Illinois Wesleyan University Top Questions

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

Ryan

I guess the thing that I would tell my high school self is that life takes its own path and sometimes you just have to go with it. I would say, "Just because you're going to graduate second in your class and have a 4.5 GPA, don't live for other people's expectations of your future. Live for yourself and pursue your passion. If you love theater, do theater. Don't think that just because of your high school career you have to become a doctor or an engineer. Don't spend your life doing something that you hate. Do something you love and go with the flow in life. Also, you cannot get through life without other people. You may at times feel like you're a super hero, but don't be afraid to have a sidekick, or multiple. They sometimes know more than you do about yourself. Just be you and be proud of it. Rely on God. Make smart decisions, and tell the people you're closest to that you love them everyday. Being away from home won't be easy, but a simple "I love you" may help you through the day."

Alexandra

If I were to give myself advice as a high school senior, I would definitely remind myself to not be afraid to get involved. I would encourage myself to join as many clubs as possible. I would also remind myself to meet new people. Everyone is new to the same sitation--so don't feel awkward to say 'hi' to someone new. I would advise myself to never assume that college professers give assignment extentions and to take into careful consideration what your first-year adviser advises! Lastly, I would encourage to be myself, have fun, but never forget where I came from.

Angelina

If I were to go back to my high school senior self I would tell myself to join more clubs, volunteer more, take the SATs seriously, go straight to college. Everything I did not do…at all.

Cortney

Don't be afraid to lose relationships at home and build new ones at IWU.

Michael

The biggest thing I have noticed throughout my college life is how close-minded I have been throughout high-school and my childhood. I had grown up in a wealthy community where my problems at home or school paled in comparision to those of my friends I have made at Illinois Wesleyan. This "Bubble" I had grown up in had sculpted me into a judmental individual and limited my perspective. I would tell my high school self to be more patient and understanding with people you come across on a day to day basis. While it may be easy to be quick to judge and criticize somebody, it is much harder to take the time to get to know somebody and understand the problems they must deal with daily. Therefore, the most important thing I would tell my high school self is to be more understanding and slow to judgment. Through this process, I would be able to enter college already familiar with this concept and broaden my horizons rapidly.

Chaka

I would focus on my grades and do more reserach on the colleges and scholarships that are offered.

Ashley

So far the biggest thing I have taken from my school is just the fact that I need to open my mind and take in many other view points. Before I attended this school, I had my life planned out and it is because of this school and the classes at the school that I stopped and reconsidered my goals and my plans. I am finding myself at this school, which is something I think is important of a college career. My school has so many programs and staff members that have really helped me and many other students on campus. It is what I always dreamed college would be and should be like.

Bradley

I have learned the value of a true education, an education that both promotes growth and challenges the individual. I have found the value of self-questioning and introspection. The truly amazing part of my college experience at Illinois Wesleyan University happened when this self-questioning and introspection was combined with the learning of new materials. The result was a sort of personal growth both myself and my peers could see- a change for something much better. I went to college very secure in who I was as a person, and I am here now, a new man with a new direction. It feels great, and it feels like the beginning of tomorrow. Thank you Illinois Wesleyan University, and in particular, Dr. James Sikora.

Lindsay

Advice that I would give myself, and any high school senior, would be: manage your time well. There are so many opportunities to join clubs, sports teams, participate in Greek life that soon you will be overbooked and have no time to relax or do homework. Getting adequate sleep is so important. There will be friends and other situations that will entice you to stay up late or in the case of homework or tests, pull all nighters but it is not worth it. Managing your time effectively is key to a happy, balanced, less stressful college transition.

Madeline

A trip back in time to talk to my senior-self, would be an opportunity I would never pass up! If I could talk to the second-semester- senior Maddie, I would tell her not to get used to the senioritis plague and slack-off attitude because college is a whole new ball game! I'd want to warn myself of the hours and hours of stuyding I would be doing and start mentally preparing myself as early as possible. Having already experienced one semester of college, I would tell myself "good job" on having an open attitude towards meeting many new people and getting involved in lots of things I would have never dreamed of! I would give myself a pat on the back for nurturing this openness senior year when I made many new friends, a little late in the game, but it was all still worth it. Now that I have an idea of what college is about I know that there are a few things I could have changed in myself senior year to prepare myself for now, but I am also pleasantly surprised at some of the success I have encountered thanks to senior-me.

Nick

Nick, I know you have no idea what the next four years of your life will be like. Will I have friends? Can I afford college? I know, because I've experienced college life firsthand. Don't be too set in our ways, you will be exposed to kids from the city that have never heard of the FFA, kids that listen to different music, and kids that have never seen snow. However, they're just as scared as you are. Of course they all have the same questions, and once you realise that you can start learning more about them and yourself. The classes will take more work, the food won't taste as good as Mom's, the new world you're about to see is scary at first. However, when I come back from class every day I can set my books down and smile. This is my second home, this is my future, and I'm ready to experience the next act in the play of life.

Kiara

If I could somehow go back in time and advise myself as a high school senior, the most important advice I would give myself is to enhance my study habits. In high school. it is not uncommon that many students slack off when it comes to studying. Many students "cram" or simply fail to study at all. However, this type of habit will surely hurt you in college, especially your first year. College level work is very time consuming and rigorous. It is wise to study a little material from each of your classes everyday while in your last year of high school so that you can prepare yourself for college level work. In college, there is a lot more reading and outside homework that has to be completed in order to excel in your classes. If you read a little or study a little material each day while still in high school, you will not have to worry about being frustrated when your first forty page reading assignment or college level test is announced. Practicing healthy study habits in high school is the best way to excel in college.

Alexandria

Go out and meeting people. Spend less time in your room and more time with friends. Do your homework. Do your homework sooner, rather than later. Just because the cafeteria is buffet-style does not mean that you need to eat everything. Smile more. Worry less. Don't be so afraid.

Sarah

This is a fresh start so take advantage of it, and don't try to change who you are to fit in. Just be you. Also, don't let things at home hold you back.

Sarah

If I were to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself a few things in preparation for the transition into college life. I would tell myself that although the transition may be intimidating, the opportunities that arise from attending college are invaluable. The friendships and learning opportunities available in college are what shapes a person to be who they are once they enter the "real world." I would also remind myself to be prepared for the workload that comes with college, and although that also can seem intimidating, the rewards that come from hard work are irreplaceable. Keeping an open mind would be best, as well, seeing as you're immersed into an environment filled with diversity and people who will express themselves and find themselves on their own terms, just as you're able to do once you begin your schooling experience.

Marli

If I could go back in time and talk with myself about college life and the transition between living at home and moving away to school, I would reassure myself that college would work out wonderfully if I worked hard to keep everything in moderation. My best advice would be to get involved in campus life and get to know professors right away because they are much more important than local parties. Going out and socializing is a critical aspect of college, but in retrospect what I treasure most were the classes I attended. My memories of Illinois Wesleyan are marked by the challenging pursuit to further my understanding of the humanities and the arts. I learned to be a critical thinker and examine all provided information before making a decision. Before entering college, I was worried about not feeling enough like an adult. I was pleasantly surprised by my personal and intellectual growth over my four years at Illinois Wesleyan. My fears about being inadequate and unadult were conquered one at a time as I matured, faced adult decisions, and developed a strong work ethic. College is a personal adventure and a privilege one should not take for granted!

alyson

First and foremost, know yourself. If you know yourself, you will be better able to make the decisions that are the best for you. Knowing who you is a big part of finding the right school for you. There are a lot of things to think about when choosing a university like student population, size of the campus, academics, faculty, and so on. If you know what's right for you, then it makes choosing a college a little bit easier and a little less overwhelming. Another important thing about the college search process is make sure that you are in constant communication with someone that you trust, whether it be a parent, or a counselor, or a friend. That way, you have someone in your corner to help you make tough decisions about choosing your school.

Natalie

To parents and students, it is important to remember that there is more than one "right" college out there for each person. If you have done your research, visited the schools, and narrowed it down to 2 or 3 schools, chances are, you will be very happy at whichever one you pick. You will hear a lot of people tell you that college is really great, and some of the best years of your life. That is certainly true, but you have to make the effort to make college the best years of your life. Get to know people early on! If your school does not have an orenitation for incoming students, put yourself out there and walk around your dorm meeting people. Talk to the people that sit beside you in class. One of my biggest regrets is being too shy during my first couple of weeks or freshmen year. Meet people, find an activity you love to do, and let loose a little; it is ok to be a little crazy. Finally, go to class! It is so much easier to keep up with the material if you just get out of bed, and make an appearance.

Nicole

I have told every high school senior who is looking at schools the same thing: visit the schools on your list. Don't just read about them online or in the pamphlets they send you in the mail. You need to get a feel for what it's like to be on that campus and see if it's somewhere you could see yourself living, working, learning, and thriving for four long years! After all, you spend a majority of your time outside of the classroom. Visiting also gives you a good indication of what the students on that campus are like and if you will be comfortable with them in a classroom and social setting. In my personal experience, visiting Ilinois Wesleyan was the deciding factor in attending. I originally didn't even want to visit or apply there, but my mom forced me to stop by on our way to visit Bradley, and by the time we were driving away, I knew that my college plans had changed and that Illinois Wesleyan was the best place for me.

Sean

It's a combination of comfort and academics.

Michael

Many students tend to worry about the right school to choose for undergraduate studies; the reality of the situation is, however, that no matter where you end up going (barring a terrible roommate or homesickeness), college will be fun! Living on your own, being independent, oppening yourself up to new cultural and social experiences are situations you will find yourself in at nearly any school you choose to attend. The most important choice comes down to where you will be most comfortable making those new decisions, finding those new friends, and finding out who you are as a person living on your own. Someone once told me, "you'll just know it when you step on that campus, that you could spend the rest of your life there." Now, I don't know about the rest of my life, but when I stepped on the campus that I ended up attending, those words rang true, and I felt very comfortable there with the people and the prevalent attitude on campus. The best advice I could give is to make the visits, get a feel for the school, and don't worry about having fun, because it will still happen!

Heather

Make sure not to force a student to pick a school based on either a parent's preferences or what they want to do now as it might change in a few years anyway.

Alexandra

Look around at several options before making a decision. Parents, allow for your student to choose for themselves with some advice from you. Find out what college will work with your income and financial situation. Students look for what you'll love, not just what you'll like, because it will be your home for atleast 4 years. Find a place that you are most comfortable and will get you money's worth. Never be afraid to ask questions, actually, ask a lot of questions. Enjoy the search because it only happens once in your life. It's a fun, bonding experience!

Caroline

Start your search on the internet to find a school that meets your interests, both academically and socially (and even athletically if you are looking to be a student-athlete). Once you have a list of potential schools, VISIT THEM. The campus visit is perhaps the most important of the search process; a school may look good on paper, but you need to actually set foot on the campus to make sure that it is the right fit for you. But most importantly, don't make the decision based on one factor alone. For example, I originally ruled out a particular school because it was in my hometown and I did not want to be one of "those people" that never left their hometown. However, it had all of the components I was looking for in a school and I liked it better than any of the other schools I visited. Despite the geography, I chose to attend the school in my hometown, and if I had to make the decision again, I definitely wouldn't change it. I know I picked the right school for me.

Joshua

Don't take it for granted. Enjoy it, because it's over sooner than you could ever want it to be.

Kathryn

When choosing a school be very aware of your own personality and how well you make friends and how you meet people. It's easy to lose yourself at a big school and likewise easy to not find your place at a small school just the same. Also make time for fun and socializing, without it school work will make you crazy.

Mike

To parents: regardless of what you thing, or where you went to college, or what you want for your children, college is for them. The worst thing a parent can do is say "when I was at school I studied this, and you should too". Giving advice in this way isn't seen by your children as you giving them advice. It's actually interpreted as our parents telling us what to do, and where to go, and we resent it. Encourage your students to choose based on what they are interested in. The final choice in school and program of study has to be your child's decision for them to make the most out of the college experience. To Students: make the most out of every opportunity. Even if you feel like going Greek might not be right for you, give it a shot and chances are you'll meet a lot of people--in Greek Life--that felt the same way. Don't ever stop giving the most you can give and remember college isn't about getting all a's. It's about finding and sharing life-long experiences with life-long friends.

Allyson

My advice is to go with your gut. I picked Wesleyan because it just felt right to me. I knew I would regret it if I didn't come. I'm glad I did because I love my school and couldn't imagine myself anywhere else.

Cailin

Finding the right college is an experience in itself. The student must choose a college that is right for them; he or she should make the decision with their mind and heart. Choosing a college is one of the most important opportunities of a lifetime, and with the decision one must be knowledgable and patient. The student and his or her parents should research schools, tour, and visit a variety of schools prior to making the decision. Once the decision is made, the student should know, that if they ever have doubts, or are unhappy, they always have options! Every experience and every decision happens and is made for a reason; the student and his or her parents should make the most out of the college experience. Live, learn, have fun, and prepare for the rest of life's journey.

Melissa

Do what feels right. Visit the schools you are intersted in and talk not only to the administrators, but the professors and actual students, as scary as that sounds. They will tell you real information most of the time, not just what the admassions counslor wants you to know. Also, ask about the social aspects as well as academic. See if the school you want to go to is greek dominated or independent, or if there is a good mix. find otu what dorms are teh best for meeting people and where are the good parties are so you will know whats up when you get there. Also, realize that it isn't liek high school. There is noone lookinf aver your schoulder making sure youare getting your work done and going to class, that all on you. take advantage of it but don't abuse it., but remember they say teh first semester freshmen year doesn't count., but try to make it worth while. And get to know one of your professors or advisors so that when you have a question you can ask then without the awkwardness that results form a first encounter. relax and have fun!

Marita

Now as a senior, I can hardly remember how I ended up at the college I did. There were so many options and so many opportunities. However, I'd say basics of the college search include: a) size of the school b) attitude of faculty and students c) financial aid/ price tag. All of these, maybe with the exception of finances, can only be discovered after visiting the school. I recommend staying overnight to get a better feel the students. Do they have to study while you're there? Do they seem stressed out? Do they bring you to parties? What are their professors like? And while your experience can be dependent on your host, ask around and find out what the norm is. Visit the cafeteria. Drive around the area and get familiar with the off-campus feel. You may be surprised what you like and don't like. It's really up to you to find out which college fits you best, and putting in the effort is worth it, because, after all, its atleast 4 years of your life!

Amanda

Visit colleges you're thinking of applying to! I had convinced myself that this is not where I wanted to go, but my parents made me visit anyway, and after I spent the day here, I just FELT that it fit. If you don't 'feel it', it probably isn't the place for you, regardless of how great it's reputation is.

Vanessa

I strongly suggest that students and parents visit many colleges together during the student's Junior year in high school. Take many notes and pictures! Put them together in a scrapbook with a paragraph about your initial reactions. At the beginning of Senior year, pull them back out, and pick the five top schools you want to re-visit. Don't visit them all in one weekend (that's sensory overload). Again, write down what you liked, your tour guide's name, and why that school would be a good/bad fit for you. That way, when you get home you have a list of specific things (and pictures) to help you choose your school. Further, you can include in your admissions essay specific references to the campus and people with which you spoke. Colleges love detailed admissions essays! When you're accepted, get to know your roommate as much as possible as soon as possible, so it's less awkward the first week. Finally, arrange a time to call parents every week or every couple of days. Additionally, plan your visits home. Don't just go whenever you feel like it. Both help ease student homesickness and parent heartache.

Reve

Search for a school that will challenge you, help you succeed, and make you happy. These are three simple things, but I lacked all of them and did not enjoy my college experience. Don't be afraid to search for the best possible school for you. Figure out what you can afford and what makes you tick. Colleges are very similar, but can be so different. Location, greek life, population, academic rigor- all of these are features that can make or break your college experience. Once you figure out where to go, jump into college head first. Study. Get involved. Meet people- fellow students and faculty. These people can help to mold and shape you into intelligent, thoughtful members of society. And last of all, if you get to college and things aren't working out, don't be afraid to transfer. You will find the school for you.

Theresa

It is important to prioritize what is important to the student. Are they interested in going to a school with a high population, in the city or suburbs, joining extra-curricular activities. This is important because if the student does not feel safe or comfortable in the setting of the school they will not do as well academically. Secondly, if the student has a declared major it is important to identify what schools may be known for that discipline or have an edge over another school as far as having better preparation for that profession after the student graduates.

Joe

If you are very conservative and do not look for any type of a social life attend a private institution. The atmosphere is very open and does not pressure one into partying. If you are looking for a good time and receiving easy grades atend any large school. Academic goals of a large school are to pass everyone whereas a small school must retain a strong academic standing to compete for enrollment. The amount of money that one would pay to attend a small private school will not prepare you any better than a large institution. Teachers also do not know you at an individual level at a large school thus they cannot have a bias against you for any reason.

Katherine

College is both an academic and social experience. Make sure that you are picking a college that caters to both. Look at both academic tendencies, such as class size and majors, and social aspects such as school size and fraternity/sorority involvement. Also, financial aid reseach is very important. Make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.

brittany

The best advice I can give is start looking early! Do not wait until the last minute. Visit as many schools as possible so you can have something to compare and contrast. Students: go with your gut feeling! It may seem hard when you have family and friends who went to one school, but you are leaning towards another. Keep in mind that ultimately, you are the one who is going to have to attend the school, not your parents! Which leads me to Parents listening to their kids. While you may not want them to go far away or you may feel like your child is making a HUGE mistake, let them make it. Who knows where that mistake might take them. Students, don't be afraid to try things and get involved! While academics should be a priority, do not let it consume you. You have the rest of your life to be an adult. Live it up while you can! College is where you build life long friendships and create memories.

Sarah

When looking for the right college I would make a list of all the different aspects of a college (size, location, areas of studies, religious affiliations, type of school, cost, etc.) and then decide what your preferences are for each and which are most important to you (co-ed or same-sex!) and begin a school search from there. I would also utilize a third-party source, like the website careercruising.com, where you can look at a profile of nearly every school in the country and get basic facts and figures. Campus visits are extremely helpful for getting a feel for a school. Coming to visit during a regular school day is the most beneficial time for doing this. Getting involved with as many activities as possible your first year will help maximize your college experience. It is really important to join organizations and activities that might not be something you are already really interested in. College is a great time to explore new interests, endeavors, and yourself. It's also one of the only times when you will have free or nearly free access to sporting events, movies, concerts, plays, musicals, and other amazing shows, so take advantage!

Nicolette

Visit the school before you apply; it gives you a better chance of admittance and gives you a better idea of how the school is first-hand rather than reading about it.

Stephanie

Listen to your heart. You'll probably know the moment you step on campus, or the moment you start reading something unexpected about your school. It's not a feeling you'll be able to describe. Don't worry too much about money or what "ranking" the school has - most schools give scholarships, and it's okay if a school is right for you even if it's not "perfect" in the books. Make friends! Don't lock yourself in your dorm room to study all night. After you graduate, you won't remember that test you aced - you'll remember staying up until four watching shooting stars on the quad with your friends. Don't be afraid to talk with your professors outside of (or after) class. Most professors, during office hours, sit around hoping a student comes in to talk with them. If you have questions, ask them! Your professors care about their subject a LOT, and desperately want you to care about it too. That's why they're professors. Start writing your papers before three AM the day they're due. ...I don't expect you to listen to that one. But try. :-)

Amanda

Visit a lot of schools and talk to the students to see what they have to say.

I

Choosing the right college is not about the name of the institution. It's about finding a school that meets your needs. If you learn best in a large lecture hall being taught by a TA, don't choose Illinois Wesleyan. If you want a school that values one-on-one relationships with students, faculty, staff, and administrators, this should probably be toward the top of your list.

Kelsey

I would determine what factors are most important to you and use them to decide what college is best for you. Also, make sure you go on college visits so you can see what the campus is like. Also, don't be shy about asking the college students questions like "What is the social life like?"

Melissa

The most important aspect, excluding doing the research about different majors, prices, and facilities, is to most definitely visit the campus! My advise is to visit more than once if you are seriously considering a particular school. Sometimes colleges and universities look really great on paper but they aren't what you expect when you get there. And trust me, it is a lot easier to send a letter telling the school that you have made different plans other than attending their institution, rather than spending a semester's time of money realizing that it is not the fit for you.

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