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George Mason University

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

If I was able to go back and give myself advice about college life and the transition, I would tell myself to join a Fraternity. A fraternity would greatly have improved all aspects of college life and the transition. By joining a fraternity I would have met many new people with common interests depending on what type of frat I join. The transition would have been smoother because the upper classmen in my frat would be able to give me helpful hints and tips about the college and how to manage my time. My weekends certainly would not be quiet with all the activities that I would be doing to fill my time. I would be helping my community by doing volunteer work and I would hangout with my brothers in my spare time. Also with a fraternity, I would meet other great fraternities and sororities through group activities and having many contacts is very beneficial. I would be able to find someone in any field to help me with any situation whether it be a tutor, someone with a special skill, or just the know how of solving a problem. This information would have been very beneficial to me.

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Finding the right college is like finding the perfect car that you have always wanted. You have to take time and not only look around the actual campus but talk to the ?sales people? or representatives. Finding out what ?extras? the college offers such as student computer labs, recreational opportunities, student organizations, or even extracurricular activities can be very helpful when the running is close between two or more colleges. Most important when searching for the right college is to find out what current students have to say. Make sure to speak to a couple of students and find out how the feel about the professors, the class content and the college as a whole. Once in college, make the most of it! Make sure to take advantage of all the campus activities offered throughout the year, these are great for networking and simply meeting your peers. These social events are also the perfect time to unwind, relax, and reenergize. Enjoy every second of the college experience from the usual sleepless nights to the relief that sweeps over when your last final exam is complete.

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Transitioning from high school to college not only provides invaluable lessons to life but also transforms one into a grown, mature adult. In high school, I prepared for the journey towards college. Such skills, tools, and resources readily available pave the pathway to an education of higher learning. As a high school senior all but one adive stood above all--in order to make a decision, I must stand by it and to never look back. It was my choice to apply for scholarships to help pay for school tuition. There was a decision to make in applying for college and where to eventaully attend. A selection was made whether or not to accept college loans. All of these decisions became determinants of how I chose the college I decided to be in. Of course there was nothing to lose in doing scholarships given time. It was a matter of finding the right kinds and applying for them as soon as possible. Knowing the road I was prepared to drive on would be smooth and rocky at times, I had to make the best decisions that would reflect my ambitions, challenges and goals as best as possible.

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When searching for the right school for you, don't forget that you'll be the one attending it. Take others opinions into consideration, but overall, you want to find a right fit for you. Make a plan of what you're looking for in a school, and search for that criteria. If you participated in activities in high school, you may want to consider contributing to them again in college. Look for schools that offer the same or similar activities so you have the opportunity to become involved on campus. Be selective, there are many colleges that offer many if not all of the criteria you are looking for. Also, don't settle, don't choose a college that has only one out of ten things you are looking for. Being involved in campus activities is a great way to meet new people and become diverse in your experiences. If you plan to stay close to home, I recommend that you consider living on campus. Being away from home will help you gain more knowledge about being independent and more responsible. Most important of all, put effort into your search, you will be there for two to four years!

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Parents and students going through the arduous application process should keep in mind the important of the decision ahead. Take the time to go see the schools and, if possible, spend a day and night on campus. Study the students by people watching and try to imagine yourself next year. Don't be overly quick to judge a place that looks like you would dislike it for personal reasons if you know the academics are worth it; for example: don't be too quick to shoot down a campus in the middle of no where. Do not ever decide to reject a promising looking school brashly, without at least a few days to coolly ponder the situation. Whenever it is a decision about quality versus money and the decision is close, choose quality. Do not stress and think of finality and fate-sealing, the decision is not that absolute. However, always remember that which university you attend for however many years will be the most important factor in your life during the time you attend. Anyway you go, university is a great experience so have fun choosing which one you have the opportunity to attend.

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Whenever my parents would lecture me, my dad would always tell me that they know better than me since they've had more experiences in life than I've had but being the stubborn child that I was I never listened. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to be more focused in school and internship/volunteering opportunities. I was more focused on hanging out with my friends. Those friends who I'm not even in touch with today. I could have graduated a year earlier but instead I took electives so I could graduate with my friends. When graduation came around, those seats were empty. Friends/boyfriends don't stay in your life forever unless your fortunate to become friends with the right crowd. I would have spent that time taking more AP courses or courses through the dual enrollment program. Even spending that time volunteering could have led to more opportunities to create a better future for myself. I would have read a lot on topics such as savings/investing. They don't teach you those kinds of things in school. I would have saved my paychecks and not wasted them on hanging out.

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Picking the right university is a tough choice. Many students make the mistake of not looking through all their options and settleing for something familiar. We are lucky to live in a country with these many options for higher education and we should take advantage of these opportunities. Try to narrow down your choices, such as whether you would like the school to be in an urban or rural setting. Or, whether you prefer a large student body or one with 2,000 students. Even though, living on campus is more expensive and can be hard to adjust to, the college experience only happens once in a lifetime and will be worth the cost. But many students do not have this option. The university that I am attending is mostly a commuter school. I know of friends who simply go to class and leave campus as soon as their classes are over. They do not feel like a part of the school and their college experience can get quite lonely. This is why I recommend that students get involved in extracurriculars. There are plenty of clubs and intramurals. Get involved and do not be afraid to meet people.

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One piece of advice that I would give every parent and child when finding the right college is to be adaptable. There will be many obstacles in the way of finding the right place to go, especially money. However, happiness and suitability at school can make a world of difference in college, so never rule out a possible "right fit" based on money. Also, do not expect the future student to know exactly what he or she will major in or where they will work upon graduation-most people change majors at least once in their career and an honest idea of what profession interests them enough to make a career of can only be found through experience. Choose a college with a wide variety of disciplines and activities. Extracurricular activities and clubs help with the transition process to college, making friends, and providing a safe alternative to drinking, drugs, and illegal activities. Finally, if you don't have the answer, you haven't asked the question: you MUST ask as many questions as you have and be persistent in finding an answer in order to make the right choice in a college.

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As a high school senior, there's a lot of things going through your mind: what new adventures you'll experience as a college freshman, the freedom you're about to gain, the opportunity to recreate yourself. The most important things when it comes to the academics of college life are organization, time management, and study skills. You won't have someone telling you to do your homework or study. Procrastinating and not getting enough sleep at night are two huge mistakes most freshman make because it got them by in high school. You might have to give up some social activities every once in a while to make sure your grades stay up to par. You have to motivate yourself to want to do well. It's more difficult for some than others to get used to not having parents around for when you need something. You have to be able to balance your life between social time, study time, and you-time. Planning ahead and keeping your priorities straight are key.Although it may be challenging at first because you're all on your own for the first time, you can do it. Lastly, relax and be confident.

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This may not seem critically important to most people, but one piece of advice I would give my high school self is to not enter college in a long-distance relationship. There are so many aspects of college life that I separated myself from in order to please my boyfriend and make sure I kept our relationship strong. In high school, I pretty much knew everyone by name. I was the student body president by my senior year and involved in numerous activities. In short: I was comfortable with my environment and comfortable with myself. Unfortunately, things changed when I got to college. Since I went to a considerably larger school than my Catholic high school, I knew close to no one. Instead of remedying the situation by going out and meeting a lot of people, I kept to myself a good amount of the time and just talked to my boyfriend on the phone or through text messages. I started to only focus on what made him happy and neglected my own personal needs. This made me hate my school because I cried so much, when really the dissatisfaction came from within me, not the school itself.

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