I would highly stress the importance of on campus visits. Visiting a school, attending classes, and interacting with professors and students can you give a wealth of information essential. Also research the majors that the schools offer and make sure that they have the major (s) that you're interested in. Check out their study abroad programs and extra curricular activities like clubs and sports programs. Make sure that the campus setting (rural, suburban, etc.) is one that you could see yourself living in. I think that the way the admissions staff interacts and communicates with you is very important. Are they friendly, helpful, and genuine? Or do they treat you like a number and are difficult to communicate with? Refering to making the most of your college experience, I would encourage you to get involved with school activities. Join clubs and attend social events. Get to know your classmates and don't stress to much about grades. Of course, grades are important, but I believe that the most valuable aspect of your college education happens outside the classroom. College is about getting to know yourself, so get out of your comfort zone and figure out who you are.
Academically, my college experience has been everything I expected: the ideal environment to learn the skills relevant and necessary for success in the Computer Science industry. Perhaps even more valuable than the knowledge I've gained attending classes are the more unexpected ways the George Fox community has changed me. Whenever I arrive on campus after spending a break at home I'm filled with an overwhelming sense of peace. I am surrounded by students and faculty who continually live out their faith through action--loving and serving others wherever there is need--and who support and encourage me to develop my talents and share them with the world. Before college I lived in an area known for its violence, gangs and drug culture. Although I was not involved in any of those, the atmosphere was disheartening. In sharp contrast to the community around my home, my college peers have given me hope and fresh perspectives on life while enabling me to overcome deep-rooted fears. I am grateful that my attendence has offered me genuine healing in addition to knowledge, for what good is a scholar who is too broken and fearful to make a difference in the world?
Be yourself, but be openminded. There is nothing greater than arriving on a campus and making a change as your own individual, but there is nothing more devestating than limiting your opportunities by being obstinant. Flexibility is the name of the game. College is a place where you will evolve, as an academic, a worker, a friend, a lover, a responsible contributor to life, and a person. So pay attention to all the subtle hints and details that can pass you by, they are the most important. But once you have taken note, do; Do everything you can; Experience everything offered by the college, the campus, friends, professors, and random situations. To let experience pass, is to let possible life-changing events pass. What you garner from watching and doing will have the greatest effect on your college experience, as well as who you become as a person. Think of college as a training ground for real life, a safety net where you learn the ground rules, so when you arrive at your office, or the real estate agency, or the loan agency, or the bank as a fledgling, you can succeed as yourself, an individual.
Make sure you start your first year taking a variety of classes, don't limit yourself to a certain career path. This is the time in life to explore what matters to you as a separate being from your family. Don't be afraid to make friends with people who are different from you. It helps us see the world with a broader perspective. If your school is near your home, try to stay for most of the weekends. This is when relationships are built, and relationships greatly add to the quality of life. Friendships can make the entire difference between liking or dis-liking school. Do not be afraid to approach professors and ask for help. Professors are great resources for help, letters of recommendation, and connecting you to professional resources. Don't do anything just half-way. Give everything your best. Get involved in school activies right away. Remember that you aren't going to school just for you. It is largely for you, but also for your family, your community and to better society. You are important and you can make a difference. When you find what you want to do, go for it!
It's easy to be lazy. When late nights and early mornings toss you into a weary, monotonous, tiring routine, don't slack off in class. Every second spent is a second filled with things to learn. Utilize as much of your time as possible by meeting new people and encouraging others in what they do. Never be afraid to laugh at what you think is funny, even if it's stupid or "uncool." Be weird in public, because weird is normal and normal is weird. College is a completely new beginning. Life will be filled with juggling classes, homework, jobs, and staying connected with friends and family at home, but all it takes is a bit of diligence and the ability to look at life with the right perspective. Motivation and determination are constantly needed to work towards excellence. In college, every moment in class is spent taking notes and listening intently; it's important to practice now, in high school, and make the transition to college easier. Live with the intent to make a positive difference, and shoot for the stars even when it seems you can barely touch the clouds.
First, don't overlook anything: attend college fairs, send for information on colleges that interest you, and ask questions. Don't just ask your high school buddies where they think you should go -- ask teachers, or your advisor, and keep an open dialogue with the schools that interest you. A college may look nice on paper, but the location may not suit you in reality, so visit the campus of the school or schools that you're interested in or have applied to. To get the most out of your college experience, make goals. If you want to excel in academics, set aside some study time and find a quiet place to get things done. Don't forget to balance study time with friends and/or extracurricular activities, like clubs. It's important to have fun, but college is meant to teach and prepare you for a career -- hopefully one that you will enjoy. Two of the very most important things about college that most people forget are getting enough sleep and eating right. Nothing can replace either for long, and your grades and attitude will probably reflect a lack thereof.
I have grown up a lot in the past two years that I have been in college. In high school, I never needed to study, because the information came natural to me. In my freshman year of college, I realized the same methods would not work. I had to learn how to balance school, and work. Now that I am approaching the end of my sophmore year, I have learned the delicate balance of work and play. I have improved my grades, and social life. College has been an irreplacable experience so far, and has taught me not only scholarly information, but has led me down the path to finding out who I trully am. College teaches it's students priceless lessons about life, and how to deal with problems. Most of what you encounter in college can be applied to the world that awaits you when you gradute. I have learned countless life skills that will help me wherever I end up after college. I am currently beginning the journey to transfer to a four-year university, and look forward to the new experiences that lie ahead. I am certain that I have the foundation that I need.
If I had the chance to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to remember that freedom is a privilege and do not abuse it; when you are at college your choices and your actions reflect your academic success, your personality, and your future. You make your own decisions, nobody will be there holding your hand as they do in high school, meaning professors do not care if you attend class, you are accountable for getting everything done , tests are everything, and the weight of your success is all on you. Procrastination is the worst thing you can do fin college, and it will show, you cannot get by with half your effort. Most of all, I would tell myself and any other high school student that college is not only a new chapter in your life where you will pursue education for a degree and a career, but also a time to make as many memories as you can and meet new friends. Make time for yourself and your interests; step out of your comfort zone, and be sure to take time to have some fun and relax sometimes.
I've obtained from my college experience an increase in confidence and maturity as an adult. During orientation a man had said that there are only two ways for an adolescent or teenager to really become an adult and that is through the military and or college. I couldn't have agreed more because I was transferring from a community college that I attended for two years and already I had changed for the better and received a great education. It was valuable to attend and live on Fox campus for only one semester because I had gained an increase in confidence and received one hell of an education. I have to hand it to my anatomy and physiology professor Kathy Weiss who I recommend to any pre-nursing student looking for the best instructor who teaches the human body. Living on campus resulted in me learning and experiencing things that I thought I'd never experience and it changed me for the better. I learned what I wanted to be known and perceived as by others and I gained values and morals that I don't think I could have gained anywhere else.
The best advice I could give to parents and/pr students about finding the right college is to set your goals before you begin your educational search. Too often students want to attend the same school as their friends, only to find out that college now, somewhat, resembles their high-school years. There is too much socializing, time spent away from studying, and often the student or his/or her friends end of dropping about because they weren?t focused on their goals. Look for a college that suits you, not your friends, or even your parent?s goals. Find out what you truly want to do, and then look for schools that match your requirements. Look for things such as the availability of programs, class size, national awards, sports, and extra curricular activities. Go visit the school, talk to current students, find out about their job placement skills. Check out the dorms ? you will be surprised how small they are! Of course, in the end, money is always a factor, but don?t let that detract you from finding the perfect school for you.