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Mount Saint Joseph University

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

Searching for a college is entering into a relationship: you have to weigh the pros and cons, know what you are looking for, have a clear idea of what you may be getting into, understand the feasibility, and make a commitment. It is important that the college is compatible on a variety of dimensions including size, location, price, academics, and opportunities for involvement to both the student and the parents while also taking into account what measures are most important to these particular individuals. Utlimately, students and parents will just know when they have come across "the" school, just as in a prospective relationship, there is a fit there, too. After that, it becomes the matter of making the most of the experience which means making that obligation and striving to become involved fully in all aspects of college life, including academics, extracurricular opportunities, and again, the aspects most important to why that school was selected in the first place. Finding the school and demonstrating this dedication is not always easy, but the effort is worth it in the end to make these years memorable, positive, and successful.

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One thing I would advise my high school self is to be more organized. As a high school senior, I always took on more projects than I could complete and never really took into consideration the commitment I was making to the person or task. However, going to college is all about personal commitment. There is no hand holding. In order to acheive the desired grade or successful end to a project, you have to commit to it and organize your time to get it completed. There is a real sense of self accountability. Another bit of advice to myself would be to create a study group or support team. The extensive work load plus exam week can be brutal to take on by any first time college student. The stress level is so intensely multiplied during the first year that having a group to exchange notes with, study with and/or share your frustrations with is just as vital as organization. I could not have maintained my level of academics without having a group of my peers to share the sometimes strain of college life.

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I was raised as an only child by a father, an only child, who was forced to quit school in the eighth grade to care for his mother when his father passed away. Although my father was not able to complete his education, he certainly instilled that education was important. My education took me from a world where we hunted for animals on our farm, not for sport, but to put food on the table. Our family was very poor and resources seemed very thin. My time in the Army opened my eyes to funding for my education. My education has given me the opportunity to travel to places I had only dreamed of. Even more than that, I have been able to explain to my children, first hand, what the value of an education is. Instead of living in a home with plastic over the windows, I now am able to see out, not only see out the windows, but see out of the poverty, worry, financial struggles, the misery of hunger and wants that once haunted me. Education has been my savior, and something only I could do for myself.

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What I have gotten out of my college experience is a very good question. To write about it I need to tell you where I grew up. In my hometown of Oberlin, I come from a very diverse community. We have a school system that may have a couple hundred students just in the high school with a graduating class of 80 - 90 students per year. I start with that to say this, I have gotten out of my college experience is independence from my parents, don't get me wrong I call them everyday for advice and what not, I still need them very much. I want and do feel safe here even though Cincinnati is a very big city compared to Oberlin. I've met and developed some really great friendships and I grow everyday with all the responsibilities I have, like my loads of homework and making sure I get my papers in on time, doing laundry and budgeting my expenses. I really thought I would get more financial aid and I'm really trying to do my best in college. It is a challenge but I up for it. Regards, Briana S. Reynolds

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If I could go back a year and talk to myself as a high school senior, there are a number of things I would tell myself. Make sure to get your priorities straight early, don't put things off until the last minute. I would tell myself to not stress out so much, that there's nothing to be scared of, nothing to fear about going into college. The transition between high school and college might be a little overwhelming, because of the difference between being homeschooled and starting college, but just remember to stay focused on your goals; don't let anyone tell you differently, and more importantly, be confident in who you are. Don't be afraid to speak up, don't be afraid to stand out, be proud of who you are and how far you have come. Remember to find time for your friends and family; the worst thing you can do is get so caught up in your own life, that you miss out on everything going on around you. Lastly, know that you are a strong individual, and you can do whatever you set out to do.

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The most important thing about finding the right college is making sure it offers what you want to find. Don't settle for something that doesn't feel like home. When I chose the College of Mount St. Joseph it was because the day I drove in five hours away from my home in Chicago, I felt like I was home again. Every person I spoke with, every thing that I saw, every aspect of the school felt more than fitting to me. I had looked at other schools that had great academics and organizations but the only school that grabbed my heart was The Mount. I am currently in my third year at this school, and don't want to end it. They have prepared me so well for the future but I am the kind of person that doesn't like to say bye to home. That is why I'm glad this school has such a great alumni program as well. They want to know everything about the alumni so they can make sure they did the school did it's job in preparing each and every student for the best and happiest successful carreer life!

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as senior in high school, I would have a lot to tell myself about college. I would first tell myself to ask a lot of questions. If you do not ask questions in life, then how are you ever going to find the answer? Always ask questions. Also, I would encourage myself to get involved on campus, getting involved is how you make friends, college life, living on campus just would not be very much fun if I did not have any friends. Lastly, I would strongly encourage myself not to procrastinate. There are deadlines in college, however, it does not hurt to ask for an extension. The worst a teacher can say is, "No." Procrastination does not help at all when you start applying for jobs, they want to see what you can do to the best of your ability in the allotted time. In conclusion, asking questions, getting involved, and not procrastinating are probably the three most important things I would tell myself as a senior applying for college.

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Choose a college that has all the things you want. Such as having a small class room, big campus, things around the campus, sports, school spirit, etc. Try to find a college where you can succeed also. Don't choose a college that you know your just gonna goof off with friends and party all the time. For me, choosing the College of Mount St. Joseph was an easy choice. I could play football for a school that is usually ranked in the top 25. It was also far enough away to live on my own, and has a great atmosphere that will help me suceed in my academics. All of these things have to go into consideration when choosing a college. But choosing a college doesn't mean anything if you don't make the most of it. Ways I tried to get involved is doing some intrumural sports and go to some on campus events. You need to study hard all the time but you also need to get out and enjoy all the other things college has to offer. So once you find a college, make the most of it.

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The right college is the college that you will feel most comfortable in. This college is the one that suits all your needs. It is important to research into your major and find the university that best reflects it. It is also important to find out about extra curricular things on and around campus. Your going to want to be involved no matter where you go and it's good to know what they have to offer so you can be prepared. At the end of every school day, if you can honestly say that you've grown from your day's experience and found happiness doing it that is when you know you are right where you belong. Don't shy away from schools because of their cost or for any stereotypical quality about it. If you want to be a part of that college then make it happen! There will always be ways to get around costs and most of the time what people think they know about a school isn't always right. Go find out for yourself and make yourself proud by taking a stand to do so.

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I would tell myself to apply for a lot more scholarships than I did. College isnt cheap and Im quickly realizing that. Also not to spend my money on stupid things I really dont need and rather save it so I would be able to afford to go to college without having to take out so many loans. I would tell myself to live life a little more because college isnt what its like in the movies. Once you start college you cant mess around and have a little fun, especially with my major, nursing, I dont have time to have a social life. I have to work three jobs to pay for school and go to school full time and Nursing requires a lot of studing and deication. I cant afford to get a bad grade or mess around if I want to be able to graduate with my BSN and my RN in 4 years. Cherish every moment in highscool, college is a completely different ball game. Thats the advice I'd give my highschool self, cherish every moment and get all the money for college I can.

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