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George Mason University

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

I would advise students to think of their main interests and future career goals when deciding which college to choose. Also, students should take into account the location and size of colleges before making a decision. Students should also take a tour of the campuses they are applying to before making a decision because they can learn a lot about the university by taking a college tour. Once students get to school, they should go to the freshmen activities that are scheduled during new student week. This is a good way to get involved on campus and meet new people. During this week, new students can become familiar with the different organizations and clubs that their school has to offer. Also, if the students live in a dorm they should make an effort to get to know the people who live on their floor, these people can become good friends. Lastly, students should attend class and take good notes. If students need extra help outside of the classrooom, they can go to their professors office hours or go to their schools tutoring center.

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Since the age of twelve, I knew I wanted to attend college. My mom only attended college for a year and my father did not attend at all. I wanted to be the difference. I am one year behind my brother. He graduated in 2009 and went on to a Community College. My brother struggled his first year and did not do so well in his classes. I began to worry about starting college. Once I graduated in 2010, I knew that I wanted to start college in the fall. I began at Gadsden State Community College where I am getting my basics. I have been attending for about three months now and have discovered that developing good study habits and attending every class is beneficial to my grades. I plan to be a Respiratory Therapist at a childrens hospital because I love kids. In order to recieve my education and reach my goals in life, college is my first step. My college experience is much different than high school because it takes a lot of responsibility and determination for class. When you have a big future ahead of you though, I have to give it all I have.

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I didn?t have a completely horrible senior year, but I was pretty miserable anyway. I knew all year why I was miserable too: I didn?t really get to enjoy it. High school seniors expect to have some time to do things that give them closure, things that let them say goodbye to the way life used to be. As a high school senior, I forced myself to work through every urge to give myself time to adjust; this is why I had hoped to give myself a little bit of a break during my first semester of college, because I wanted to be able to get a grasp on my present and future. Instead of giving myself time to adjust, I unknowingly threw myself into two two-hundred level (advanced) science classes, each with their own lab, a calculus course and corresponding recitation, a women?s studies course, and a freshman adjustment course that had a seemingly-endless number of requirements attached. If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to avoid this workload and plan a schedule with my real academic advisor.

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I had attended small Catholic schools all of my life. They instilled in me morals and the urge to succeed. The only drawback to attending these schools was that I grew up close-minded and blind to diversity. Most of the students I grew up with since kindergarten were upper middle class to higher class, conservative, Caucasian, straight in sexual orientation, Catholics. I had not been subjected to different cultures or belief systems different than my own. I was close-minded to others that were "different" because I did not understand. I would tell myself as a high school student to be more culturally aware and listen to people who may have dissimilar beliefs than me. They are not trying to change my beliefs or tell me that I am wrong, but instead educate about their way of life. Knowing what I do now, I feel that during high school I may have missed some prospective friends because of being close-minded. I think it is important to give everyone a chance to voice their opinion and try to understand instead of immediately shutting them down.

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Do not base what college you send your child to on the tuition costs but rather make sure to visit each interested university and get a feel for the campus, the student life and the faculty. Also do alot of research on different sites such as ratemyprofessors.com to get insight on what students at the universities think of their professors. Nothing is harder on a student than a professor that is not enthusiastic because they are in the classroom rather than out in the field doing research. Tuition costs obviously play an important role but in my experience the cheapest is not always the best for the student even if it is the easiest for the family as a whole. There are various ways of paying for an education and people should definitely explore as those possibilities. The key to a good education is to start looking ahead of time. Begin searching while the student is in high school so that you will be more prepared for when they graduate and the student will not have to spend alot of time transferring because they don't like their school.

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I was the first in my family to go to a four-year institution and for the most part I had to figure out how to apply on my own. My family supported me, but they simply didn't know how to help. Now, as a sophomore, I feel that I have taken leaps and bounds in learning the university system. I have made Dean's List two semesters in a row and have become an active participant in a sorority that does various social and community service activities. My advice to students about making the right choice is to research the university and get involved in university activities once there. Make a list of colleges that you are interested in and visit ALL of them. It is important to get a good sense of the university in person because you will know if it?s a good fit for you. Also, as an admissions representative, researching the admissions website, will help you answer 99.9% of the questions you have about applying and the school. The best thing you can to do to make you?re your college experience enjoyable is work hard but relax and enjoy the ride.

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As a woman who has raised two daughters, served in the armed forces, acquired an AS Degree, and is now entering the golden years of her life, I absoultely have a lot to say to the high school girl I was. First, remember always that you are a valuable human being. As you step onto the road that will determine your life, it is important to know your true worth. You can accomplish so much more than the limitations you may be tempted to place on yourself. If you choose to become a wife or a parent, this does not mean you cannot grow as an individual. Education is the most important aspect of inner growth that you should never deny yourself. The day you decide to enter life as a college student, you should never think, I can't. The student you were - will not be the student you become. At this stage in your life, your desire to learn, to grow, and to advance should not be hindered by the words, "can I do it?". Know, inl your heart, you can accomplish great things, by taking each day as it comes and living that day to the fullest.

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Most high school seniors cannot wait to get into college where they live away from home and are free from parents instructing them. I was in boarding school for some part of high school and so living with strangers from all over the world in college is not entirely new to me. I have learned to open up and respect people and their cultures or ways of living, but also to be firm and not compromise my beliefs. One thing I would advise is not be in a hurry to grow up. Many college students go out and party, get drunk and engage in various daring activities all in the name of freedom and growing up; becoming legal and no longer having to answer to parents. I have seen that this lifestyle brings misery, though people claim to be temporarily happy. It is important to relax and have fun in college and not spent every waking minute studying. There is a balance between the two. Do not take moving on to college as a license to party and wild living. College is just one stage of life. Hopefully, you will have your whole life ahead of you to grow up.

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The advice I would give to myself would be to believe in all of life's possibilities. Education is available for everyone to enjoy. I would say, don't be afraid or negative but to set lifelong goals and do it right out of high school, don't wail thirty-five years. I would tell myself that college is the most important thing, other than being a mother, that a visually impaired or not person can do to prosper and have opportunities in life. I didn't believe that it would be possible for me to go to college because of my disability. I would tell myself that I will excell and earn my degree, because of my determination and positivism. I would tell myself that college is not as difficult as it might seem and that all the people involved in education would do everything possible for me to accomplish my dreams. I have finished my first semester and am beginning my second semester. I have a 4.0 gpa so far and intend to do the best ever in college. Thank you for allowing me to apply for this scholarship. Best wishes to all! Believe and you can.

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Visit the college. Pictures can't give you the information you need. You have to walk around, sit in a classroom, and eat in the cafeteria. Remember, this is where you will be spending the next few years of your life. Just being comfortable with your campus will lift your spirit. Don't worry about finding a campus with a huge social scene and parties every weekend. You won't have trouble making friends if you choose the school you like because, in choosing that school, you already have something in common with everyone else there. You will find friends in your major, in the clubs you join, and in your dorm. Choose classes that you will learn the most from--the ones that challenge you, not the easy "A's". After all, you are paying for it. When I pick a class, I ask myself if I could learn the material on my own. If the answer is yes, I pick something else. I've found myself in advanced economics, chinese, and calculus classes. They are difficult, but I have never been bored, and I have made lifelong friends because of them.

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