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North Carolina State University at Raleigh

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

My high school years were very fulfilling but somewhat challenging in that, I spent my last two years at a different high school in a different state - my dad was in the Navy and we moved my sophomore year. In my high school do over I would push myself to become more involved in more extracurricular activities such as school clubs and sports. I was a varsity tennis player, but could have contributed and benefited from playing other sports. I volunteered and participated in the school gospel choir, but i could have done more! I am very introverted and was very anxious about meeting new friends and adjusting to the dynamic college environment. The changes made in my high school do over would have given me more experiences in dealing with others and adjusting to different environments and situations. The changes would have also helped me more successfully balance excelling academically, growing personally and experiencing more opportunities available across the college campus. I would say "prepare yourself so you can take full advantage of all the college has to offer!" The college classroom environment is different, the time management demands are different and, the opportunities for discovery learning are amazing.

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The majority of American citizens are born on a level playing field, with the basic abilities of cognition and analysis. These conscious tools are active, meaning they must be engaged by the user. The manner of diligence and motivation by which one chooses to utilize these tools will directly correlate to the conclusive results of their educational career. As the majority of students exit the public school system, their minds have been crafted in a relatively uniform manner, by government standards. College is the final step in this process of development, but it is by far the most crucial. It provides an atmosphere in which a student can differentiate themselves to the fullest extent from their former peers, creating for themselves a coherent design and blueprint for their goals and future. Attending college has given me this very experience. I'm harnessing my basic abilities, and using the opporunities all around me to thrust myself into a higher level of education, thought, and motivation. By epitomizing the ideal college experience, I am maximizing my potential and preparing myself for future excellence. Perhaps most importantly, college has given me hope that I can achieve anything I truly want to achieve.

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I recommend that students and parents visit two or three schools of their choice; talking with individual students and professors on a one-to-one basis. This way, the parents and prospective students will receive the best verbal and non-verbal answers to their questions and concerns. I encourage individuals to take advantage of the learning resources available to them. Attend Orientation Week and attend student performances held at the Student Center. Take a tour of select residential halls in different areas of the campus in order to obtain a well-rounded experience of the different residential and social opportunities. In addition, I encourage potential students to sit in on lectures from professors that they are interested in. In addition, please obtain a map from the student center and create your own personal campus tour, being sure to check out the dining hall(s), bookstore, and library. Participate in school pride by attending a home game, depending on the athletic season. Nevertheless, it is best to visit campuses during the week to learn from current students; and to get the best social experiences that the university has to offer! Don?t be afraid to ask questions and have fun!

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I believe that deciding to attend college has definitely been and will continue to be one of the best decisions of my life. Although it can sometimes be difficult to step outside of your comfort zone and leave the security blanket comprised of your friends and family, this challenge is nothing compared the valuable mind-opening experiences and benefits that doing so offers. I can personally attest to this, as I was extremely nervous about coming to N.C State University (despite its relatively close proximity to my home). Being at college has allowed me to learn valuable social skills and acquire the self-confidence that I will certainly need in the future for my goals in international relations. While at college I have fostered friendships that I know will continue throughout my life. I have also had the opportunity to take classes that I can truly describe as mind-broadening (such as History of the Modern Middle East and Cultural Anthropology) and I have met many people that I will not forget. As well as a yearning for further knowledge, attending college also offers the obvious benefit of expanding the various career opportunities that will await me after graduation.

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Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes only from poor judgement. In lieu of mistakes and lapses of sense that I have displayed, I would remind myself that I am responsible for, and completely deserve everything that befalls me, good and bad. The university my past self would attend makes the resources for any definition of success are readily available or available upon a modest amount of digging. In order to make the most of the college experience, one must retain complete mental lucidity, and studies must be handled with the most vigilant and monastic focus possible. I would advise my past self from four years ago and anyone who will hear me that there is no such thing as passive learning. A person like me who never needed to study in high school and coasted on natural ease of information absorbing may perform perfectly satisfactorily in college classes. This passivity may even earn a degree. But a person is only given finite time to accomplish whatever his life's work will be, and a true fulfilling education is only the product of unceasing attention, incorporates all facets of one's life, and merely begins with the college experience.

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So..it's like this, Ethan. You have been a very dedicated and conscientious student. That's good. Taking the SAT more than once was a very good idea. Learning how to study for any standardized test and knowing to take the test back-to-back months certainly helped to raise those scores, making you a better candidate for college admissions and scholarships. Enrolling in a few classes per semester at your local community college during your junior and senior years of high school was definitely the way to go. This certainly gave you a 'leg up', as you were able to transfer all the credit hours (37 to be exact), gave you a more realistic idea of what college classes and studies would be like, and definitely caught the attention of department chairs who were more than willing to advise and counsel you since your transcripts showed experience, dedication, and willingness. Researching scholarship, grant opportunities online has "paid off", literally! There are many opportunities online, and you have only touched the surface. But at least you have done that much, and the rewards have been enough to know that students should take the time to reach for every opportunity!

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I entered college in an unconventional manner. I did well academically in high school but lacked passion for anything in particular so thought it would be a waste of money to continue school until I knew what I wanted to do ?with the rest of my life?. My parents insisted I attend community college, which I did until I graduated after 2 years. By then I decided on a course of study. My first advice to students and parents is after initially researching which schools offer your desired program of study, visit the schools. Talk with students and faculty, check out the library and labs, and the general locale. Mom and I took a major road-trip that summer to consider five schools. It took time but it really paid off. The school I thought was first on my list became last. Second, participate in classes and activities. Speak to your professors and classmates. Let people get to know you and you them. Move out of your comfort zone and participate in new things and opportunities will come your way. My parent's financial sacrifice allowing me to attend out-of-state deserves compensation. Please consider me for your sacholarship.

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When looking for a college that is well-suited for you, a few major things should be considered. Perhaps foremost is the financial question. In order to succeed, it is important that the student worry as little as possible about money. They will certainly have enough other concerns. Make a well-informed decision here, and you will save yourself much future trouble. Beyond this most practical matter though, you should make sure to visit as many of the university choices as you possibly can. Pictures, reviews and descriptions have their uses, but there is really no substitute for going and seeing. It is very important that the student have a chance to see the place where they will be spending the next half-decade of their lives. There are difficult to define feelings that come from being in a place, perceptions that are related to the use of all senses. Architecture may give a sense of foreboding, or it may feel open and inviting. The average noise level may make focusing on work difficult. It is impossible to know without seeing for yourself. Make it a family vacation if you can; be sure to take time to visit the campus.

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My first semester of college was not quite what I expected-- but the differences were definitely for the better. When I first set foot on my college campus, I had no idea that my life would be impacted so greatly by the experiences I was about to have. I had always heard people talk about how wonderful their college years were; the lasting friendships they made, the fun parties they went to, and the amazing things they learned both inside and out of the classroom. I was expecting to learn, to meet new people, and to have fun. I certainly achieved all three of these goals, but the things that have happened to me this past semester have been so much more rewarding than simply completing these tasks. I have made many new friends who have helped me through my parents' recent separation, including a wonderful roommate who I know I will remain close with for many years to come. I have conducted research, and I have learned many important lessons about classroom issues such as molecular hybridization, and extracurricular ones such as how to conquer painful shyness and step out of my comfort zone. College has made enabled me.

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Never limit yourself! College is all about expanding your beliefs and looking at life through new experiences. The right college is one that you feel comfortable fitting into, but with lots of room for experiencing new cultures and plenty of opportunity to observe and participate in activities that will challenge you. This is the most exciting time in your life, and the memories you have will forever shape your identity. Parents should look at schools that offer a variety of opportunities for students outside of academics like opportunities to study abroad, service projects, diverse clubs, and cultural experiences and students should take every opportunity they have to trying out everything their college has to offer. At the same time you can't forget about academics so pick a school where the faculty are willing to mentor you about your future. They will be an invaluable resource for you will help you begin networking for the career you choose to pursue. Loving the environment that you are in and having ample social opportunities makes the next four years of cramming in the library all night much more bearable.

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