I would suggest strongly that parents and students alike consider personal and career goals before entering college life, in order to make the most of the experience. It is important to find a campus where not only are you comfortable to share your values with others who support you in those choices, but those who also challenge you to broaden their interests and global awareness throughout the college experience. It is important to recognize that though personal belief shapes social and academic lives on any campus, one must remain open to shifting goals and ideals according to influential peers and professors. While location and income of any school influences quality of education for each individual, it is not as important as those environments formed by individuals and groups themselves each year. I have found that the most important factor, apart from remaining engaged in extracurricular activities to supplement academic focus, is that of maintaining close and trusting working relationships with professors. Much knowledge and life experience of others can be used to form and refine life goals of any student.
Young Adults in the twenty-first century are constantly comparing themselves to others and competing with each other to see who is the most powerful and popular of them all, how they come to these conclusions comes from the media, that everyone is exposed to on a daily bases. The advice that would have made my high school senior experience more enjoyable would be Self-confidents. Being a High School senior, a self-identity has been all ready established because of the phases and peer pressure teens go through trying to figure out the difference between right or wrong. Knowing yourself is important when establishing relationships with others because there is always somebody else that is going to try to bring you down, while others look up to you as inspirational. Setting goals and having priorities is fundamental when trying to know where your time would be most wisely spent. Knowing what you want to be in life and how to accomplish it will set you up for the rest of your life. Meanwhile having a social life where you can have fun with people that accept you for who you are and who you except for who they are.
The most important thing in picking a school is to find a place where you feel at home. From that, all else follows much more smoothly (though it doesn't hurt to find a program that excites you with professors that will challenge you and facilities that provide convenient opportunities). While you're there, the best way to fully enter the college experience is to stay out of the "stepping stone" mindset - college is so much more enjoyable if you immerse yourself in the social world at the school. Total immersion is impossible if you only see that period - that four year chunk of your life - as a stepping stone to later things. Let your friends there mean everything to you - skip the occasional class to go ice fishing with a housemate, neglect the occasional small assignment for a late night chatting with friends, and most of all: live together, laugh together, struggle together, grow together. Energy also ought to be directed towards studying so you get your money's worth for your education, but the real rewards come from getting involved with the people you meet there. Be young and stupid. Take on the world.
Goshen College is a strange place. Before moving in this small, Mennonite-affiliated instituion in August, I had never been to a place more focused on helping others. I had lived in a world of jumbled priorities and had grown to accept that in almost all occasions, the self must come before the other. Of course, it had always seemed easier and everyone else in the world seemed to function that way (or at least, that is what the evening news told me). Yet, I questioned the justice of self-focused living. My inner need to serve others was intensfied by a newly grounded faith. I began to realize that if I was going to become independent, I would have to choose a college that would fuel that need. After my first completed semester, I know it was the right choice. Goshen and all of its different facets (professors, students, classes, activities) gives a voice to the voiceless of the world. It has tought me, after only four months, to care for the world. We canoe race to remember the earth, have earnest conversations to remember eachother, and sing to remember God. Goshen College is reprioritizing my life.
The process for deciding on the right college can be stressful, difficult , and at times deceptive, but with a bit of guidance it is ultimately rewarding. Start by using that mass of glossy mail to get a general idea about each college. It is perfectly acceptable to be somewhat arbitrary in deciding what schools belong on your short list. There is such a quantity of options that you may need to just pick five to focus on, otherwise it will be too hard to manage. A campus visit should bring you the most insight, but never assume that the real experience will perfectly mirror that microcosmic view. During your first semester as a student you will decide if you chose correctly. If it is impossible to find reliable friends or you are not receiving the education you paid for, you should think about tranfering. In order to survive college remember that you need make time for friends with whom you can study, laugh, and commiserate. Do not forget why you came to college though, you should not let your friends take over your life and your grades suffer. It is all about finding your perfect balance.
Transitioning to college is a daunting task. Looking for a college that fits "you" is intimidating and can be stressful for the college bound and their parents. I feel that most people make good decisions on where they want to go, based on what they want to study, what kind of social life they want to experience, and what they can afford. People do a good job searching for a college. After the choice is made, mom and dad send their child off to gain a higher education. At this juncture, things should be great, but one quickly learns that beginning college can be an extreemly lonely time. It is important to have patience and wait for things to settle in. Everything takes time. Classes take time. Sports take time. Homework takes time. Finding friends takes time. I would encourage any new college student to pack their schedule and get out there. Don't sit around. You will feel lonely. You will feel like you have no friends, but the more you get out there , the more you learn about yourself and life. Things will settle in and you will feel comfortable, just give it time.
When looking for a college choose one that will give you a well rounded education based on the variety of types of classes and experiences it has to offer. One strength found in liberal arts colleges is the ability to draw on various strengths, making graduates more ready to handle the variety of challenges they will find in the work place. Take advantage of opportunities to travel and study abroad. Cross-cultural experiences change your life. When you have the opportunity, go. Don't be afraid to look at things you've always believed and question them. By asking questions you will understand better what you believe and why. Questions only make you stonger. Find extracurricular activities that you enjoy and dive in. Especially in the first year, trying new things will help you make friends and learn names of peers you hadn't know, even if your bond happens to be that you both DONT enjoy that new thing you tried. College is a great time to learn about the world and about yourself and try and figure out how you will make a difference.
MY VALUES ARE HIGH, I AM A SINGLE MOTHER OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, THEREFORE GOING BACK TO COLLEGE TO SUPPORT MY CHILDREN MEANS EVERYTHING TO ME. MY COLLEGE EXPERIENCE SO FAR IS GREAT. IT IS UPLIFTING MY SELF-ESTEEM AND MOTIVATING ME TO BE MYSELF AGAIN. I THINK THAT IS A STRONG WORD "MYSELF". THIS MEANS THE WORLD TO ME TO BE ABLE TO HAVE STABILITY IN MY LIFE AGAIN. MY PLANS IN THE MEDICAL FIELD WILL HELP ME AND OTHERS AND I KNOW THAT THE MEDICAL FIELD WILL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR ME ESPECIALLY IN THIS ECONOMIC WORLD. EVERYONE AT THE COLLEGE IS VERY ENCOURAGING AND THAT MEANS ALOT TOO, IT HELPS YOU NOT TO GET DOWN OR THINK YOU CAN'T DO THIS. IT ACTUALLY MAKES YOU REALIZE HOW BAD YOU REALLY WANT THIS. AS I SAID MY VALUES ARE HIGH ALOT HIGHER I AM SURE THAN OTHERS. I WANT TO BE INDEPENDENT AGAIN AND AMERICAN INTERCONTINENTAL UNIVERSITY HAS GIVEN ME THAT OPPORTUNITY AND I WOULD'NT TAKE ANYTHING FOR IT. GIVEN THIS SCHOLARSHIP WOULD MEAN SO MUCH TO ME AND MY FAMILY. I COULDN'T EVEN EXPRESS THE APPRECIATION. I AM ON MY WAY TO THE TOP.
Relax and Enjoy the Process. It is a difficult process. First, look for colleges that have a potential major you would be interested in, but don't rule out other majors. Upon entering college, life changes and interests in different subjects might be elevated, so don't limit your options. No matter where you go, there will be positives and negatives regarding the campus life and education. But be open to new things and oppurtunities, for this is when you will really grow into the person you were made to be. It is then you will truly learn about yourself and with that comes clarity in life and direction. Participate and get to know others instead of locking yourself in your room or the library. Network - it is never to early to start thinking about a serious career, and networking people you know will one day help you to find an ideal job. Have Fun! Life is about balance, so don't be afraid to have fun as long as you can balance it with work! Lastly - laugh!! Have fun and laugh hard and make as memories as possible!
It is important for students to focus on the academic aspects of their college choices, but I think that this can sometimes be pushed to hard. Having good academics at a college is necessary, but if that is the only thing that students base their college choice on, there is a good chance that they will not be happy in their college setting. I think that it is equally important to focus on the atmosphere of the campus. If a student chooses a college only because of a program that it has, there is a good chance that they will still end up changing their major and then what are they left with? If students choose the school that feels right to them, they will thrive because they have not only academics, but a support system of friends and professors to help them through difficult times. Without this, a student will struggle to thrive academically no matter how great the school is. I knew when I stepped onto the Goshen College campus that it was the school for me. It just felt right.