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Howard University

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

Finding the right college is a process. It is important to research all the information possible that a school offers concerning your academic, athletic, and/or social interests. Visits to the school are essential in forming an overall idea of what attending would be like, and to get a feel for the students, faculty, and campus. Attending orientations and open-houses are also stellar ways to meet other students interested in attending, and current students who can provide you with personal experiences in dealing with the school's academic and financial administration. Once you decide to attend a school, making the most of your college experience becomes the most important aspect. Learning to balance your workload with your social activities is critical. How well you manage your time can make or break any college student. Be involved in organizations pretaining to your major and academic interests, then a few extracurricular groups on the side. Campus involvement is important and exciting, however academics are the main focus. Do not spread yourself too thin; you must always make time for classes and studying. College can be one of the most enjoyable time of life, and will be if you act responsibly.

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Choosing a college can be difficult, but the one thing parents and students should keep in mind is that the atmosphere of the college is the key to the student's success. The student must be comfortable with their choice. The organizations, clubs, extracurricular activities, volunteer opportunities and job opportunities contribute just as much to this atmosphere as campus safety, technology, and resources. A student must be able to know that their school will assist them in achieving their goals. Every student excels in a different atmosphere. The task therein lies in finding the perfect atmosphere for the student to succeed. The student's personality will determine his perfect atmosphere. Taking a tour is the best way to explore the atmosphere of a college. If I had not taken a tour of my top college choices, I would have certainly chosen the wrong one. In order to make the most of the college experience , the student should get involved with campus activities. It is an excellent way to create lifelong relationships and network which will certainly help further your career. Also working and learning from and with your peers can be very rewarding because you gain insight into various perspectives.

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Studying in America is an enriching experience and great opportunity that I never imagined could happen to me. I was born in Argentina 20 years ago and right now I am enrolled in the biggest Community College of Minnesota, Normandale Community College. The positive contribution that the College provided to me is: the diversity of the people, the education quality given by professors, and the critical thinking that I developed. First of all, Normandale has a lot of diversity. For me that is something important in life because when we face different ways of thinking we could grow as human society. Moreover, the quality of the professors is great; I find them to be enthusiastic about what they are doing and they encourage us, students, to have a dreams and a vision for them. The last thing I want to mention is that the critical thinking I developed over the past year was due attending Normandale Community College; taking classes like environmental ethics, visual arts, microeconomics help me to develop a critical thinking mind to face everyday life and cope with unexpected life-events. In an American Community College I found more than education: diversity, inspirational professors, and critical thinking.

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“Dear Admissions, I think (name) will excel at your school because of the exceptional attributes (s)he exhibits. Sincerely, Teacher” How would you feel if this was the recommendation sent to your dream school? Recommendations like the one above come from teachers who know nothing about their students. Even the brightest students make the silly mistake of asking teachers who do not know them to write their recommendations. But what do you do if none of your teachers know you? Sometimes you need qualified persons to give your average application an extra push to knock admissions off their feet. In the eyes of University of Pittsburgh’s admissions committee, I was a mere commodity. I had the same flavors that every prospective engineering student had on their plate – 3.8 GPA, 1770 SAT, and various volunteer and work experiences – but they were looking for seasonings that would take their taste buds for a ride. A superior recommendation could have satisfied their appetite, but I forgot to network for college. Consequently, my dream engineering program put me on their waiting list. If I could start over, I would make sure every person I encountered knew more than just my name.

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Dear KIera, I know you would rather be watching tv right now than writing essays, but please apply to as many scholarrships as you can from this point until you go to college. I know yo u don't fully understand the financial process of college and you think that money is just going to magically appear in your account, but I am here to tell you know it doesn't . You are going to have about a $10,000 gap in tuition with less than two months to apply to as many scholarships as posible. Soon, you are going to get a job at Rita's. Keep it. Don't let that boss get to you. Don't quit even when the boss has you in tears. Use this job as an oppotunity to learn and build a thicker skin. You cannot run away from everything that makes youn upset and uncomfortable. Honestly Kiera, the journey to where you are now has been a hard one, but you will be succesful and you will make your family so proud of you. Love, Kiera Onunaku P.S. Enjoy your summer in San Diego before you start college!!

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One main idea that I would stress as a word of advice to parents and/or students is to focus solely on the student as a whole. A student should take the time out of their lives, while in their last year of high school, to evaluate themselves on a more sophisticated level. They should realize that going to college is a major step that is going to determine their potential careers and futures as a whole. Parents and students together should discuss the students' aspirations, inspirations, interests, and the expectations that they have in this life. By laying this important foundation first, parents and/or students may then focus on finding the right schools that seem to be compatible and best for the student's ideal career and personal goals. Students who really want to make the most out of their college experiences should never forget who they are. I would advise students to be responsible, open-minded, motivated, ambitious, and goal-oriented. They have to remember that success is only accessible through obstacles and hardships. Students can and should only be themselves from this point forward in order to reap the illustrious benefits of college.

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Advice that I would give to parents and students about finding the right college would include three things. I would urge students and parents to find a college that caters to a students' professional/career goals. There are some colleges that are especially great for specific majors and it is these schools that certain students should apply for. There should be no intimidation when applying to schools that have a narrow focus, you never know what a college or university may see in your application. Secondly, I would encourage students and parents to make sure to visit a campus before choosing to attend. Pictures, virtual tours, and even taking the word of an alumni or current student can be deceiving. There is a general feeling that one can get from actually visiting a college and it is this feeling that can affirm the desire to go to that school or deter an individual from following through with that choice. Finally, I would advise students and parents to sit down together and weigh all information on prospective colleges. This final discussion should especially include financial aid options for each school. All of these things are important when picking a college/university.

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Throughout my life, I have had a terribly hard time "fitting in". Unfortunately, I experienced racial discrimination and social isolation at a very young age. Additionally, I never thoroughly understood why I am not good enough for my father to show that he ever loved me. The hardships I have endured in the past undeniably modified my perception of self-worth. I never felt good or pretty enough to be loved by anyone. Thus, I spent most of my youthful life ashamed; ashamed of my physical appearance, my intelligence, even my faith in God. Sadly, I hated everything about me, from the pigment of my skin to the emotions of my heart. Nevertheless, upon arriving to college, I reignited my faith in God. At that very moment, I transformed into a confident, social, exceptional young woman! Now, I am overwhelmed with joy and understand the significance of genuine happiness. Furthermore, if I could speak to myself as a high school senior, I would encourage myself to be strong and understand that after hardships, joy will follow. Through times of trouble, God will always provide shelter. My life's purpose is to serve God and through Him, I will reach goals.

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The college experience is one of the most rewarding experiences one can have based on one?s campus surroundings, expectations and influences. The main advice I would have given myself as a high school senior is gain balance between the academic and social activities and just be true to yourself. I am currently a freshman, attending Howard University?s School of Business, with a major in Finance. During my first semester, I met so many people from different parts of the United States and other countries. When I realized that other students were more mature due to what life bought them in their previous life before college, I wanted to get on that page immediately. I learned that you cannot rush life. It is a process of growth and development, and as we endure the process we are presented with many opportunities that can profoundly affect the rest of our life. I believe in compromise but there must be a balance, but one should one never sacrifice their morals and principles for popularity. More importantly though, I learned how to deal with defeat and learn from my mistakes to ensure that I will be the victor in the next round.

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First and foremost, no university's essence can be fully captured in a mass-mailed, six page admissions brochure. And if it could, you certainly wouldn't want to go there! It is imperative that students visit potential schools. Preferably before applying, but certainly before accepting admission and heading off to spend four (or more) years there. Also, please treat a college visit as the important event it is. You're not deciding on what to have for lunch, you're affecting your educational and professional future here, act like it. Seriously discuss the University and the program to which you plan on applying with departmental leaders, professors and current students. You do not want to show up for the first day of class to find out that you've stepped into your worst nightmare, especially once that tuition check has been written. Once you've found your niche school remember why you're there. Being the president of three organizations, having lots of stories and being elected Student Body president doesn't make up for a horrible GPA. Enjoy the experience, you'll never get it again. But don't forget the cost to you and those you love!

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