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Franciscan University of Steubenville

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

My advice to parents and students who are looking for the right college and making most of the college experience is to find a school that your child is going to be the most successful and most happy. Making the most of a college experience for future undergraduates would be to get involved into community service, ministries, clubs, and even sports to meet friends. Also, finding a group of moral people who can hold you accountable and to go to church with will help you through all your college experience. Having faith will get you through the toughest parts of college: mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally. Finding the right college includes seeing what they have to offer, finding out if the website for the school is really what the school is about or if the college campus is not really what the website declares it is, spending the night to get a feel of college life, seeking their extra-curriculars, talking to students around campus and even professors. It is so important that the student feels comfortable on the campus and can see themselves being successful and making friends at this place, especially if it is out of state.

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When looking for the right college, it is obvious to pick one that has the right classes for the major that you wish to pursue, has a reasonable price range, or fulfills your personal criteria on size. However, the vibes you get when researching or visiting a college are also very important, and sometimes overlooked. As a perspective student, you must be able to feel safe on campus. Are there escorts or emergency call posts around campus? You must also be able to feel safe when living in your dorm, so the feelings you get when scoping out a resident?s hall is also very important. Remember to pay attention to the current students when visiting a college. They should seem friendly, upbeat and helpful, all important qualities when considering living in such a close proximity with others. Your impression of other elements, such as grounds and faculty are also very important. Grounds should be clean and kept, and the faculty should be helpful, cared for, and professional. (Do the cafeteria workers seem happy to be working?). Remember that your intuition and overall feeling of the college is vital when choosing the right one.

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The most important lesson I have learned in life is that Education has never been more important than it is right now. Besides the obvious educational development, the educational experience creates an environment that allows many skills that will be useful later on in life, and maybe pick up on talents you never thought you had before. While still high school my biggest advice to you is to stretch your brain. Take a class that intimidates you. If you can face those challenges, work hard and enjoy them, you will succeed. Also, do not be afraid to approach your teachers and ask for help. This experience will make you a stronger student, prepare you for future academic challenges and help you in a future job and/or grad school. Education gives you enhanced skills that you already possess and brings out skills you never imagined having. Even if you are a pro athlete, actor or musician, someone could argue that getting an education is not as important. This may seem logical; however, they are wrong because education gives you lifelong tools that will help your journey in the real world be more pleasurable and profitable.

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I did not discover the value of college until I overcame my stubborness and attended an institution last year. Originally thinking that I knew enough, I desperately avoided college, futilely. Now, after a year of college education, I realize that pursuing higher studies holds benefits. College taught me, first of all, how to live far from my family, make choice on my own, and live independently. The transition, though difficult, was necessary, and by going to college, I experienced the harship surrounded by peers undergoing the same change. My freshman year provided more than maturation. I realized that my knowledge was not sufficient. In just one year, I learned not only about the fine habits of a professional actress and the miniature parts of a microscopic cell, but I also discovered useful information in my area of study, English. From reading more critically to writing mroe professionally, I grew ever closer to my goal of becoming an author. All of this, I would never have experienced without college. University studies contain great importance and unimaginable value in shaping me into the adult I need to be.

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Seventeen years have passed since that beautiful June morning when at last I held my high school diploma. The four years that followed were filled with joys, sorrows, challenges and triumphs. Thrown suddenly into the world of unchecked freedoms, there were many lessons I had to learn the hard way... I can still see young and idealistic Nancy rushing into college life and I long to tell her, "Always remember... always remember that you can't do it by yourself. Even though you are 'on your own' now, the principles of honesty, charity and hard work that your parents taught you need to remain with you. Always remember that freedom is not a right to be squandered, but a privilege that allows you to choose goodness, justice, and love. Always remember that this life is not all there is. You are here for a reason, you have a mission, and your choices last for eternity. And most importantly, always remember the love of God. When all else fails, He is there with His unconditional friendship and mercy. Always remember these things, Nancy, and you will be able to give to the world what it is waiting for from you."

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Finding the right college involves discovering the kind of person you want your son or daughter to become, for the college experience is the time that a person truly finds and solidifies their identity and their role in society. It is thus of ultimate importance to look at a college's values and see if what the college holds dear is something that you want your son or daughter to also embrace. By examining the quality of education, the extra-curricular activities, the diveristy of human experiences, the study abroad opportunities, and most of all the persona of the student body as a whole - one is able to determine what college they best want for their children. A college that respects your values, offers various opportunities for human growth, and graduates solid men and women of integrity who you want your son and daughters to be like is a college that will rightly form, mold, and solidify your son or daughter. What you have to discover is: who do you want your son to be? Who do you want your daughter to be? Only after answering that question can you truly begin to decide which college is right for them.

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I would tell myself to push myself to apply for more scholarships, work harder in school academically, participate in extra-curricular activities, and learn time-management skills. I would tell myself to look at several campuses, paying special attention to cost (including travel expenses), academics, environment, and resources around th campus, and I would encourage myself not to be afraid to discuss such things with the admissions office. If I knew anyone attending the university, I would speak to them about their experiences (good and bad) and how they like where they are, and especially if they could see me being happy there. Also, I would talk to my teachers in regard to what they knew about college and to which schools I might want to apply. I would also let myself know that things will work out as long as I work hard and do my best, and do not stress about the little things in life. And if I don't know what major I will be, I will figure those things out later. There's no immediate rush to know the future, especially when I need to be focusing on graduating from high school.

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The search for the right college can be strenuous and scary when one is searching for "the right school". To be concise, the largest determining factor in my experience was to realize that the four years a student will spend as an undergraduate are some of the most formitive years in some people's lives. Therefore, a potential student shouldn't worry about finding a school "made for them" so much as they should realize what type of formation they should do. It is possible to go to a good school offering a more than adequate education, and learn nothing but party games and how much beer you can drink. Many people waste their time and money this way. The one who strives for the presence of mind to utilize the education offered to them will be closer to realizing their potential for greatness. This is not to say college is all about books and tests-- a college student may learn more about who they are from their social life than from a class about journalism. The point is this: Choose a college that will challenge you to grow and become more fully who you are meant to be.

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Making the transition from high school to college life can certainly be filled with anxiety, but my experience turned out to be much less difficult than I had anticipated. Some of my pre-college worries included homesickness, falling behind in classes, being lonely, and not getting along with my roommate. My greatest fear was that of the unknown: a feeling of anxiety at the mystery of college life and all its new trials. My advice to a high school senior is twofold: take your time, and get involved! The first couple of weeks at my new school were difficult, and I did worry a lot and I missed home for the first weekend, but after that I got involved and I was too busy to be worried about useless things. I realized that my friends were becoming as close as family, and that I would never be lonely without them. I made friends in classes and formed fun study groups to keep up with studies when midterms and finals came around. My roommate became my best friend, and all was well. Of course the unknown can be intimidating, but the best thing to do is jump in with both feet!

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Our hindsight always wishes for better foresight. I spent that first year just trying to figure out what college is, so the best advice I can give is to tell what college is (and isn’t). It is: a place to learn who you are as an adult. Stand for something true, or you’ll be swept away by mediocrity and deception. It isn’t: highschool. Seriously. So many people, yourself included, think that college is supposed to be a second highschool, but without parents. It’s not—it’s the place where you work hard to find who you are going to be. What is your calling? What do you want to do with your life? How will you raise a family? A quick tip: PARTIES. 100% of imbeciles think this is the reason for going to college, and it is… unless you want to stay in college longer than 3 months. You’ll never reach your full potential by partying. Parting words? Find and nurture relationships with people you can trust. Lasting friendships aren’t built over swigs of booze—they’re built by helping others, sticking it out through troubled times, and shooting for the stars together.

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