Northwestern University Top Questions

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


My advice to myself as a senior would be to let yourself embrace and adjust to new things. I remember thinking, as a senior, that I had achieved so much musically and academically and had so many aspects of my life figured out. When I came to college, therefore, I tried to keep riding this wave of greatness that I had left high school with. I had met the two greatest friends of my life thus far during my junior and senior years of high school, and I wasn't willing to let go of that comfort. Unfortunately, neither of these friends were with me at college, nor even within close range. We would still talk occasionally and the bonds that we formed were still intact, but I didn't want to move on with my life and embrace new, different friendships. In fact, it wasn't until the beginning of this, my sophomore year, that I made new, dear friends. This experience, while disheartening, was beneficial in getting to know my inner thoughts and beliefs. I wish that I could have learned this lesson sooner so that I could have started living my new life true to my self.


I would urge myself to go to college directly instead of waiting 25 years. Education is way more important than I perceived as a High School senior. I don't regret surving my country for 8 years but I should went to college sooner.


Take a moment to stop and appreciate what you have. Be thankful for your family and friends. Look towards the future and maintain a positive outlook. You can do it! It is your time to shine!


I would tell myself to prepare myself better for the rigors of Northwestern. I woult tell myself to develop better study habits, and homework habits. In high school, like so many people, I was a considerable slacker. I waited until the last moment for all of my homework, projects, and all of my tests. That won't work here, or in any college, and I didn't realize that in high school, and I have had a really tough time developing them here as the work load continues to rise.


keep your mind open !


make the most of your time. tame management is everything.


There are others here like you? don't be afraid to seek them out!


I f I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to take high school seriously and to try to get as much out of it as possible instead of just being smart enough to get by. I would advise myself to have a thirst for knowledge. I also would tell myself not to limit myself to just one school as an early decision kid. Instead, I would have applied to tons of schools and made sure that I visited them, in efforts to choose the right school for me. I would tell myself to stay focused because high school is not the end of education, it is only a stepping stool. I would tell myself to apply for way more scholarships because college, especially at a top-ranked university, is expensive and there is tons of free money out there. I would also challenge myself to read more both critically and just for fun to help my reading skills for college. I would also tell myself to challenge myself by taking hard classes instead of skating by. Last but not least I would tell myself to never skip class in college.


Prepare for a change in academics. This is not high school. You may have slept through high school but this will not be the same. Also, stop comparing yourself to others. College is not a place to make comparisons. Everyone has different goals and different paths to follow. Comparisons only make you miserable. Lastly, have fun. You will not be back this way. Find a great balance between academics and social activities. Learn to say no early. In everything that you do remember why you are doing it and rank what is most important to you to guide your actions. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and He will make your path clear.


The best advice I could think of is to not let others influence your decision. College is ultimately a time for you to grow and develop your own sense of who you are, but if you go to a college because your friends go there or because your parents want you to, then you're not becoming independent but just carrying on with who you already are. Also, I think it's important to choose a college that allows students to study many different things. Some colleges expect students to pick their majors before coming in; however, how does an 18 year old really know what they want to study? Some do and I respect that, but that is not always the case for everyone. By attending a school that caters more to the varied interests in different fields of study, students will be able to truly find something that fits their desires.


If I was givent he opportunity to somehow travel back to when I was a high school senior, the only thing I would tell my younger self is that I should just relax more. I would see no point in worrying my past self with problems that really are neither all that difficult nor all that important in the long run. Yes, my college experience wasn't perfect, but all of its flaws (money problems, difficulty adjusting, thinking about the future) helped me. I wouldn't change my college experience if I could, so why should I tell my past self something so that my college experience would change? The difficulty of my college transition wasn't that difficult in retrospect, and in a way, it was kind of funny. The awkward social gatherings, the staying-up-later-than-I-ever-did-so-I-could-write-a-paper-I-should-have-started-earlier-on-time nights, and the freaking out about small things all made up my wonderfully flawed first year of college. Now, I realize that college is great, and the only thing that would have made it better was if I took it all in stride.


College is all about fit and feel. The right university is like your favorite T-shirt. It fits how you like and you feel good wearing it. Personally I think it's impossible to discover if a school is truly right for you until you are an actual student there. Campus visits are probably the best thing you can do when looking at schools. While there, make sure to talk to students! Students are the best source of information - not campus reps, not the financial aid office, not the admissions office, not a random professor...the students are who you need to be questioning. Much as an artisan knows the craft he produces better than anyone else, the relaity of college is that both staff and students are responsible for creating a unique university. Sure, collegeboard. com and the Princeton Review are helpful (I myself made a spreadsheet during senior year of highschool comprised of nearly 40 schools) however they aren't nearly as revealing as face-to-face conversation. Use those tools are a starting point, but once you get serious go visit! After all, when buying clothes one nearly always tries them on first...right?


A successful college freshman embodies a significant knowledge of oneself. That is, a student who enjoys his or her college experience and college choice has chosen a path that caters to the type of person he is. Focus your ambitions very specifically. Choose a major for now and find a school that seems to care about that field of study. Students and parents alike enjoy the prospect of "keeping your options open" but looking for a school based on vague, widespread feelings will leave a student feeling out of his or her element and disconnected from a school. Every school has a personality and every school has an emphasis. Before you begin applying to schools, think about what type of person you are. Does change excite and motivate you or hinder you? Do you rely on your social interactions for happiness or do you find happiness in work? Take time to analyze yourself at the time you apply. Imagine schools to be people with personalities and try to match your own. While this may sound restricting, it is the best thing you can do in an unnerving time. There will be so much time to re-interpret yourself.


You will end up where you are meant to be. Don't stress too much about it. Any college can provide you with plenty of awesome career and job opportunities.


Before you apply to a college, research everything about it. Look at its offered majors, its extracurricular activities, and most importantly, its cost. Think about whether you really will be guaranteed job success after graduation with your intended major, and what kind of training your program and/or school would offer you towards your future goals. Don't apply to a school because of how much of a party school it is, but how much you will get out of it academically, because every school has its methods of fun, and you will find your niche. You really should put heavy consideration on how much money you're putting into your education, and if it really is worth the value of the education you are receiving.


College is one of the most exciting and important times in any persons life, and since most of your experience have to do with what college you end up enrolling in, it should be a big decision. And it is. But fear not. For, after completing my first year in college, I have come to many conclusions about "the college choice." First of all, it is more about your attitude going to college, than anything else. The most successful students are the optimistic, outgoing, and open-minded ones. I think it is safe to say that college is what you make of it. Just like school work, the amount of effort you put in will reflect the final outcome, in this case, your college experience. It is important to make sure you choose a college based on your ultimate career goals, the campus and its surroundings, the feel of the school, (whether it is more social, academically focused, or a combination of the two) and making sure it fits your personality. Best of luck with "the college choice!" And remember, college is what you make of it, so live it up and enjoy every moment you can!


It's important to find the school that is not only fit for you academically but also socially, politically and yes, even in regards to climate. However, this does not mean you should go to a school where everywhere is just like you. We can't all be martyrs for our causes. It is necessary for you to stand up for your beliefs and choices but at the same time not be extremely suppressed because of those beliefs. Go to a school you can feel proud of saying you attend. Once at college, it's okay if it's not perfect. Don't start to think about transferring immediately just because something is not right. Try many things. College is like an era of electives academically and extracurricularly. Meet new people. Don't get too stuck with just one group. Network but be genuine. Enjoy.


Finding the right school can be an arduous task, but at the same time an exciting task that you will remember for the rest of your life. I have experienced the ups and downs of attending college and there were a few times when I wished someone had been there to offer me a bit of advice before I took the plunge into collegiate life. The first piece of advice I would offer is directly to the student that is planning to attend college. First, make sure that you research the school you are prospecting. What else is it about the school that is drawing your consideration besides the name and the reputation? Ask yourself that question many times before you make your decision, and explore every facet of the school. Second, take a look at yourself in the mirror and truly imagine what it is you see yourself doing in the future that makes you happy. Investigate many jobs and find out what it is that you may be interested in pursuing, then check the schools you are interested in to see if they offer programs in the field you plan to pursue. Best of luck and congratulations!


Recently, my high school friends and I were talking about how we ended up at our respective colleges, and we all agreed that the lists of schools we applied to would be dramatically different now. As a high school senior, I wanted to enjoy the present more than I wanted to plan the next four years of my life. The best advice I can give, as vague as it sounds, is to trust your instincts. You don't have to know what your major will be, what career you want, or even what part of the country you want to go to. I didn't know the answers to those questions, so my exasperated college counselor and I chose a smattering of colleges based on what subjects I had enjoyed most in high school. Then I narrowed it down by reading students' accounts of their schools. What really "sealed the deal" for me, though, was visiting my school and being able to picture myself there. It was the first college visit that wasn't stressful or intimidating. The right school feels like a natural continuation of your life rather than a disruption, and above all you should feel comfortable there.


Make a list of what characteristics are most important to you when looking for a college. Rank these characteristics and thoroughly complete research before you start visiting schools via the internet or print sources such as The Princeton Review. You should be able to eliminate many right off the bat! Visit at least 10 schools that you feel satisify your qualifications and make an assertive effort to talk with faculty and students. Apply early if you are certain that one school is your top choice. Colleges place a strong emphasis on your enthusiasm about attending their school--make sure you explicitly express your interest (interviews, references, visiting, continued communication, etc.). Stay in touch with students you meet there to ask future questions when you are making your final decision. If you are torn between a few colleges in the end, re-visit them and talk to more students, alumni and faculty within your intended major (networking is very important). Finally, really make sure that your final choice is YOURS and is not influenced by family or friends--after all you will be spending the best 4 yrs of your life there :)


Anywhere you go you'll end up loving!


I would tell families that no matter what, it is important to let the child make the final decision about where they attend school. Of course, the student must be as informed as possible, and I know that my parents were very helpful in educating me about certain schools. By allowing the child to find a school that is just the right fit for them, and it being their own decision, is an important step towards independence and feeling like a member of society. That way the student will have a sense of ownership in their new place of learning and be able to make friends and complete their work confidently. It is a hard journey, but also knowing that they student made a (guided) decision for themself gives them pride in their school and the relationships they will cultivate there.


The quality of education is very important, but there are so many other factors that go into what makes a college right for you. There are the clubs and groups available, the weather, the size of college. Remember that even though a college is top ranked, that doesn't mean it's for you.


While some might suggest starting the college search early in a student?s high school years is the key to making the most of the college experience, I would have to say the secret lies in proper financial planning for this great expense. Although benefits obtained from holding a part-time job in college can be very useful in many aspects of a student?s life, like gaining responsibility and time management skills, and developing life-long friendships, it is another thing altogether for a student to carry so heavy a financial burden that the money earned through a part-time job is both essential and necessary for him/her to remain in school. I have experienced so many wonderful things during my time in college, but as a result of poor financial planning by myself and my parents, I am also weighed down by the stresses of a huge debt after graduation. College is a costly privilege, and I firmly believe that with proper research and planning, every student who has the desire, no matter the school they choose, their financial background, or career goals, should have a right to experience it.


Stay overnight at the college in a dormitory if it is possible.


The best advice I can give is to not limit your options from the get-go. Barring financial or physical hampers, students should really take the time to explore opportunities at schools all over the country. Different geographical regions have different academic climates in addition to the actual climate. Gravitate towards a location that excites you both academically and recreationally. The perfect school will allow you to balance your social life with your academic life in order to have a holistic college experience. College is about growing as a person as much as it is about growing scholastically. The right college for you will present itself as a place that challenges your preconcevied notions about yourself, about your peers and about the world around you. Weigh out what is important to you, from financial aid to the availability of religious services to the surrounding town and atmosphere. All these factors will combine to create your college experience. Once you have a short list, try to visit. Meet and talk to some students. Get a real primary account of university life, it may sound cliche but this is really an invaluable asset in deciding whether a school will work for you.


Make sure the student picks the college at which they feel the most comfortable, don't just pick based on prestige and other superficial factors.


To parents, trust your kids to choose what they want, they're gonna know what they want. To kids, don't forget to have fun, and don't forget to work. Pick a college with options for you, both academically and personally. There's plenty of opportunities at many college, and what's happening at other campuses of other colleges can be quite important to both academic success and social life.


Don't limit yourself. Financially, academically, distance-wise. Anything is possible. You'll never know unless you try! I would also STRONGLY recommend visiting the college/university before commiting. It could be a deal breaker. Try everything once. Don't feel like you HAVE to join all those clubs at the beginning of the year. Give yourself some time to get used to living in a different place, then find out what else you want to be involved in. If you join 10 clubs your first week, you are going to get overwhelemed and burn out. Get to know the people in your dorm/hall. They WILL be your first friends, and most likely the strongest friendships you make.


On a college tour, a guide told me that if you don't see construction on campus, be worried. Construction indicates growth, a future. While I fully believe that tour guide gave me great advice, he also gave me more: a metaphor for the college experience. To get the most out of the college experience, you must think of yourself as a building under construction -- at least one gaining an addition and/or being rennovated. As with all buildings, location, location, location is the most important part. Therefore, in choosing a school, you must be concious of how that school will change you. No matter how tall and proud your building stands, it will be changed by the people you learn with, learn from, live with, and play with. It will gain additions - new thoughts, new points of view which will stay with you forever. It wil be rennovated - trading in old habits, old frendships, old ideas for fresh, longer-lasting ones. Most importantly is that the foundation will be strengthened by the knowledge of who you really are. So choose the architect, the school, with the blueprint that will shape you into the person you want to become.


Push them to explore new opportunities. try to get them to visit other states with different settings and different weather. they will learn so much if they can go to a school where the students are from all ver the country. make sure they can handle it academically. encourage activities outside of academics.


Picking a college is without question a extremely demanding and stressful process. There are so many different factors to take into consideration that it can seem like an impossible decision. There are, however, a few things that you can do to help make this process manageable. First, determine what geographic location best suits you - this will allow you to narrow your choices from thousands to a few hundred. Second, go through your list of schools and put them into 'yes' and 'no' piles. You can further distill this by considering academic disciplines offered, athletics, reputation, cost/financial aid, proximity to metropolitan areas, etc. until a list of critical criteria is compiled. Now it's time to do your homework on the 50 or so schools you've chosen. You'll be able to eliminate a few more and begin to form favorites - visit these, ask questions, and try to get a sense of the overall atmospheres. Apply, wait for the responses, and pick your favorite - this is very challenging but important. Once you're at college, keep an open mind, learn as much as possible, make some great friends, and most importantly, have fun! You'll remember this experience forever!


Stressing out is a very normal response to the overwhelming amount of research, visiting, and decisions one has to make for choosing the "right" college. I won't say, "Don't stress out" because I sure did. However, keep in mind a different perspective. I would tell you, "Four years is a long time, but it is also not a very long time. " Yes, four years in college is a very important time in a student's life and can help shape the way the student handles and views the world around him/her. However, it is only four years! To put it simply, college is just an experience. It does not have "ultimate" say in what happens to the rest of my life. I shape my life. I determine how I experience college. I determine how I will live the rest of my life. So choosing the right college is not the answer to all your problems. There is no "perfect" college. There is only how you handle the college experience. My best piece of advice? If you find yourself in your dorm room with nothing to do, you're doing something awfully wrong.


College is like ice cream. There are all different flavors and you may like one better than the other. But, in the end, it is just ice cream. . . satisfying and delicious!


Go to college with a plan. It's ok to change your mind once you're there, but definitely have a plan. Four years goes by quicker than you expect, so take advantage of everything you can while you're at school. Remember, a university is where minds come together to collaborate; once you're out in the real world it's very difficult to find all of those resources in one place. Take advantage of student discounts and offers, too. Don't forget to have a little fun every once in a while. After all, you're in college!


College rankings do matter, but aren't always the best way to choose a school. You really have to know what kind of college you are looking for, such as a small school, a research-based school, etc. Moreover, making the most out of college is really up to you--assuming you're at a decent school. I hated my school my freshman year, but that's because i didn't participate in any activities, not did I try adjust into the new environment. However, now as a sophmore, I'm participating in more activities, making more firends, helping in research, and school life is just awesome. Really, make college life fun! Good luck!


Visit it and picture yourself there. Weigh the financials against what the school can offer. It's usually to pick a school that's better overall than a school that's good at one particular thing-- you might change your major and college isn't all about academics-- it's time for the students to grow mature in multiple ways.


The most important thing when looking at colleges and universities is to determine what aspect of the college experience is most important to you, and then choose based on that. I thought the most important thing about a school for me was its social environment, and because of that I almost ended up going to the wrong school. But when I finally visited the schools that accepted me, I realized that the most important thing for me was actually to have the best opportunities available for my chosen major. I ended up going to the best school in the country for my major, even though I almost didn?t even apply because of reports I read on students? social lives there. As it turns out, my social life is excellent because I am surrounded by people who are passionate about the same thing I am. I have no regrets about going to my chosen university. I love my major and I love my friends.


Don't get hung up on rankings and brand name degrees. What's most important is that you find a place that fits you. Your college experience is what you make it. Truly.


Parents and students: In order to get the best/truest college experience, I would recommend visiting the colleges first to get a feel for what the campus and people are like. A visit really reveals a lot about the place. If it feels right, and you'll know, then it is the right place for you. Parents: let the kids be the final say in where they would want to spend the next 4 years of their life. I know it's hard to let go, but you'll get over it. Students: do pick somewhere that you really want to be because you will meet new people and maybe make friends that will last you your whole life. Some of the best times you'll ever have will happen in college. Believe it when I say that the best four years of your life will occur while in college. Good luck!


Finding the right college should never be about the best ranking. If i had known this in high school, my application process would have been far different. I chose the highest ranked school I was accepted to, and I love it here. However, there are many factors of college-life that my school does not offer me. Sometimes I miss the small, artsy feel of my high-school, and sometimes I feel like I'm missing the big state-school mentality that my friends tell me stories about. I would say that students have to choose what they want, whether it is a place where they can really fit in with a small group of individuals, or with the university as an entire student body. This is the decision that will affect your college experience the most.


The authenticity and value of a college experience is only confined by a student?s will. This value is independent of the caliber of school, quality of student, or demographics the student belongs to. Instead, college satisfaction deals with the comprehensive notion of one?s ?fit? with their environment. Granted, the student must first apply, be accepted, and attend the school that best supplements their future academic and social endeavors. However, a student?s actions and adaptations do not rely on the college settings that are offered to them. Moreover (and as ambiguous as it may sound), the student?s core mindset, intentions, and heart are responsible for their personal happiness. The question, ?how can a student make the most of their college experience?? is infinitely open-ended as is the question, ?how can a college experience make the most of a student?? The constant and widespread worry over what college to attend is fruitless. As long as a student is determined, passionate, and wholehearted, college offers a unique experience where educational gains are boundless and everlasting.


It isn't important to know exactly what it is you want to do "in the real world." It is important to know what makes you happy at this stage in your life. How important is it to you to be challenged academically? How important is community to you? What kind of community do you want? Once you get to school, try as many new things as you can. Freshman year is all about collecting new experiences. You can always get rid of the things you don't like, but if you're paying for college, you might as well get every thing you can out of it.


It's not really where you go, it's how you go through the 4 years that matter.


I would tell them to make the best decision that they can make with the resources and information that they have and don't worry about what you can't control. Soon you will realize that you actually can't control very much. I chose my school mainly because I thought it would give me a great opportunity to play sports at the collegiate level and hopefully one day at the professional level. Needless to say, that plan didn't work out but all was not lost. Luckily, I had given some serious thought and effort to my academic future (a "plan B" if you will) and I ended up falling in love with scientific research. Now, I am going for my PhD in Bioengineering and love it! I don't know if I've made "the most" of my college experience, but I know that I left satisfied. I've always tried to only open doors (or create new opportunities) and close them only when they keep me from opening other doors. From there everything worked itself out and I'm sure the same will happen for you. Good Luck!


When looking at colleges, try not to be pressured by other people's opinions of schools when making your decision. Make sure that you are choosing a school where you feel comfortable, not one that is considered more impressive to other people. Once on campus, make sure to get involved. Join student groups and get to know the people on your floor and in your classes. Realize that if you aren't enjoying school, there are always ways to improve your experience. If you are unhappy socially, try talking to new people in class or getting involved in other student groups. If you are unhappy academically, ask around for help. Professors are usually very good about helping students who have questions, and there are often tutors or TAs available to help you understand concepts. Also remember that very little you decide while in college is permanent. Majors, dorms, and even colleges can all be changed if you are not enjoying your experience.


The most important thing to remember when you're trying to find the right college is that you should base your decision on what you really want out of a school , not on what you've been told college is supposed to be or what others tell you is right. It's important to remember that you only have four years to make the most of it, and while that may sound like a lot of time it can go by really quickly. Take full advantage of the extra curricular programs and organizations because they provide a unique opportunity to meet people and do things you may never have been exposed to otherwise. Finally, the most important thing to remember is confidence. It's easy to second-guess yourself or become one of the crowd in college, but you have to remember that you got into the school based on your own merit and you deserve to take full advantage of everything the school has to offer. Try everything the school has to offer and step out of your comfort zone, because some of the best things we find in life are things we never expected to like.


It is very important to visit the campus of a college that you're interested in and talk to students who currently go there. You should take a tour of campus and attend any relevant information sessions offered by the admissions office, but it is also very important to talk to students who aren't tour guides. If you don't know anyone who goes there, just stop someone walking by. The way that a "stranger" (current student) reacts to you can be a good indication of how friendly people are on that campus. Ask current students what they think about things like: do students have fun, or are they very stressed? Are there a lot of extracurricular activities? Are there cultural events on or near campus? Are students from different places? How's dorm life? Is there public transportation? Is the campus safe? Students will generally be more honest about the social scene and academics than university-trained students.


Finding the right college and making the most of the experience can be daunting; but if you keep an open mind and strong sense of self, your college experience will be fantastically rewarding. My high school guidance counselor told a friend of mine that, because of her learning disability, her only hope for higher education was community college. She graduated cum laude from Indiana University. Whether you are certain of your future profession or not, the right school is waiting for you. Take a good look at yourself. What makes you happy? Don?t settle for a school because you think it?s your only option. Set your geographical boundaries and evaluate the schools in that region against your personal criteria. The right choice may not be the obvious one. Once there, embrace opportunity. Take valuable risks. You will gain from these years only as much as you invest. Don?t predefine yourself, but don?t lose sight of who you are. At freshman orientation, an upperclassman told me, ?Blink. That?s how fast college goes.? They may go by like the blink of an eye, but your college years will be rich with memories that last a lifetime.


Finding the right college is not necessarily something that can be accomplished until one stands in hindsight. Look for a college that has the right size that you think you want; but remember, a small college might get to be too small after freshman and sophomore year. Remember that your preferences might change in the next four years, thus, making the most of your college experience is keeping an open mind throughout your time at your institution. Every semester can bring new chances. Different classes can be a renaissance for your academic vigor. Rushing a sorority or fraternity can do the same for your social life. So stay open to new things and you never know what will be the next step in improving your college experience exponentially. If anything, I have learned that during high school, I never could have thought of the things that make me happy at college that I know now. So find the college you feel most comfortable with, but also take comfort in the idea that you and your school grow together. And you will grow to feel at home there if you go about it in the right way.