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North Dakota State University-Main Campus

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

When looking for the right college, a lot of advice is common sense. Look at the school's website and see what programs it offers. Most colleges are known for being strong in one or two areas, but that doesn't mean the other programs are bad. I go to a school that emphasizes Engineering and Agriculture, but I've been very pleased with the English program. Also try to visit the college. If you're going to spend four years there, you'd better like the campus! Thirdly, keep finances in mind. Most people check tuition, but there are two places students often don't look at: college scholarships and job opportunities. No matter what tuition is, most schools have several scholarships for incoming freshman and returning students, so college might not cost as much as you think. And once you're away from home, you might discover that a little pocket change is useful and decide that you want a job, even if you weren't planning on it initially. Budget this money wisely. That gaming system might look cool, but there are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities on campus that you don't want to miss.

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Looking back at my transition from high school to college, I realize that, overall, the transition was quite smooth, but before long my visualizations of what I thought college woul be like, changed drastically. When I was living at home, I said I would move to college and never come home. A month after move-in I found myself on the road headed home. I never fully appreciated the comfort and warmth my childhood home held. Now, I have found myself going home about once a month to enjoy the wonderful feelings that home evokes. Having lived several hours from home helped me to fully appreciate not only home, but also my family. Now, I realize how wonderful my life is and am thankful for the loving family that I have been given. While in high school, if anyone would have told me I would go home every month, be excited when a package from home shows up in the mail, or look forward to the family visiting I would have called them insane. Therefore, I would give my high-school-self the advice to value home more while I am there becuase everything is about to change shortly.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself and give myself advice of what to expect and how to make the transition in college, I would tell myself that I should get involved day one. In college, you know a very small majority of students when you first come to college. If you get involved right away I feel as though it makes your experience so much greater and more fun. You meet so many people regardless of what you become involved with, and learn so much about yourself and others around you from being involved in organizations. It also is a fantastic way to network with others and ultimately increase your knowledge of what employers are looking for and seeking, as well as being able to add things to your resume, which, ultimately plays a very large part in you succeeding in college and getting a job offer. Another thing I would tell myself is don't regret a single thing. If you spend all your time regretting something then you are wasting your time and not living your college experience to its fullest. Lastly, I would say always be yourself, it's who you are!

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Finding the right college and making the most of the college experience is probably the first major decision in your life. The phrase that gave me the best advice was "Don't be afraid to try something new". Don't go to a college close enough so that you can live at home just because you've never lived away from home. Don't major in something that everyone in your family majors in just because that's all that you've known. Find new hobbies, sports, activities, interests and friends, then get involved in these new things, because this is the last chance you have to explore and figure out what you will be doing for the rest of your life. The one thing that you don't want to change, however, are your values. Stick by your values when making these life changing decisions because they can be counted on to guide you through these decisions. Values will keep you out of trouble that could screw up your life. To wrap it up, college is an experience just like high school was an experience, the only difference is this is your last experience, so make it worth while!

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The transition from high school student to college student proved to be difficult for me. I was one of those students that didn't try in school but regardless managed to received a mix of good and great grades without effort in challenging courses. In college I tried to continue these habits because it worked well for me. I immediately found out that this was not the way to approach my college courses. College though it's a continuation of your education is its vastly different. The professors treat you like the type of person you are: an adult. They aren't going to remind you of homework assigments. Some profesors don't even assignment homework, which sounds nice right? Well, if there's no homework then your grade is solely based on tests, if you fail the tests you fail the class. I've never had a test curved since I started college, and no help is given to you. You are an adult now, and if you need something get it yourself. If I could I would have told myself to read accordingly to the schedule, and to ask for help the instant I seemed to be struggling.

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Education is and has always been a huge aspect of my life that I don't take for granted. In high school I strived to be a great student for personal benefit in life. From freshman year to senior year I was the student actively involved in clubs and in sports year-round. As a senior, I enrolled in advanced placement classes on top of an already challenging schedule. This type of busy lifestyle has been my best friend and also my foe. I have met some of my best friends through my involement and shared countless memories that will never ever be forgotten. As a current college student, I have met many friends whom I truely care about and am very fortunate to have met, but for myself and my home town friends there will always be that connection between us that we have shared since kindergarten. College has taught me that it is important to excel in school, but most importantly to appreciate the people around me. If I could tell my high school senior self one thing it would be to slow down and strengthen bonds with the people that make a difference in my life.

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I have gotten many things out of my experience here at NDSU. I have met many new people all with different views on religion and life. Getting to meet people from different cultures helps me learn about the diverse world we live in. I love how everyone at school is friendly and accepting of those around them. Everyone is here to help each other out, whether it is with school work, finding a job, or getting to know other students. The campus does a great job of getting students involved with organization and job fairs. I have been able to join bible study and be elected as a leader for next year, I have also been able to join a pharmacy organization and learn about the interview process I will be going through next year. Campus attractions puts on free activities for students like movies, arts and crafts, and dances. The campus is valuable to attend because they have provided me with the resources to do well in my studies as well as make friends with my new classmates. The transition from high school to college has been an easy one thanks to NDSU.

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The most important aspect is to get a feel for the college and see if it fits yourself. Make sure to go on as many campus tours as possible, just to get a feel for what is out there. There are so many options available and a decision should not be made until numerous options have been explored. Making the most of your college experience can be easily summed up in two words: get involved. The easiest way to meet new people is to join a group or organization that fits you and will have people that you can get along with. I joined the marching band my first year and instantly had over 100 friends. It made the transition much easier. Another way to make the most of your college experience is having an equal balance between academics and social life. This balance is crucial for any college student's success in classes. You cannot be a study rat who does not get out and meet new people and have great experiences they will remember forever. But you can not go out everynight and expect to pass all your classes. Mainly, get out and explore your options.

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My college experience has taken me on a path I never expected. I began college like any other freshman; nervous, excited, and ready to start a new chapter in life, and my first year went very well. But when discouraging events occurred during my sophomore year, I began questioning myself and what I was doing with my life. I ended up transferring colleges twice, changing my major three times, and leaving college altogether twice. Five years later, I?m back to finish what I started seven years ago. I now know who I am and where I want my life to take me, and although I had to leave college to figure it out, that confidence is priceless to me. I learned the hard way that you only have the college experience once, so use your time wisely and cherish it while you're there. I learned that obtaining a Bachelor?s degree is the first step in the path to a career and life you dream of. Most important of all, I learned that your mind is the most valuable tool you have, and you should use it to educate and better yourself at every opportunity.

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NEVER TAKE THE EASY PATH! If I could tell every future college student one thing, it would be to really research and understand the programs at the different schools. I would encourage the student to sit down and really think about what they want to do with their future and what school will provide them with the best opportunity to succeed with there goal in mind. Do not go to a school because your high school friends are attending or because you are following a boy/girlfriend. Choose the path that will suite your needs and I believe that this is a decision that calls for a little bit of selfishness. Don't let somebody talk you into a school because they believe it is the best choice for you, take their advice and research it on your own before you follow blindly. I would also tell a student that they should be realistic about tuition costs and location of the school. If a school 1,000 miles away has the best program but you don't think you can handle the distance from home, really think about how that alone could affect your future.

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