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MidAmerica Nazarene University

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

Fortunately, I was a student with a parent who strongly emphasized the importance of education far before my senior year. If not for this integral component of my childhood, my conversation with my "senior self" would go a whole lot differently. I believe that senior year, especially without good mentoring, is quite early for a young adult to decide what they will do with the rest of their life and invest a great deal of time, money, and hope. I would explain to myself that faith is the one single thing that will lead you to and through the college experience. It is critical that a student have faith and understanding of who they are at their essence. In my situation, I am an artist who enjoys science, a quiet environment composed of community members who enjoy sharing ideas and information. I am also independent. I would advise myself to choose as school that shares the same core values as myself. I would communicate that excellence should always be the goal and that nothing is outside the realm of possibility. Last, but not least, I would say that everything must be done within it's right time. Remain patient.

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As far as choosing a college, finances must be considered, but they should not be the main factor. There are always scholarships, financial aid and student loans - do not sacrifice a solid education for minor financial concerns. Be sure the school you are interested in has a solid program in your major. Also, while the big schools are attractive, one-on-one interaction with professors is incomparably beneficial. If extra-curriculars are your interest, research the programs at the school you're looking at. Finding a group that you connect with is a must and will greatly benefit your academic as well as social and relational experience in college. I believe that "getting the most out of college" varies for every individual. The obvious answer is "do well in class so that you can get a good job." That is very important, and the main reason for college is academia, but there is so much more than a test grade. A phrase I've adopted from a professor is "college is just an expensive learning experience." You are there to mature, make memories that will last a lifetime, and learn how to succeed out in the "real world."

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Take time to look at every aspect of the colleges that your are considering before making any decisions. It is really a great idea to visit a school before deciding if it is right for you. If it is possible, stay overnight in the dorms and try to attend some student life activities. This gives you an even better look at the school than just visiting with admissions and taking the tour. Do not let money be the deciding factor in your choice. It can be a serious issue, but there are a lot of scholarships to be had within universities, communities, and nationwide. Apply for as many of those as possible. It can be time consuming, but it is worth it when you consider what it pays. When you get to school, get involved! Use your talents or enjoy your favorite hobbies through small groups, intramurals, or whatever else your school has to offer. This is a great way to make friends who have the same interests. Also try to make friends with a broad range of people. It makes life more interesting and really broadens your world view. Remember to study!

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I grew up poor. I watched my parents’ struggle with money lead to their divorce. School is my only chance. I am on my way to becoming a Registered Nurse and having a B.S.N. School is valuable to me because it is preparing me for a meaningful career. I will be helping others and earning a decent living. This education means I won’t have to use welfare and food stamps like my parents. What have I gotten out of college? I have met so many friends and role models. My teachers have been amazing mentors to me. I am watching my life change by the day. My nursing program is expensive. I am surviving on Ramen noodles. Sometimes it is scary because I don’t know how I will pay for my next term. Financial Aid doesn't go far. I have been working since I was 16 but my savings are nearly exhausted. I know once I finish, this struggle will be worth it. I only hope my younger sister will be inspired and go to school as well. I am going to be a nurse. Just saying that out loud makes me happy!

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Dear Molly, You will be attending college in the fall, so here are some words of wisdom from your future self. 1. Be prepared for no privacy. You will be sharing a room, and there are a lot of other girls on the hall. They will want to hang out. 2. Be prepared for a lot more freedom. Mom will not be there to breath down your neck and tell you to do your homework. You must be responsible and prepare yourself for class, and not leave essays to the last minute. You will be happier if you write them in advance and not five hours before they are due. You can also hang out with anyone at anytime of day. Be responsible about this. 3. Be prepared to compromise. You have to pay attention to the wants and needs of others, so be considerate. You will also have to give up a few things so other things can be accomplished, like giving up theatre so you can go to work. Molly, you can do this whole college thing. It is not as scary as you think it is. Good luck! Love, Future Molly

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Parents and/or students who are still looking for the right college should take a number of issues into account when comparing different universities. The first topic upon which to focus would be looking for the best quality education for the price. Next, one should consider the environment of, and around the university (town/city size, class sizes, majors offered, extra curricular activities, etc.). Another crucial factor to consider is the availability of off campus activities within driving/walking distance. As yet another thought while choosing the perfect college or university is the distance from home. If the student wants to get away from their family and enjoy living during the collegiate years as an individual, colleges farther away from would be better choices. Finally, when considering a college or university, parents and students should take into account all factors (quality/price, environment, activities, and distance) and make the most logical choice before deciding.

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So, it's the beginning of your last year of high school! I know you are dying to get out of this place so you can move on and make a fresh start in college, but there are some things you should know before you dive head first into this new world. First, stop caring so much of what everyone thinks of you and trying to act like something you're not. Just be yourself. If the people you're around now don't like it, don't worry about them you are going to meet some awesome people in the next year who will embrace every part of you. Second, now may be a really good time to work on your study habits. You may think you have the whole study process down but trust me, that first math test in college is a lot harder than you think. Lastly, know that the next few years are going to go by fast! So stop sweating all the small stuff and surround yourself with the people who make you happy. Starting now, live life to the fullest and take chances! College is the start of one great journey.

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Shawn, I know you are a senior now and are eager get into the real world and begin working, but there are some things I want to tell you before you decide. By not going to college right out of school you will miss so many opportunities and experiences for yourself, as well as, with your friends. You will learn so much about life and grow as a person on your own at school. If you think you can take time off and will always be able to return, think again! Returning to school as a working adult is very difficult. You have bills and a career, not to mention a wedding to plan with the love of your life. Getting your degree will mean so much more to you down the road, something to be proud of, a great accomplishment. Going to school now will allow you to have a greater jump on your future. Go to college and enjoy your time as a student without the heavy stresses of adulthood, those days will come soon enough. Think of how many of your dreams you can rich if you start now!

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If I could go back in time I would tell myself to work harder on what is important you. I know rough times are head of us but we can do most anything. I want to be someone you will be proud to become one day. What is important to you may change, but it will always be you behind it to run the race. I know sports are all you may care about now there when you will see it differently. God knows you need him and want to be a way from the pain, but he is making you so much more resilient. You can handle anything thrown your way. You will stand against the world to be a light and by being a light you will try to brighten more lights. When you try to find more lights to help you a will find the body of Christ is not by denomination, but by belief and passion for Christ. In all you are loved and to some you will be love. Sports are not everything, but important to you. The hard road is what makes us into us. God loves you more than you know. Nina Sims

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The advice that i will give myself going back in time as a high school senior knowing what i know in college is to achieve my goals. Have a plan set out of what I or anyone else is willing to do. I will tell myself to turn in homework, have better study habits, work be involved and lots of activities. Do community service to be very active . I will make sure to get lots of sleep, and as well as trying to make sure that i am prepared in what i do for how long i am going to be in college. To have a basic understanding of what I need to achieve. To have a plan of what I want to become or do. I would as well tell myself to never give up, no matter how hard it is, this is something that I would to myself myself to push hard and achieve my dreams in not slack off. to get a degree and find a wonderful job, and start my career. in order to do that i have to make sure i am prepared and thats what college is here to help you with.

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