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George Mason University

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

I have gained so much in my first year at GMU. As a military brat, I am used to being forced into new situations and having to adapt (see moving 7 times before I went to college). However, college was an entirely new ballgame. Being on my own was something that was an invaluable learning experience. Simple things like finding a docter in the area and going by oneself or figuring out how to dress for a meeting with a VIP without Mom to approve/veto outfits was an exercise in learning how to be independent. Additionally, it was incredible to attend classes with other like minded people and really get emersed in one's major. High school involves, oftentimes, sitting through classes that you hate and have nothing to do with your passions. Yes, it is true, you are required to take so many general education classes in college. However, even first semester you still have the opportunity to dive into the classes you know you will love, or take a sampling of everything to find out what it is you really are passionate about. College has proved valuable already by teaching me about myself and my new independence.

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There are three most important advices every student should get in choosing the right college. The first is students should select a college depending on their own academic level. It all depends on how much the student is willing to challenge him or her. Certain colleges are more intense than others and require a harder course work, while others offer the same type of education but in a less challenging environment. The second important advice is getting involved in school. Getting involved in any type of organization will make the college experience richer for students and a lasting memory that they can remember for a life time. Making the most out of the college experience really depends on the student. Some students are more into sports, while others are more active in clubs and organization. Yet, the most important advice, which is the third, is being able to add to the diversity of the school. It is always a learning experience to interact with different students and gaining new knowledge. Having new experiences, either academically or socially, is a part of college and making the most out of it.

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It's amazing how much your life can change, when you look and see the direction it's heading. For parents, you see your child find their identity in such a hectic world. As for a student, the identity is what drives you everyday, to search it and define it with every oppurtunity given. Resonsibilty and irresponsibilty, oddley enough, go commonly in one relationship, family. Trust is one of the most influencental emotions that can be shared within this unity . Have faith in the struggles and doubts, understand the pressures and know that together, you will always be there, eternaly. When I recieved my acceptance letter to George Mason, crossing the stage at my high school graduation, and even today, balancing a scholarship essay and a Religion 211 paper at the same time, my parents are there, and they trust in my descions and in my furture. I havnt crossed the finish line just yet, but this is what I have gained from my college experience already, and I can say I have grown so much, to better myself and to keep my family in balance of a life I endebt to them for making all my dreams, come true.

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If I were able to give myself any advice when I was in high school I would have emphasized the importance of confidence and self motivation. I believe that confidence and self motivation, especially in todays evolving society, are key in making educated and healthy decisions. Having learned from experience, and being a returning college student after a six year absence, has shown me that having the condience to believe in yourself and the willingness to follow your own goals, no matter what the world has going on around you, is the key to success and achieving your goals. In high school, I now realize that the assignments came somewhat easy to me, and I lost my motivation to strive for greater things. I allowed myself to believe that it would always be that way, and once out of school I very quickly realized that is not the case. Confidence is neccessary to be able to stand your ground at times when peer pressure and distractions may have gotten the best of me. As I return to school all these years later, I have learned so much and try to instill both traits into my every day life and education.

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Transferring from high school to a college/university can be a tricky and complicated process. Being a first generation American, it was even more confusing for me due to the lack of parental guidance. For high school students who are currently in the same position I was, my advice would be to stay organized and ask a lot of questions. After high school, I attended a community college in which the transition process wasn’t too difficult for I simply filled out an application and sent my transcript. It was the transition to a four year university which was the challenging part. My advice is summed up in the words map, notice, and ask. Map out the courses you will need for the desired degree, if you are planning to transfer as I did, then make sure you take the courses that transfer. Notice the deadlines, it is very easy to miss application and scholarship deadlines, the mistake of missing a deadline is one you want to avoid. Finally, my last piece of advice is ask, instead of fretting away in ignorance, it is best to ask for guidance or advice from counselors/advisers for they are there to help.

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College is typically four years, therefore it's important to be well aware of possible activities one might want to partake in during this period aside from academics. It's like an athlete that knows how good he or she wants to be and what exercises to do. However, you need a fully equipped gym that has what you need to create this new you. Don't look at finances first when deciding on a school for yourself! This road will only lead down a narrow path with few choices and usually not much to offer. Unless only an education matters, then finding the right college need to be a wide then narrow approach. After all the world is becoming more interconnected and it is probably wise to take an opportunity to physically engage others from around the globe while shaping the person you will be. All schools have their standard requirements for admission, but it your choice where you really want to go. It doesn't take a team of expert to compile a realistic list and then decide how to financially cover expenses, especially with the wide array of resources available today. Take the time to choose!

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Determining the right school is a very difficult decision. It should not be based solely on the reputation of the school or how much financial aid is given. I have three pointers to be considered before picking a school. First pick five things that are important to you, and then eliminate the schools that do not suit those five significant things. For instance my five preferences are God, my family, career, fresh air, and warm weather. If going to George Mason University interfered with being around my family and the weather was below forty degrees more than one third of the year, I would not have chosen Mason. Next before selecting a school, visit the school and ask current students what they think about the school. Lastly before making the big decision, travel to the community around the school. Check for a bank you and your parents have, a local doctor that takes your health insurance, and transportation home like Amtrak so you can get a break from school and visit family on the holidays. Accepting the right school is one of the biggest decisions. So make sure you choose wisely.

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After attending just one semester of college, I have gained enough experience and understanding to begin regretting some of my past decisions. To begin with, I would advise myself to get a job. This is extremely important for your future, and it is best to start practicing while still in high school. Find a job that you can work at during the weekends and even some weekdays because it is essential to learn to balance school, homework, a job, and leisure time. Plus, you earn some extra money which you can save up for college. Furthermore, pass those AP exams! I was fortunate enough to earn 16 credits that transferred to college, but had I passed a few more, I could have taken summer school classes and gotten an entire year ahead. The reason why I’m so keen on graduating a year early is because college is pricy, so the less time I spend there, the less money I spend there. Not to mention, there’s graduate school after that, adding another two years to my agenda. Ultimately, I would advise myself to work faster, with more efficiency yet with just as much intellect, but remember to have fun.

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If I could go back and tell myself anything about college, it would have been to apply for more scholarships and start saving for it earlier. Before I even started filling out college applications, everyone that had either been in college or was currently in college stressed the importance of being able to afford it. Some representatives from organizations such as Access even came to some of my classes and personally gave ways as to how we could make college affordable. I heard everything I was suppose to so that I could avoid taking out loans in my name or stressing on how I was going to make it to the next semester. Still, I now have student loans in my name. I did not realize that financies played a huge role in my education until I saw it on paper and money started coming out of familly accounts. Grades, clubs, and internships are important, everyone is told that. Not everyone gets how just important the financial aspect is though until it is too late. I personally know people who will not be able to finish college because of it and like myself, struggle to pay. My advice, plan early.

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College is a very formative period in one?s life. Many things should be taken into consideration when making your choice. Among the more common things to consider are the cost and location of the university, however, even those things need to be looked at on a deeper lever. Look at the cost of living in that area, not just tuition. Does the surrounding area offer a variety of resources? Other things to consider include the distance from home, dining options, and size and composition of the student body. It?s very common for someone to change their major, so a variety of programs of study is very important. To make the most of the experience I would highly recommend living on campus for at least the first year. Also, join a group related to something you enjoyto meet more people. Look at what extracurricular options are available when deciding what school is right for you, too. All of these things are important, but the best piece of advice I can give is to know yourself. A school may look great on paper, but if you know it doesn?t suit you it will be a long four years.

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