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Emory University

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

Coming out of my first year of college, I have learned the importance of having balance, faith, and focus. I am not a typical college student. I have spent my entire life as an over achiever, working my hardest, and being the best, so that I could have the opportunity to go to the college of my choice (Emory University). The problem was that once I finally got there, I fell into a downward spiral. I let the freedom of being a college student get in the way of my commitment to my studies. And the contentment that I was supposed to have found in excelling in my classes, I thought I could attain from the inside of a pill bottle. Although I am now back on track to achieving my goals and continuing my education at the school of my dreams, I will never forget the hardest lesson that I ever had to learn, and the most important thing that I got out of my college experience: time is precious, and once it is gone, you can never gain it back. Therefore, the decisions that you make must be beneficial to whatever you are working to accomplish, nothing less.

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When you are first trying to make decisions about college, find out as much as you can before committing yourself. Attend as many information sessions, open houses, and tours as you possibly can. There is nothing wrong with being excited about college. Even if you do not necessarily like the university they are presenting about, you can usually find some helpful tips about college life in general. Like when you hear people tell you that college will be hard, and you can?t simply cruise along as you may have done in high school, they aren?t simply trying to scare you. Turns out most of that stuff is true. Yes college is meant to be fun, and there?s nothing wrong with enjoying your new found freedom and going completely nuts the moment you get there. Try new things and explore all you can, because you never know when a great opportunity will disappear. Make sure that no matter what you do, however, you never lose sight of your real goal. You are here for an education, and in the end, all that will matter is that you learned something of worth.

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During my senior year of high school, I wish I had known how to properly treat advice. As I considered myself a very independent person, I insisted on conducting my entire college search by myself in order to assure that the school of my choice would be the right fit down to every detail. This way of selection is not very useful when you are often wrong about what said "details" you need from your school. I graduated from high school quite proud and also anxious for the new college life that awaited. Needless to say, it was nothing like expected. Fearing the difficulty of college that many people reported to me in conversations about my search, I chose a college below my academic levels, while a misunderstanding of the wonders of financial aid pushed me toward a public school for mostly commuters. After a year of ill-fitting classes and no social environment to enjoy on the side, I finally decided to fix my mistake and transfer to the right school for me. As a high school senior, I would simply tell myself "Listen to your guidance counselor!".

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When one is a senior in high school, I would first look into onself in order to see what kind of campus environment one desires, what kind of academic environment one wants (competitive or not as competitive), the georgraphical location, and types of available social activities. After making a list of possible schools, I would visit the campuses and sit in one of the classes. If you are interested in a chemistry major, I would ask the school if you can sit in one of their chemistry lectures. After probing into the schools, I would apply to the top 3-5 schools. After arriving at the college of your choice, I would get involved with service clubs and any other extra curricular activities in order to make friends and make social connections. Also, when you are in a class, actively seek out the professors no matter how responsive he or she may be. Always actively seek what you need and want because your actions will contribute not only to your academic and social life, your actions probably will benefit the university in improving itself.

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Dear HIgh School Me, As you start your journey to adult hood, picking a college may be one of the most important components to your life in the future. My advice to you is to pick a college that has a program best suited for you. One of the most important things to consider when considering when choosing college and a career is to choose something that you are going to love and throw your heart and soul into. Making money is always fun, but if you go to college and put so much time, effort, and money into something you don't enjoy doing, you will not have a fulfilling life. Please pursue your passions, and do what you love. Also, i encourage you to plan ahead, save money, make a budget (and follow it), and apply for as many scholarships as possible! Your life will be much easier if you put time into planning financially for your future. It would be best to try and graduate college with the least amount of debt at possible. If you follow these few pieces of advice, you may very well be secessful after college. Best of luck!

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Finding the right college is not an exact science. Just like there is no formula for you to get into the school of your dreams there is no formula for choosing the school of your dreams. But there is something you can do--visit the college. I don't mean visit the school and go on an admissions tour with your parents. I mean visit the school alone in the middle of the week with classes in session. If possible try to stay with a college freshman. You want to achieve the purest experience possible and the only way to do that is by not attending artificial information sessions and not forming anyone's opinion except your own. Blend in and be a student for a day and you will be treated accordingly. The best way to find out about a college is, in fact, to attend that college. Unfortunately, most cannot afford to go around paying tution at various schools until one feels just right. We can only hope that a day or two can be projected onto a year. In the end, you will make the right choice and if you don't, one word: Transfer!

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As a college freshman I find myself wondering what kind of person I would have been if I knew certain information whilst I was a high school senior. For example, I made the wrong choice in college. If I had known then how vital the college decision was I would have spent more time during the decision process in order to find which college suited me best. Also, I would have bought the car that I promised myself for graduation before I applied for FAFSA, because I would have known that if I waited then I would end up spending that money on the first year of college after maxing out the amount of federal loans I could take for that year. The final thing I would advise myself on is to relax and pay attention to small details because time goes by so quickly and if I do not cherish the many minute moments within it I would deeply regret not making the time for happiness. I would tell myself that the key to success is happiness. If I am happy then all accomplishments that I make result in pride and with that comes success.

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College life can be a time of great change and new experiences. Don't be shy about meeting new people and trying out all the new experiences that are available. Distancing yourself from others just because you don't know them is a bad way to start out your college experience, but you must also watch out who you hang out with to not get dragged into things that you know are wrong. Try to find people who have similar tastes to you, but also try to do at least one new activity each term to broaden your horizons. Living away from your family is going to be difficult, so it will help if you set up a regular time for calling home and seeing how everyone is doing to keep yourself from getting homesick. Make sure you get plenty of rest because the classes will be harder than you are used to, and try to find study groups to help you out when you are having trouble in a class. Get to know your roommate well if you have one, because having someone to hang out with will make the change in your lifestyle easier to manage.

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The best thing a student can do to find the right college is to interact with the students who are currently attending the college. To further elaborate, a student should go beyond the college tour and information session, and spend a day or so at the school with a current student. Then you are given an opportunity to learn what the make up is of the school community. Another important thing both students and parents should do is come up with a couple things that they are looking in for in a school that are not negotiable. For example size, location, degree programs, class size, or social life. Once you find the school with a couple of these things, it should be easier to overlook things that are less appealing about the school. The fact is that no school is perfect, so instead you want a school that provides you with what you need to be happy. That way you learn to enjoy your college experience by focusing on the things that you primarily enjoyed about the school, and taking full advantage of them.

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Congratulations on being accepted into the college of your dreams! You must be enjoying your senior year with a feeling of relief, but just make sure not to get too lazy with your schoolwork. College schoolwork is on a completely different level than high school, and you have to really focus and work hard. It might be a little overwhelming at first, with all the new friends, environment, opportunities, and professors that you are surrounded by, but remember that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. You may feel pressured to get great grades in such a competitive school, but you also have to focus on your personal well being. College is all about a balance between school, work, and social life, and you cannot allow one of those aspects to overpower the others. Work hard in school but also make sure to save a little bit of time for some fun for yourself! Work to the very best of your ability and put 110% effort in everything you do, and you will be amazed with what you will achieve.

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