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Lebanon Valley College

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

Next year, you will be taking the next important step in your journey of life. In preparation for this transition, there are multiple components you can work on perfecting now, as a senior in high school. First of all, be sure to take your education seriously. Paying attention to courses in high school as well as challenging yourself with difficult coursework and excellence in achievement are useful skills which will be helpful in college. Additionally, fill your schedule with a variety of activities. A full schedule will force you to manage your time, one of the most crucial elements of success in college. Once at college, be friendly to your peers. Although you will feel uncomfortable and nervous at first, remember that everyone is in the same position as you are. Have no fear; these feelings will subside in time. Finally be sure to get involved with a variety of activities in college. Beyond providing escape from 24-7 studying, activities also give the opportunity to meet new people. Along with this, getting to know upperclassmen serves as a valuable tool. Since these individuals have already experienced freshman year of college, they are able to provide helpful advice. Good luck!

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If provided the opportunity to talk with my senior self, I would encourage her to stay involved in many extracurricular activities, which will help her prepare for the hectic college lifestyle. I would let her know it is not necessary to cram her schedule with extremely difficult classes to prepare for college, and would assure her it is not the students who take difficult high school classes who do well in college, but rather those who apply themselves, work hard and seek help when necessary. I would also advise her not to be afraid to request a tutor in college, because even “A” students use tutors. Learning to take initiative for her studies and manage her time will best prepare her for this next phase of her education. Knowing that division three colleges have competitive athletic programs, yet view academics as the priority, I would encourage my senior self to play collegiate soccer. After learning that being a part of a sports team builds lasting relationships, choosing not to play soccer is my biggest regret. Being a part of a sports team helps new students adjust to campus life and provides study breaks, which are crucial to learning in college.

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Research is the key to finding the right school for an undecided student. When I researched finding the right college, I mapped out the characteristics I wanted. I knew that I wanted to live in a small populated school relatively close to home with an extended social scene, variety of extra-curricular activities and an excellent reputation in my field of study. Knowing what I wanted to major in helped narrow down my application submissions and eventual choice. For the person that has a difficult time understanding what type of school they would like to attend or being undecided with a choice of major, I would suggest visiting a variety of campus sizes, locations, specializations and landscapes. In fact, there are some colleges or universities that will allow a visitor to spend the weekend on campus with a guide and be immersed in its environment and atmosphere. A person should choose a school based on gut feelings and impressions rather than award rankings found in magazines and books. Above all else, I suggest not worrying. Even though some people transfer, most people love their choice of school and will have success in their lives because of it.

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It is important that you look for an institution that is going to fulfill your needs physically, educationally and socially. When searching for potential colleges, you cannot simply look at one of these three areas; you should look for a school where you feel comfortable in all three. Parents will likely view the academic quality of potential schools as most important. If a student has an idea of what field they want to enter or what they want to major in, does the potential school have that program and if so, what is the quality of the program? Does the school help get their graduates jobs after college? For athletes, if you think you are going to play a sport, will you still be happy at the school if you suffer an injury that ends your career? Being comfortable socially is paramount for the student, if they do not feel comfortable, they likely will not succeed. Do you see yourself fitting in with the current student population? Does this school give you feelings of warmth and compassion for one another, or are people simply looking out for themselves? These are some of the key issues when beginning the college search.

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In order to ensure a socially, academically, and emotionally successful transition to college you should guide your decisions upon the following advice. Open your mind to new people, ideas, and opinions. Sign up for at least one activity. Make friends besides your roommate. Work at least a day ahead on homework. Seek help at the first sign of trouble. To find help contact your RA, professor, peer tutoring, or peer counselors depending on the problem. Say yes to new and nondangerous experiences. Staying in your room 24/7 will not make you happy or successful. Spend time in social areas such as lounges, you never know who you will meet and you can do your homework there too. Do not go home until fall break! The first month of transition is critical. Going home during this vital period will sever possible social ties that you could have made, making it harder to create a home at college. Going home during this time will only make it harder to return to school. If you wait, you will be able to go home and still want to return to school. Follow this advice and you will be successful in your new home.

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This is it, folks, the time of your life! The most important thing students and parents can do to make the best college selection is to visit, visit, visit. Getting a feel for how parents and students see themselves as a part of the community they've just entered will tell you more than any figures about demographics, financial aid, job rates or awards the school has won. Be your own judge, and use your gut. Sitting in on a class with current students gives you the idea of course load, student participation, class sizes, professor interaction, student dynamics and much more. These guides will help you make the right choice for you. However, once mom and dad leave for good it is up to YOU, the student to make the most of your college career. Get involved! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do things you've never done before. DON'T Stay in your room. There are so many people and experiences that are waiting to meet you. But most importantly, be true to yourself. Use the college experience to add and evolve the person you are inside. Work hard and own what you do.

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Dear Sarah, The most important piece of advice that I could give you would be to have more confidence in yourself during your senior year of high school. You spend too much time doubting your abilities when you have no reason to. You constantly ask yourself, ?What if I?m not smart enough for college?? and ?Do you really think you?re capable of playing college soccer?? Well, of course you are Sarah . I know from experience that you are the most determined person I know. You will not settle for last place or for a B in that biology class. So simply relax. You will get accepted to college. You will make the women?s soccer team. You will also make plenty of new friends and still manage to keep in touch with the one?s you leave behind at home. There?s nothing you can do about those sad and nervous feelings that you have about leaving home, but know that it gets better. College is going to be awesome Sarah. You will thrive as you take on the new responsibilities, come across the new opportunities, and face the new challenges ahead. Love, Sarah, your new college self

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I believe that researching and visiting the schools that you are considering is very important. A brouchure can only give you so much information so it is important to take advantage of any chance you have to further evaluate the college. I have listened to many stories from my peers who did not visit the school they were attending and found out later that it was not exactly what they were looking for. It is obvious that academics are an important part of selecting a good college. After considering those possibilities I would stress that it is also important to look at the atmosphere. Is it one that will encourage you in your studies and not distract you? Is it one that allows you time for outside events such as sports, music and any other activities that you enjoy? Your outside life at college is often what makes the experience the most rewarding. I chose my college because it was the size I wanted, it offered me great scholarships and the music program was said to be one of the best in the area. What makes it great is the people I've met and the friendships I've formed.

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First and foremost, I would advise parents and students to consider--at least on paper--all schools that fit their general criteria, even if the student thinks 'oh, I don't want to go there because my friend didn't like it," or something to a similar effect. Once a student actually looks at all the little things about a school, such as course listings or study-abroad programs, a school that seemed like a possible dud may become a gem. It is also for parents and students to remember that a choice is not binding--if students are unhappy, they should give the school a decent chance and not be afraid to transfer if they simply do not fit. When it comes to enjoying college, though, it is crucial to have a social life. This does not need to include drinking--a student who is willing to join activities and clubs on campus will find plenty of non-alcoholic social outlets. While the first semester may be rough, many students find that their experience improves over the course of the entire year. College is an amazing experience--and for the price, it ought to be nothing less.

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Your undocumented status should not define who you are and how you conduct yourself. Despite the disadvantages that you have in pursuing a higher education, the possibility of succeeding in your academic goals is still attainable. The struggle may be tedious, but it will be worth the fight once you achieve what others do not even dare to attempt. You should not let your friends and peers in high school distract you from doing your best in your academics. Concentrate in your classes and study hard so that you can attend a four-year university. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you have a lot of friends or if you’re popular because that will not be worth much once you’re done with high school. Your academic achievement will define who you are and where you go in life. Don’t get hung up on girls because at this young age, you kids don’t know what you want or what is best. Don’t let what you believe “love” is blind you from the reality of life. Your career comes first and then love. Overall, try your best. It will pay off in a few years.

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