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Oberlin College

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

Visit the college. Speak to students, sit in on classes that pique your interest, and attend a concert or party to get a sense of the scene. Be honest with yourself about whether you would be excited to spend four years there. If you are debating between a few, make a check list for each one and weigh your priorities with what each school offers. Is the social environment too judgemental? Did the classes seem challenging? Do the living options suit your taste? Once you have decided and been accepted, you may be overwhelmed with the number of extracurricular activities that you can choose from. I would encourage you to be realistic. Choose a reasonable courseload that will allow you to enjoy life and excel at classes. Choose activities that supplement your interests and serve a more enriching purpose, such as an athletic outlet. Friends will come through shared experiences and activities, and you may not find best friends right away. Be up front with your roommates to avoid lingering problems, and address your professors directly with questions, concerns, or for advice on paper topics and structure. They're there to help you! Figure out how to get enough sleep.

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Oberlin College provided a strong foundation to sucessfully manage any job or go on to higher degrees. My education at Oberlin was diverse, academically and socially, and encouraged me to think critically. I have been a rigorous student since high school with the goal of breaking-down commonly held assumptions and over-simplifications of history and everyday life. In order to analyze assumptions of other cultures as well as our own, a strong sense of cross-cultural understanding must be achieved. Since attending Oberlin College for East Asian (primarily Japan) Studies, I felt the desire to continue my education by teaching English in Japan on the JET Programme. I enjoyed living in a rural Japanese town and sharing my culture with the students and teachers I worked with while being immersed in everyday rural Japanese life. Oberlin gave me the ability and dedication to achieve my goals of enhancing cross-cultural communication and understanding. As a current Master's student, I intend to improve my scholarship further with the end goal of teaching high school students the importance of critical thinking and dedication to improvement that Oberlin gave me.

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Envision who you want to be 4-5 years from now, then do all the research you can to determine which school will best help you become that person - not only academically and career-wise, but also emotionally, physically, socially, intellectually, spiritually, etc. Because the college years themselves are a time of incredible growth and change, it is hard to anticipate now who you will, or will want to, become - but think big and dream bigger! Examine the aspects of schools that are important to YOU - want to be able to hike on weekends? Investigate a school's outdoors club. Interested in traveling the world? Inquire about study abroad options. Want to collaborate on research with a professor? Set up a meeting with one to discuss options. Visit as many schools as you can, ask random students everywhere you go about their school. Research! Read everything you can get your hands on. Ask a thousand questions. I don't believe there is a "right" answer to the "Which college should I go to?" question; there are many answers, but each will lead you to very different experiences, so it pays to think now about what is most important to you!

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I went to the largest high school in the cluster of eight counties that constitute convenient driving distances from my home. I came from behind my senior year to become my class’s valedictorian. And yet the signal lesson of that experience was hard work. I was dedicated, pro-active, and meticulous. But I did not always trust my ideas, or appreciate a comment once made by Albert Einstein, that “imagination is more important than knowledge.” I was at that time like a coin collector, content to accumulate other people’s ideas and concepts.The community college has been a great experience for me. My first semester roused me from this collector’s impulse. In this awakening I was very grateful to have great professors who helped motivate me to perform to my full potential. They made me see that I had to make something out of the knowledge I was receiving; that having one’s own ideas is what makes education so rewarding. My community college has prepared me for my next journey to a major university. I now have the "imagination" needed to excel on a higher level and achieve my long-term goal of becoming a dentist.

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Here are some important things to think about when looking for the "right fit"college: Entrance Requirements: Is submitting a standardized test required? What about an essay? What's the average GPA of students accepted? Location: Do you want to say close to home? Or move across the country? Size: Some colleges have undergraduate populations of 50,000; or 500. What does this mean for your learning Programs/Majors: What do you want to study? Certain schools specialize in specific fields of study If you're not sure look for a college with a mix of liberal arts, business and other majors . Campus: Do you want a traditional college campus with a big lawn and brick buildings? Or are you in for an urban setting? Is it necessary that your campus be close to an airport? Social Life: Are you someone who loves to get pumped up about the big game? How people at your college spend their time outside of class is a great way to gauge how you'd fit in. College isn't spent entirely in the classroom, after all, and you'll want a school where the extra-curricular activities fit your personality, too. Housing:

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Looking back on my younger self, I would stress the importance of self-control. I would tell myself that yes, college will be fun, but there is plenty of time for fun after you make something of yourself. It is not enough to get adequate grades and attend classes regularly. You must make goals and identify the steps that are needed make progress. Dear me, do not be tempted to join in the revelry of the typical college student on a daily basis. You will have fun, that is guaranteed, but more importantly, you will LEARN. Do not take learning lightly. The knowledge you obtain during your first semester at college will be extremely valuable. Listen to your professors rather than your peers. They know what it takes to succeed and they will help you. Also, just because your parents are not watching your every move does not mean you are allowed to go crazy. Recognize that all your hard work getting into college has not ended. You are progressing towards your career. Hopefully, people will pay you for something that you actually enjoy doing! What a wonderful idea. Don't lose focus. You are just beginning.

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You must not be afraid of being alone. New friends, clubs, and sporting events are rewarding and a natural part of the collegiate experience – they are doubtless one of the reasons why so many older people become nostalgic for their college years, the “springtime of lives.” But many of the things that can genuinely matter are inherently personal – studying, researching jobs and internships, maintaining ties to old friends and family, and simply taking a few moments to reflect, to name a few. This is not to say that you can only grow as a person while alone, not at all. In fact, it is this time spent alone that makes the other, more social parts of life all the more compelling and refreshing. It is easy to feel overwhelmed – embracing the time for yourself will bring balance and your world. Though no person can exist in a vacuum, if you can believe that being alone is OK… this is the mentality that makes champions, leaders, and just flat-out likeable people into who they are. By spending time with yourself, you will be able to improve your life everyday – the best advice there is.

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Dear Jason, We have some things to discuss: first, do not think you know all the answers, even some of the answers. Okay, perhaps you know one or two, but don't expect them to be universally accepted. You are about to discover a cacophony of new views, beliefs, and influences, and you should not let yourself be trapped in the dead shell of lifeless ideals. Nevertheless, stay true to what you know, what you believe, and make modifications modestly, slowly, and with the utmost thought. Many teachers and students are going to challenge what you believe and why you believe it: be prepared with all your logic and creativity to unearth the truth behind anyone's most confident convictions. It is easy to get lost in the endless maze that is college intellectual life. Do not perish in some dusty dungeon, but erupt in all your vibrant colors. Though you do not have the key to Truth, and may only find yourself a few steps down the path to that bolted door, do not doubt you are treading toward it. The cacophony may be loud, it may be boisterous, but have the courage to make of it a symphony.

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The most important part of the college decision process is visiting campuses of the places you've been accepted to and going to classes. Here, you meet teachers and see how students interact. Are they involved? Do they ask questions? Are they asleep? Are you asleep? If possible, it's more beneficial to go to a lower-level class and an upper-level class so you can see how students are before and after they went to the school. Are the seniors jaded and tired, or are they the types of people you hope to become in the next 4 years? Once you arrive and enroll, the next step is getting involved! Look for posters about clubs, concerts or lectures. Go to the events you're interested in and you'll find like-minded people - hopefully some upperclassmen who know the ropes already. Ask upperclassmen about the best professors, the best Chinese food in town, or tips to get the most out of your concrete-walled dorm. Get a study group going! Focus on getting to know your school and its surrounding environment as much as possible, and you'll be well on your way to ruling the school.

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Parents and students need to understand that it sometimes is not easy to find the right college and it takes time for college to fall into place. I know this because I am a transfer student and had to go through many experiences before I found a school that was the right fit for me. After spending my freshman year as a voice performance major in a small university, I realized that the school I attended was not going to give me the academic and performing stimulation that I desired. Unfortunately, I decided this in the spring semester when it was too late for me to apply to another university. Therefore, I attended community college for a year while I worked on finding the right place for me. I wont deny that this period was difficult for me. I spent a year and a half in self-doubt about my singing abilities and wondered if I was not good enough to get into another music school. Instead of letting my doubts take over, however, I seemed to given a renewed drive and worked extremely hard to make my college experience work. I am now extremely happy with where I study.

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