Thus far I have just completed the admittance process. I have learned that applying for college can be tedious if you are not properly prepared. You must have all of your information ready before you even begin the application process. Even though the school has financial aid officers and other staff to assist you, I learned that they do not always have the right answers and therefore, as a new college student, you must be prepared to do a lot of research on your own. I learned a lot during orientation, but I will need to do further research to look into what works best for me. I anticipate getting all that I can out of attending college, including financial aid, communicating and interacting with other people and ethnic groups. After receiving my certificate, I can elect to persue a higher level of education and will have earned credits to take with me. My college experience has been VERY valuable to me because it is a door that opened for me as I venture into another era of my life. This has to be the most important and valuable decision that I ever made.
Knowing what I know about college life and making the transition, the advice I would give myself is to ask not what a college can do for me, but what I can do for that college. During my senior year while picking out ideal colleges and applying, all I thought about is what college can offer me. I wanted to know if I had picked a college to attend, what could they offer me academically, socially, financially, and intellectually for my future. But in reality, what distinguish a college from other colleges in the nation are the students that make up that college community. Most colleges want the person they admit to their school to help improve and make the college a better place. As a freshman in college now, I am learning that I have to make the most out of my college experience. The college admission's office does not just look at the academic record, but what other factors and activities on this application can show that I am a well-rounded individual in society. College life is almost similar to high school in way that you have to make the best out of the experience.
"If I could go back in time" is a phrase used by most people at some point in their lives. For myself, I can recall saying that about my senior year of high school. I did not truly understand the importance of making good grades and doing well on my SATs, nor the consequences of skipping classes and not completing assignments. Thankfully, I was accepted to Longwood College. I honestly believed that I would get up early every morning, go to breakfast, go to class, and finishing my afternoon with lunch and studying. Unfortunately, I barely made it to my morning classes. I don't recall eating breakfast after the first week. My afternoon study time quickly became my nap time. Still, the worst part was how home sick I was. The advice that I would give myself is to really think about who I am. I never liked getting up early or eating breakfast before college. Knowing how close I was to my family, I should have chosen a college near my home. I believe, if you want to be successful, you need a plan that will enable you to be successful. Don't waste precious time.
Knowing what I know now about college life I would advice myself to find an internship based on the career I want to pursue and experience life outside of just school. I'd tell myself to better understand money management even with my current financial situation. I would also excercise the importance of reading books to further my knowledge on business related subjects like, finance, management, marketing, and accounting. With this I could understand the basics and what kind of effort or work goes into each subject. One important matter I would conclude with is how important it is to stay optimistic and never give up. As a student-athelete that is less fortunate then others playing golf is no easy task. I would consistently tell myself to overcome any obstacle that comes my way and not to let myself down mentally. To continue pushing and striving to be the best in both sports and academics even if the best only amounts to a small progress. In the end I would let myself know accomplishing goals and getting good grades is only worth as much effort as I put in.
First, I would recommend the applying student to think about his/her own personality before beginning any application. Perhaps make a list of what the student would like to change later. Also, it is very helpful to set out a list of short-term and long-term life goals for onself. This will help narrow down what type of schools the applicant would be most interested in. A college choice is a huge commitment - financially and mentally. My advice for parents is to give the student as much freedom and responsibility as possible with his/her decision. It will help them later in their academic career when they don't always have mom or dad to lean on. Let him/her fill out FAFSA on his/her own until he/she needs your tax information. These little steps of letting go on the parents' part will pay off for the student even if it goes unnoticed at first. Finally, to make the most out of the actual experience, it is recommended that a student should live on-campus - in the midst of the action so that they can watch the institution come alive. Hopefully this has made an impact.
My advice would be to take control of your own life and plan out a future. If you plan to go to college, imagine yourself three years from now as a junior in college and ask if this is really what you want. Plan to go to college by taking into account the academic program and your capabilities. Then push your own boundaries to become more independent and really work towards school. At the same time, learn to take care of yourself; become responsible for everything you do. After high school, life becomes more serious and you need to begin thinking for the future as soon as possible. Pick an obtainable but meaningful degree program, avoid excessive student loans to get there, pick a career field that you will enjoy and also make a living from. And do not be afraid to take on more work than you think you can handle; you will surprise yourself what you can deal with when you really commit. Keep in mind that this is working towards your adult life, make it worth living. Along the way, give yourself small rewards to remind you how your hard work will pay off in the end.
Always go to your classes. I know it seems like it isn’t necessary because the classes are so huge and it is extremely cold out, but you need to go! This will definitely help you get those amazing grades. Definitely make those appointments during office hours with professors so they can get to know you and definitely make these connections for future recommendation letters! Make sure you make appointments with your advisor regularly, because George Mason will not encourage you to pursue this, even though it is incredibly important. Live off campus after the first year. Campus housing is extremely stringent and there is no extra sense of community when you live on campus. Find some great friends to live with and move into a house nearby where you can have a bigger sense of freedom. Make sure you take advantage of the study abroad programs. Finally, George Mason is what you make of it. Because it is so big, you get lost in the crowd. Make sure you join lots of clubs, volunteer, and make an effort to go to D.C. It seems like far away, but it is definitely worth it!
First off, the teachers are not lying when they say all the seemingly pointless essays and book readings will help you once you walk into a lecture hall. So instead of blowing them off and pouting about it, take them seriously and work harder to be more efficient. It will pay off when you reach exam week and are drowning in more than enough studying material. Also, do not worry about not having enough extracurricular activities that involve the school. If you are passionate with something else, like softball or working in your church, do that. It will still give you experience that some people never get if they sit at home. But also, do not let fear hold you back. Give something more than one try before you give up. I understand it may be scary, but it is better to try than to give up and never know. Lastly, do not be afraid to fail. It will happen and most likely more than once. That is life. Failing one test will not be the end of the world. It happens. Relationships will fail too. Just pick yourself up and keep moving. Do not forget to laugh.
Students should research the college before applying to them. Make sure the college has your major and class sizes you want. Students should not just apply to a college because of the college's name or what their parents want. The students should choose a college that will make them happy for they are the ones who will be living there for the next 4 years. Make sure that one is not just applying to the college for their social aspect. Students are students, hence the name and studies come first. People say that drinking and doing drugs is part of the college experience, but it does not have to be. Make sure that the people on the campus are hard working people willing to do something with their lives. The best way to enjoy a college experience without having to drink or do drugs is to either join a sport or a club. Students always forget is that there are people on campus that are willing to help, such as teachers and administators. College is a hard and scary time and when hard times hit people are alway there, just don't be afraid to ask for help.
Looking back now, one of the most important pieces of advice I would give myself would be to let things happen naturally. The first semester of college is very overwhelming. Especially the first few weeks, there is a sense of urgency to make new friends, get involved in campus life, and do well in classes that are very different from high school. It is easy to start comparing oneself to others, and believe that if I am not having the exact same experiences as others than I must not be doing college right. Everyone is different, and everyone has a different college experience. You can not enjoy your experience until you begin to relax and just let things happen as they come. The people I am close with now are not the people I met the first week. The organizations I thought I would want to join are not the ones I actively participate in now. It takes awhile to find where you belong, and college is about exploring a wide variety of interests. Be open to new possibilities, enjoy each and every experience given to you, and everything else will just fall into place.