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Messiah College

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

Deciding which college to attend is an important decision for the student as well as the parents. In order to ensure the right decision, it is essential that the parents and student communicate with each other early on what they want from a college; level of academic standards, proximity from home, religious/cultural affiliation, cost/financial aid, etc. The student and parents should make a joint decision about the right college after visiting multiple campuses and determining which would be the best fit for the student, as well as which college the parents are comfortable with. This process takes time, and the parents and student should start it as soon as possible. Once the student decides on a college and moves in, s/he will want to make the most of the college experience by making friends and participating in extracurricular activities. students should join as many clubs and activities as possible that cater to their favorite hobbies. In these clubs, students can find lifelong friends that share their passion and enjoy their company. Building relationships while succeeding academically at the college chosen by parents and/or students will help the student make the most of his/her college experience.

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Dearest Twelfth-Grade-Kiyetet, Here I am, a junior in college, giving you little pieces of advice to handle some hurdles transitioning into your first semester of college! Messiah College isn't your stereotypical university on TV. Although you'll be overwhelmed at first by the concentrated population of young adults, you'll soon get used to it and discover that it's actually quite small. Although you are an extremely social person, you'll need a lot of time to yourself to process things and breathe. Also, time management is very important. You tend to focus more on your social calendar, however you must remember how much your parents sacrificed for you. You are an ambitous young woman with a bright future, take advantage of all the resources Messiah College will place into your lap! Manage your time wisely! I cannot stress the importance of rest and sleep! Work ahead! Start gathering information for your projects ahead of time, and do everything with excellence! Ask for help often, don't be ashamed! Lastly, allow yourself some time to get accustomed to your future crazy hectic schedule. Get involved in organizations, but remember, once again, to "manage your time" wisely!

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If I could traverse the time space continuum in order to interact with my past self, there are two things that I believe he would benefit from knowing. First, I would advise him not to transfer colleges. I transferred during my first year of college. Ultimately, transferring was the correct choice; however, it would have been better if I had simply started at my current college. Because of transferring, I have had to make innumerable visits to the registrar's office and fought many battles in a frequently vain attempt to get my credits to transfer properly. My life as a college student would be immeasurably easier if I had avoided the pitfall of transferring. Second, I would teach myself the rules of logic (good arguments versus bad arguments, logical fallacies, etc). In my sophomore year of college, I took a philosophy course which taught me the rules of logic. That knowledge started me on a grand quest for truth which has dictated my life ever since. That quest has been helpful for everything from analysis of abstract philosophical concepts to daily problem solving. My current understanding and knowledge could be far greater if I had begun my quest earlier.

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One of the most important things to consider while trying to find the right college is finding the college that best fits your character. Different college's provide different atmospheres and each one has their own unique social and academic lifestyle. Try to find a school thats social and academic life best fits what you are looking for. Research what each college magnifies and try to get a grasp on the character and lifestyle of the college itself. If you appreciate the development and maturing of your faith along with your academics, then it would be a good idea to look at a religious affiliated college that can best help you integrate your beliefs with your academic growth. If your interests are in athletics or music then focus on researching what those departments or organizations are like at each college. Once an individual makes a college choice it is important to make the most of ones college experience. Students often enjoy their college experience the most when they go out of their comfort zones and make new friends and experiences. College is a time for students to expand their knowledge along with the growth and development of their character.

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The opportunties and people from my college years outweigh any other advantage I've had from my education experience. As a college student, I was introduced to quite a diverse spectrum of individuals, of whom I've gleaned knowledge and understanding and have all impacted me in my transformation into adulthood and who I am now. Whether to a major outlook shift or a passing thought, whether I am still in contact with them now or no longer remember their names, there are very few people who haven't made an impression on me. And I hold my college directly responsible. I only would have been able to encounter them due to the open doors that college life presented me. I took classes that I would never had dreamed of while in high school. Professors and other students introduced ideas that forced me to think and consider myself and my stances. I was challenged to particpate in social service activities such as a spring break trip to Toranto to learn about urban homelessness and another time as a Special Olympics volunteer. I lived with a Guatemalan host family and struggled with language barriers. I wouldn't be me without college.

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Really figure out who you are and what you are looking for in a college. A small college? A large university? A city or the country? Lots of extracurricular activities? Close or far from home? The questions are endless, but each and every one is important. Once you've decided what you really want, start researching different universities. Searching online, as well as visiting an adviser at your high school, are the best places to start. Then apply to the schools and wait for the results. Once you pick where you will ultimately go, get excited! College is a wonderful time, where you will learn some incredible things in all areas of study, as well as make friends for life. Go to lectures and artistic performances outside of class. Broaden your horizons by getting involved with sports teams or extracurricular clubs. Make friends. And take charge of your education by reaching for the stars. College puts a world of knowledge at your fingertips, knowledge that can be used to make the world, and your life, a much better place. Learn as much as you can. And love every minute of it. The education is yours for the taking.

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I would say that parents need to allow their son or daughter the chance to arrive at their own conclusions regarding their college choice. The best kind of support is to ask questions that will guide their son or daughter towards having a better understanding of what they want out of their education. Parents should have an open mind and validate all of the feelings that their son or daughter processes through on their journey towards choosing a college as well as exploring options once they arrive. Some advice for students would be to relax and avoid feeling overly stressed out about the situation. Don't make decisions about your future under pressure - after all, it's your future. You're going to be okay, just take your time and consider all options. Don't choose a school entirely based on cost, because the best school for you may appear to be more expensive than you'd like, but you can't put a price on the best college experience. Get involved as soon as you arrive on campus, and surround yourself with supportive, positive people. You have control over your circumstances in college, so make it what you want.

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My advice is to look beyond the numbers. As high school seniors, students and their parents are bombarded with teacher to student ratios, diversity percentages, the number of clubs, how many majors are offered, the acreage of the campus, and so forth. Although college is an important next step after high school and a stepping stone to a bright future, it's also a once in a lifetime opportunity, and students should use it as a growing opportunity. Every college has professors, every university has classrooms and dining halls. Ten years from now it will not have mattered which college or university you took your general education courses at or where you got your degree. What will matter is the person you are. At which school are you going to be a better person after 4 years? Where will you make your life-long friends? Where will you make the memories that you reminisce over years from now? Where will you find your character developing along with your intellect? To make the most of the college experience, students should live in the moment and take each day in stride, because it's the small things in life that count.

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Your goal should be to find the college that will challenge you and prepare you for a changed mindset, will encourage and allow you to weigh different philosophies, and will also provide the emotional support and relationships that are needed when major changes happen in your identity as your mind grows and develops in college. Some Christian colleges provide a lot of interpersonal support for their students, but never really push them to think in a different way from how they were raised. Others effectively "rip the rug" out from under their students by debunking all of their traditional beliefs and values, but then do not support students as they cope with trying to discover what they truly believe. Your aim when looking for colleges should be to find a place that values both their students' intellectual development, and their emotional/spiritual health. When you leave college, you will suddenly discover that You are the sole decider of how you will orient your life and what your guiding philosophies are; it's essential to have the space and support in your undergraduate time to prepare for that freedom.

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What makes a college experience valuable? The answer lies beyond academics. At Messiah College, student life is not just about learning. It's about relationships. From the very first week of school, we are encouraged to come together as a community, extending grace to one another. This gracious love is experienced all over campus. In classes, our professors are eager to help us grow academically as well as spiritually. The classrooms at Messiah are safe settings where students can voice their opinions without fear of judgment. Professors take the time outside of class to help us with our studies or just talk. With a heart to serve, many students on campus take advantage of the abundant opportunities to volunteer in the surrounding community or study abroad. Together we learn how much of a difference we can make in the world. Messiah has fueled my passion for learning and serving. I?ve been able to call Messiah my home for a year now, and in that year, Messiah has transformed me. Messiah has taught me to live my life to the fullest, and that is why I plan to stay at Messiah for as long as I can.

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