Illinois State University Top Questions

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

Matt

Do not let your girlfriend get in the way of your college experience. It is important to branch out and try different groups and activities.

Christina

I would tell myself to do my best effort to not get hung up on boys and stereotypes and things that will not help you out in the long run. I would tell myself to remember who I am and to not try to change for anything other than myself. Focus on schoolwork should be a main priority but going out and making new friends and having fun should have a significant role in your college experience. The new friends that you will make will be your lifeline and will be there when you are having a hard time with school or relationships or what ever it may be.

Travis

I would advise myself to join my fraternity freshman year, I would also advise myself to start focusing on my grades early on freshman year instead of second semester.

Michelle

Approaching my second semester as a sophomore in college, I have boatload of advice I would give myself as a high school senior. First of all, I would tell myself to do more research on careers & majors. I thought I had done enough, but I have changed my major/minor twice, & I am still uncertain of the path my college career will lead. To give myself more time to think about this I would also tell myself to take gen eds first, when I got to college I was excited to learn about my major so I took major classes that probably should've waited. I did well in those classes, but some of them do not count towards my current major since I decided to change. I would tell myself to consider community college, it would help my parents and myself save money. That reminds me that I would've told myself to save money as soon as I applied for college or earlier. I now live off-campus and the price of rent, food and basic necessities, and books for class make me stress. To cope I have a job, but that interferes with my ability to learn.

Jenna

I would tell myself that making friends, makes your freshman year of college. it is a hard transition and you cant meet new people by not getting out of your room. you have to try new things and get out of your comfort zone to be able to make friends. Your roomate, bad or good, if you have friends they will get you through all the long weeks with three exams or that eight page paper you need to finsih in three hours. the friends you make become you make shift family at school. you go home on break to go home, but you end up wanting to go back to school to see your family. with school, i would tell myself that going to class can make or break your A. so many times professors do random sign ins for extra credit, those extra points will always help. reading and doing homework, may seem tedious but it really helps when you pull out the study guide and know most of the things on it. it really does help. College is about finding a career but also to find a new family, so make friends and do good in school.

Nicholas

First and foremost, I would say be very open to introducing yourself and talking to new people all over campus freshman year. Everyone is in the same boat with not knowing very many people and wants to make new friends. Chances are that there at least a few people on your dorm floor that have the same interests as you. Even if they do not have the same interests they may be a good person that ultimately you could end up being friends with whether it is in a class or a club. I would look into as many social networks as possible including clubs and greek life, being involved will keep you busy and find you many friends. While it is very important to find new friends that you can build relationships with for the rest of your life you still have to focus on school. If you party hard, you have to study just as hard. As long as you keep a solid head on your shoulders you schould be able to go out whenever you want because you will have more than enough free time during the day to get your homework done. HAVE FUN!

John

If I could go back, I would probably tell myself to go to class more. I had an 8am class monday through friday and there were many times I chose sleep rather than class. Due to this my performance in the class suffered and my gpa will be the one that takes the hit. Going to class may be an option in college but it is also a necessity if you wish to succeed.

Jonathan

The best decision I made was to choose a school that was strong in my area of career interest and to NOT commit to participate in NCAA athletics.

Christine

Take your time and be aware of what makes you smile. Never go by what they say, there are no rules and it's all yours. Your future, your time, and most importantly, it is yours now. They cannot paint you black and white and put a number on you to label your passion and determination. All will be well, no worries.

Samantha

Get involved in campus activities your first semester of college. Making social connections with people interested in the same things as you can open up so many doors. Also, work hard throughout your entire senior year because although you may want to slack off since it is the end of your senior year, college is tough and you will need a good work ethic. During your first year of college put yourself out there to make friends and remember that everyone else is as nervous about starting college as you are. Never sell yourself short because the syllabus for college courses always looks more intimidating that it actually turns out to be. Most importantly enjoy this time because it goes by way too quickly!

Tawni

Don't sweat the small things. Don't over-worry about the transition to college. Keep a strong work ethic and keep in touch with your old friends but make new ones too!

Mariana

Get involved in things you might be interested. Always stay ontop of your coursework in college and don't be afraid to talk to professors; they know so much and are so helpful and friendly.

Danielle

Become involved as many organizations that do not interfere with classes. Every time I enroll in a student organization I meet new people and create new networks of friends. In college you do not want to hang out with the same ten people. I am currently involved in alternative spring break. Durring my spring beak, I will be traveling with ten other people to do a service project. I am also involved in habiat for humanity. Students in this group build homes on saturdays for familys who do not own a home. In college there are activities for whatever a student is intrested in. Whether it be community service, greek, sports, dance, theatre etc. It is out there. However, the student has to find it. Organizatios will not go looking for you. It took me a semester to become involved with any student organization. If I had known I would have met the people I did by becomming involved, I would have become involved sooner. It is a great experience! do not waste time because college goes quick!

Teryn

If I could go back to senior year of high school I would tell myself to make the most of every moment between then and graduation from college. I feel as if I could have done more as far as getting to know people as well as taking the classes that i needed instead of classes that i wanted to take because I find that money be becoming more of an issue the longer I stay in school. I really enjoy school though, which is also something that I would not have anticipated after high school. I had such a good time in high chool and thought that I was leaving all of those fun times behind, so if i could go back in tim i would also tell myself to not be afraid to go have a good time! because its still possible to do so while still getting good grades.

Kimberly

If I could go back in time to senior year, I would tell myself to aim higher than I think I am able of because in the past year, I have proven to myself that I am smarter than I think. I would tell myself to not only apply to Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, and Carthage, but also to a more challenging school such as University of Illinois. When I was a senior in high school, I never challenged myself to academically perform better, so I never took the "next step up" to achieve more than I was used to. I would also tell myself to start saving my money now because I never gave my financial situation a second thought. Little did I know, my freshman year consisted of my bank account topping off at twenty dollars. While I did have a one thousand dollar scholarship from high school, it did not go very far. With the combination of books, groceries, and tuition, the money was gone within thirty days.

Samantha

It is going to be a lot of work and at times it is going to be very stressful but the good times and hard work does pay off.

Kathryn

If I went back to talk to my high school self, I would tell myself that I need to pick up my slack. I may have gotten through high school alright with my work ethic, but I need to motivate myself to work harder. I got so distracted with being away from home and family that I didn't focus as much as I needed to. I regret this because I have no slack now. I am not satified with my GPA, so in order to increase my GPA, I need to work a whole lot harder. But that is easier to say when you get into your major classes and all your work load starts to pile up throughout the years. So, don't slack. You'll have a harder time in the later years in college if you do.

Adam

I would tell myself to be a little bit more outgoing. I would also tell myself to go out and become more active because it is easier to do when you are a freshman. The bit of advice I would give myself is to avoid some of the thirsty Thursdays so I would not miss ITK lab so much!

Amy

When I was a senior in high school my parents consistenly pushed me to look for scholarships, but I, being oblivious at the time to the cost of attending a respected college, ignored them. I soon learned that they were right all along. I should have been searching and applying for scholarships long before my freshman year of college. The cost of college these days is somewhat outrageous, however the education is worth it. Students like myself who are paying their own way through college need all the help they can get. So if I could go back in time, I would tell myself that listening to my parents might not be such a bad idea and to start that scholarship search as soon as possible!

Nicole

The first advice I would give to parents and students regarding finding the right college and making the most of their college experiennce is to first and foremost secure funding for school. With today's economy, and the decrease in financial aid available to students, this is very important to consider before attending a four year university. For some people, their situation might prove that it's more economical to attend a Community College to complete their Associate's degree, then transfer to a four year university. If your financial situation allows you to secure funding at a university, my advice would include visiting the campus of prospective schools. For instance, shadow a Froshman for a day or two, get a campus tour, and learn about the services the school has to offer. For students, remember that you should chose a school that best fits your personal learning style. Specifically, learn about the average class sizes, and teacher to student ratio. Take the initiative to find out about services offered that will help you be successful in your major. Overall, secure funding, and dilligently seek information about the campus community in order to make the most of your college experience.

Justina

When choosing a college, don't settle. There are plenty of colleges out there to choose from, all that would be happy to have you. Think about what is most important to you, whether it be school pride, academics, food, off campus activities, athletics, or dorm life. Whatever it is, consider it carefully. Yes, making sure you can afford it is important, but there will always be financial aide possible, and if you are willing to work for what you want, on camps jobs. If you're not going to to school where you are happy, you won't be as happy. Also, get involved! Finding a group that you feel comfortable with will make all the difference in the world. There is nothing that can motivate you as much as having friends there to go through this new stage of life with you. Remember, everything will be new to them too! Find things that you have in common and be willing to reach out. Make th most of everything. If you're not sure, try it anyway! Then you'll know whether or not to do it again! Be adventurous, live it up, and study hard!

Lisa

Get Involved, go to class, and dont party too hard.

O'Cephus

Extensive research would definitely be my advice. I didn't find out about a better institution for my intended major until a few months ago. It's definitely too late to for me to consider transferring, unless I want to start over in my college experience. Best fits as a far as majors and financial aid tend to be the two most common factors weighted when deciding which college to attend. The third factor would probably be distance away from home, but most would definitely sacrifice that if the institution is offering a certain amount of money for the student's education. I would tell students to PLEASE focus on academics FIRST. After and only after that is taken care of, you can get to the social aspects of college. The parties and extracurricular activities aren't going anywhere. At the end of the day, you are in college to receive an education.

Caitlin

The most important thing for a student to consider when choosing the school they want to go to is the comfort level. If a student is not comfortable at the school they are looking into they will not adjust well. When a student is comfortable with their environment it allows for them to achieve excellence and be themselves in their surrounding environment. Success is very important in college and being comfortable and enjoying the environment in which the school is located will only enhance success.

Kathleen

I have a few pieces of advice for students and parents. The first piece of advice is that when touring college campuses, always remember to take note of the feeling you get in terms of comfort. When I came to Illinois State University (ISU), I felt so comfortable and at home when I was getting the tour. People were friendly, the tour guide was helpful, and the Quad was so beautiful. A factor that I took into account when making my decision was how far away I was from my parents. ISU is two hours south of my parents, so I could easily travel back and forth by way of public transportation. Consider modes of transportation when making your decision because freshman and sophomores are the least likely of all students to get parking passes at most universities. In terms of making the most out of one's college experience, I would advise that students join any club or sport that interests them. It's a great way to make friends and to get to know the campus. The more people you know, the more connections you'll have when you graduate. Lastly, never hesitate to ask for help.

Kylie

Make sure the incoming student likes the size of the school (how many students actually attend), and that they like the campus in general. And also, make sure that when they visit, they feel welcome there.

Annelise

Make sure to visit plenty places, to apply to many schools, and really think about your decision. Apply early so you have a lot of your senior year to contemplate your choice. I only visited three or four schools and I applied to four. I got into all four and chose the school I would attend by the start of October. I wish I had applied to more schools and taken through the spring to make my decision, because though I like my school, I now understand I could have gotten more money for some other schools, and I may have liked a different environment now that I really see what other schools are out there. So long story short, do a lot of research and don't feel pressured to make a decision quickly or to settle on a school.

Patrick

Go on every college visit you can and explore all of your options. Do not assume that just because you think you want to go to a school that one institution is the only one out there.

Julie

Choosing the right college is not always easy, but it IS exciting! I would tell parents and students to not take the college decision-making process to lightly OR too difficultly. It is a process that takes time and effort on the parent and students part, but it should not be overly stressful. My best advice is to apply to no more than three or four colleges/universities. I have met plenty of people who took the application process way to seriously and applied to more than five colleges, and they seemed way too overwhelmed. I also would say that when you find the right college and are all ready to start packing everything, do not pack more than you can handle. Always remember that there are plenty of stores and places you can buy supplies at while you are at school, so do not worry too much about having all the right things right when you are all moved in. Lastly, these really can be some of the best four years of your life if you let it. Study hard, but not TOO hard, and do not forget to have fun, but not TOO much fun! GOOD LUCK!

Zach

Parents: listen to your child; Sudents: listen to your parents. Choosing a college is a huge decision and students will not only need as many opinions they can get, but also trusted advice from a parent. However, the ultimate decision should be left up to the student, for he/she knows themselves the best and where they'd be happy. For most middle-class families, such as myself, the largest factor when choosing a college is financial aid. I attended a large state university at the behest of my parents, yet it wasn't the best choice for me. My education and happiness may have been compromised since I was accepted into top=tier presigious uiversities. I am growing to like it where I am and it's important to students who don't end up at thier first choice to atleast give thier new school a try before they decide to hate it. I was bitter when I first enrolled which impacted my experience. Now I'm looking at my school from a new perspective and like it alot better. There will be "jerks" and potentcial freinds at every school, so just give it a try!

Jasmyne

My advice that I would give to parents about choosing the right college would be to not shelter your child when it comes to choosing a college because it is best to branch out, explore and meet people of all cultures! For students, I would say to choose the college which you are comfortable with when it comes to the class sizes, the campus size, etc... I would also advise to choose the best college in which you will receive the best education and real world experiences for your career because the more experience you have, the better. For example, I chose Illinois State University mainly for their tv station, TV-10 News, because I am pursuing a career in broadcast journalism and I get hands on experience being a reporter, anchor or weather person. My last advice would be not to choose a school just because the campus is beautiful, your friends/mate attends that school or because your family are alumni. Choose the school that bests fits you, your comfort zone, your major and personality! To make the most out of your college life branch out and meet people, join clubs, study hard and go for the internships!

William

Parents, try and get your soon to be college student to narrow down their selection from 5 or more down to 3 top schools. Then go and visit these schools, walk around check out the buildings. Yours student will feel that the school is right for them. I personally visited 3 schools not including my sisters University (which was way to large for me). I went on a tour or Western Illinois, stopped by Northern Illinois, and ended up looking at Illinois State. What drew me to ISU was the look of the quad the renovated building and there was just a presence around the school that I loved immediately. Go from academics, the surrounding area of the College, the buildings and you'll know whats right.

AMANDA

Visiting the campus is of utmost importance, it can really make or break your decision. Know what you're looking for in a college, for example a big or small campus and what activities you want to do. Make friends with those people on your floor/in your whole dorm. Strongly suggest living in the dorms. Get along with your roommate as much as possible, me and my roommate did this by talking about how studius we are, what tv shows we like to watch, what activities we like to do, who's responsible for what, etc. This helped set guidelines, I suggest even roommates who know each other do this. I don't think it is necessary to get involved with campus activities at least for me, I met people in classes and through friends I already knew on campus. Be outgoing, there's friends out there for every single person.

Amy

Finding the right college is more about program fit and campus size/lifestyle than finances - if it is right, you will find a way to fund it! In order to get the most out of the experience as a student, you must be very active and enthusiastic about your own education. Beyond simply going to classes and doing your best, take advantage of Honors programs, sponsored internships, and other programs that your school may offer. Many students miss out on these opportunities because they do not want "extra work", but all of those extra experiences will prove to be valuable assets on your resume later when you are applying for jobs or graduate schools. Take charge! Mommy's not setting your alarm any more!

Danica

I think it is important for parents to not only support their college students financially but also emotionally. A lot of college students go through phases where they get really stressed and more than anything, they need their parents support. I think it is important for parents to let their students know that they are proud of their students' accomplishments. As for students, it's important to become involved on campus with something, anything. Try to join clubs, inter-mural sports teams, organizations, etc. This is a great way to meet people who may have the same interests as you. It may be intimidating at first, but just be yourself and chances are, you'll find someone who you truly click with. It's also important to be yourself. No matter who or what you are, as long as you are happy, that's what's important. Above all, enjoy yourself and the friends that you have made and the years that you have at college because you can't them back!

Erika

Picking the right college can either make or break the college experience. Finding the right college is more then just finding a party school , it is about finding a college that fits you as a person. I strongly believe that when looking for the right college you have to consider many different things. Make sure the college that the student attends has a good program for their career choice, that is the main purpose of college is to earn a degree. With this, make sure that the school has staff available to assist with questions and tutoring. The student also needs to consider the activities and clubs that are available on campus, having fun at college is part of going away to school. No one wants to learn all day and not have fun, that would make it hard to enjoy college. If the child is interested in a particular sport, make sure that sport is available for the student. Safety at a college is also very important, make sure the campus safety is good. The housing and its location to needed stores should also be considered. Along with this, is the transportation that is available to students.

Lindsey

Choosing a place where you feel comfortable and at home is so important. After all, it will be your new home for your college years. Its so vital to emerge yourself in all your college has to offer. Joining clubs and attending socials and sporting events is a great way to meet new people and decide what it is exactly that you are interested in. And you should not expect college to be how it is in movies. It is definitely not all about drinking and partying, and is not what you should be going for anyway. There are so many resources and opportunities available to students for all of their needs if they apply themselves and make an effort to get to know their campus. College is an unforgettable experience that will take you to great places and open so many doors for you. As any graduate will tell you, make the most out of your years, because once they are over you'll want them back!

Nicole

Finding the right college is much like buying a new pair of shoes. There are many different styles, but you have to find a pair that appeals to your own taste yet comfortable enough for a long journey. The most beneficial experience I engaged in, when looking for the right school, was preview. The program allowed both prospective students and parents to come and stay, on campus, to get the true feeling of the school. If the college does not offer a preview take a weekend and go stay as close to campus as possible. This experience allows you to test the waters. Hopefully you choose a college that makes you comfortable and feel right a home. To aid this, I recommend getting involved in your major. Join clubs your major offers, volunteer throughout the community, and engage yourself in research. These activities allow you to learn about your field, so you can decide if it is right for you. However, you can always return those shoes if they are not the perfect fit. If your first choice does not work do not like that discourage you, maybe you just need a pair with a little more cushion.

Nicole

1. Dont be scared to try new things. College campuses are full of fun and exciting opportunities but it is up to the student to grasp them. 2. There are so many types of people on a college campus that it is such a great way to meet tons of people and get a wide variety of people as friends. My favorite part of school is honestly meeting new and awesome people.

Margaret

It is very important to visit a wide variety of colleges and talk to staff or graduates of the school. Dont pick a college just because your best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend attends it. It is a whole new chapter in your life when you get to college. You will make new friends who will be your life long friends. To make the most of your years at college, join a sports team or a club. Putting yourself out there to make new friends is a part of college, whether you know it or not. Also, putting trust into your teachers helps also. You cant be afraid to talk to them or go to them for help. Whether it be before or after class, or even going to their office hours. I have found that doing this helps you out a lot.

Mary

When you are trying to find the right college, take your time, don't rush or get frusturated. Things like this take time, you won;t find the perfect school right away. Also make sure you visit the schools and go into the bulilnding and meet and talk to studensts on campus to get a feel of what they think. When it comes to the college experience, just go to all your classes, participate do all your work and really study for those tests. But don't just focus all your hard work on studying, go out, meet new people, volunteer and do something good for yourself and the community, my favorite is volunterring at animal shelters. join sports and clubs and anything you think will be fun and safe. And when you get behind in your work, always talk to your professor and get the extra help and tutoring right away I made sure I did that when I got behind in accounting.

Shondra

Make sure that you visit first because that would let you know how comfortable you would be in that kind of setting.

Margaret

Make sure to visit every campus. Talk to the people you see on the campus who actually attend the school, not the people who are giving you a guided tour. They are paid to tell you certain things about the school. Everyone is generally very friendly and wouldnt mind stopping to tell you something they love about their school. If the feedbacck isnt positive go find some other students to speak to! I promise it will make the choosing that much better.

Heidi

Some advice that I would give to parents and/or students about finding the right college is to research colleges that pertain to the major that the student is planning on studying. Each college has their it's own area of excellence. The next thing I would consider when deciding where to go to college is the price of each school that is a candidate for the student to attend. College is exspensive, so finding one that fits into your budget is beneficial. Once the student has been enrolled into college, there are several things that he or she can do to make the most out of their college experience. I would highly recommend getting involved at your school. Joining organizations can get you involved and help you meet new people. I would also recommend staying on top of your game in your classes. Don't let your social life overcome everything; you have to remember that you are there for school, not partying. The last thing that I recommend is to study abroad. Studying abroad gives a student a whole new experience to learning. If a student does these three things, college life will be a breeze.

Lauren

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?"

Amy

Make sure the school has the major you're considering picking & make sure there are extra-curricular activities.

Bailey

Believe in yourself and take every great opportunity as it comes. Go out and meet people, do not be afraid to take chances. Get involved and work hard.

Matthew

When looking for a college make sure it has opportunity for you to go into several fields that you would like to and make sure you feel comfortable in the area and school. Money should not play a big role but a small role. You really need to focus on the area and how you will feel going to this school. Work hard and stay disciplined and enjoy your experience.

Mike

Attend the same school as your best friends if you can. Therefore, you can adjust to college life with a support system already there. This can help you stay focused on studying while meeting new people to add to your social experiences. Most students don't know what they want to do in life right away and that's okay. Talk to advisors at school to figure out what majors suit your interests and passions. Changing majors is common, so there's no shame in it.

Mary

To parents and students looking for the right college, I would simply say explore your options and your personality. If you prefer smaller towns to larger towns, go with a smaller campus. If you are a social butterfly, make sure that the school offers a lot of opportunities to meet people. Also, ensure that the college of your choice offers programs to develop your major of choice to its fullest. In order to make the most of your college experience, you must try your hardest to come out of your shell. Constantly introduce yourself to people, and don't be afraid to strike up conversation. Really, no one minds making new friends especially in such a large setting such as a college. Don't be afraid to ask the person next to you for notes, and don't be afraid to ask the professors for extra help. Remember that making the most of your college experience will not involve strictly academic principles. Introduce yourself to everyone on your floor, and set aside time to study. This will help you succeed.

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