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Illinois State University

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

Expressing the meaning of college in less than two-hundred words is literally impossible. It can hold so many meanings for so many different people. However, it has to be said that regardless of what college you attend, it is what you make of the experience. Not everyone enjoys going to a large university or a small local college. However, it is the time and effort you choose to put into your college that can result in the success of your future. The more your school has to offer and the level of involvement you choose , the better student, friend, volunteer, and person you will become. Getting involved is more than just going to class every day and choosing the right college means choosing one that provides you with the opportunity to find yourself as a young adult. Without this, it is impossible to feel prepared for what the real world has to offer.

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I believe parents should encourage thought of careers once their son or daughter reaches high school. Some kids don't feel it is necessary to think about a life career and put it to the back of their mind. I think this is why many more students are taking longer to complete college and therefore are in more debt. Based on their career choice, this will be helpful in narrowing down what college to go to. There are so many colleges out there that are better choices for a specific career. Another thought to have before applying to colleges, is what size would they feel most comfortable and confident in? The size of the college is important for the student, because this could ruin their experience if it wasn't appropriate. If too large, students may fall behind and if too small some students may not flourish as they could in a big university.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to work harder and to take advantage of important opportunities. I am sure I could have gotten A's in those classes that I got B's. Those volunteer opportunties are really valuable to college applications and scholarships. I would tell myself to focus on the things that really matter, such as leadership, service, and involvement, instead of focusing on having a relationship. The transition to college will make you realize that there is many more options out there. Goals and passions last longer than high school relationships. Most of all, I would tell myself to think about what would benefit my college career and future. Try as hard as you can in your classes, take on service projects to better your community, and take advantage of every opportunity.

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Enjoy yourself while you can Jose. You may not know it, but you have it really easy. Going from high school to a 4 year university is a huge step. In college, you do not have anyone to tell you to go to class, you do not have anyone to tell you what you can or cannot do. I do not mean to overwhelm you with this, but this is information that you need to know. College life throws a lot of temptations your way. What you should know is that you always have a choice, peer pressure is something that you can overcome. There are many great oppurtunities when attending a 4 year university, take advantage! Join a fraternity, leadership and service group, or any club that you find you might interested in. It will look great on your resume. One more thing Jose... Start applying for more scholarships so that we do not have to pull out so many loans!

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Laila, it's your senior year and time to prepare yourself emotionally for the next phase! When you get to college you should know that a lot of students have some of the same feelings that you do. It will be sort of like your first day of high school when you were trying to figure out where your locker was or which floor your classroom was on. The difference at college- you will be looking for buildings, the library and maybe the cafeteria. But just like high school there will be that one person willing to help you figure it out. So, don't think you have to have everything figured out to fit in because that person that helped you find the library will probably end up being one of your good lifelong friends. Just one more thing, don't forget to have fun and enjoy this time, four years will fly by bery quickly! Sincerely, Laila

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I had a blast my senior year of high school playing sports, hanging out with friends, and getting out of school early since I already earned the required credit hours. There are not many things I would change if I could go back, just three certain things. One, focus on finishing with a strong GPA to insure state scholarships that would help take the presure off the tuition payments. Two, I would take high school college credited courses to jump start my college experience and be further ahead incase I needed to drop a course once enrolled in college. Three, and most importantly, I would do the research and take the time to visit more colleges to truly find the best fit for me and my goals. Following the croud and going to the most popular college will somtimes come back to haunt you and spend unnessisary money in the meantime.

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Finding the right college can be a difficult thing to do. There are so many options to keep in mind, the size of the college, their specialty, and the type of people that attend the school just to name a few. All of these are important factors when it comes to finding the correct college, but what is the most important? I personally believe that you should look at what the school excels in before you go looking at the aesthetic choices such as size or types of people. if you want to become a business man, then you should find the schools that has an excellent business program first, then look amongst them for the school that fits your personal choices. in this way you can get the most out of your college time by having a school that not only provides you with the education that you need, but also fits your personal tastes.

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If I had the chance to go back in time to talk to my highschool self, I would say to not worry so much. The small problems you face in high school with friends, family, or even school work will not matter in a year. The only thing you should focus on is getting the grades you need to succeed and maintaining a positive attitiude towards everything that comes your way. I would tell myself that it may be frightening to leave your life behind and start over once you're in college, but it will be the best thing to ever happen to you. You should also make smart decisions at all times. Anything you do will affect your future in some way. College is not something to fear, it's an oppurtunity to find yourself and make something of your life. Find something you love and pursue it and do not let anyone or anything get in the way of it.

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Dear Stacy still in high school, You will be going to college next year, make sure when you visit the college, you feel comfortable with youself and you really can see yourself going to that specific university. It should click with you, follow your heart, make sure it has enough opportunities for your specific interests. Know that you will be working harder in college than in high school, or that you should try to work harder. In college you really discover who you are and realize what is really most important. Focus on having fun and make friends, be outoing and open because you never know who you will meet, they may impact your life for the rest of the life. Learn from your mistakes and grow from them because if you belive everything happens for a reason, you will do just fine. Sincerely, Stacy from college

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I would recommend using the following steps in helping your child start their academic life: - College is a time of transition for students. They are just starting to see people doing things that they may not have been exposed to, yet. - Stay interested in what your child is doing, just don't expect them to remain in constant contact with you. The administrative staff at any institution will be happy to assist you and answer any of your questions. - Listen to them without judging when they talk about the future. They may be trying out new ideas and are looking for your support. - Ask open-ended questions about their plans and activities, such as: "Tell me more about how you made that decision?" "What do you think is important in making this decision?" "What is the best thing I can do to help you in this situation?"

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