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Mary Baldwin University

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

In 10th grade, I became interested in an early entrance program that enables bright and driven young women who are ready for a challenge, to skip high school. Mary Baldwin?s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) www.mbc.edu/peg offers motivated students age 13 to 17 a way to accelerate their education by enrolling full time as a residential college student pursuing a bachelor?s degree. Now that I am a sophomore at age 16, and a Biochemistry major, would I do it again? Absolutely. To date, in college I?ve studied General Chemistry, Biology, Medical Anthropology, Calculus and Ethics among other liberal arts classes. In this upcoming semester I will delve deeper into Genetics, Anatomy, and Biology of Women. I?ve had the opportunity to study alongside other talented young women as intellectual peers. The opportunity to reach my goal to become a medical researcher earlier, has made my journey an immensely exciting experience while enabling me to study independently. The PEG program, specifically its science program and research opportunities, will be my stepping stone to medical school at an early age in my quest to find cures to the many diseases that plague the human condition.

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When it comes to finding the right college, alot of it is about the "fit" in so many aspects, and those aspects must be balanced. One must find a school that caters to their academic/professional interests, as well as challening the student to explore new horizons. There must also be a balance of academic and social activities- students are at the school to further their education, but without an outlet for stress and opportunities to relax, academics are likely to be the last thing on the student's mind. Price is also a very large deciding factor for many parents and students. Many institutions will offer financial aid that does not have to be paid back, and this is something that should be researched in full before a decision is made. Essentially, it comes down to the student's personal preference- large class size or small? Friendly professors and obnoxious classmates or disorganized professors and sociable classmates? Awesome dining hall and tiny dorms? Party on the weekend or a movie? Pay back loans for the rest of my life or pay out of pocket now? These are all things students and parents should consider before making a final decision.

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When searching for the right school for your child or yourself make sure that the school will be suitable to his/her person, emotion, and spiritual needs. Be sure to find a school that will allow the student to express his/her beliefs and opinions and has a friendly, openminded student body. Also look for a school that has close off-campus entertainment and a nearby hospital in emergency situations. To make the most out of your college experience, get involved. Sign up for clubs, participate in school-sponsored events, and get to know your roommate and other students on your hall. It is also great to get to know people of different cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. They can expand your knowledge far beyond that which you learn in class. Speaking of class, you should also save a little time each day to study. Find a quiet area, free of distractions, to go over notes and review lectures. All of these suggestions can help you fiind a school and make the most of your experience there. The most important thing to remember is to have fun! You will always remember your college experience so make the most of it!

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I?ve always been passionate about math and science. Craving more academic challenge, I discovered Mary Baldwin College?s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) and was accepted as a fully matriculated college student at the age of 13. I?ve earned 68 credits, earning a 4.0 GPA and my coursework includes Organic Chemistry, Discrete Math and Linear Algebra. I participated in environmental chemistry research this past semester and was hired as a Calculus tutor at age 14. I am a Chemistry major, minoring in Math and Economics. I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry. My ultimate goal is to earn a degree in law, focusing on a science-related field, such as patent or environmental law. My confidence in my abilities to succeed is based upon my determination, focus, and disciplined study habits. The PEG program, for women ages 13-17, www.mbc.edu/PEG is only for self disciplined, determined students. I would not recommend it as an escape from high school. It is a safe, serene campus with a very friendly population. My choices have not always been popular but I?m very happy with my decision, it satisfied my need for challenge.

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One of the most important decisions made throughout one's lifetime is the decision to go to college, and the one chosen is an even greater decision. The "right" collge should make a person grow into who they want to be and shape their future career path. The college experience is one that should never be forgotten but also one that provides structure. However college is more than just an experience, it is what one gets out of it that determines how great their adventure afterwards. In other words, choosing the college that your child should attend is like choosing the first career path job after college. It is a decision that sticks with one for the rest of one's life, just like any other job experience. Everyone has their different preference in location, and I too would have chosen to be some place else, but the school itself is the most important. Therefore, the "right" college may not necessarily be first choice in secondary categories such as location, price, what the dorms look like, etc. Sometimes the ideal college is one that is second choice. The point is to always have options!

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An American Council on Education survey reported that 92% of college graduates thought their education was worth it, and 78% would go back to the same institution if they could do it all over again. This means that whatever college one chooses, one is more than likely to overall be satisfied with their degree. Of course, there are some decisions of balancing that students/parents have to make: smaller classes and interested professors that know all of their students vs. a more diverse faculty with more classes to offer, the campus never stops partying vs this campus is dead on the weekends, etc., but I cannot say which is the best for everyone. What's important is what the student does when one arrives. 1. Attend your classes. It's the best pressure to do one's work. If one's social life is preventing one from attending classes, one might not be ready for this level of work quite yet. There is plenty of time to have fun and do work. 2. Get involved. One will only have so much work. Being helps one stay out of stupid dramas. Study. Stay focused. Have fun. The future will be great.

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Dear high school Me, Are you having a wonderful time applying to colleges? Are you still searching for that perfect balance of fun and academics, of stress and relaxation? Well, I have news for you: college is not about being free from your parents to do whatever you wish. While you are away from home, you will take on a tremendous amount of responsibility unlike anything you have encountered before. No one will tell you what time to be home. No one will tell you to go to class or write your papers. No one will tell you to shower or do your laundry. You must value yourself and your success more than anything else. In college, you are the only one who is looking out for you. You will discover your independent self, new strengths, and new weaknesses. So, while the whole world seems to crash down upon you while you're completely on your own, remember this: you will come out of college prepared to take on what the world throws at you. Use this time to improve yourself, not focus on all the unproductive things you can now do while without parental supervision.

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To Parents: Allow your kids some breathing space. Do not force them into a particular school or a particular major; that school or major may have been the perfect fit for you or may have been your dream, but let your child find their own perfect fit. Maybe they will have to try four different majors before they find the one that will lead them into a career that will genuinely make them happy...and that is okay because that is what college is for. However, do not allow them to waste their four precious years. Do not tolerate binge drinking, skipping class, or bad grades. Pull them home or withdraw your funding if you have to, but do not use their explorations of a new world as an excuse to tie them down unless it is actually going to harm them or lead to irresponsible behavior later in life. Maybe they need to be in a play, or take a sociology class, or leave the business department...it will be okay. They will find their niche, and you will be happier because they will be happier...even if they do not have the lucrative job you always dreamed about.

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I would advise students to actually imagine themselves attending the school, and visiting the college. Some schools offer prospecitves to stay overnight to see what student life is like, or to sit in on classes that you might be interested in, or taking a tour of the college. Many people are steered away from a women's college, but it's better than what people say. I strongly advise parents to encourage students to go to a smaller college/university. With a smaller college/university, you have a chance to meet professors and actually have a first and last name, where as other schools you are a social security number, or student ID number for the first 3 years of your undergraduate studies. Also, look to see ways your student can get involved on campus, is it competitive to get involved, or is it available? are questions you should ask an admissions councler when calling schools. Lastly, I would also encourage your student to obtain course catalogs from each school, so they know what school offers the type of classes they would like to take.

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If I could go back in time and talk to Sharon as a high school senior I would tell her that it is extremely important to stay focused and determined. College is an experience that not many individuals have the opportunity to take advantage of. Regardless of circumstances and every day life situations, which are very likely to arise, if you stay motivated you will be able to attain your goals. The longer you wait to pursue your higher education, the less likely it is that you will go. Don't let anyone bring you down or speak negativity on your life. If you fall off in school, have enough fortitude to get back up again and keep moving. Tradgeties and unexpected set backs may occur, however if you know where you are trying to go, you can always remember that it doesn't have to hold you down. Definitely don't take too many breaks from school because this will only push you back and could cause you to lose your motivation. Going to college guarantees that you will gain more knowledge that no one can take away from you. Seize the opportunity!

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