deal of research. Start with colleges that offer the major(s) you are considering. Next, see what extracurriculars they offer, and finally, housing and financial aid. Of course you want a college you can afford; however it?s not about what you know, but who you know. Sometimes the school on your degree can help get your foot in the door faster than your credentials. Therefore, pick a college that is going to offer the path you want to take, but also one that will help to make it a little easier to take that path.

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If I were to rewind back to high school, I would advice myself to always maintain what gives me success. College is about working hard and staying on track and being consistent in one's way of living, whether it pertains to maintaining a good GPA or maintaining a cohesive social connections with friends. When I commit myself to those things that have promoted my happiness, no matter how hard they were, I would receive better results. Presently, I do not approach my college life with the level of effort I should because I get engulfed with situations that catch my interest at a particular moment. Most times I forget the truth that life itself is a journey of prime steadfastness and consistency. So, in essence, I tend to compromise my stands on how I should live. But this cannot work to my advantage because my results would be shortchanged incomplete. It is important to find and keep to the status quo. When one has done such a good job, they say "Keep It Up" for a purposeful reason because they know how hard it is. They understand that one is even more successful when he repeats his good habits

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I've learned from advice and my own experiences, that wherever you end up going to college will just feel right. You'll find a niche, maybe not in the first semester, but you will find one. And you'll find friends, because every freshman is in the same boat at the beginning of the year; everyone needs to make new friends, and usually jumps at the chance to have someone to sit with in the cafeteria. To get the most from the college experience I would encourage students to try everything: new classes that just sound interesting, different sports, different clubs, volunteering, rushing and possibly joining a fraternity or sorority. All these things can only be done in college. The most important thing is to just get out there and be available to meet new people on the campus. Eventually, you'll click with someone or something, and everything will fall into place. It's an incredibly scary first step to leave the comfort and safety of your home and family and friends, but you'll grow so much that first year and your independence and self-sufficiency will be so much greater. I know mine is.

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Researching colleges is vital to helping make the right decision in the final decision making process. However, while facts and statistics about the school helps alot as information that is needed to help sift through the many possibilities, I think the final decision is based on the actual visit to the school itself. Many times, it is the campus and the hussle and bustle on campus during school hours that allows a possible student to either fall in love or hate the school. This same idea can be applied once one has entered the college. No matter how much on paper one might like the school, much of how one views the school depends on one's own decisions and efforts. By putting oneself out there, meeting new people, trying new things, and making use of the once in a lifetime opportunity offered by resources placed at one's fingertips , then one can truthfully say they have tried to make the most of the college experience. One has all life to hole up in their comfort zone, it is here that everyone has the chance and opportunity to try something new and find the "hole" that you best fit in.

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The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a college is that any college can be the "right" college. I do not fit the stereotype of an Emory student, but with time, I still found my place. I have been taught by world-class professors and have made friendships that will last a lifetime. I did not join a sorority like most of the girls I knew, but instead found my own clubs and interests such as Outdoor Emory and Emory EMS. College is about personal growth, both socially and educationally. It is most students first time away from home, and can be lonely, so developing friendships is more important than it was in high school. College is the time to discover what interests you most and to learn as much about it as possible. College offers many new areas of study to explore that many high schoolers had not though of before. At any college there will be good professors and students to be friends with. It is all about finding your place within the school. Every college has something to offer, so whatever school is chosen will be the "right" college, given enough time.

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When deciding on your undergraduate education, reputation matters, but above all, consider how well you can do within your concentration. While graduating from a Top Ten University is always impressive, it may be more so if you graduate at the top of your class from a smaller college or one that is less competitive. Also, be sure to look at other resources the university has to offer. I know you have always wanted to be a physician, so make sure you pick a college that will provide you with additional resources that you need to succeed in that field. However, definitely have a backup plan if you change your mind. Lastly, if you haven't learned already, you will learn that college is one of the few opportunities where you are expected to make mistakes. Use these mistakes to learn and improve your understanding or experiences. Do not allow yourself to give up on your dreams or ambitions because of a mistake you may have made, and learn to overcome any academic obstacles. Learn to have fun, and deviate from your plans every now and then. You never know what new passion you may discover.

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Calm down, Jenn! Everything, even getting accepted into college, making friends, and doing well in classes, is going to run its course and you will be okay. I know that you're a wreck now, contemplating how you're possibly going to manage being away from home and succeeding with school. But trust me, since I'm going through it now, that everything will fall into place. I do have a few pointers though. First, make sure that you apply yourself in every aspect of college life: classes, friends, extracurriculars, and volunteering. I know the classes aspect of that four-part map is what's most important to you (it still is, even in college!), but keep in mind that finding the right people to associate with is vital as well. Remember, don't change who you are or alter your moral standards just to fit in-- you're stronger than that. Stick up for what you believe in and you'll find the friends who will really make you happy. Also, stay involved in activities outside of class, like diversity groups and volunteering around Atlanta. It will help you spread your wings as well as keep you grounded!

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To all of you bright-eyed, high-school students: Before you can attempt to make the most of your college experience you must first find your soul mate, your educational soul mate that is. The school whose admission letter you will accept should seem as though it were made for you. Research and visit as many as you need to, and start as early as possible. Once you discover this extraordinary place dive right in. Take advantage of anything and everything that sparks your interests. Your professors will become your friends and your friends will become your family. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so make the most of it. And to all of you parents: The day is fast approaching in which you will have to say that first, tearful goodbye. In preparation for that day I have just four words for you: stand by your child. Stand by him when he chooses that perfect school. Stand by him when he gets accepted, as well as rejected. And stand by him when he leaves home to explore the new world he has chosen. Do this, and you will have helped your child in the greatest possible way.

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Most people around you are complaining about how they’re “so over school,” and there’s probably a countdown to the days till graduation on some whiteboard. Of course, you’re looking forward to graduation and excited about college, but when that’s all anyone talks about, it’s easy to let your senior year slip away like grains of sand in your hand. Don’t let that happen. Rather than consume your thoughts with future hopes, focus more on the present—on academics on college/scholarship/financial aid applications, of course, but also on something equally critical. Focus on relationships. You’ll probably never see the students in your classes again; make an effort to get to know them a little more, to laugh with them, even if you don’t like them. Reach out to your teachers. It’s so easy to spend time with teachers in high school--not so in college! Most importantly, don’t forget your family. Even though you’re looking forward to moving out, realize that you will miss home. Do something sweet for your mom. Hang out with your brother. In sum, make the most of where you are right now.

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Going to college is a life changing experience; there are many factors that should be taken into consideration. Make sure you have enough money to afford the college of your choice because it is difficult to truly enjoy college if there is a mountain of debt waiting for you after graduation. Student loans are extremely helpful but try not to completely depend on them. Location is also a key factor. If you move out-of-state, prepare to be separated from your support system. The transition to college can be difficult when you are surrounded by unfamiliar things. Another vital aspect to finding the right college is to visit it. It can look amazing on paper, but it might not feel like the right place if you visit. Talk to students and faculty to get an idea of what life would be like there. You might be surprised to find that it would have been a horrible choice. Last and most importantly, could you see yourself being happy there? College needs to be a great experience because you only go once so make the most of it and make sure you can do that with wherever you decide to go.

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