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Norwich University

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

Focus. Pay attention. Decide. Finishing high school should not be your only goal. You need to think beyond graduation and start preparing now. Start thinking of what skills you have and how they can transfer into a career. Start thinking of what skills you do not have and how you can turn them from weaknesses into strengths. You need to have a plan starting now that you can carry with you throughout your college journey. What interests you? What careers can incorporate your interests? What types of jobs are there going to be if you graduate with that major? These are all questions you need to answer before applying to colleges and definitely before choosing a major. The average person changes careers five to seven times within a lifetime and the better prepared you are the more likely you are to succeed. So many people follow their parents paths of graduating high school and heading to college just because it feels like the right thing to do. Maybe taking a year or two off is not such a bad idea if you are really undecided. All I can tell you now is that the more prepared you are the better!

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Advice? Well for starters, I would do a simple college search. With this search type in the information about a school that means the most to you: location, majors, sports, etc. Once you have created a list of school that you seem to be interested it, check them out! Go to their websites, see what they have to offer, compare them with other schools and narrow your list down to three, four, or even five schools. This next step is the most important; VISIT THEM! Call the school up and scheduel an on campus visit, tour, and interview with the head professor of your desired major. Find out what they offer in terms of financial aid, scholarships, extra help, even extra credit. Once you have visited the schools that made you list, choose at least three of them that you realy want to go to, and send them applications. Yes I said three. If you are sending to only one school, whats going to happen if you didn't get accepted and all the other application deadlines have gone by? Once you have been accepted and made the final decision, start networking. Find other students and start making friends!

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I've gained valuable experiences during my first two years in college; I have learned to accept responsibility for myself and time management the most. As a college student it is no longer my parent?s responsibility to make sure I?m making good grades and attending class; that is my job. And though it has been tempting to sometimes not attend class because I have that freedom I have learned that in order to do my best I need to attend all my classes. Also in college, you get to schedule your own classes and decide how many hours you want to attend. Though classes may start later and students generally don?t have to attend classes as long each day as compared to high school students, time management is just as important if not more important. With the ability to sleep later and attend classes for less time comes the responsibility to use time wisely. Learning to discern how to schedule my class time, work time, homework time, and free time was challenging but a very valuable experience. I have enjoyed my first two years and hope to find the funds for my latter two.

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I highly suggest that the parents and the students are involved in the application process. Make sure that the institution has everything the child would want, otherwise they will be miserable there. Also make sure there are the best financial accomodations as possible so that the school is not able to reel a student in with false promises. Visiting the campus is a must--it may look beautiful in pictures but turn out to be a disaster once the student actually gets there. Once getting settled into a college lifestyle, incorporate things familiar to the student so that they don't get homesick. Make sure to become actively involved in campus activities--you could potentially meet a best friend there! Stay active and don't fall into a sedantary routine because it's easy to become lazy at school. Stick hard to the studies and be sure to get out once in a while to avoid cabin fever or an overload of stress. Stay in contact with your family, but don't communicate too much because you need to start your own life and become responsible for yourself and your happiness!

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As a high school senior I would tell myself to have more fun and let loose. I am not saying do not study. I am simply saying have fun and enjoy being young because entering college is one step closer to the real world with more and more responsibilities. However, you must study hard and develop the study habits that will continue with you in college. Develop a system in which you can balance both your studies, sports and social life. Without all three life can get a little out of hand. You have to study if you want to do well and if you want to continue playing sports in college you must continue to constantly work hard at that as well. But that does not mean that you can not have fun just hanging out with your friends and not worrying about anything. You have to have some relaxation time or else you will drive yourself crazy. Do not stress. You are to young to be stressing. Many experiences will come later in life when you can worry about stressing. Lastly, love yourself for who you are because the only person you need to impress is you.

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The school that I am currently attending is Triton Community College. Most people would believe that going to a community college would be the equivalent of going to a bigger high school. In some ways it is was, because there are no dorms, the campus is smaller, and you run into lots of people that you went to high school with. Even though the school had some what of a high school enviornment I stilled look at the school like I would any other college. Being at this school made me realize that I was growing up and needed to be more independent. The professors treat you like and adult and do not baby you when you miss a class or an assignment. I learned that in the real world you have to be responsible for yourself. There are always going to peole there to help, like my college professors, but ultimatly it was my responsibility to take put forth major effort to do well in school. Being at this school provided me with the push I needed to become more independent, and the skills I learned will be put to use at the university I choose to finish school.

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I have gotten many things out of my colllege experience thus far. I consder college to a few of the best years of my life. A few of the major things include great education, lasting friendships, memorable experiences, and life lessons. I have enjoyed getting to know not only many of the students on campus, but also all of my professors that I have had so far. Each one of them shows exceptional interest in wanting students to succeed. They have always done whatever they can for me to the best of their ability. Not only do they help with school work, but they also show interest and helping me with things outside of school. They great value in helping students the best they can. It has been so valuable to attend this school because I have learned so much in the past year and a half than I ever have before. One of the areas that I have grown the strongest in is in my faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. This school has brought up spiritually in a way that I cannot describe. I have been blessed to be able to attend this school.

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It has been drilled in you early in life that college is important, your only chance at living a decent life; getting a good job so that you can financially provide for your family. What I wish they had told you, “even with your determination and motivation, you need to refine your focus." To simply pick a major is easy. I believe that is why many bounce back and forth to different majors throughout their college education. But if one hones in on what it is that they truly love about life, the career path will guide you to your major. You don't go to college to find yourself, you attend college to sharpen the tools necessary to implement what you are passionate about in life; your career. Your determination and motivation are evident in your grades and ability to overcome obstacles. When you can sit with an academic adviser and expound on where you see your career 5 years post graduation, then you have chosen your major and are now ready to find the courses that are required to assist you in living the life you love.

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I would say two words to myself- go and do! I would tell myself to go out with friends on Saturday nights, do more with my free time, go to more school events, and do everything I could. I would want myself to enjoy life more, knowing how little free time there is when attending college. I would want myself do something that I enjoy, like painting, more often. I?d tell myself instead of studying all Saturday, go to that football game! Go to prom! Go out with friends more! Go outside and enjoy the sunshine with friends instead of sitting playing video games all day. I did not take full advantage of all the opportunities presented to me in high school, and that?s what I would change. Doing more may have made high school more enjoyable. Going out more, I may have made more friends. Doing all these things may have changed me in ways that would have carried over into college. I may be better off now making friends, going to more social events, doing more ?fun? things if I had done and gone more in high school.

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College is what you make it. When you're looking for a school, look aggressively. Don't think that you can't get to that school just because of the price tag. Most schools give out additional scholarships and grants at the end of your freshman year depending on your GPA. Pick a place that you absolutely love, and can see yourself being happy there. Don't be pressured to go somewhere that you won't be happy at. When you decide where you're going, go there! Don't be afraid if you're going far away from home or that you won't know anyone. That's what college is about. Get involved on campus, playing a sport or joining a club is a great way to meet new people. Try new things. If you need help, ask for it. People will help you if you just go and ask for it. School work above all. You're paying for an education, that should be your main focus. Study groups will help you tremendously. Remember to call home every once and a while, it will keep you sane and let your parents know that you're okay.

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