Oberlin College Top Questions

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


Before you enter college, you should do some research about the different opportunities this college has to offer. Does this college have free counseling offered to students? If so, find out where it is located and whether you are eligible or not. Does this college have a writing center or a means of assisting students with their academics? These are questions that you should focus on as opposed to whether or not your dorm hall is close to a coffee shop. All questions are good questions, but you should invest most of your energy on finding the information that may be relevant to your academic success. If you don’t know where to start, call or email a college representative. Remember that most people who work at colleges are very kind and always willing to assist, so don’t feel like your questions may be a burden or a waste of their time, because it’s not. It’s better to do the research and enter college feeling confident and well informed as opposed to feeling insecure and lost.


One major thing that I would advise myself to do is to stay true to myself. Don't try to be something you're not in order to make mediocre friends. You WILL find someone who shares the same interests as you, so there's no point in pretending to be something else. Another thing that I would advise is to not be a people pleaser. It's good to give yourself some "me time" from time to time. Especially since life will get busy and you will need to take a break sometimes and spend time alone.


I would tell my high school senior self to consider what really matters before choosing a school. The most important thing about college is having an excellent time learning about the things you care about. Without programs focused on my passions, I've found myself having a hard time getting interested in what I'm learning. Another crucial part about choosing a college, though, is the location. Being out in the middle of nowhere could be a wonderful experience for people who want to get away from the hustle and bustle that define city life, but for me, a cornfield isn't my idea of an ideal location. Knowing what you care about is central to choosing a college, so I would remind my high school senior self to think deeply before coming to a decision.


The first thing I'd tell my high school senior self is the number for the Mega Millions lottery that week (if only). Barring that, the advice that I would give would be to truly focus on honing your social skills. Learn how to network with others and the path you must take to success will be that much easier. I would tell myself to learn the basics of Music Business, as you would need it in the future. I would remind myself that regardless of how my peers behave I should always be punctual for commitments and polite to all those that I work with, burning bridges will simply leave you trapped on a plateau in the long run. I would also tell him to shed like there's no tomorrow because everyone your about to go to school with is an amazing musician and will eat you alive if you aren't prepared. I would definitely tell myself to apply for more scholarships. But above all I would tell myself that no matter what I do, stay focused, always pursue your interests and be confident for the world belongs to the bold.


GO FOR IT! Don't be so afraid! Try it all and you will find great joy. Even the disapointments can be a valuable lesson. Don't worry about the outcome so much. If you are doing your best then failure will not be a failure but a lesson learned. Try new things. Don't look behind you so much. After all the past is, well, past. The present is the most important part of like. The future will take care of itself. Enjoy learning and trying new adventures. Laugh--a lot. It will keep you young. Most important of all: You are worth every good thing that comes your way!


Listen to what you want to do, not others. Be wary, focus on school and not the drama. Do your best and make good grades, you can do it if you try just don't give up too easily.


This year is going to be a great one, you have so much ahead of you! But, a bit of advice to help guide you on the way is always nice, and looking back there are a few things worth mentioning. Just as a warning, the alarm clock will not get easier with time. But in all honesty, the best advice I can give is to enjoy this last year of living at home, around all the friends who have helped you to grow, in the place that you know like the back of your hand. Take advantage of every opportunity you get: help out in student clubs, be out-going, choose to study hard, be friends with everyone you meet, and let people know how much they mean to you. Taking advantage of all of these things that come your way and doing your best at the tasks at hand (as boring as they may at first appear) is going to shape you in ways you never imagined. Don't worry about it too much, just keep your head on straight and enjoy the whole experience as you truly live it!


Knowing what I know now I would tell myself to study harder and pay more attention on tips the teachers gave us on studying and how to prepare for exams, take lecture notes, how to spend time wisely, and how to prepare for college essays. Knowing these few "basic" things are key to making it in college. I wish I also would have leared to be more organized and prepared it helps to keeps all things organized, it makes things easier to find and you also can keep up with due dates to upcoming assignments. Also take advantage of the high school conselors do all the volunteer activities that you can, it looks good on scholarships as well as programs you try to apply for. Also paying attention in your core classes will help in the long run college profressors will go back to basic terms. Another helpful tip learn to spend your time wisely. Study when you can, sleep when you can it does not help to cram and loose sleep the night before a test. Your brain needs time to recover.


High school is not the biggest and most important time in your life. Even though you feel as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders and things will not get better, it will. There are a lot of times that kids in high school are so consumed with the drama that they cannot look at the world around them. Enjoy the time you have to be a kid, keep the past the past, and enjoy every moment of being young, wild, and free. College is hard, planning is tough, financing is stressful but it will all work out the way it is meant to be. Relax, meet the deadlines, and think of college planning as a privilege and not a chore. There are so many options thrown at you and after all, you’re still a kid so don’t be overwhelmed. Life is tough but well worth all of the struggles, transitions, trials, and triumphs. Make sure you work hard at everything, especially your college career, because the best feeling in the world is knowing you can accomplish something and be successful all on your own. Keep your head up!


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.


Dear Maggie, I have been given the opportunity to talk to you and offer you (and in effect myself) advice, because you see I am you, eight years down the line. After pondering this question for a few moments, the advice I would like to impart is fairly simple; be open to new experiences. Leaving home, adjusting to college, making friends, and starting classes is overwhelming but it's time for you to go. As you grow older and mature, give into this new sense of self - leave your comfort zone as much as possible. Some of the greatest experiences you will have will only happen because you gave them a chance. Soak up as much of the experience as you can. From studying new disciplines, learning from top-notch professors, and going on exciting adventures, this time in your life is all about breaking out of your shell and experiencing the world. Only once you do, can you begin to figure out who you are and what you want. And so walk around campus with a sense of curiosity about the world and don't be afraid to ask questions. And leave some time to study! Your friend, Maggie.


Spend a lot of time visitng your potential colleges in person, so that you can get a feel for the campus. After all, you're going to spend 4+ years at the institution. Don't choose a college based on the website/pamphlets/etc. Make sure the college matches your career goals and that the community is somewhere you'd like to be. Also, it's alright to be unsure of what you want to study. Attending a libral arts school will give you many options with which to experiment. Volunteer, intern, and get work experience while you are in college. Make the most of it, so that when you graduate and go out into the work world, you will have a solid idea of what you want to do with your life.


Be very open-minded and willing to try out new things and new ideas.


As a college student, my eyes have been opened to what the world is really like, in a way they never were in grade school. I am learning things i need to know for my future career while also learning some valuable life lessons along the way. Everything from the classes I take to the work i decide to do is up to me. If i decide not to show up for class or do an assignment, that's on me. There's no one there holding my hand anymore, and while in ways that can seem a bit scary, it has helped me grow up a lot. College is not only preparing me for a career, it's preparing me to be an adult, it's preparing me to go out into the real world, it's preparing me for life.


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.


I have learned so many new things, made close friends, gotten valuable job experience, and have discovered more about myself since I've been here. It's an expensive school, but it's worth every dime for the confidence and knowledge it has brought me. I wouldn't go anywhere else.


I have recieve lots of new knowledge from my college experience. It has revealed many new qualities that I never knew I had.


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.


In that big transition between leaving your old life and starting a new one, don't forget about who you are in the middle of it all. When you come home, everything there will be the same, and everything at school will be new. But you will always be who you are, don't be afraid to let people see that bright personality. Let things play out naturally as they should, and you'll be alright.


I would tell myself to stay calm, and not get stressed out. Things seem new and scary, but college is infinitely better than high school, and your fellow classmates are in the same position as you. They only want to make new friends, and have fun, just like you do. As long as you work hard, college is a great experience, full of new knowledge and experiences, and, regardless of not knowing what career you want, a totally worthwhile experience.


Don't settle for your dreams, and consider that your love of music extends beyond vocal performance. Also, that academics are well within the realm of possibility so they should not be traded in place for what is apparently a simpler, more carefree college major. There are not enough opportinities in life to peer into the future, so there is no way I could have known this as a high-schooler. I would have consoled myself that everything would work out for the best, and that it was never too late to believe in myself and try hard to accomplish some particular dream. More than anything, I would go back in time and encourage my old-self to audition for Berklee instead of Oberlin, but I do not have any regrets.


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.


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.


Given the chance to talk to my past self, I'd remind her to relax and try stepping outside of her box when she got to college--that the most important part of the college experience is the people you meet and the personal growth you go through. I got involved in many activities right away (working for the campus paper, joining an improv troupe, taking an Experimental College class about superheroes), but I didn't open up emotionally to the people I met through those activities. They were fascinating people, but I worried that we wouldn't understand each other. For instance, I've never been to a "real" party (with alcohol), so I don't know how to act at one, and I was worried I'd accidentally offend one of my new friends if I went--so I avoided invitations entirely. In my desire to avoid any awkwardness, I was, I realize now, too cautious; in trying to avoid uncomfortable situations, I limited my own growth. Therefore, I would tell my younger self to feel free to experiment and not to be afraid of mistakes: people don't mind much, and they're worth getting to know.


Dear Holland: Keep breathing. Life is not about getting straight A?s: it?s about what you learn on the way to achieving what you most desire and I know that what?s really in your heart is far beyond answering every question ?right.? Also: stop trying to be someone you?re not. You know exactly who you are so go be that optimistic, creative, loving human being no matter what people say or do in response to you. Don?t worry about people hurting you because you are strong enough to handle whatever life throws at you (I know that?s hard to believe, but you are and will continue to be stronger than most of the people you believe are ?doing it better?). Lastly: trust your intuition because it?s what led you to Oberlin. You DO belong at this school so stop saying you?re not smart enough! You knew that this college was going to give you opportunities you never believed were possible and, believe me, it's going to do that and more.


I would have told myself to start seeing more new people outside of school in order to relearn how to make new friends. Although I made new friends in my senior year, I most certainly did not go outside my typical social circle and actually pursue activities with them outside of class. I wish that I had done this because it would have helped me be more social in college. I do have friends, but I am still sticking with just a few close friends and I don't really go out with them anywhere besides to meals. I would like to expand my social circle more, but in a small high school, I didn't quite remember how to do it.


Don't worry if you don't get into your top choice school. The schools that accept you are the ones that will truly appreciate you for your specific skills and interests, and they in turn will be able to give you the most support in achieving your goals, even if they don't seem as prestigious as the ones that you most want. No matter where you go you will have a great time, meet great people, discover new passions, and learn a whole new way of looking at the world. I recommend meeting students from your prospective schools when you are trying to decide where to go,because they will be able to give you the best perspective on what kind of people go to the school and how happy people are there. Finally, make sure to get involved with campus activities as much as you can in your first semester, and don't be afraid to be friendly and outgoing with other incoming students. Everyone wants new friends, and you might meet some amazing people.


I would keep my GPA higher, and work harder at music, my intended field. I am happy with my school choice, but should have applied to more schools incase I wasn't excepted to my current college. I would also tell my self to find out more about the school you intend to go to before accepting it.


Most college-bound students have an idea of what they want in a college- these requirements can be filled by many different universities. There is no "soul mate" school for every student. I believe every student will be happy at the school they end up choosing, so there should not be such incredible amounts of pressure on students to choose the school that is perfect for them. In the end, you only apply to the schools that have qualities that you find attractive. Therefore if you end up at one of these schools I believe that you will love it and the experiences that you have while there. It is not about finding the perfect fit but rather about keeping and open mind and knowing exactly what you want in a school.


I like to think that the college process is a lot like an ice cream parlor. There are going to be the flavors that most people want and that everyone has heard of, flavors that aren't for you, and flavors that will have you unable to decide which one to pick. My best advice is to keep an open mind about what you want. I didn't go to my first choice, and I couldn't be happier. There are so many places where a student can flourish, and in the end it's up to that person to carve out their own future.


Carefully weigh your educational package, making sure that you are balancing a reasonable cost of attendance with a reasonable chance of success. But more importantly, you should feel comfortable at your school. Visit! Talk to real people: this will give you the best idea of how you feel and how others percieve the school. Even in the cornfields, some schools can have amazing opportunities while others in more urban areas can pale in comparison. College is an investment, so make sure that you're making a good decision. Then, when you get in, enjoy yourself and make the most of this experience. You can learn as much from your fellow students as you can from classes and teachers, use every resource available.


One piece of advice for parents helping their children find the most suitable college would be to offer their opinions, but do not force them upon their child. A bit of advice for prospective students would be to avoid basing their decision upon what their parents want, but do consider their opinions and advice. Also, do not rule a school out because it seems too expensive to pay for; there are always resources available to help pay for college. One final piece of advice for choosing a college would be to visit the schools to which they intend to apply and choose the one where they feel most comfortable. This last bit, especially, will help to make the student?s college experience memorable and fantastic.


Make sure you visit all the colleges you are seriously considering, and if possible spend the night in a dorm room with a current student. Also go to classes that my interest you and contact professors if you have questions about their teaching methods etc... A brochure or website can only tell you so much, expiriencing the institutuion first hand is what really makes the difference.


It's not about where you go; it's about what you put into it. Take courses based on the professor, not the subject. Figure out how you want college to serve you, and take advantage of all the resources available. There are often more than you think. Make sure you know what you are looking in an institution befor before enrolling. Sometimes a year off does a lot of good. Get involved and learn how to navigate through an organization. Do something beyond your means so you learn how to cope with stress and deadlines. Finally, make mistakes, for college is one of the few places that will help you make better decisions next time.


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!


Don't worry so much about finding a prestigious school as one that is right for you. Be sure to visit the campus on talk to many students, even if your shy. Talking to only a couple of students can be misleading because they are not necessarily representative of the campus as a whole. Relax. Parents, don't push your child. Ask questions when visiting campuses, make sure all the you have all the information, and leave the decision up to your child. It is there life after all, they know what's best for themselves. Students, don't get embarrassed with your parents for talking to all those people when you visit schools, what you learn could verywell make your decision for you.


When students are looking for the right college, their comfort level at the school they ultimately decide to attend is key. Students should go with their gut feelings when choosing a school, and must always remember that there is no shame in trying out a school for a semester or so and deciding that it is not the right fit. To make the most of any college experience, students must be willing to meet new people, try new things, attend unfamiliar events, and talk with professors to address any concerns. Lastly, since college can cost a large amount of hard-earned money, it is best to spend that money, as well as devote enough time and energy into the school with the best fit. Always remember: college is an adjustment for many, and it takes time to make it through.


Let your child choose. Pay attention to environment. Choose a school that does not encourage academic competition between students. Choose a school with a large pool of alumni.


People stress out about finding the right college. I myself remember hours spent comparing statistics and wondering where I would fit in. This is a good process, enjoy it, use it to cull your list down to your top choices -- but then forget the whole thing. Go to the campus, spend some time there, away from your parents, talk to real students, visit professors, sit in on classes. Ask yourself how this place will challenge you, change you -- because college will change you. They say you get a feeling when you're in the right place and it sounds cheesy but it's really true. You'll know you've found the right college when you step on the campus and it feels like home.


It is important to give credence to the "gut instinct" you have about a place. When I visited my top choice it didn't go well, but I knew deep inside that it was the perfect school for me. Also, I would recommend asking your schools how easy it is to change fields of study. I would suggest being open to changing your course of study if you feel the need. You're going to learn a lot, so get ready for it. Push to meet with your professors early on, and get to know them. They can help with job placements, and things of that nature over the summer and down the road.


You need to select a place that is compatible with your own strengths and weaknesses, and be prepared to be challenged. A good college experience can change everything about you for the better, but you must be open to new ideas and experiences and take the time to be introspective. Also, be prepared to struggle, to be embarrassed, to fail: learning is to a large degree dependent on managing these experiences. College taught me to not fear failure, and to persevere in the face of it, and I have come far because of it. A final note: classes and homework are important, very important, but most of the learning happens outside the classroom. If you never leave the library you'll never see the world.


The most important criterion in selecting a school is the academic community: are the students and faculty equally committed and passionate about learning? Secondly, will you feel comfortable being a member of the student body? A visit is crucial, because there are so many factors that go into making a decision about college that the "feel" of a school---your comfort level, and overall impression about the people and the place---that you may not be able to incorporate into a body of numbers and second hand experiences. Once you are there, don't be afraid of faculty! Your professors will define your academic experience; take advantage of their resources and supprt. Join clubs to meet friends with similar interests, and seek to balance studying and having a good time. It also helps to identify major goals for your college experience: what do you want to learn? What is important to you, as a person?


Trust your instincts... meet lots of people on campus.


Follow your gut; it's usually right!


Aim for a college that just feels like a good fit all-around. Academically, culturally, whatever your values are or whatever excites you and keeps you motivated. In high school, you're with a big mix, but in college, they start narrowing you down--most of your peers in college will already have something in common with you along the lines of their SAT scores and GPAs. Classes will be geared toward your academic group. Especially if you find a school that's a good cultural fit as well, you'll find that everything in campus is geared toward your demographic--classes, extracurriculars, social activities. The whole place begins to feel tailor-made to you. Once you've found your fit, everything will just fall into place and you'll have an eye-opening experience that, hopefully, helps to make you a better YOU.


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.


Finding a college that has a great program for what you are interested in is absolutely important. However, equally if not more important (and all too often overlooked) is finding a school where you can live happily for four years of your life. If you can walk through the campus and say "I can be happy here, I can live here and enjoy it", this is the first major step to finding the right school. For me, Oberlin has a great theatre department, but is not exactly known for it. I knew walking through that I could live there, though, and everything else fell into place. The classes and department were perfect for me, and I love learning there. The departments are fantastic, but I would not be doing as well as I feel I am if I were not as happy at Oberlin as I am. So remember to ask yourself, can I be happy here? Do I want to live, learn, and grow here for four years? That's the key to a good college experience, in my mind.


When you visit, try to get a sense of whether that school has the right social environment for you - do people like to have fun in the same ways as you do? The social aspect of things makes a huge difference in your overall college experience. Also, I don't remember a lot of the content of what I learned in college, but my school taught me how think about problems. Look for a school where professors are accessible, and will encourage you to engage with the material, no matter what your learning style.


Be honest about what you want in a college - names definitely aren't everything and finding the right fit should be based solely on what you want to get out of college. Visit the schools and talk to as many people about the school as you can. Don't be afraid to ask seemingly "stupid" questions - this is your college experience, and parents, your're paying for it, so ask away! While at college, get involved in the things you love to do - go to all of those orientation activities because most of them will really help you out.


Don't let anyone tell you which college you'll enjoy most! Make sure you take the time to weigh all your options and form your own opinions about different schools. Talk to students and professors; spend time on campus. Knowing what you'll feel like living and studying in the college community is the best way to ensure that you're making the right choice. Once you're in college, stay organized, stay healthy, and most of all, stay in touch with family and friends from home. These things will make your life ever so much easier when you're away from home.