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Kennesaw State University

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

Dear Shaghayegh(Rose), I hope that you are rested and excited for your high school graduation! I have traveled in time to give you valuable advice that will lead to your future success as a college student. First, know that there will be many upcoming distractions; you ought to work hard and remain focused on your academics. I would suggest that you spend limited time on Facebook, watching television, or socializing with friends. Instead, I advise that you spend the majority of your time learning in study-groups, reading textbooks in public areas (you concentrate better this way), and sleeping at least eight hours daily. Second, I encourage you to write “To-Do” lists each day; this will keep your duties organized because there are many events to keep up with – it is easy to drown in a workload without structure. And third, become involved in clubs that pertain to your future career (dentistry) and volunteer at various events to give back to your community. Although receiving good grades in your courses is very important, it is also critical for you to become knowledgeable and experienced in your desired working field. Continue smiling and working hard! Yours truly, Rose

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Keeping in mind that each student has different needs, expectations, and desire for different experiences, must be taken into consideration in the decision making process. Therefore my advice to parents is to stay focused on the outcome for the student. Keeping the end in mind is pivotal when deciding on a school, graduating. This is only a chapter in their life that sets them up for the next milestone. One factor to take into consideration is how the school helps with the transition from living at home to living away. A second factor that is critical to consider is does the school offer the services the student needs to achieve their academic goal. The third factor I would advise parents to consider is the experiences the student wants, because this can help determine the size of the university, the social atmosphere of the university, and other important elements that create the overall experience. Finally, it is relevant to have a basic understanding of the student?s goals for the future. Does the university provide the degree the student desires? Parents can take the unknown out of college. One way to do this is visit colleges and attend activates at colleges.

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In the first two years of high school, I had no forsight or understanding of my future. My grades suffered as a result of my ignorance. Upon applying to twleve schools for prospective college admissions, I was accepted into two; the last two choices on my list. Naturally, I was much less enthused about venturing off to college than I had been before receiving those ten rejection letters. I knew there was no question as to whether or not I was going to school, but I immediately set my sights on transferring. Regardless of my less than ideal educational situation, I have learned a lot through my college experience thus far. I have learned to appreciate diversity; my high school was a small, majorly white public school in which everyone was similar in numerous ways, yet here in college I have seen so many different kinds of people with such diverse ideas. Upon encountering individuals with ideas varied from mine, I have learned to open my mind and appreciate people for who they are, whether I agree with them or not. Lastly, I have grown to appreciate sound study habits unlike those required in high school as they foster knowlede.

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There are three things that I wish I had at the forefront of my mind when transitioning into college. First, I would give myself the advice to learn to study efficiently in groups. With so many extracurricular activities available along with a great deal of unstructured time, learning how to effectively and efficiently study in groups allows for a designated time for studying while also making commitments towards others and still engaging is a social activity. Secondly, I would tell myself to be open minded to all groups of people. In high school, groups and "cliques" are formed based off of many socio-economic categories, many of which do not create groups in the college environment. Engaging with people from different cultures, different age groups, and with different life experiences is equally a part of the college learning experience as attending lectures. Lastly, I would tell myself that the most difficult aspect of the college transition is not the course material, but time management. Spending time to schedule the next day, the next week, or the next month is more than half the work of being successful in college.

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One of my biggest struggles through the end of high school and my first two years of college has been procrastination. I often find myself paralyzed by the prospect of not writing or speaking with finite perfection. This fear has been a contributing factor to the putting off of papers and projects, an agent of pain and stress throughout college. If I could go back in time to advise my younger self, I would offer this truth: “You never really finish a book, you just stop writing it.” - A.J. Swoboda (PhD, Theology). Often, when I am anxious about my performance, I imagine how my older self would view the situation. Therefore, considering what has occurred behind and what will unfold ahead, I would tell my younger self not to become preoccupied with fear of imperfection, but to move forward. Start early, work in increments, let the project rest, and then return. Once the bulk of the text is written and the mind is clear, proofreading always, always comes easily. But in order to reach that point I must do as Albert Einstein observed, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

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When picking a college, visits are important. What may look great on the internet, may not feel right when physically walking the campus. They way a person feels when walking the campus says a lot about how you will feel spending the next four years on the grounds. Make sure it is a motivational and calming environment that will provide the stage for the set of the rest of your life! It is extremely important to remain as focused as possible during the first year of College. The GPA you earn during the first year is your foundation for the rest of College. The college search is a process that can be heartbreaking and exciting not only for the parents, but also for their student. Spend time with each other as a family before departing; it is something commonly ignored, but family is something we take for granted everyday when we live together. It is when we are far apart that we realize the value in the relationships with Parents and Children. Friends can come close, but they'll never replace family. Make your parents proud. Call them often. (Don't call the child as much.) Have faith despite distance.

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I imagine going back in time would fulfill one of my greatest, nerdiest dreams. So, of course, I would first try scaring the pants of my younger self, ultimately resulting in an unsuccessful "haunting". I know my own tricks! You can't frighten yourself in the same way a ghost can, but you can harbor fear inside yourself; the fear of the unknown. The worry of whatever is out there in the real world can take its toll on you. And I know, my younger self would love to hear of this hopeful story. The college scene can be related to the high school scene. Both of them started me off into new discovery; discovery of people, challenges, opportunity, and chances for growth. Just as the geeky, younger version of myself started high school unaware of what lies ahead, so goes the reality of higher education. There is nothing short of pure opportunity involved with college. The happy ending is taking control of advanced education, sculpting my gifts into a profession that can turn this world into a place my future family will want to live in. Greatness starts in college. And that starts with me.

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As a result of my college experience I have gained friends, knowledge, and experiences. The friendships will be lasting and as my future colleages in schools they may serve as resources and support. I truely believe that I had some of the best professors who imparted to me knowledge that will be essential when I am teaching. My professors were very knowledgeable and supportive. As an education major, I feel that I learned a lot about classroom management, teaching approaches, and classroom technology. Probably the most important part of my education was my field experiences. I was able to experience and practice teaching techniques and to use resources as I was learning about them in my classes. I am glad that I spent my four years of college at Kennesaw State University because they have an excellent program for education majors. I felt like I was getting the most for my money in my in-depth and interactive classes. Now as a graduate, I feel prepared for a career as a teacher. The college also encouraged me to pursue my current path of continuing my education in a graduate program.

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Theresa, I know this letter may seem unrealistic, but this is yourself from the future. I hope that you can take this letter seriously, because it involves some advice that can ensure you a smoother ride in college. When you apply to college, take into account whether you want to stay living at home or not. I would recommend that you stay home, because it will save you thousands of dollars. Study much harder for the SAT's, and take them as many times as you can. Advertising is not what you want to do. Save your money for certification classes and tests or else you will be applying for additional loans (you do not want that). Do not register for 8am or saturday classes unless you have to. Do not take a science class or rather two sciences classes in a summer or mini semester. Ratemyprofessors.com is your best friend, some professors will effect your grade so choose wisely. The little things add up, like homework, attendance, and quiz grades. Make sure that you are not avoiding a homework, just because you don't feel like it. Take hand written notes to stay awake in class. Your welcome.

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Before deciding on where to go to college, I think students need to figure out what they want to do then look at schools. If the student does not know what they would like to do, then maybe it would be best to go to a community college then transfer. When looking at colleges, I would encourage the student and parents to take a tour, meet the teachers, and understand what will be expected of them as far as the curriculum goes, if finacial aid will be available, and (if interest applies) get information on extra curriculum activities. I would also encourage them to ask questions. There are never too many questions. After being accepted and begining their college career, they should meet with an advisor as soon as possible to help guide them in the direction for a good learning experience and to make sure they stay on track. Other than that, the student should try to be as open-minded as possible, meet new people, and enjoy the college life while it lasts. I also would suggest going to any career days the school may offer. You never know what possibilities lie ahead. Good luck to all.

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