Based on my own personal experience, the perfect college does not exist! The qualities that a college needs to have in order for a student to be successful will always be subjective, however there are a small number of objective necessities. First, the college should make you feel like a welcomed member. You should feel like the people who you talk to really want to see you, and that you are welcome on their campus. Second, a college should have the major that you think you are interested in studying, especially if you know that you want to study a very specialized subject. Third, the college should be a place where you think you can grow and be challenged. If you don't think that you could grow spiritually, emotionally, socially, and academically, then you should really ask yourself why you are considering that school. For parents, I would only recommend that you help your son or daughter make the college decision under whatever criteria you deem acceptable and necessary. For instance, if as parents, you are paying tuition, then you have the right to have a say in the type of college your son or daughter attends.
First: the best way to find the right college is to broadly research. Reading up on and visiting several schools in different geographical settings can give you a good idea of what you like in a college and what degree you wish to pursue. Second: don't expect perfection. Every college has flaws--you want to look for a school that has negative aspects that you can deal with. Making the most of your college experience is achieved by keeping a positive outlook. Adjusting to new places is always challenging. The first semester of freshman year is especially difficult, and a lot of students leave a few weeks after the beginning of school because they are unhappy. Sticking it out for at least a semester before leaving is usually the wisest course of action. On the other hand, though, do not be afraid to transfer if you rationally deduce that the college you originally chose is not a good fit for you. Furthermore, get to know as many students and professors as possible. The more friends that you have encouraging you and the closer you are with your professors, the more you will learn and enjoy your college years.
If I had the unconventional opportunity to go back in time to my senior year in high school, I would give myself many different forms of advice. Mainly, I would strongly advise my prior self to save as much money as possible. When in college, money seems to evaporate between all of the diffferent costs. If I would have saved more money while in high-school, it very well could have made the transition a little smoother. Another point of advice would be to work on being proactive and ditching the habit of procrastination. Many students tend to fall prey to the convenient habit of pushing off their work and the best advice would be to tackle the work head on so that you have time to check and polish your ideas. Finally, I would recommend that I would expose myself to different groups of individuals and steer away from what makes me feel safe. Besides the conventional type of learning, there is an unwritten education at college. It is about meeting new people who think differently and challenge your beliefs and viewpoints. It forces you out of your comfort zone and helps with the change to adulthood.
Part of the core requirements for graduation from Grove City College is taking a series of Humanities courses, all of which examine different aspects of cultures, religions, and worldviews. This college has, thorugh these courses, caused me to think critically about WHY I believe WHAT I believe. This applies to both my spiritual life and the stances that I take on hot-button issues such as abortion, stem cell research, and homosexual civil rights. I knew what I believed before coming to this school, but now I can defend my beliefs! I can take a firm stand against any opponent and, while I will not always have all the answers to the questions they present or the issues they raise, I will be nonetheless firmly grounded in my views and be able to challenge them to also think critically about why they think the way they do. Because of this awareness, it is as if I have a passion that's been ignited within me for each and every belief to which I hold. When my generation is attacked by the influences of the media and ill-informed peers, I will not be moved. I will stand my ground.
The first piece of advice I would give to my high school self would be to not be afraid to try new things once I enter college. These activities are how you meet people and gain life experiences that will help you in the future. A second piece of advice would be about friendships. I would tell my high school self to spend as much time with my close group of friends as possible senior year and the summer before college, but not to worry too much about drifting apart from these friends. College gives you the chance to easily meet new people who are more like you and who offer more positive relationships than high school friends who are changing and drifting apart from you every day. Additionally, I would tell myself to have more experiences related to my field of study (elementary and special education.) These volunteer or learning experiences would benefit me greatly as I continue my own education. Finally, I would tell myself to focus more on my faith in high school, since I chose to go to a private, Christian school. This would help me as I continue my spiritual growth in college.
It is a huge privilege and blessing to be able to attend a college, especially a school so determined to equip me with as much knowledge as possible. Grove City College has afforded me such an amazing experience, and I am merely a freshman! I have learned so much and not simply just in the realm of academia. Collegiate life has illuminated certain truths of the world a little more brightly than they previously seemed to me. I have learned just how wealthy a man with one truly loyal friend is. I have learned how quickly people can change. I have even learned the value of a dollar, as it is necessary every time I wish to have clean clothes. College has taught me the value of independence; it is up to me to get motivated to study, to do my laundry, even to ensure that I have a ride home for holidays. However, more than lessons of industriousness I have learned the importance of rest. Yes there is a necessary time for intense study, hard work, and diligence; but the fast moving pace of modern society has neglected the importance of rest. To achieve academic excellence rest is needed.
Most importantly, you have to choose a college that fits you. It may not be the one that is most desired by your parents, high school teachers and friends. It should, however, be one that the above groups of people will support no matter which school you choose. Be sure to visit the college before making a commitment to attend. Talk to some of the proffessors and, if possible, the head of the department. Their job is to get you to want to come to their school. If they can't do that then it is likely that it is just not the right school for you. Visit a few schools and keep your options open. Maybe the school of your choosing won't accept you and you will have to choose another one. Or maybe you will discover something about one at the last minute that would greatly influence your decision to go there. While in school, make the most of everything you do. Classes and grades are not the most important part of education. They are very necesary and should not be taken lightly, but relationships with friends, faculty and family is much more important and long lasting.
1) This one life you have is YOURS - so get to know yourself. Learn to express what you like, what matters to you, and who you want to be. While you're at it, get comfortable talking about your strengths and weaknesses: study, embrace, and enjoy them. Conforming or rebelling are YOUR choices, but don't get caught up in making statements for the sake of making them. The path is yours, so figure out what matters to you and make your choices based on that. 2) Give nuance a chance. Life is not as black and white as you wish it were. So while you're getting to know yourself and making life choices, learn to love nuance. Develop the ability to hold your values firmly while understanding the values and choices of others. 3) Take informed chances. Some choices are clear: you'll get accepted to your top choice or have one job offer. But sometimes you'll have more than one good option. Don't waste your life worrying. Gather whatever information and advice you can, then follow what your gut tells you. Chances are you will end up exactly where you are supposed to be.
Finding the right college, looking back at it, is really about a) do they have what you're looking for academically (majors, programs, quality of education)? and b) do you have the money to pay for it in a reasonable way? But finding the "right" college isn't as important as what you do when you get there. That's what will make or break your college experience. And really, the college experience (like all of life) is about relationships. Your friends are what will make the college experience wonderful for you, so choose them carefully. Find people who encourage you, who like and accept you for who you are, and in return encourage and accept them. Get involved in campus groups that suit your interests, or find something new to try. This is not to say that you should ignore your academics! College work is an important stepping stone to a good career, and your friends - the good ones - will understand that. But either way, the friendships that you make will truly be what you carry with you from college, and that is how to make the most of your college experience.
Knowing what I now do about college I would have had several things to tell myself as a high school senior. The most important thing I would have told myself would have been to stop being so frivolous and to buckle down and give everything that I did, wether it be school, work or sports, my best effort possible. Not that i was not successful or did not achieve high grades during my senior year, but i did take many shortcuts and was lazy just as many other seniors are. I wish I had done this, not as much for the better results that would have been achieved, but rather because it would have prepared me better mentally for college and its many challenges. I would also have told myself to stop being heavily entertainment oriented. Once you stop using good study habits and begin to focus primarily on hanging out with friends and going out at night it is much harder to begin college and regain the discipline which you once had. Overall I would have tried to let my former self know that discipline in every apect of your life is what is needed to succeed in college.