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Florida Gulf Coast University

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

Now being a college student, I would tell the high school senior I once was to strive for the expansion of views, opinions, and aspects. Graduating from a class of ninety at a private school, while a truly privileged educational opportunity, was not realistic with respect to applicability. Very sheltered, I graduated from a largely Caucasian male class consisting of wealthy backgrounds. While a great education was bestowed upon me, I feel I was robbed of real world perspectives. As a college student, especially at Florida Gulf Coast University, I have been enlightened that not everyone shares my individualistic concerns and opinions, as being a male, I suddenly find myself in the minority. As a result, I have been acquainted with the realistic 21st century, not the impractical past. Fascinated and inspired with this concept, upon enrolling at FGCU, I changed from a Biology major to a Political Science major and haven?t looked back. Enrolled in 15 credit hours of upper level Political Science courses this semester, I realize enlightenment holds the key to mankind?s future. Ignorance and aristocracy cannot be tolerated any longer with the progressions of society, as they are inversely proportional to one another.

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After giving it your all in high school, choosing the right college can be a bit of a burden. Many students can overanalyze minor details and overlook vital essentials. When making the final decision about which college to attend, students and parents have quite polar preferences. Parents should feel comfortable about the institution they are allowing their child to attend. It must be affordable if financial aid is not an option for the student. Safety, as well as the potential to thrive in the environment are also mandatory. Since the student is most likely living on his or her own for the first time while attending college, he should take interest in a job, greek life, or a sport. This will provide stability when the fear and discomfort of a new situation tries to overcome the student's confidence. When the student's first semester starts, it can be quite overwhelming. Learning how to balance life and coursework is something that every student must master, but also yields much success in life. Student's who maximize the amount of knowledge they gain from both classes and life experiences will find the life of a college student beneficial and unforgettable.

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When looking for the "right" college, look at all of the possibilities and situations that the school has to offer. The surrounding areas, campus life, academics, housing situations, and more, all affect the growth and prosperity of a student. Even though some of the before mentioned may not affect the student directly it does affect the student in someway, shape or form. The bonds the students create throught campus involvement and housing arrangements can lead to a life long networking circle. All schools have websites, do research, not just the prospective students information page but research majority of the information on the school. Look at the school's recent news, clubs and organizations, awards recieved and more. Lastly, look more into the career path you would like to take, is that school the best for your career? Find out about the school's graduation and career placement statistics. Make sure you not only attend the open house but speak to students that attend the school, not just the ones volunteering or getting paid to showcase the school, but the average student walking around. Then you will know exactly what the school has to offer.

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Dear Lauren of Fall 2009, Congratulations on your hard work so far! You have just decided to pursue the study of medicine; however I would advise you to set small weekly goals so not to lose sight of personal growth opportunities as you pursue your long term dreams. Do not rush through school but rather enjoy the journey! Weigh your decision to set aside music for an accelerated curriculum. Though grades and finances are a priority, strive to find balance in your day and schedule a few minutes to relax! It seems intimidating to adjust to campus and dorm. Step out of your comfort zone and SMILE! The other college freshmen are equally nervous! Lastly Lauren, as you make the transition into college I would advise you to find balance in your schedule. As you transition to more difficult and demanding courses, do not be ashamed to ask for help! As you prepare to embark on a new and exciting chapter in your life, I encourage you to enjoy and make the most of each day. College is a beautiful time of self discovery and growth! Best of luck on college applications! -Lauren of FGCU’s Fall 2013 graduating class

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When looking for the "right" college, it is best to look at different aspects of a school that will help you in your future career. The first thing you should look at is the program of interest to you. School websites are very informational, they describe the program in detail, the requirements, other student's reviews, and more. These sites can give you a feel of what the program will be like and how affective it will be to your career. For example, the college I chose continues to update their physical therapy program to the needs of the outside professions. They used to have just a masters program, but they recently changed it to a doctorate program. This is because these days employers are looking for physical therapists that can write prescriptions and this involves a doctorate degree. Even though a Physical therapist only needs a masters for their career, my college is aware that it is in the student's best interest to further their education. Finding the right college means finding a college that cares about your future and is willing to help you and one that current students can describe in a positive way.

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As I conclude my bachelor?s degree, the importance of a profound education has become ever so apparent to me. This is precisely why I am so exceptionally determined to attend graduate school and receive my Master?s Degree. I want to continue my education and flourish into an enlightened, cultured, and knowledgeable individual. One of the aspects that I have enjoyed most from my undergraduate college experience, is the internship that I was able to complete. After continuously working with underprivilaged students and their families, I quickly realized that I wanted to peruse my education further and strive for a Master?s Degree in a field that allows me to aid families that are in need. I believe that attaining my Master?s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy will allow me acquire knowledge about families as well as individuals, the struggles they endure, and how to assist people in such a way that will enhance their lives. I hope to succeed in the program of Marriage and Family Therapy and then ultimately receive my Doctorate?s Degree in Clinical Psychology, becoming a licensed Psychologist.

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Anna, I know those Advanced Placement classes are very difficult, but stick with them because colleges like to see that you were able to succeed in these classes even if you do not pass the exams to receive college credit. Apply to your college choices no later than December to avoid any stress of doing it at the last minute. You should actually study for the SAT! The practice tests really are extremely helpful. Start creating effective study habits now, because you will definitely need them in college. Manage your time wisely, which means stay away from distractions such as T.V. and Facebook! Also, start projects as soon as they are assigned because though you may think you have plenty of time, those due dates creep up on you, and before you know it, you are pulling all-nighters just to finish. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to apply for as many scholarships as possible! There are so many out there, but you have to search. Being at the top of your class and getting straight A's does not mean that scholarships and grants are necessarily going to find you!

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Well Sophie, all your high school teachers are going to tell you that college is going to be a complete 180 from high school, and they are partially right. When they say college professors are going to be super tough on you and not anywhere near as nice as your high school teachers, they are embelishing a bit. My experience with college professors is that they are each very different in their own right. Some are extremely hard on you and will not give you the time of day, and others are extremely accomodating and want to help you in any way possible. As far as the course work goes, it varies from class to class and professor to professor. Some of my professors never assign any work and prefer class discussions to any written work and others stick to long research papers and presentations. Studying is something you are going to have to learn to deal with also. I know you never studied in high school and managed to pass all your tests, but if there's one thing that is different in college, it's the tests. They can make or break your entire grade and GPA.

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As a high school senior, I was one of the many students at the point in their educational career where they feel like the little obstacles of high school seem beyond feasable. What these student experts don't know is what the real world holds ahead of them, ready to throw at their faces like a wet snowball without warning. Nothing that the high school professors told me and nothing that the AP classes presented to me would ever fully prepare me for college life. I heard tales about college regarding study skills, GPA, professors, partying and so on but what I didn't hear about was life on my own. I never realized that having two jobs in high school wouldn't be enough, I never realized that I would have to turn down my friends movie night because I didn't have the cash, and I never realized that my dream of having a car of my own would become far fetched. The advice I needed was to have a better budget throughout my senior year. I was living in the "here and now" and I was too absorbed in the affluent and unrealistic world that surrounded me.

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College life is a wonderful experience. So far my experiences have brought me to be a more independent, intelligent, and resourceful person. Their is no one here to make sure your doing what you are supposed to be doing, so you learn how to manage your time juggling fun and social time with homework and study time. The variety of courses to take and the wonderful and intelligent professors the school has makes learning fun and easy. The school has a great library where books for every course can be found. It is valuable to attend college because it is a nice transition period from being at home with your parents and fending for yourself in the business world. College provides the studies in feilds that high school was not able to offer making job hunting a bit easier and completing your job to the best of your ability. A college education is only one step between you and the job you have been dreaming of since you were a little kid. It is a place where you can truely find yourself in the present and the type of person you wish to become.

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