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Grove City College

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

Hello prospective college students and parents! My advice for finding the "right" college is to go out there and visit schools! Ask questions! Do you fit in with the students? Are the professors approachable and knowledgeable? What activities and events are available to students, especially on weekends? How important is sports? Theater? Greek life? Volunteer opportunities? Check out the classrooms, library, student center, cafeteria, and dorm rooms. Are they inviting? Modern? Clean? "Shop around" for a school where you are comfortable, a school where you could say, "I'm ready to go home" in reference to your dorm room. Students, my advice for making the most of your college experience is to seize every moment. Regarding your social life, form strong relationships with new people. Experience life, both on campus and off. But DON'T act irresponsibly. And regarding your academic life, work hard by diligently. Challenge yourself to move out of your comfort zone. Experiment with new ways of thinking. Inquire about diferent internship and job opportunites, especially over-seas. And most importantly, distinguish your name from the thousands of students who will soon compete with you for a job. Be risky, but be smart. Good luck!

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Everyone knows the typical advice for choosing a college-- famous ratings publications, guidance counselors, and the panoply of books on the subject. This is just a start. Once you are focused on a school, getting in-depth information about it requires digging into the internet, because that is what the current college-going population uses to communicate. Use search engines extensively. Read blogs from students at the school. Find any unofficial, student-made forum or website. Look for websites by alumni, too. Keep in mind that students often use the internet when they have an axe to grind, so assume negative comments are exaggerated. However, there is much positive information to be found, and it is invaluable. Normal books will give you short, superficial quotes from a few students. The internet will give you an entire book's worth of information from hundreds of students. Doing this will save you from surprises once you arrive, and will help you throughout your college career. Your most unpleasant surprises about school are things you could never predict. Knowing about recent school controversies, titanic or insignificant, can help you know what you are getting into. Forewarned is forearmed. Your investigation must be thorough.

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The greatest help to me in finding the right college was to use the abundant resources that are readily available to high school students. Books, magazines, articles, and websites offer so much information about majors, careers, and colleges. Setting aside time to utilize these resources was extremely beneficial and helped guide me to the right college. However, the greatest resources to me were the people that surrounded me, such as guidance counselors, parents, teachers, and friends. The knowledge, experience, wisdom, and intuition that they freely gave to me was priceless. They were able to guide me through my decisions and helped me identify my strengths, weaknesses, and where my talents could best be nurtured and developed. I encourage high school students seeking a college to use these resources ? they offer valuable advice. Once you find the right college, maximize every opportunity to grow. Don?t let any opportunity pass you by, because college ? and all the experiences, learning, and fun associated with it - only happens once in your life. Attend class, get involved in extra-curricular activities, make connections, and work hard so that you can leave a positive impact upon this world.

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Because I am a secondary math education major, many of my courses focus on guiding me to the teaching profession. I enjoy my math and education courses and genuinely believe they are preparing me to become a meaningful teacher and to positively change the lives of my students; however, my college education encompasses more than these academic courses. Today I woke up to the blessings of a (semi-)full night of sleep in a comfortable bed, a hot, (semi-)delicious breakfast, and the opportunity to attend classes taught by brilliant instructors. This past semester, my thankfulness for my joyful college experience has been transformed into a desire to repay these gifts with service, so that I may pass along some of my joys and blessings to others. By participating in several on-campus ministries including Prison-fellowship and Adopt-A-Grandparent, attending a mission trip over Easter Break, and applying for an internship at a Christian summer camp for urban youth, I am learning that serving others offers more fulfillment than any individual success. Every night I fall asleep with a smile on my face as I learn to praise God for this incredible college opportunity by ministering to others.

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Quite simply, I would advise my former self to distinguish the significant apart from the insignificant. Too often, we as college students (especially freshmen!) take curiosity at our poor academic performance, unfortunate social standing, lack of future career options, and so forth. We wonder and wonder, and so few of us are ever guided toward the proper conclusion: too many of us (my freshman self included) waste time in areas that detract from our primary endeavors. For example, if I do not have a thorough understanding that my primary role as a college student is to be a college student (sounds silly, does it not?), I can easily lose footing within the first few weeks of school. Personally, my priorities championed a strong social life, intramural involvement, girlfriends, and so forth, far over classroom endeavors. Indeed, while the former categories of college experience are certainly wonderful, they must have their proper place in the hierarchy of priorities. The little choices, in short, are what make the college experience make or break. If I could speak to my high school self, I would emphasize the value of the small battles. They add up to win the war.

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The advice that I would give to students towards the perspective of finding the right college would be to go to the college website and learn everything you could possibly learn about the college itself. Find out everything such as sports, clubs/organizations, and academics. I would also encourage college visits. This assists in the area of learning about the college and experiencing it first hand. Once the right college is chosen, I would encourage the student to get involved in as much as possbie. Do not turn down a great opportunity to be with friends or to even have an opportunity to meet with a professor about academic standings. Develop a relationship with friends and especially professors. The benefits of these relationships will help in the long run and something that will never become a regret. One thing that I strongly encourage towards students and parents is pray! When a person gives everything to God, he gives answers in return. Praying and having a strong and true faith assist us in times of need. Praying about college and the many decisions that come along with college can help a person become more assured about the whole situation.

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Although the transition to college was indeed very drastic and abrupt, I believe that various experiences in my life (such as my parent?s divorce and our subsequent cross-country move) taught me the ability to adapt and helped prepare me for the changes. While most of the adjustments, such as walking across campus for every meal or living on a hall with 36 other guys, were minor and posed no problem, I did find it quite challenging to develop a structured schedule. In hindsight, I feel that developing a routine before actually leaving for college would have helped me through the transition. Given the ability to advise my high-school-senior-self about the future I would have also stressed the importance of time management skills and self-responsibility, things I have found to be absolutely necessary to a successful college student. Finally, I would have encouraged myself to really learn the material in my high school courses, since I would see most of it again in my college freshman classes. Learning it as a senior would save me precious time in college and would allow my future self to focus on topics that were completely foreign.

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Choosing a school: Take a deep breath. You have a lot of people on your side-- family, high school faculty, the college admissions; no one wants you to end up in the wrong place. Talk to your high school counselors about schools with a good academic fit. Talk to your parents about you can afford. Talk to the admissions & always visit the schools you are seriously considering. Walk around, talk to the professors, talk to the students, & see if you jive with the campus atmosphere. Most importantly, listen to your gut. What sort of dreams have you always wanted to pursue? What sort of person do you see yourself becoming? Some people have that figured out, but most do not. If you're like the majority, consider college a time for finding answers about who to become. Examine your goals and decide where you think they would best take off. Once you're there: Even if you're new on campus remember that your time is short. Use your time to explore and challenge your goals. Know that your friends become a second family. Fight the stressors of school with exercise and planning, & never be afraid to try something new.

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I believe you need to choose a school that will allow you to meet you personal goals. I would encourage students to carefully plan finacially for their education and consider the possibility of starting out at a community college. By starting slow you give yourself more time to decide what you want to do with your life. One of the most important practical concerns is choosing where to live and with whom. Students should look into all of the alternatives before committing to campus housing. Sometimes their are better deals off-campus. This decision can be the prime decider on how you feel about your college experience. Most importantly, students need to look on their college experience as a growth opportunity where you are allowed to approach adulthood slowly and carefully. Look for opportunities to learn and take responsibility instead of avoiding them. There will be significantly less shock when you graduate if you have those experiences. Above all, college should be a enjoyable time where you refine your personal worldview and begin to make the difficult choices that often develop your character and influence your future.

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Finding the right college is supremely important. This does not mean picking the school where your significant other is attending, going to the place with the best name, or going where your parents went. What is important is that you find a school where you will feel comfortable living and learning, where you will be challenged and edified. Be sure to take into account the testimony of past or current students of the school you are considering. While college websites and admissions offices mean well, they are not always the most honest means of evaluating what the school is really like. For example, if you plan on living on campus, make sure that there is stuff to do on the weekends, especially if drinking isn't your thing. Also be sure to check out the financial aid offered by each school and the policies on renewing that aid for all four years. Know whether or not your scholarship status will be affected by a change of major, GPA, or other circumstances and evaluate whether or not the criteria is feasible. When you find your dream school, apply early to ensure the best chances of acceptance and first chances at aid.

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