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Jacksonville University

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

College is about research. Teachers want their students to research, so I would tell parents and students to do the same. The student should first understand his/her own interest. A liberal arts college is very different from a non- liberal arts college and a public college is very different from a private collage. Researching can let the parents and students find out what the college has to offer; social life, athletics, majors, and even living. The college should appeal to the student so once the student gets there he/she could flourish and grow into a young adult. Once the colleges have been researched, make a top five list and then visit the schools to feel if they mesh with the atmosphere of the college. Good atmospheres are very important. Being in a good atmosphere makes the student comfortable and if the student is comfortable, once hes at the college he will feel free to engage in many of the college activities. The college experience is about upgrading yourself as a person to have the tools to be successful in life. THis can be very stressful so being in a supportive and friendly atmosphere promotes growth and success.

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Shortly following my high school graduation, I moved 3,000 miles from home to begin my year of service as an AmeriCorps member. It wasn’t immediately obvious but I was embarking on an adventure of self-discovery that would ultimately embody my subconscious desire. The opportunity to mentor at-risk youth and serve as a positive role model was more rewarding than I was able to comprehend as I prepared for my journey home. My year of service ended yet my heart’s desire had not been satisfied. Returning home allowed me to continue working with at-risk youth in my own community. Witnessing hardships on the streets of my youth left me with no alternative but to devote myself to "community". I accepted a job with a local non-profit counseling homeless youth but I knew further initiative was required. I was fortunate to have discovered and been accepted into The University of New Hampshire’s Community Leadership Program which is enabling me to embrace a career in service. Lessons I have learned are already enhancing my ability as a homeless youth case worker and with less than a semester completed I’m confidant in my approaching future.

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The college experience is one of the most defining eras of any person?s life. During college you not only find out which career you will pursue, but often who you are as a person. For many students the newfound freedom of life away from their parents can sometimes be plagued with the images of partying, alcohol, and sex. At many schools, these images are actualities. When choosing the perfect school, I encourage you and your child to think about what his or her goals truly are in life. They may not know what they want to do for a career, but I believe everyone has an ideal image of what they would like their lives to be like in 10 years. Think about this image and decide which of your weaknesses would keep you from obtaining this goal. When looking into a school, ask current students how they view their campus in terms of partying, academic helpfulness, extracurricular activities, and other aspects that may hinder/help you during your experience. Remember that the most important goal is your degree, but you should enjoy the experience. Your college years are stepping stones in you life?s journey, enjoy them.

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My advice for students who are searching for the right college is to go with their first instinct. Pick the school that stands out above all the rest in your mind. Look online, do research, and visit the campus to make sure you feel comfortable and that you fit in. Make sure that the school offers everything you are looking for and goes even above and beyond that. It needs to be a home away from home. It should be a place that welcomes you and that goes out of it's way to help you become happy and successful. You can make the most of your college experience by joining every club and organization that suits your personality. Make sure to always keep academics your first priority. But also make sure to get involved in everything on campus. Form study groups, be outgoing, join clubs, go to meetings, sports games, bible studies, and anything else in your interest. Always do everything with heart and determination. And never let one fall/mistake discourage you from the great potential you have inside to be a major success! College should be a fun, hard-working, and memorable experience.

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The year 2006, there?s a young man standing on the threshold of a brilliant future, but doesn?t know it yet. He has just graduated high school and knows everything there is to know about everything, right? Probably, but then again he hasn?t met me or more appropriate himself. After the initial shock he asks one simple question. What does our future hold? I reply; it holds what we make of it but, remember these truths. Keep the faith, the moral foundation established by our parents is our guide and our identity. Place trust in God and stay on his path. Be patient, this being the most difficult as it will take patience to work a part-time job to pay for all the part-time community college credits we will receive?eventually. Yes, we are a gifted conversationalist however, to be successful become an even better listener. Especially listen vigilantly to our parents, family, friends and future co-workers it is their short comings and failures that will be the driving force to our success. We must work hard to make all of them proud. It?s our success that will be a shared treasure for all.

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From my college experience I have learned that life is to short to dwell on past misfortunes. I realize that there is a bright future for me as long as I endeavor to reach academic excellence. I have been shown that I should not only try to better myself as a person, but others around me as well. Through my college experience, I now know that, true happiness can be obtained. Jacksonville University has been vauable to attend because, attending "JU" took me out of the situation I was in, back in New York; I was unhappy, uninspired and tired of being around the hardships I faced in the "ghettos" of the Bronx in New York city. Going to "JU" was a way for me to start a new life and pursue my dreams of not only one day being the first to graduate from my family, but hopefully helping my mom financially, through the career opportunities I will have from graduating from a University. I value attending Jacksonville University because it has given me a new perspective on life, that there is hope for positive change. I just hope that I can be financially able to continue attending "JU."

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If given the opportunity to advise parents and/or students with making the right college choice, I would use my personal experiences as a guide. During my own college selection process, I feel that I began by taking the wrong steps. I started very late with completing the process, which gave me little time to find the school that was the best fit for me. It also limited me to which schools I would be able to apply , simply because of the nearly approaching application deadlines. My first advice would be to start your college research as early as possible because the earlier you start, the higher chance you will have to get into the college of your choice. I would advise parents to talk to teach their children early on the importance of recieving a college eduaction. It i best to help them to understand that in order to have stability in life, they must work hard to earn a degree. It is also very important for parents to encourage their children to follow a path that interests them. When one is passionate about their job, they will perform to highest abilities.

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Dear Self, Apply to more schools! Do not settle for the first school that accepts you, you are going to want to be somewhere challenging! I know you may not be motivated right now, but when it comes time for you to apply for a career, you are going to wish you attended the best University into which you were capable of gaining acceptance. During college you will see yourself mature greatly from a kid who wants to be 'cool', fit in, and do nothing but party. In college, you learn responsibility, realize that standing out makes you 'cooler' than fitting in, and that if you do nothing but party, when you graduate you will know how to do nothing but party (and partying is not much fun when it is by yourself, on a street corner, and the people you're begging for money are not your parents). In short, the best lesson to learn is to accept that the 'cool' thing to do is to work hard and find motivation to become successful; and where you attend affects that motivation greatly. Besides, I've never seen anyone driving a Bently that wasn't at least pretty cool.

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In order to find the right college for you, or your son/daughter, chose wisely. Students- do not focus on a college that your parents would prefer you to attend; they may have your best interests at heart, but if you are not completely into a college, do not use it as your top choices. Parents- the opposite applies; do not push your son/daughter into attending a particular college if they are not all into the one you desire for them. It is alright to nudge them in a certain path, but the ultimate decision lies with the student. When chosing a college for the first time, have your career goals in mind. You should be asking, "Does this place offer my major?" and "Are the professors here knowledgeable in my areas of interest?" Do not base your decision primarily on the quality of the dorms, or the social life on campus. However, make sure that the college you do chose have some activities you are willing to participate in. Attending campus events and meeting people with the same interests you have is a great way to make the most of your college experience.

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Up until now, you've had people tell you all about how great you could be. You are used to people telling you how smart you are and how much potential you have. But, what have you done? You were expelled from your elementary school, you almost were asked to leave your middle school, you spend all your time playing video games, and now you're here: at the foot of highschool's door. Steven, I don't care how "smart" you may or may not be. In the real world, people are the things they do, not the things they could do. Out here, people are the things they have become not the things they could be. Our innate abilities are only useful to us when they manifest themselves in a tangible way. There is no medal for the man who could have won and there is no ceremony for potential heroes. No more living in your potential. Stop being satisfied surrounding yourself with your fans and start taking on challenges. Endure struggles, and in your enduring, you will grow strong. Steven, become the hero of your own story, do not live as a background character or a prop.

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