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Mercer University

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

When helping their child apply for college, parents should first consider the student?s academic needs and willingness to devote time to his or her studies. Because some colleges universities expect more from students academically, the school may or may not be right for the student based on this alone. Ultimately, which college to attend should be the student?s choice with consideration of availability of financial assistance from both parents and the school. In conjunction with the academic quality of the school, perspective students should find information about opportunities to get involved on campus before they arrive at school, as this involvement generally provides students incentive to perform better in classes. Campus involvement is the key to enjoying being a student at any given university and provides the best way to make friends and connections with professors and administrators. If one is highly involved and needs assistance, financial or otherwise, the student is much more likely to receive the aid needed if he or she has made a positive impression. Ultimately, making the most of the ?college experience? is learning to challenge oneself academically while participating in enough campus and community activities to balance academia.

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The single best advice, that took me four years to understand, is strategic quitting. Strategic quitting simply means quitting the right stuff at the right time. Quit endeavors that will lead to dead ends. Instead, place that time and energy into projects that will produce returns on your investment of resources. One way to do that is to master something. Mastery is about being the best, which requires quitting other pursuits to focus on developing talents and work towards being the best in an area. People naturally gravitate toward a winner or someone who is number one. People want the best, whether it is the best heart surgeon or the best brand of ice-cream. It pays to be the best. But like most things, the definition of ?the best? is relative. In college, the best is determined by GPA; never let anyone persuade you that the value is insignificant. That number will be used by employers or graduate schools to filter the outstanding and extraordinary candidates from the mediocre ones. And because people want the best, the outstanding candidates with high GPAs will get the position. Invest time and energy in your education and it will pay off.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior after knowing my transistion to college, I would advise myself to work hard, stay on track, and succeed. The struggle that I think many high school graduates face is independence. While I see rising college students are coming into their adulthood and becoming more independent, they still need structure. I would tell myself to have fun and make friends, but work hard beginning to finish. Secondly, I would encourage the thought of staying on track. After a few years of the grueling school work and routine of classes day in and day out, students get boggled down. Though these moments arise, I would tell myself to pick myself up and continue the journey of excellence that benefits my future. By staying on track, I would be continuing my knowledge and skill, without the interruptions that life may throw my way. Finally, I would tell myself, you have succeeded! I once heard that action is the foundational key to all successes; working hard and staying on track are actions that would lead me to succeed! I would close with best wishes for my new adventure!

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Visit lots of colleges. Don't pick a college because of anything that anyone who works for the college has said to you. Remember, colleges are a business, they see you as a potential customer, and will say almost anything to sell themselves to you. Use that to your advantage. If you have the credentials like a good GPA, lots of extracurricular activities, and strong test scores, do not let a college offer you less than you believe you deserve. Pit the colleges against one another to see who will go the farthest to win your business. As for being succesful in college, it takes two skills. Time management, and responisibility. On most college campuses there will always be something more fun going on than studying for that big exam. Learning how to say no when that person down the hall comes and asks you to go to a kegger, or trivia night, or some other social event is crucial. Engage with your professors because you will get a lot more from their lectures when you know where they are coming from. Also join the professional society for your major. This will provide invaluable support, and networking when job hunting.

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Study harder for calculus in the ACCEL program. Make sure you do not take anatomy at Georgia Military College because it will not transfer to Mercer. Take Spanish and some businesses classes for when you transfer your credits after senior year. Mercer is not like Georgia Military College, it is much harder. AP Physics and AP U.S. History classes from junior year are more accurate for Mercer’s expectations. Study harder. Do not accept a 3.8 GPA at Georgia Military College. Strive for the 4.0; it counts more than you know. Do not take Chemistry since you will not need it when you transfer because of the biology classes you are considering. You will change your career path to Marketing, so strive for that when you consider the classes you decide to take at Georgia Military College. Do take New Testament with Dr. Nash your freshman year at Mercer, he will change how you view religion and enrich your overall college experience. Pay attention to your notes. Learn to write less information and write the key points instead. This is probably the most important thing to do. Second major in Spanish, it will enrich your life.

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Enjoy it but know that those are most certainly not the best days of your life. Greater things are to come, bigger things are to come, and most importantly - more rewarding things are to come. Study hard but have fun. If college has taught me anything it is that balance is crucial. Make friends, cherish them, and keep in touch after high school but know that you will make countless more when you go to college. I have formed relationships here that I know will last a lifetime. Ask questions. Do not be too proud, too scared, or too ashamed to ask questions. I have learned that this is one of the greatest keys to success. Stay confident but remain humble. Never doubt your ability but never be afraid to admit your doubt. BREATHE. Go for a run, take a walk, eat lunch with friends - overwhelming yourself with school work will only drive you mad. However, do not neglect your schoolwork. It is challenging but comes with so much reward and accomplishment. Perfect your study skills, become familiar with the library, and form bonds with your professors. Most importantly, enjoy college! It is what you make it!

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Hey! Congratulations on your achievement. Your excellent study habits and desire for complete understanding will continue to serve you well in college, and you will be just fine academically if you continue along your current path of doing all homework on time and asking for help when necessary. Don't be afraid to visit your professors during office hours: they want to help you! Financially you will be fine, too - you won't spend much because of your thriftiness. But don't be afraid to kick back every once in a while and enjoy some free time - with how hard you work, you will certainly deserve it. You will make good decisions about who to make friends with; just make sure you let them know how much you appreciate them, and don't put too much hope in any one (or two) people. Your friends are loyal, helpful, and care very much for you, but they cannot provide you everything. Keep your faith in God, and continue pursuing truth and a deeper, closer relationship with Jesus; it is the only way you will be completely happy and satisfied. Oh, and always put your class ring in your pocket when eating.

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Rule number one is NEVER decide to attend a college you've never visited. I wouldn't have chosen Mercer had I not visited campus, and I cannot imagine being happy elsewhere. Rule number two is to not be afraid on new concepts and ideas. Many liberal arts colleges especially will break through your comfort zones and introduce material that challenges what you have always been taught--you will be a better, stronger, and more well-rounded individual for it. Rule number three is NEVER be afraid to ask questions of all sorts: about the school, the course material, a grade that wasn't what you thought it should have been--NOTHING. Questions are a means to an answer-use them, and do so wisely. Rule number four is get involved in things you enjoy, but don't overtax yourself--it's easy to do, especially as a freshman. Extra things cannot interfere with your studies or you are wasting a lot of time and money to go to college. Finally, rule number five, thank your parents for all the stupid things they didn't let you do in high school-they were right and you should acknowledge their wisdom.

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The most important thing I have gotten out of my college experience is learning how great diversity really is. Growing up, I have never had much contact with people of other races or religious backgrounds. My school was in a rural county and although our class was quite large, everyone was till pretty much the same in regards to race and religion. All of this changed on August 17, 2008; the day I moved into my first college dorm. Everyone was so different and it amazed me! I had no idea that college would be so diverse. Little did I know that the Asian boy, Tim, would quickly become my best friend that I still room with today, 3 years later! Going to college and experiencing new friends, partners, classmates, and teammates from cultures vastly different from mine was such a great value to me because I realized that the real world was not like my high school back home, but more like my college 200 miles away. Now I am in my 3rd year of college and being enveloped in the diversity of my student body has made me a better person, friend, classmate, teammate, and leader!

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If I could go back through time to give advise to my younger, high school, self, I would have a lot to say. I cannot really say I was ever caught off guard by the transition to college life, but before actually going to Mercer I should have pursued more scholarship opportunities. I would sternly tell my younger self, "Jonathan you listen up! The first year you'll be alright financially, but after that Mercer will be a jerk and will withdraw some of its financial aid. Don't get fooled into thinking the university will pull through for you all four years." Besides that... I would tell myself to enjoy freshman year a little more. I had loads of downtime from taking general education classes and introduction courses. I spent most of it mindlessly on facebook and xbox. I needed to live a little more. I would push my younger self to not slack off on getting my license. I actually just got my driver's license a week ago. My younger self needed transportation that first year on campus and ended up being a burden to people. Also I would have told myself to take more AP courses.

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