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Northern Illinois University

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

If I could go back in time and converse with my former self, I would have a substantial amount of information and advice to relay. I would warn that the pace of the college courses is four times that of high school; success in high school does not necessarily lead to success in college. A different study approach must be implemented in order to accommodate for the accelerated rate of information presentation. I would also forewarn of the devastation of procrastination; certain assignment can be procrastinated in high school and one can recover, but this is not true of college. Since college is intended for the preparation of one's career, one must think continuously about the goal and the afterward; any discrepancy can produce consequences that hinder the outcome of one's professional future. Overall, there is a much higher degree of responsibility that is bestowed upon college students. Students must adapt to being independent without losing all sense of responsibility and respect; unfortunately, this is something that I had seen far too often. I would inform that there is a way to enjoy the independent lifestyle while retaining morals and respect for the general population.

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Jasmine, Before you start classes at Northern Illinois University, there are a few things that you should know. College is going to be a life changing experience for you, because there will be challenges that you have not previously had to face. The characteristics you developed in high school will be put to the test. Focus and determination are perhaps the most important because they will get you through every obstacle you will encounter. Those obstacles include adjusting to the college courses, interacting with new people, and learning the definition of balance. College courses are a lot more difficult than high school classes. Dedicate a few hours every day to studying. Use all the resources the campus offers to help you succeed. Do not fear the unknown. Socializing will become a part of your campus experience and making friends will come naturally. Northern Illinois University is a multicultural campus so keep an open mind when interacting with new people. You can learn a lot from the people around you, if you are willing to listen. You will also need to learn how to balance your time and your money. If you can master this concept, you can accomplish so much.

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I do not think I spent enough time researching my career interests. I would tell myself to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses and research different careers. I would utilize my high school guidance counselor more to help in my research. Also, I would say to take more college visits and explore my options at different colleges. This way, I could learn about different opportunities to develop the skills needed for a job in that industry. If I was more informed about the differences in my colleges of interest, I would have picked a college that better suited my academic needs. Since I did not receive any athletic or academic scholarships, I would tell myself to apply for several private scholarships during high school. I regret not applying for scholarships while in high school. Now, I have several student loans, housing, dining, and books that could have been be payed for by scholarships. Lastly, I do not think the minimal reading I did for my high school classes was enough to prepare me for college texts. So, I would tell myself to read more books and magazine articles in my free time during high school to help develop this skill.

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I am in my second year at Northern Illinois University and I could not be any happier with my choice to attend this university, however, I have found that many of my peers do not feel the same way because NIU does not offer the types of things that they would have hoped for. Choosing the right school will ultimately help you to succeed throughout college and the rest of your working career. The first step to finding the right school is to examine your strengths and choose a couple of majors that would best reflect your abilities. Choosing more than one major is important because a large percentage of students find that the major they originally chose is not what is right for them. After determing a couple majors of interest begin looking for schools that offer those majors and take special note of the GPA requirements as well as the types of courses that you should expect to be taking. Other things to consider when choosing a school are location, climate, and extra-curricular activities. The main keys to success in college are the following: put your schoolwork before your social life, study hard, and attend every class.

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Imagine this is your junior year in high school, and the thought of college has never seemed more exciting, or nerveracking. Maybe you knew the college you wanted to attend since you were younger, or you are still indecisive about where you would like to go. Everyone is different, and sometimes this choice can be overwhelming. Its important to make this decision based on your what your priorities are, and what will be best for your future in becoming a productive member of society. Think of what you are interested in and research what schools can satisfy these passions. When you weighed the pros and cons of each college you are debating between and considered your money situation, make a decision. Once you do this, it's important to recieve academic counseling and support to ease you into the transition. I am familiar with this process after seeing my siblings make their decisions for college. During my first year of college, I attended WIU in macomb. After going there for a year and discovering more about who I am, I changed my major and made my decision to attend NIU, where I could not be more happy.

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As I recollect on my experience in college there is so much that I would love to communicate to my high school self. Considering the fact that I would like to pursue a career as a high school guidance counselor I plan to devote myself to assisting students. Being a mentor to myself would be a life changing experience for me. I would reassure myself that I made the right decision and that attending Northern Illinois University was a good path for me. I would stress the importance of getting involved early and establishing a solid GPA. I entered the university undecided which turned out to be a promising move for me. I had the ability to explore different majors and find what I truly have a passion for. Thus I found myself in the college of Liberal Arts and Sciences pursuing a BA in Sociology. I would also tell my high school self not to be afraid or discouraged during this transitioning stage. Explaining the procedures when filling out a FASFA, applying for grants and loans as well as registering for classes can be an overwhelming process. However with proper guidance it can be as stress free as possible.

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If I were able to speak with the 18 year-old me there would be many topics of discussion I would be eager to bring up to make the transition into college and in turn out of college much easier. But most importantly, I would elaborate on the importance of asserting oneself to formulate a quality education plan. This goes beyond registering for classes and studying. I would encourage myself to sit down and really ponder what I hoped to achieve as an end result of my education. Once I completed that task I would be sure to establish goals based on this information. With the goals in mind I would begin to seek advice and options of professionals, professors, and other worthy individuals on how they would best accomplish these goals. I would remind my 18 year-old self she does not know everything and the opinions of experienced individuals would serve as a useful tools in achieving these goals. With the newfound advice I would direct myself to put a plan in place on how to best achieve the wonderful dreams she has for herself and remind her continually self-assess to ensure each step is completed.

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Although finding the right education for your future career is important, don't forget about the financial factor that comes with the college searching experience. Although Harvard or other top universities have great programs for a certain career, but state or even community colleges have good programs as well. You should always look for all the options that are avaliable to you. Also, make sure you come and check out the colleges. You should check out the atmosphere and see what the college has to offer you. I think it's important to see what kind of activites, clubs, etc. there are. It really does affect your college experience , especially if you feel like the college doesn't really offer you anything. If you don't like it, then it will have a negatice impact on you. It can be especially difficult when you are transitioning from high school to college. You really are on your own when you get to college and it gets a little hard in the beginning, so make sure you keep an open mind and know everyone feels the same way as you. I really emphasize to explore the campus once you move in.

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At my orientation, the counselors told us to look to your left, and then our right, they proceeded by saying these people might not be here when you graduate. Of course being a freshman at the time, I did not believe what they were saying. As the years went by I notice that the faces I saw when I got to NIU, I rarely saw anymore. I began to wonder if I would ever be one of those people who did not come back after Christmas or summer break. This is when I made the conscious decision to become an involved member in the community. My involvement in various organization enhanced my college experience. I was able to develop relationships with other students and university administratiors. Additionally, I learned valuble skills that has prepared me for my professional career. In sum, I learned that I was ultimately responsible for my success or failure. I saw the opportunity for success and I pursued it, I did have minor failures along the way. However they contributed to my success; they allowed me to make improvements. For all of these reasons my expereince and attendance was valuable.

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Attending school has always been extremely valuable to me. Without the proper education, I will never be able to go through with my goals in life. My goals being getting a degree in Physical Therapy and working with disabled children in hopes of giving them a better, more fulfilling life. Also, being a Latina, I have faced descrimination throughtout my entire life. With a higher education I will be able to stand up for myself and prove to those who don't believe a Latina can get somwhere in life, with actions not words, that it is possible. I can be an exception to the stereotype against Latinos. Through a higher education I will be able to achieve that goal and finally be someone. By being accepted to a university has been a big step, but in order to continue to follow my dream, I need the financial means to schieve that. In my experience at Northern Illinois University I have learned that there are people that will help me follow that dream. The will to succeed and taking action rather than sitting around waiting for success to fall from the sky is what will help me reach my dream.

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