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Lindenwood University

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

Do not decide your where to get undergraduate education on cost alone. College is a wholistic experience. The decision to attend a college/university should include the academic, financial, social, athletic, and cultural offerings of the campus and the surrounding area. At 18, students are experiencing life away from their parents for the first time. They need to be exposed to new experiences, and they need to know how to deal with it all without their parents looking over students' shoulders. College is when kids become the adults they will be when they exit the financial nest. It is where kids learn just how big/small the world really is; how far a dollar goes; how to choose good friends and partners; what activites they enjoy; how to express themselves; what their interests are; what they believe (politically and religiously) and why; how to handle stress, and how to prioritize activities, family, friends, jobs, and schoolwork all in a fairly controlled environment - four years as training wheels for real life. This is difficult to swallow, but loans and credit cards can be paid back - you can never get back the time you lost being miserable at the wrong college. College gives students four whole years to learn how to screw up, abound, and reach a livable equilibrium in a fairly controlled environment. That path to personal discovery and growth at the right college should be full of challenges and opportunties so students can be ready for life following graduation.

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My college experience has helped shaped me as a person in many ways. Interaction with a variety of cultures and backgrounds has exposed me to intersting and new people. Not only have a gained a greater social understanding of the world around me, but I have benefited academically as well. I have learend much more in college than possible in high school and my studies are focused on areas that interest me and will be of use to me in the future. College has been a vital step to help secure a stable and successful future and has also added greatly to my overall knowledge. My college experience has truly helped shape me in many ways to become what I am confident is a better person. There is no other place in the world where learning can be done on so many levels. I am truly grateful to have been granted the opportunity to attend college and believe everyone should also be afforded such an experience. Learning can be done anywhere, but at a university the blend of cultures, ideas, and backgrounds make it much more rewarding and offers more ways to better oneself than inside the classroom.

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I'd suggest reviewing a wide variety of schools; checking out their websites, and making sure the college has everything you want. Once you've narrowed your search down to about 10, send out applications. The top 5 that offer you the most money are the ones you should go visit. Make sure to set up a college visit day so your child can see the campus, dorms, classrooms, etc. Your child will know which school is right for them once they walk around. Tell your child to soak in everything and get involved in as much as they possibly can. College goes by incredibly fast so it's best to take classes that seem intersting to you, play the sports you love to play, work hard on earning your degree, and enjoy spending time with your friends. The right college is the one that will feel the most at home to your child. Your child needs to be comfortable and like the atmosphere that the college provides. The college also has to have the best interest in your child so that you feel like your child will be guided properly and taken care of if there's any problems.

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The mirror was my enemy. I sat and cried wondering why my life was not normal anymore. I immediately was overwhelmed with fear,disgust, anger, panic, and tears. My heartbeat got louder as I stared into the mirror wondering where my desired life went. Elbows braced me on the counter as tears came strolling down my face and I began to shake. How does one person go from being so content and enjoying life, to practically dumping their life upside down? Being diagnosed with a type of cancer, Hodgkin?s lymphoma stage 3, a couple months into my 2nd year in college has thrown my life upside down. Looking back as a senior, one pictures their college experience to be the "cliche normal" life. Go to class whenever, go out and party, stay up, and sleep in late. I was terrifed then to get out of my box and "live it up". I was too scared to be whoever I wanted and just enjoy life. Now being at home, going through chemotherapy, I tell myself and my friends every chance I get,"Live it up, live the life you want, because one day, it might all change."

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Making a decision about which college to choose is very important. It is a life decision and you should not rush into making a decision, so take your time. For the student, look at all the options you have at hand and how it will work in with the rest of the responsibilities in your life. Also, don't just choose a college just because your friends are going there. Sure it will be easier but who's money are you spending and are you going to college for your friend? Its your life don't follow, lead. Another issue with most students is getting financial aid to go to school. Yes jobs are one way, but its hard with all the school work and especially if you are a student-athlete. One other good way is to apply for as many scholarships as possible, it won't hurt. Choose the school that best fits your financial status. For the parent, money is one of the top priorities, but don't disregard a school that may cost more but in the long run will give your student a quality education and a step into their future lifes. Choose wisely.

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I would tell the young me never to forget what?s important. My family, my education, and my goals are important. First, I would tell my young self, "Once you reach college, call your parents." My first semester, I was so excited to be free from their household, I neglected to call them for weeks. I knew my mom was lonely in her empty nest, but I cared not. In retrospect, this seems undeniably selfish. My parents help fund my education and they have made me the person I am today. The least I can do is call them. Next, I would advise my young self, "Once you reach college, go to class." There were days, when I just wanted to lay in bed and sleep in. Those days, I reminded myself that I am here for an education and class missed is knowledge lost. Finally, I would instruct my young-self to make smart choices. I have seen friends lose sight of their priorities and fail out of school. Now, I know how important it is to make decisions with the future in mind. In order to achieve my future goals, I must first begin with a solid education.

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The best advice that I can give to anyone trying to find the right college is to visit in person any college you are considering. No amount of pamphlets, brochures, or brightly colored web pages can give you a fraction of the information you glean from an actual visit, when you get to see the campus and get a feel for the school in person. I ended up attending the very first college I toured. I wasn't interested in Lindenwood at all; I just wanted to have a sort of "practice visit" to a school nearby so that I would know what to expect on later visits. When I got there, though, I could feel the history, drive, and sophistication of the school and felt so excited (for the first time) about going to college. I fell in love with it on my visit, and if I hadn't gone there in person I surely wouldn't be there now. As for making the most of the experience, I would advise people to try new things and open themselves up to new experiences by taking fun classes, joining a new club, and interacting with new, different people.

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I graduated with over 30 credit hours already completed from advanced placement courses in high school. I was in the top ten of my class. I was familiar with success and achieving a high degree of perfection. But college is a completely different environment. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who wanted to learn, who were smarter than I was. On top of that, grades were no longer effortless. I received a ?C? for the first time in my life. I was incredibly hard on myself, almost to the point of giving up. I wish I could tell myself that while grades are important, the college experience is about much more. It is an opportunity to be truly independent and to learn to thrive on your own. It is an opportunity to meet an incredibly diverse group of people and make lifelong friends. It is the opportunity of a lifetime. I wish I could have told myself this, but at the same time I would not want to deprive myself of learning this lesson on my own. The road was rough, but it?s all part of the journey.

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Keep an open mind. As a senior in high school, I started the tedious process of finding "the right college." Every day, more and more college flyers arrived in the mail, further confusing me in my decision of where to go. As a good student, getting in wasn't the issue. The problem was what kind of scholarship I was going to get. As deadlines loomed, my parents decided we needed to have "the talk." No, I'm not talking about the birds-and-bees talk, but the we-know-where-you-need-to-go talk. They had decided that I was going to go to the same college as my brother, located only one hour away. So much for independence. Yes, it was a good school and they were offering me a full ride, but I wanted to make my own choice. However, freshman year I was really glad I had my brother around to guide me and my parents just an hour away. Once I stopped being stubborn, I realized that this college was full of great opportunities. Didn't matter where I was, it was what I made of it. I just needed an open mind.

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I am very happy about my college experience. I have gained managerial knowledge which I would have never learned on my own. I had teachers that were actually in the Hospitality field and were speaking from experience. I have grown to appreciate the Hospitality field much more, because in the beginning I was not sure what I wanted to major in. I work at the front desk of a hotel now and I can say my college experience has helped me very much. I have met some wonderful people along the way and have made good friends. I believe my college experience has made me more outspoken as a person. It has made me a better writer and a better listener. I know that I still have a long way to go but personally I love school. It has made me a better person and I will continue until I reach my goal. I am not a quitter. I have taken good notes in college which I know will help me later on when I own my own business. I am very thankful for my college experience, because so far it has been nothing but good memories.

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