George Mason University Top Questions

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

Chris

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.

Chelsea

As a high schooler, I attended a boarding school and grew accustomed to living away from home very early. However, living in a dorm is not the only transition one needs to make at college. If I could go back to advise my senior self, I would tell myself to study more dilligently; rather than spending all my time with friends and not focussing. I would makes ure I knew that even if I didn't get to go to the school I wanted, that the school doesn't matter as long as you take advantage of the education you are given. I would also advise myself not to get too caught up in how well you do, because I tend to do worse when I think I'm doing fine. And lastly, I would tell myself to always put my best effort in, because even if you get a C, as long as you've done your best, that's all that matters.

Saurabh

Take it easy, evaluate all the options, spend a good deal of time trying to figure out what you really want to do ..

Casey

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.

Meagan

Look into degree programs more closely and really work on transferring and making friends.

Sharon

I would say that I was relatively practical in the advice that I gave myself as a high school senior with regards to my expectations, but the one thing that I would tell myself is to be realistic. I began at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Coming from a small town, I thought that I wanted the big city life, but realized when I got there, that I was lonely and wanted more family support - all of whom were in Virginia or Maryland. I transferred to George Mason in Fairfax, Virginia and received the support of my family, who were in close proximity to my school, while also getting that city-life experience.

kelli

I would do it the same all over again because my ninth grade teachers stressed the importance of grades. I continued to stay focused and worked hard. One of the most important things I learned was that due dates are always closer than they appear and that taking a low grade is better than taking a zero so always put in your best effort. The work does not have to be the best, just make it your best. Even failing is learning because you learn what to avoid. Without education there is no progress, and no progress means no room for success. Make your pain a passionate, meaning if you do not like school do not work for it, adjust it to work for you by making it engaging.

Olivera

Study hard from the beginning and take advantage of the resources given. Use your professors and get to know them - they are INCREDIBLE people! Never, EVER, give up, and enjoy your beautiful time while you have it :) School is amazing.

Stephanie

When I first came to college, I had no idea about what to expect. First of all, I was homeschooled until college, so I was worried about the transitions that I would make. Secondly, I was not excited to keep studying when I was almost done with high school. What I did not realize was that I would become more curious about the world and what I was studying and learn that homework done on time is easy to control. This really became clear to me four weeks into college, when I realized during calculus class that I was really excited to solve the word problem that I was doing so that I could find out what the maximum revenue of cookies would be. When it dawned on me about how engaged I was in my homework and what I was learning, I realized just how fun college is. Of course the parties and late night chats with friends are fun; everyone knows that because college social life is so talked about. However, I think that I would want to tell myself that one of the best things that I would learn in college is how to have fun learning.

meagan

Have a plan going into college, know what classes to take sooner.

Jasmine

I would look in the mirror and say Jasmine Griffith make sure that you pray every night, keep God, and your family close because college will be hard financially and academically. There will be days when you feel that you are entirely overwhelmed but the work is worth it. If your feeling stressed, never keep it bottled up, in fact call your mom and let her cheer you up. When possible volunteer and give back beccause you are very lucky to be where you are. Even though times are tough and you face days when you are not sure if you'll be back at school for the next semester because of your finances, just always remember that you are strong and there is always a way.

Lauren

The only thing I would possibly change is how hard I worked in high school. I would tell myself to work harder, that it will pay off once I got to college. Also, I would tell myself to cherish my time with my family and friends, to enjoy every minute of it, because in college I do not get to see them as much as I would like. As far as advice in making the transition, I would advise that I should not worry as much as I did. Making friends is not as difficult as I expected as long as you are open and kind to others.

Jayson

First off, I will tell myself to set-up long-term academic plans. Then, tell myself to practice and improve networking skills. Lastly, I will tell myself to establish priorities and at the same time enjoy college life.

Katherine

To just relax, it is not as hard as you think it will be. Not to worry because there are tons of people at the university that will help you if you need any help transitioning. The begining will be different and strange for you, you will get used to it and you will enjoy it. Have fun and to always keep up with your school work, don't fall behind because it is hard to catch back up.

Melissa

Don't hold back on speaking up about tuition expenses! If other colleges offer a financial aid package, try getting the college you'll be attending to match it. Also, any job you work that promises to assist with tuition, make sure they live up to it! You're a smart girl and you'll do great in college, no doubt! But remember money doesn't grow on trees. And heads up, you'll be paying your own way. All those pennies you saved up from young are going to slip right out of those pretty little fingers. You might want to look into finding a job that will pay generously and not leave you with the burden to bear alone.

Emily

Look for a campus that has the potential you want to see in yourself . Don't worry about where your friends are going--you'll keep in touch and make new friends. Look at the area surrounding the colleges you are considering. If you plan on going into the city or shopping or taking public transportation frequently, learn what resources the college has to offer. Consider all the programs and minors that the college offers because you might change your mind once you get here. Learn how the university works. Find out who to call when you need answers. Make a four year plan that is flexible and that can be updated every semester. Familiarize yourself with your major and your requirements. Try to get an on-campus job if you're living in a dorm. Most employers make it easy for working students to study at work. Don't forget to be yourself. Be open and honest and helpful to others because there's bound to be somebody who is in the same situation as you.

Coree

Prepare to study more your last two years of school. The work load does get significantly higher and you must get in that frame of mind and sacrefice sleep and other things to keep up your grades. Plan, plan, plan. Plan your four years out so that you can actually finish in four years. Very few people actually finish in four years. Take harder classes your first two years so you do not have to swamp yourself your last two years.

Cameron

Don't be afraid to meet new people or get to know teachers on a personal level. Socially, meeting new people is the best way to open doors and create life long friends and connections. The teachers you get to know will be your helping hand when its time for you to get the job you've always wanted! Also, have more school spirit! Its a great way to have fun when you can yell your head off at basketball games!

Meriam

If I had a chance to go back and give myself any advice I absolutely would. This, however, does not change the fact that both my experience and transition have taught me a lot. I would advise myself to take high school more seriously and have a better GPA and do better on my SATs. For me , this issue was my biggest weakness of all. I did not take SATs as serious as well as my last year of high school. The reason why I feel this way is because I learned that the results of my SATs and final year in high school shaped my life and college future differently. For me, the school I attended turned out the best choice for me , even though it wasn?t my first choice.

Meagan

I would tell myself to focus more on the classes I need to finish a degree in Biology instead exploring other classes. And to focus on getting into a good graduate school.

Mark

apply to more schools. even though i love it here, apply everywhere, keep your options open

Elizabeth

I would probably tell myself week one will suck because your friend will die, but God will pull you through it and the rest will be awesome. It won't be easy, but you make a lot of friends, you find yourself, and it hopefully puts you on a good path. Also, make sure you watch when homework is due for classes and read your math book before class!

Marlon

I would tell myself that George Mason is better than what you actually thought it would be, but try to visit more colleges to compare to George Mason so that you don't only have one opinion.

Brian

I would tell myself to truly work hard for what I am passionate for. I have regrettedly made some decisions that I wish I could have taken back, so if I had the chance to do it again, I would care more about my school work. I would also tell myself to manage my time and make time for things that I wanted to do. I learned that in college it is much more than academics and more about an experience and learning .

SungMin

What you do at the college is important, not the college itself. I would say that choose a college that you can easily afford, or the one that gives you the best financial aid, but also choose a school that has abit of good reputation. Balance between financial aid and the school itself. Go to school, make lots of friends, and make sure to have fun while studying, because thats what really matters. You will be glad that you chose to go to your college if you have lots of fune and learn alot in the process. Good luck!

Jasmine

Make sure that this is the college for your child. When making a decision weigh out the pros and cons about for perfect school based on your expectations.

Binh

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.

Sumaya

Go to the campus and check it out. Reading about it is nothing like living it. Talk to the teachers and administrators. See how diverse it is, and the different way that one can learn. Check out their school activites, and organization...you must always find something that you can fit in!

Antonia

My advice to parents and/or students about finding the right college would be to do your research on the school and when you get accepted, narrow your choices down and definitely visit the school. College open houses can tell you a lot about how campus life is. Everyone's standards are different concerning how far the school is from your home or financial circumstances but all you need is time to think it out. Do not rush your decision. I would say you can make the most of your college experience by attending all of the events possible and just getting involved. It's always good to go out even if you don't know anyone. That is how you meet people, by leaving your room. Even if it's just for a walk around campus, if the student body is friendly enough and welcoming, you can make new friends in an instant.

Lamees

Make sure the student feels at home and in an environment that he or she can grow both intellectually and personally.

Gina

I know that my first couple weeks of college were pretty lonely and my advice to students is to find out what your campus offers to you as soon as you arrive. Don't just sit in your room doing homework. Go out and find out what sports and organizations they offer right away and it will honestly make the experience so much better for you. You cannot find yourself by sitting alone, you find who you really are and who you are meant to be through the people that you meet and the things that you do with the time you are given.

Laurie

I would stongly encourage making ful usage of campus tours for any colleges the student it thinking about. The right college is noticable when doing a tour and you feel like you fit on the campus, that is when you know that is where you should be. I highly recommend keeping your options wide open, because you never know. In high school I had my heart set on James Madison University in Harrisonburg, and I ended up at George Mason University in Fairfax. They have two completely different lives around them, with different feelings of the campus. I am glad I choose George Mason University. To make the most out of your college experience is not to hold back. Be open to all options of interest at the college campus, never turn anything down. Having an open mind for all that comes your way brings a better social experience and better understanding of yourself and belonging at campus.

Tracy

All four year colleges have the same basic curriculum. The first two years involve many university and college/department specific requirements, and then the next two years involve electives and requirements for the chosen major. A degree is a degree no matter where it is earned. Tuition pays for a high caliber academic experience whether a student decides to attend a community college or Harvard. But en route to finding the right college, the best advice I can give is to find a school atmosphere that is comfortable for the incoming student. It is difficult to concentrate on studies when a student is somewhere that does not fit into their comfort zone. For many, it is the first time that these young adults are living away from home, away from the safety net of loved ones and familiar places. It is difficult to succeed when a student cannot settle themselves comfortably into a new home. Joining extracurricular activities may help develop a bond with the university and students, but it is not the solution. Once a sports practice is over, a student must still return to the same dorm room, the same cafeteria, and the same college life.

melissa

n/a

Tiffany

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.

Molly

In choosing a college, you must first consider your strengths, passions, goals, and needs. After narrowing your choices by your price range, your should select those schools which have programs in his preferred area of study. Once this has been done, you should visit your favorite colleges to determine which atmostphere and location best suits your preferences. Upon choosing a college that fits your educational goals and lifestyle, you can begin immediately to make the most of your experience. You should research the school to discover what it offers in the way of student organizations, on-campus job opportunities, religious groups, internships, and other things in which the student is interested. Before you have settled into the rigours of academics, you can meet group leaders to express interest. I would recommend not officially joining a group until you are sure that your homework load will allow full dedication. Schoolwork must always take precedence over extra-curricular activities, however, never sacrifice your social life entirely. Key to a fulfilling college experience is this balance between school and fun, to keep this balance, I recommend finding an older person, perhaps an upper-classman, parent, friend, or professor, to help you keep it.

Heather

College is a discovery process. Everyone probably wants to graduate from college, but what does that really mean. They have to ask themselves that, those four years that students spend there yes are primarily for education, so after those four years are up what are you going to do. The realization does not seem to set in on most students. Parents understand a little more about the after-college life. Finding the right college is difficult but it really depends on what you want, do you want to party your way through an easy Bachelors or work constantly at maintaining a high GPA. The choice is up to you, measure the quality you will receive, time is not something to be wasted doing what you dont think is worth it.

Priyanka

I would advice parents to allow their children to attend as many college visits. It is important for the student to like the college enviroment. Another advice is not to prevent a student from going to college because of Money issues. There is so many oppurtunites avaible that preventing a child from going to school they want because of money trouble would be bringing a big unnessesary obstacle to the child's future.

Genessey

I would definitely recommend visiting the schools you are considering and instead of going on a campus tour with a student ambassador, visit the school during a school week if possible. Or visit on a weekend during a semester. This will give you a better idea of what the campus life is like-you can always ask students questions and I'm sure they would help you out. To make the most of your experience don't be afraid to meet new people or try out new clubs.

Fareeha

The best advice for parents and students is to work together and to listen to each other. Parents and students should explore campuses they are interested in together and discuss their visit afterwards. I feel the more open they are with each other the easier the process can be and the more comfortable everyone feels with the finalized college selection. It is wise for students to evaluate colleges by considering programs each college offers and how well established their department of interest is at the college. It is always smart to review the professors and classes offered at each college. It is also neccessary for students to be honest with themselves and to think about where they feel most comfortable. This helps students decide between college locations, size, and other aspects of college life. One of the most important things to consider with each college is the cost and the amount of assistance each college is willing to provide. The cost should not be the determining factor, but cost should be considered and planed for properly. Once students select a college, they should enter college life with confidence and an open mind to different people and opportunites while being safe.

Molly

Finding the right college is like finding a great pair of shoes- it needs to be comfortable, versatile, appealing and provide you the basic footsteps to succeed in whatever you desire to accomplish in your lifetime. Finding a good university to attend is one of the most important decisions to make in your life and it is even more important to actually visit the colleges that you are thinking about applying to or attending. It is also helpful to consult alumni, your parents, current students and guidance counselors about information about certain schools. It is very easy to put less of an emphasis on school once you get into college and start taking classes, but one of the best things to do to make the most out of your college experience is to get involved, deeply involved, with student organizations and clubs on campus. That is where best friends are made and connections happen that can help you throughout your college career and your professional career, and also where experiential learning happens as well. Don't be complacent in your education!

Sadaf

I think that students should have a say in which school they want to go, also they should make a wise choice. Most students I have seen will go to a school only if they have other friends going there too, it is nice to have friends but think wise, because where you go to school makes a big difference when you look for a job. So my advice would be for both parents and students that do your research about school, find out what programs they offer and if they interest you for example George Mason is known for Business and law also art center has very good standing. Also find out how a school can help you find a job after you graduate and not just let you get through academics. Thank you, Sadaf

Hansel

Research as much as possible and let your son/daughter pick.

Gregory

Choosing the right college is all about what you want. It all depends on what you want to study, not what other people want you to study. I've been fascinated by computers and the field of IT for most of my life and I heard great things about GMU's IT program. Make the most out of college by meeting people right as step foot on the campus. The first couple weeks are the best time to meet new people. Whether its in class, study lounge, or the dining hall, you can always meet new people. Money is always an issue when deciding which college to go to but don't let it be the deciding factor for you.

Katherine

Choosing your college is a really big decision. I didn't realize that when I was applying. My heart told me to go out of state; my parents said that was too expensive and I didn't have a good enough reason. So lesson one: students, listen to your heart no matter what; parents, don't discount the reasons your children give you. I go to school in Virginia but spend all of my spare time escaping a lonely campus environment. I wish I hadn't caved on that one factor. Beyond that, look past the classroom experience to see what the schools truly offer. My major (communication) is a total joke, but I've made up for it by finding a home in the Student Media office on campus. There I've found amazing mentors, learned hands-on lessons on leadership and gained practical experience in my field (multimedia). One amazing program can make an entire school experience worth it. I didn't give college much thought, and now I'm making the best of an okay situation. Let your heart guide your decisions - you don't have to be able to articulate why you love a school.

Alexander

First, visit the campus. Make sure that the atmosphere of the campus is one you would enjoy. For instance, MIT tends to have a very frantic/tense feel to it, since it is an ivy league school and is integrated into a city. Also, try to live on campus for at least the first semester. This allows you to get to know the school alot better, and make friends easier (as well as getting away from the parents). Also, don't worry about making friends - even if you don't know anyone at the school, you will definitely find people you can relate with. Of course, make sure you can afford going to the college, both financially and mentally. The financial aspect should be discussed with your parents, but only you can determine the mental aspect. If you're not ready for an ivy league school, don't go to one, as the stress will likely make you learn less than if you went to a non-ivy league school. If you think you are, try for a semester, and see how things turn out. Remember, you can always transfer to a different school.

Casey

When looking for the perfect college, whether you are a parent or a student, there are certain things that everyone should keep in mind. A college is going to be a student's new home for the next four years. It will be where they spend ninty percent of their time. In addition, a parent wants the college to be a shining star that he or she is proud to share with all family and friend. Parents and students a like should look for a college that has a climate the is okay with the student. If he or she loves cold weather then look in the north, and vice versa. If you don't love the area around the college you will not enjoy the college experinece. In additon, one should look for a college that has lots of campus sponsered activities. This allows the student to have things to do, and the parents the assurance that his or her child is not off spending money on alcohol and parties. Academics are another big part of choosing a college. The best advice i can give is to visit several campuses and pick the one that "feels" right.

Jessica

In searching for the ?dream school? you?ve always seen yourself attending, always make sure the main characteristics of the school fit your needs. The certain significant features aforementioned being: school size, location, cost/ financial aid opportunities, areas of residence (on-campus and off-campus), and also the activities offered at the school. As for making the most of your college experience, you can make any college what you want of it. It?s all about your attitude. Going to a new school where you don?t necessarily know anyone can be a nerve-wrecking experience for anyone, and being perfectly aware of that will instantly help you gain friends. Although I am only two years deep into my college experience, I can safely say freshman year will be my favorite of all because it was so nice to be surrounded by people just like me: nervous about being away from home for the first time and ready and willing to make new friends. A friendly, inviting smile accessorized by a positive attitude will be your greatest tool in settling into college life.

Lumia

When I started college my expectation from college was only education. It didn't take long for me to realize I was wrong. College is not just an institution but it has more to offer. When any parents or students come to college the first thing they should know that it is way different from high school. In another way, it is the next big steps to reality where a student faces reality and learn to take responsibility for his/her own actions. There are opportunities to get off the track but you will find friends helping you get on track. My advice for the parents is that though your kids are off to colleges talk to them often so that they know that you are there for him/her, and they know you will help him/her. Because no one can make them feel safer than own parents. To the students my advice is to keep an open heart and think before taking a step. Be responsible and carry on the values with you that you've learned during 17-18 years of your lives from your parents. Also keep up with classes, and choose your own friends.

Laura

In order to help you find the right college, I recommend visiting the school and speaking to the faculty and attending students about their opinions about college life, educations, etc. Some schools will even allow interested students to stay overnight in a dorm, so they can experience the 'college-life.' It helps to be involved in your school's activities whether it is a sport, club, and/or the greek society. Personally, I have found wonderful friends and relationships through joining some of my school's organizations.

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