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Marian University-Fond Du Lac

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

My advice to parents and students is that it takes time and it is difficult to find the right college, especially if the student plans on living on campus. Finding the right college can mean many different things for students and parents. It can mean the cost of the college, is it affordable? the size, how big is the school, or how many students are in a classroom? And how far away is the school from home? Before choosing a school, students need to look into all of those matters, because it's important that students attend a school that they like and feel comfortable. I recommend that students go away to college because it is a great experience to have. It allows students to become independent, which comes hand in hand with time management. I would most college kids have a hard time managing their time because in college there's so much free time, and it' allows them to decide what to do with their time. Some choose to use their time wisely, and most choose to use it ineffectively. But overall, living on campus allows students to grow and mature, which will help them in the future.

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If I have the chance to go back and give an advice to my high school self, I would give the advice to stay positive through every obstacles I will encounter and be myself. Do not change myself and my personalities for others to like me. First year of college will be the hardest due to the campus's unfamiliarity but it’s the most compelling of all because there will be so much to explore and people to meet. No matter how far into my education, I will always need help and I should never be afraid to seek them. There will many programs and people to get assistance from and will tell myself to keep in mind that I am not alone in college. I will tell myself to join clubs and organizations which will certainly extend my comfort zone. There will be hardships and difficult obstacles to overcome but it’s because of the intensity that will prepare me for the real world. I would tell myself that I can make anything happen if I put effort, thought, passion and the drive to finish college, I can succeed in anything when I put my heart to it.

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Four years after completing my bachelors degree I am 26 years old and now entering my masters program in Occupational Therapy. If I could go back in time and give my high school self any advice it would be the importance of figuring out and discovering your career path. I am a firm believer that a person should do what they are passionate about and love! I did not reflect enough on what my major should be or what career I wanted. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself reflect on my gifts and talents and what direction I can go with them. Secondly, I would tell myself that college is expensive and to not waste it. No one told me how difficult a transition it would be to be on my own. Self-motivation was the key to success! It was a whole new world, friends, partying, drinking, and sports. Lastly, I would tell my high school self to stay true to yourself. Hold up the morals and values that you have and stay strong in your beliefs. College is a time where you will discover a lot, just don't lose yourself.

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The advice I would give to incoming students and parents would be to find a school that best fits their needs. Some needs would include costs of tuition, housing, and meal plans, financial aid offered to the students, scholarships available to students, caring faculty and staff, and potential majors. Students need to take all of these needs and many more into consideration when choosing a school. Another piece of advice I would give to them is to get the most out of their college experience. I would tell them to consider schools that have good extra curricular activities and good opportunities for finding a job after graduation. I would lastly just tell them to compare schools and do all the research they can on potential schools. Touring and getting information from the school websites is a vital part of choosing the right school to attend. Choosing a college is one of the most important choices a student and their parents will face, so it is very important to get all the information they can.

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The college admissions office is very helpful, but remember that they will filter what you hear about the school. To get the "real" story about life on campus, talk to students you find on the sidewalk. Make sure you talk to students, staff, and faculty that are not involved in recruiting. They are much more likely to tell you exactly what they think. Also, make sure you can afford the school you choose. You don't want to graduate in an economy like this, with $50,000 or more in debt and no job. The financial aid office really does want to help, but there is only so much funding available. Don't overestimate your expected aid, or you will be paying off loans for a very long time. Finally, get involved on your campus. Join a club, an intramural sports team, or any student group. You will get to meet other students, and will enjoy your campus experience much more. It's much better than sitting alone in your room doing homework!

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I would advise anyone who is looking for a college to tour the college more than once to get a good feel for the campus. Going to the campus at all different times of the year allows the student and parent to see the campus at its highest and lowest points. This allows the student to have a better understanding of what his or her year there would be like. Having a good sense of the campus before entering the campus will help to make the students time there better. The expectations will be more realistic then if the student had only visited the campus once. Having a good understanding of the college will help make the most of the overall college experiences because the student will have a lesser chance to be disappointed by his or her choice. The college must be right for the student and by touring the campus more than once, students will have an opportunity to get to know people before entering college making the transition better.

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To find the right college, you must be sure to check out every option available, including price, what the school offers, how many years it will take to complete your education, and the all around different options. When visiting campuses, pay attention, you will know when you set foot on that particular campus if you are going to attend it or not. Also, make sure to apply for schools, loans, and scholarships far ahead of time, otherwise it might be too late. As far as being on campus, don't be afraid to make new friends from day one; those people are going through the same things as you are. Don't stress about the little things, and participate in organizations. Make sure to socialize and not stay in your room constantly doing homework, or working all of the time. Take advantage of the professors, ask questions, that is what they are there for.

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So far in my college experience I have gained a true confidence in myself. I was always the shy girl through high school, but after starting college at Marian everyone has shown me to be confident in who I am because they will all accept me for who I am. Not only am I now more talkative than I was before, but I have gained many friendships and involvement in school activities. I believe it has been so valuable to me because I had always wanted to be more confident about myself and now I am able to pass that confidence along to every person I meet on campus. Not only is this new found confidence helpful in my college experience so that I can enjoy it, but I know it will be very helpful to me in my future. I will be able to use this confidence with my family, friends, and even in the workplace.

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What I have learned from trasitioning from high school to college, is that it's a lot more different than just moving on. Being in college requires you to have so many responsibilities. I pay monthly for my education and that makes me a very responsible full time student because it encourages me to attend every single class. If your education is being paid for i would definitely encourage you to take advantage of it , i sure didn't so now im struggling just because i didn't push myself to apply for scholarships and i have learned that lesson im ready for next year! If anything i would tell myself that financial aid doesnt cure every money problem because something always comes up ending with money. Now i always say EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!

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Step outside your box. Make sure you enroll in a large variety of classes; don't just stick to what is comfortable, easy, or that you think you like because chances are, you will change your mind... probably more than once. Visit multiple schools and don't settle for one that is mediocre; this will be your second home for years, so make sure it feels like it. Getting married and having kids is the best blessing you will ever get, so look forward to it, but complete school first because that freedom allows for so much more time and flexibility. Most of all, take time for yourself occasionally, cut yourself some slack when you deserve it, and remember that you will create some of your best friendships here, so have fun!

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