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Northern Arizona University

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

In my college experience- I have recieved enlightenment, overt verbal expressions and a advancement in abstract thinking/ reason/logic. I reflect on my culture and the different elements that conditioned me like being highly serious, , verbally introverted, burdened by unfortunate choices and conditions. Living without an education compared to attending school daily is signifacant to me because I can identify with the noticeable difference in my cognitive observations between what is clear concerning reification,my life, choices, and my future. Although, society sometimes position individuals for material and status success -I think college has given me something more. Attending college has given and continue to give me valuable perspective, position , common place, a substantial amount of poise, self-esteem, and powerful confirmation ,attending college has changed my whole life intrinsically , extrinsically, and it has given a new meaning to what is possible inside my world. The college culture provides valuable information that has shaped my life for better judgements in my everyday living. im not just existing- im learning. So far I have gotten a self identity, people skills, cultural understandings, and I unlimited myself from the bondage of ignorance that held me back in some areas of my lifestyle.

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Visiting a college/university campus in person is one of the best ways to determine if it is the right fit for the student (and the family). This provides the student with the opportunity to determine if he/she likes the climate, physical topography, environment (socially, academically, and physically), services that are provided, classrooms, outdoor and indoor facilities for extracurriculars and physical activities, dining halls, residence halls, etc. of the campus. Taking tours of the campus are an excellent way to get an overall feel and to learn more about college/university offerings. Talking with students, professors, and advisors are also a great method to determine if the college/university caters to the student and meets the student's needs. My biggest piece of advice that I offer to incoming students is to become involved. The environment or degree of involvement is entirely their choice. If there is not a club or organization that suits their needs or interests, create one! Universities foster education through extracurricular activities and outside of the classroom experiences. By becoming involved, students develop friendships, make long-lasting connections, and conceive ideas that may change their futures and their lives. These are all growing opportunities.

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The old adage ?Know Thyself?, once chiseled above the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, applies to the dilemmas of both searching for the ideal college and making the most of your college experience. Students ought to begin the process of searching for potential college choices through introspective thought and discernment of themselves. As deep as this may sound, students should be asking themselves simple questions such as, would I mind living on a small campus or on a large campus, would I mind living in a different climate, and would this university suit my potential undergraduate pursuits? Another factor in deciding which college is ideal for any given student is happiness, and that can only be derived if the student knows, even if at some basic level, what type of environment they will thrive in. The advice of knowing oneself also significantly increases success in the college experience. When you have discerned what type of person you are and can address your strengths and your faults you will better realize what you want for yourself from college. This allows students to productively work towards a promising career for the future while enjoying college in the present.

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When students are looking for the college that suits them best, they should look for schools that mesh with their own ideals. For example, if a student is a very religious, they might be more interested in a private school that is associated with their church or beliefs. By narrowing the selection through their own personal criteria, there is a greater chance that the student will feel more connected to their school, their peers, their professors, and the community around the school. Likewise, if a student wishes to become an artist, they should look at schools with a more artistic reputation, or stronger art programs, rather than one with a business/technical reputation. This also ensures being immersed in a community of like-minded students, that they will be able to relate to, and learn from. Another aspect to consider is extra-curricular activities. Many of these activities are geared to enhance the learning that goes on in the classroom, and some are as close as being within the dormitory life. These programs bring students together to have fun and learn at the same time. These are just a few ways to ensure a rewarding experience in college.

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Start exploring career opportunities while still in high school. You will be more likely to pick a major that you are interested in and stick with it. There is no sense in wasting time and money figuring out what you want to do. You have your whole life ahead of you to enjoy yourself. Try not to be distracted by all the social opportunities. Keep a balance between study and fun. Get involved early in planning for graduate school. Do an internship and spend time working in a research lab. Fully investigate the professor and the course before you decide to take a class. Remember this is your experience. You cannot rely on your academic advisor to make all of the decisions for you. Make sure you are keeping track of your own degree plan. Treat this experience like a job by being thorough and investigating every opportunity. It is your responsibility to make sure that all you do is keeping you directed towards your goals. When you choose extra-curricular activities make them fun but also keep them in line with your future goals. Get involved in things that boost your career plans and ability to further your education.

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Dear Kelsey, College is a wonderful experience, if done right! Make sure that you take all dual enrollment classes offered during your senior year in high school. If you do this, you can spend more time focusing on classes that deeply interest you, and you can avoid the possibility of boredom! I highly encourage you to apply for scholarships. You do not want to end up in 20,000 dollars of student loan debt because you were too lazy to complete scholarship applications. This will open the door to you to purchase assests when you start your post college career! Lastly, I encourage you to become involved in as many things as possible. The beauty of college is that every indivdual has something exceptional to offer towards your college experience. This is the same for every activity that is offered. You will learn more about yourself, and the world around you if you get plugged in. Stop and appreciate how privileged you are to attend college in the first place, and utilize this opportunity to its maximum capacity! You never know when your freedom of education may be taken away. Best Wishes! Sincerely, Your college graduate self

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Background: I attended Northern Arizona University in the Fall1991 and received my first bachelors’ degree in 2000. I got married and had two boys which explain the nine year difference. My most recent degree came in 2008, a masters in school counseling. My college experience was unique but was also very positive. I say unique because the first two years I was on campus, another year I commuted, and the next year was by satellite, and finally in a cohort program that was held at a statewide site. My positive experiences included but not limited to the beautiful campus with many places to study, caring and understanding professors, access to a variety of academic resources, and tremendous support programs. I grew up with my parents and five siblings. I was the only one who attained a post secondary education. It’s been a very valuable asset in my life. I am still married and now, have three kids. My college education has provided financial stability and allowed me to return to my community as a role model. I am a school counselor at my old high school. In all, I am very greatful for my college experience and education.

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Actions taken as a seniorhave a significant impact on college life. Do not give in to senioritis! As a senior, make sure you research all of the schools you are or might be interested in. Collegeboard is a good resource that can be used to find a college that matches you. US news is also a good resource used to find best ranking colleges and universities based on different aspects. Once you know where you want to apply, look into applying early action (know the difference between early action and early decision) anywhere that you can. This will give you an idea of any actions you might need to take early on. Another important thing that must be done as soon as possible is FAFSA. FAFSA gives the most money to the first applicants and the money is limited. Education and living expenses are very high so scholarships should not be overlooked. Many scholarships meet their deadlines without receiving any applicants. Do not miss out on free money! Do well on the SAT and ACT because they are huge decision factors of where you will be accepted and how much money you will receive! Also, meaningful community service is imperative!

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The transition from dependent high school to college student is difficult, but not the hardest situation. If I could go back in time as a high school senior, I would suggest to myself to take AP classes, be open to people, and be prepared for class. Senior year is supposed to prepare you for college, meaning that you should take those classes that prepare you for challenge. Strenuous AP courses might not earn you the GPA that you want, but will definitely benefit you when you are in college. Strive for greatness in high school and that will help you achieve success in college. College is about interacting with new people and meeting new faces. One must widen their comfort zone and make the attempt to introduce them to a new acquaintance. If you are able to balance your social life with your academics then you are bound for success. Make friends with the classmates in your class and form study groups to test your knowledge. In order to be academically successful, one must be prepared for those college classes. Take the time each night to review and the text and ask questions to inform the professor you are listening.

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College will bring about new, scary and exciting changes, however, being prepared for them should start from high school. Apply for all the scholarships possible; you will need any amount as it will go a long ways. Everything in college is expensive, just one book can cost one hundred and eighty dollars. As a result, make close connections to teachers at school because they will play an important role in writing letters of recommendation for scholarships and college applications. Obtain grants by submitting the FASFA application soon, thus learning how to fill one out is essential as a high school senior. In addition, it may seem that separating ways from friends or relationships and going to college is the end of the world but it is not. Maintain the mind open because college will bring long lasting friendships and having a social life is needed to stay sane with the college coursework. With this thought in mind, attend a college that has the degree you would like to achieve, do not enter a college just because you do not want to be apart from your friend. Believe in yourself and you will be able to achieve anything.

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