George Mason University Top Questions

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

Jacqueline

When looking for a college, take time in considering the best place for you to grow. College is an important point in ones life because it is a time for you to develop as an individual and as a learner. First, look at what opportunities the school has to offer as far as organizations, community involvement, and career development. Second, look at the students that go to that school and ask yourself if you look up to them and if they are the kind of people you can learn from and would want to become more like. You will want to surround yourself with role models as you develop as an individual. Finally, go to a school that will challenge you at times and push you to be the person you have always wanted to be. The school you choose should support your vision of who you want to be four years from now. In the end though what is really going to matter is if you made the most out of your time in college, so become involved and active on campus. Make the most out of your college experience and you will have no regrets.

Haleigh

Visit everyone that you are interested in. Actually being there and experiencing the campus and people will help you enormously.

Marshai

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.

Huyentran

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.

Emmanuel

If I were to give advice to parents and students about finding the right college and making the most of the college experience is when deciding on a college, be sure that it is a college that caters to all aspects of the student's daily life. Be sure that not only does the college cater to the students academic life, but social life as well. By finding a college such as this it will keep the student in a positive attidtude, ready to tackle academics as well as society. In terms of making the most out of college, never be afraid to try something that is out of your comfort zone. Things such as attending events hosted by different cultures or groups of people is an amazing experience and allows one to keep an open mind and broaden one's horizons. One can discover things that they would not normally have found out on their own.

Kathleen

The most important thing to remember when your child is looking for the right school is to listen to them. Students need to be in a place that fits them well so they are comfortable. When I looked at schools, my mom had no idea what to look for, but when I found GMU, I knew I belonged there. I have a friend whose parents decided what her future would be for her, and now she is unhappy and looking to transfer and change her major. Listening to your children is one important part, but don't forget it might be time to let go. Students gain freedom in college they might not have had before, but you raised them right so they will be able to take care of themselves. It's all about your child and making sure they are happy so their future remains bright.

Lauren

Visit the schools and ask other students who attend to campus about their initial and current experiences. While visiting the campus walk the entire campus not just area's that the school points out as areas of interest. Look of the unobvious. Observe the iinteraction between the students and staff administration. Remember the number one goal is to learn, however building relationships will make the experience more seamless. Review the next step opportunities, such as grad school to help you determine the support that may be needed after finishing undergrad. Does the school help you find interships, jobs on compus? Research tosse what investment the school has in you. What is fact verses fiction. Find a mentor early in the selection process for any school you want to attend. Our mentor system works and has made a wonderful impact on my need to serve as a mentor for the next Freshman class.

Catherine

If you are uncertain to the field that you want to be in, opt for a major that is broad like Business Management. If you are certain as to what you want to do, make sure you opt for the schools that excel in that field.

Leon

College is a time to not only learn how to better yourself, but to expereince life on your own. You need to pick the school that will give the most financial aid, with the most cheerful teachers, and a student population that is diverse as it is friendly. Go to the campus before making your final decision. Do you like what you see? Is it too empty for you? Is it too busy for you? Make sure it's the right college for YOU. Don't make choices based on where your friends or your family want you to go, becasue you may regret it; if it's not the place where you feel the most comfortable. To make the most of your college expeirence, you're going to have to step out of your dorm and make friends! They're the most important thing to you, you won't regret it! Kids like us look toward the future and say this is who I'm going to be. You don't want to be an adult who looks into the past and says this is what I should've done. Regret nothing, fear less.

Brittny

The old saying is true: College is the best four years of your life. Making the most out of your college experience is about stepping out of your shell and being willing and open to meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, and striving to do your best in all that you do. Choosing the right college is the most important step to acheiving that. Make sure you narrow your choices. Choose a college that best suits you: Do you prefer a large or small student population? Does it have to be in the city or do you prefer a more rural atmosphere? Do you like the idea of a small student to teacher ratio or do large classes make you feel more at home? To help you make the right decision, visit your top college picks! Spend the weekend getting the perspective of current students and faculty members to help aid in your decision. And most of all students, talk to your parents. Your parents are one your best resources so take advantage of it. But don't let their opinion sway you too much. Make sure you're happy with whatever choice you make. Make the most of it!

Angie

For students to think long and hard about what they want career wise and how their school can help them achieve those goals. Once they have figured this out, to look hard at what each school offers and if the student would feel comfortable in that environment.

Cindy

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.

Suzanne

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.

Stephanie

In order to make the most of your college experience, I would advise students to keep an open mind- their whole college career is going to change their views on a lot of things (religious affiliation, politics, sexual orientation, etc.) I challenge all students to seek out answers and listen to all sides. It's so important to learn where you stand on certain issues in life. I want to challenge the relativist view of "what's good for you is good for you & what's good for me is good for me". Find something you are passionate about. When choosing a future college, don't settle for what you're used to or where everyone of your friends is going. Seek to change yourself- for the better! Parents, please keep an open mind about where/what your child make experience & encourage the learning going on inside/outside the classroom. Last- if a scholarship is offered to you, take it! Don't put any college above the other in this case-it's you who will dictate your college experience...not the 'place' so to speak.

Melinda

go visit overnight to see the parking and housing and campus atmosphere

Garik

I would look carefully at the cost of tuition and the scope of majors available. Even if you don't know what you will major in it's important to go to a school that has majors that really interest you. I would also strongly consider going to community college for two years and then transferring to a four year university. In VA it's a great way to get the general education courses done and save a ton of money. Once at a college I would investigate the availalbe resources and try to make use of the ones that interest you or could be helpful. Join clubs, organizations, etc. that interest you.

Gayle

It is important to remember that college is a time of endless opportunity and change, but it is not going to happen by itself. Get involved, your college experience can be the most amazing time of your life, but you will only get out what you put in. Find what it is you are passionate about, and go after it- but have fun in the process, get to know your peers, and make an effort to make an impression on the faculty. Make yourself known and know others, because looking back on college you are going to be thankful that you strove for an amazing degree and a high GPA but you are also going to remember the people that changed your life forever, and be proud of your growth.

Amanda

Finding the right college isn't about how big the classrooms are or how good housing is. It's about finding where is feels right. College visits during the school year are the best way to see the atmosphere of college in action. Seeing how the students interact with each other is the best way to find where you belong. College has been the best experience I've gone through so far in my life. My college is close to where I went to high school. I was scared that it would be a lot like high school. After meeting new people and going out around campus, I realized it's completely different. It's not like high school at all. I even moved on-campus to make it feel as if I lived further away from home. This has had me feel that although I live relatively close to school, that I am still getting the full "college experience". I would not change a thing about my decsion to go to Mason and this is because I realized it was the right college for me. It's where I belong. It's my second home.

Mary

Visit many campuses, visiting and actually getting a feel for the campus is important. If you do not feel comfortable with the campus you will not enjoy it when classes actually start. Make sure the school offers a wide range of possible majors. You may come in freshman year thinking you know what you want to do, but more than likely you will change it, several times. With a range of options you can stay at the same school and begin a new major rather than having to try and transfer. Don't be afraid of having a good time now and then. Fun with your new friends is part of the whole college experience. Just be careful that you don't have too much fun that you end up flunking out, or get put on academic probation. College is an important part of growing up and well worth the occasional stress that comes with finals.

Dominique

The advice that I would give someone looking into a college of the choice is going on the campus and asking real about their experience and not your tour guides. And when deciding on a school make sure the school is in your finanical budget also make sure that the school you really want to spend 4 years at.

Rebecca

When looking for a college, it is important to know what you want to get out of your experience there. You will be dedicating at least four years of your life to which ever institution you pick, so choosing one that suits your personality, your needs, and your aspirations is the best way to go. College selection is a very mutual process, where you found something in each of the colleges that you apply to that you think will benefit you, and in return, the university saw something in you that they saw fit for their school. Because of this, it is hard to end up somewhere that can truly be 100% wrong for you. As far as making the most of your college experience goes, it is entirely up to you. No matter where you end up, there will always be opportunity awaiting you around every corner. College is a place where you find out the most of who you are and who you can become, so don't take anything for granted.

Mia

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.

Christine

be prepared!

Mike

The advice I would give my parents and/or students about finding the right college is to look for a college that best suits what you want to do in life. I would also look if you can afford the college's tuition for four years. I picked GMU because I can achieve a Biology degree and still be able to pay for some of my years in medical school. I strongly believe that picking a college just because it is well-known is the wrong way to look at choosing the right college. The aspect you have to look at is if the college offers a major that will help you persue your career. Making the most out of the college experience is the most important aspect in college other than doing well academically. College is about getting a degree but also creating life long relationships. I have made so many great friends in college that have supported me over my college career and have influenced me on how I live my life. I do not know what I would have done without them. Meeting new people is what I believe makes the most of the college experience.

Matthew

Forget the guided tours and college brochures. You want a gritty, real college perspective from the front lines. Ask students on campus. Don't be shy and wander around or even drop in on a class. Check out the student activities offices to see what is available outside of class. OUTSIDE OF CLASS- this is an important determinant. The development and learning your future genius-to-be gains will not only derive from professors' lectures. Consider the campus's location to internship and employment opportunities to gain career-related experience while in school. Consider your student's current passions and see what related activities and groups the school hosts. Perhaps volunteering is a must; see if there is a school branch of Habitat for Humanity. Perhaps religion is critical to your student; for example if Jewish find the nearest synagogue (or on-campus service) and the student Jewish community, then meet some members. If an outoodor enthusiast, consider the campus proximity to hiking trails. Bottom line- put your student's passions at the center of your college search. This will ensure that you find an environment nurturing those passions with a relevant degree, career experience, and student organizations and activities.

Paula

When trying to decide between colleges, a student has to consider location. They have to ask themselves, "Am I OK with being 10 minutes from home/6 hours from home?" "Do I like the city or the country?" "Do I want to go to a big or small school?" Often I think students choose a school based on reputation without considering their quality of life once they get there. Once you're in school, the best thing to do is to put yourself out there. If you only do things you used to do in high school, you will never get any new experiences, and its those new experiences that will make your college experience. Students have to recognize from the beginning that college won't be like high school, and you won't make the same exact friends or do the exact same things, so you must make new experiences for yourself and be adaptable.

Michael

Make your children visit at least five schools. Sometimes kids can make impulsive decisions. Make sure they see everything the can so that they can make an intelligent informed decision.

Maria

My advice would be to visit all the schools the student is thinking about applying to before making a decision. Being at the school is a completely different experience than virtually visiting it online. While you visit the school, immerse yourself in it. Eat at the cafeteria. Go on a tour. Look at the dorms. Also, once you pick a college, make the most of your experience there. College is a time to broaden your ideas about many different things in life. Find out what clubs and organizations you can get involved with. Try new things. Pay attention to the student body and what they are involved in. Talk to a current student and ask them any questions you have as opposed to advisors. This will allow you to get a more realistic idea of what it is like to be a student there.

Christina

Don't be afraid to go somewhere outside of your comfort zone. If you aren't happy you can always transfer, but you will regret not going out on that limb to see if you will be happy out there. When you first start college you need to join as many activities as possible. The best way to enjoy college is to take advantage of all the great clubs and activities. When you get out you will have tons of things you can put on a resume and you will have even more memories to remember. Don't stress too much about the "perfect" college. The most important part about college life is making the most out of whatever college you end up at.

antoinette

make sure you know were the college is and whats arounnd the college because some schools have nothing around it at all. Also get out and get involved in your school and the people there.

Cynthia

Pick the school that you are going to be most comfortable at and have the most fun.

Kayla

Your perfect school will feel right to you when you set foot on the campus. Visit all of your post-secondary education choices. I knew that George Mason was the right school for me the minute that I visited the campus. Look at schools that have good programs in the major(s) you're considering and possibly sit in on some classes within the major you wish to pursue. Don't go to a certain school just because your friends are--they may only end up holding you back. You will meet many amazing people along the way and take what you can from each and every one of them--don't be afraid to be social and get involved!

Emma

I am the youngest child in my family and I am paying for my education. My two older siblings have left George Mason University, debt free and with wonderful jobs. As a parent and an upcoming student, take your time researching which school will be best for you. Do not chose a school because of its social life, because you go to college to recieve an education. Although being social is important for development, it should not be your sole college experience. College is only four years of your life, it is important to look to the future and what you want out of it. As a sophomore, I am working full time and attending school full time. School is my top priority, however, I find time to have a social life when it is the right opportunity. School is my top priority, however, I find time to have a social life when it is the right opportunity. Be smart and stay focused.

Valerie

Never rush to make a descion specially when it comes to picking the college of your choice. Make sure you do lots of research about school but also about what you want and what your personality is. Always consider money situation, the travel between home and school, and the academic level of the school.

Tiera

I would address the students who are embarking on their jouney to college and give them the advice of choose a college that is well- suited to your professional desires and personal obligations. The right college can only be chosen by having the knowledge about who you are going to be in life and how complacent you are within your life right now. Self- reliance and resiliency are two important characteristics to have for a successful experience in college. Self- reliance is an invaluable characteristic because if the belief is non-existant within the action, the enjoyment gained from the experience is absent. Going to college should not produce an anxiety- induced fear because these are the prime years of your life where the beginning stages of the life course are chartered. Resiliency is a key characteristic to have also because the first time may not always go right, in college there is room allocated for continuous and systematic improvement of your academic, personal, social, and professional life.

Hugh

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!

Kelsey

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.

Nuha

My advice on parents and students on finding the right college would be that students should take their time on deciding. They should definitely sit down and talk to their parents on what would be the right fitted school. You should always check out their scholarship programs, financial aid and definitely the statistics of that school (example: gpa, tuition, how many students get in etc.) The best thing you could do is travel to that school and take a tour. See if you fit in and if this school excites you when you're actually on the campus.

Wallace

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.

Leah

The advice I would give to parents and/or students about finding the right college is to make sure you visit as many colleges as possible. Each college is unique in their own ways and it is hard to pick one right away. Even though the student is finding the college, I do believe that the college ends up finding the student. I was a transfer student from Longwood to George Mason University and I could not be happier then when I transfered! Getting involved in college is great for making friends, having a wonderful learning experience, and for resumes. Getting involved in college is one of the best things a student can do!

Embry

Basically look at all the schools in the area before deciding on which on is best for you child. George Mason is easily affordable but there are quite a few better schools in the DC area that your child would benefit more from.

Camesha

If I had to give advice to parents and/or students about finding the right college and making the most of their college experience I would first tell them that it is NEVER too soon to research colleges. I feel that finding the right place to learn is key to a successful college experience. I would say apply for scholarships and grants, then loans. No matter how small the amount or how long the essay required for the financial award, still complete it. It will add up in the end. I would also encourage parents to give their children a sense of responsibility while in high school. Let them learn time and money management before they get to college, it will alleviate the majority of the problems they will face while in school.

Amanda

While, good professors are valuable, you're most important concern is the student body of the college. You should remember, that if the students of the school are not people you would ordinarily want to be around, the problem is that much worse when you have to learn with and around them. Make sure you feel comfortable with the students at the school.

Kelsey

I honestly believe that you should visit the colleges more than once. Go for orientation and then go during the regular school year see how the campus is on the weekends, go to a football or basketball game and experience how much school spirit the college or university has. I strongly encourage talking to students who already attend the college or university, students and parents can get a good feel about what the school is like by talking to current students. By doing all of these things you can find out which school is going to be best for you and which one you will be the happiest with.

Michael

Be committed to wherever you go and stick it out because it only gets better.

Bethany

The most stressful and exciting part of your senior year will be applying to and choosing a college to attend in the fall. Do research and visit as many campuses as possible. You need to get the best idea of what living at that school is like. It is very important that the perspective student feels safe and welcome on the campus. It is a good idea to go on guided tours, talk to students, and eat on campus. To make the most out of your college experience, the best advise I can give is find something you are interested in and get involved, the earlier the better! Clubs usually range in a variety of interests and if they don't have one you like, you can create your own organization. As far as living arrangements are concerned, if you are having a problem with roommate(s) try to make things work or apply for a room change. You don't want to be living miserably. Acedemically, it is essential that you communicate with your professors outside of the classroom to create a relationship with them, they are there to benefit you. Afterall, that is why you came to college!

Margaux

I wish I had applied to more than one school (I was confident that I would get in but it was a dangerous thing to do). I had dreams of going to some prestigious school for physics or computer science but felt that I was constrained by financial circumstances from pursuing them. While I am happy where I ended up, I still feel that I would have achieved more and felt more motivated if I had attended a school I longed to go to. The most important thing about finding the right school is choosing one that you would be proud to say that you went to or one that you have always wanted to attend. Making the most of your college experience is more difficult than just getting into the school. Once you're there, you will want to do well. There is nothing more depressing than finding that you are failing any of your classes. An integral part of your success will be study groups, which provide valuable scholastic assistance and great friendships. Joining a extracurricular group (like the IEEE or SWE) will introduce you to more upperclassmen than you will meet in your regular classes.

Fishell

The most important thing is to get a clear idea of what your looking for in all aspects of a college. Look into what type of campus your looking for by visiting the campus and deciding whether you want a large or small campus. Figure out which school is best for your major but also which school has the largest selection of majors, just in case you decide to switch majors. Find out what kind of activities and clubs are offered at the university. The most important thing when choosing a college is to not make your decision based upon where your friends from highschool are going or go to a school because it is a party school, you have to make sure you choose the school that is going to be best for you in the long run.

Ashley

My advice to parents is to support your child in what they want to do. Don't pressure your children into majoring in something that they will later on regret. It is time for them to live their dream and not on anyone else's. Parents also need to be a motivator as well as an advisor to thier children. There are times that we may get into a rough patch and we need that extra support in order to get into the right direction. My advice to students would be live your life the way you want to. Work hard for your dream job. Also enjoy the college life and learn how to balance your social life with your academic studies . College is suppose to be considered one of the best times of your life. You want to be able to look back and not have any regrets or doubts about what you should have or should not have done. I know that I should be more involved with school programs to improve my social life and I plan on doing that. I want to be able to say that what I did was a great experience.

Danbee

I don't think you should pick your college too quickly or too lightly. I believe that no matter what people say, you should pick the college that you yourself would like to attend. I mean, it is four years of your life, not theirs. Look for education, opportunities, reputation to help you attain a job after you graduate, and also the social life. Especially coming from a commuter school one of the biggest and most important advice I would give would be: to get involved. A lot of people complain that there's no thing to do in whatever area school you attend, but honestly it's really up to you. It's up to you to go out there and make something out of your college experience. Whether it be by joining a club/organization, sports team, or anything else. You make the best out of your education, and you make the best out of the experience that you are about to have in college.

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