Oberlin College Top Questions

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


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.




get involved


Visit the college first. Staying the night with a current student is a good thing. Also, look at student reviews.


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:


everything will work out!


My first piece of advice is for parents: Let your student make the choice of where to go, what to study, and how to spend their time. They will make mistakes, but this is an important part of the learning processes. Allowing them freedom to grow as an individual and find their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes is important and it requires your support. For students: Life is not black and white with a right or wrong answer. This is like choosing a college and making the most of where you choose to go. There will always be things that you wish were different, but keeping a positive outlook and finding and doing something you're passionate about will be the key to your happiness. A good attitude, enthusiasm for what you do, and some hard work will bring you friends, success, and anything else you truly want or need in college and life beyond.


Go to Oberlin!


look at who you'll be going to school with


It is impossible to know whether a school will be a good fit until you actually attend it, so I would recommend visiting a variety of nearby schools to help the prospective student figure out what sort of campus (large/small, urban/rural) is most appealing. The campus can be a serious dealbreaker. If the prospective student has not decided on a major, the next step would be to look at what programs different schools offer. It can also be very useful to look into the philosophy and goals of different universities to see if any of them stands out. Getting the most out of the college experience is simply a matter of putting the most into it. Like with most things, the more you put in, the more you'll get out. The flip-side of this is time management. Learning to manage your time will be of the most important lessons you will learn.


The most important thing about choosing the right college is finding a place where you feel comfortable - you'll know it when you find it. It should be a place that makes you smile from the first time you walk onto campus. And when you look at the people, you should know that when you leave at the end of four years or however long it takes you, those are the people you want to be like. And when you find that school, don't doubt it: just go. When you're there, don't doubt yourself: just go. Get out there and try to meet new people, because everyone's in the same situation you are. Explore your campus and your community, participate in any organization that looks intersting, and find out what makes your school unique, what makes you love it.


Spend time at the school before making a decision. Visit when there are a lot of people around.


Make sure you start today! Look into every possibility. Think of all the things you could possibly want to be, find out what it takes to get there, and find the best schools for those things in the country. Apply for scholarships. Make sure that the place you choose is an affordable option and that it will lead you on a path that will lead to career options after the four years are up. Ask about internships-- those are the key to success later on. And make sure you like it, that you think you could be happy there for four years.


I would advise parents and students to research fully and VISIT the schools that interest the student. While virtual tours are helpful, one can experience a completely different atmosphere than expected/portrayed in photos on school websites. I found in my own journey of applying for schools, that although I applied for nine, only two felt right, and really only one felt like home. Take the time, contact the teachers. Email goes a long way. In some instances professors helped me to get through application hurdles. Be thorough, and go with your heart and your gut. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right. You will know when you get there.


After taking my first freshman steps at a college that was not my first choice, I began to realize that a person has the ability to lay their roots anywhere and grow strong. Your college will be both your sculptor and your clay so wherever you find yourself, and whatever led you there, leave your unique footprint as often as you can and you will be able to accomplish anything. You will most likely go to college convinced you can solve all the world?s problems and your own. The latter alone is much harder than expected. It took months of saying, ?Next week, I won?t: lose sleep, eat cake for breakfast, miss a class, forget to call home? before I realized what a hole I was in. But the moment I stopped torturing myself and admitted defeat, there were helpful people crawling out of the woodwork. It is definitely a mistake not to draw from the resources around you. College is a transition, a time when to succeed is to be independent and codependent.


I chose my school based, in large part, on my instinct: driving into a small town, breathing the air and falling in love with that place. In the end, I would not change my choice if I had to pick a thousand more times. Of course, there were other factors - what it was that I wanted to study, the political climate on campus, the wonderful and inspiring academics - but in the end, what is important is that sense of rightness that I felt immediately upon visiting. Pick the school that you know, on the deepest level, is right; and when you get there, delve into as many and as opposing fields as possible. This is the time to follow whims, learn impossibly fascinating things, and to find yourself. Enjoy it.


Parents, let your children go, for they are NOT children anymore. Fellow students, do not let someone other than yourself dictate who you know yourself to be. That being said, parents can have some very useful advice. You should listen to them these last few years before you make the leap to college, for it changes a person. Wether your college is 3,000 miles away or 5 minutes down the street, a private 4-year or a community college doesn't matter. You're no longer being forced into an education, but are rather seeking one out of your own accord, learning to make your own decisions, in the hopes of one day being truely independent. We know it's hard for parents to understand, but we'll be alright, as long as parents try and let us find ourselves, in the ways which we choose. Fellow students, appreciate what your parents are going through. Just when you need to run free, they need a sign of assurance that you will always come back. So give 'em a call every once in a while, to let them know how much you love them for letting you be you.


Pick a place you know you'll enjoy.


As with any potentially life-altering choice, the college you attend changes you to the extent and in the manner that you allow it too. In choosing where to spend these four formative years, a certain degree of personal preference necessarily comes into play; whether you prefer rural or urban setting, what degree of freedom you want in designing your major, the social environment you want to be immersed in. For me these chioces were easy to make; they were definitions that narrowed the scope of possibility from infinity to finite, and were unsurprising given my upbringing and biological material. What becomes important now, and what is really more difficult, is to expand into the place that you are, in plain words to make the most of any situation. College is an incredible crucible of ideas and thoughtful fertility, just by merit of the number of young people living in such close proximity to each other, and the one who taps into that vast diversity of new thoughts, and further uses the material to create, create, create will have made the most of college.


My advice for students would be to take a look good look at yourself and what you want out of your college experience. Don't go to a college just because it's famous, or far away, or because your parents went there. Choose the school you want, and if you work hard you can get there. Also, when it comes to aid (financial or otherwise)- SEARCH EVERYWHERE. I know everyone says this, but seriously, help is hiding around every corner, and for many people (myself included) they are the way you will be able to succeed at the school that's right for you. My most important piece of advice for students is: Be Yourself. College can be very hard on people, and if you aren't true to yourself you can get lost easily. But if you remember who you are you can open up to people, make smart choices, and stretch your boundaries comfortably. Most importantly, you can have fun if you are yourself because you will be hanging out with people YOU like and doing something YOU enjoy. That is the way to make the most out of your college experience. Good luck!!!




I would advise students to start looking at colleges early. During their junior year, they should have in mind what kind of services they would like for their school to have in order for their success. They need to make lists of what's most important in a college and start searching based off what they come up with. If they have a few majors in mind, it would make their search easier. This is, however, not entirely necessary when searching for schools. There are other things students should consider, such as the professor to student ratio, tutoring services, academic rigour, etc. I would advise their parents to help their kids formulate the lists. Searching for the "right" college can be overwhelming. Parents shouldn't do the searching for their kids, but they should help them think about what's best for them. Last, but not least, parents should be supportive in their child's college decision. They should not try to


It is very important to visit the colleges/universities you are considering. When you are visiting a college or have a chance to talk to a student from a college you are considering make sure you ASK QUESTIONS!!!! That is one thing I did not do very well. Even if you think your question is stupid, still ask it. Also if you are able to stay over night at a college try and do it. I was scared at first to visit over night but it truly helped me decide if this would be a good fit for me. When you go to the college you have chosen open yourself up to others. You might feel vulnerable at first but it's the best way to find the friends you are looking for. Also make sure you understand that you are not the only one scared all freshmen are at first. Have fun and learn as much as possibl. I promise it will be the best experience of your life.


Students: Do not limit yourself based on what your friends and guidence counsleors suggest. You know yourself and what you want better than anyone else. Don't let a desire to do early decision box you into the wrong school, know your options, take your time, make a careful decision. Parents: Do not make plans for your students'. Let them lead the process and guide you to the types of schools they want to see. Stand behind them and do not question their choices only because you would have made a different choice. This however does not mean you should not play a role. Work together as a partner with the student and make sure that the student is not closing out their options.


In the college application process, I remember feeling a lot of emphasis on finding "the right school." The truth is, there are probably many schools at which you will be able to find your niche and be very happy. Be honest with yourself about what you want, find a variety of schools that fit those desires, and realize that there are wonderful people in all of those places who will be able to make your college experience everything you wish for. Don't stress yourself out by applying to twenty different colleges. It's not worth it. Just find a place you love, and then love the place you find.


I would advise students to go to a place where they are sure that they will be happy. Oftentimes, money, pressure from parents or teachers, or other factors influence our decison about where we should go to college. I think the main consideration should be whether or not you think you can spend the most memorable four years of your life there without being completely miserable. Even if you think your decision might make some people unhappy, it is your decision...so do what you want with it. Be sure to take advantage of all of the opportunities that your college offers you. Participate in summer internships, join clubs that can advance your academic potential and be a dynamic member of your school community. As a student, it is your duty to get the most out of your education.


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.


My best advice is that if you get rejected from a college or university, you shouldn't take it personally. The admissions officers know the college better than you do, and they have a better idea if you are the right fit. Usually if you didn't get in, it wouldn't have been the right school for you anyway. College is probably the only time in your life when you won't really have to worry about paying bills or having a career but will still have nearly complete independence as well as get to live with all people your age. The best thing to do is have fun and take any opportunities you get that you might be interested in because you may not have the chance in the future.


make sure you feel comfortable about the school, do not pick a school based on their reputation, pick a school where you feel like you would able to get your degree and be happy at the same time.


Don't ever pick a college based on what other people think. Selecting a college is a selfish process, so you need only to think of yourself. Do not spend too much time trying to compare yourself to others who go to the college about which you are thinking. Consider the activities, the academics and, most importantly, the social environment. Academics are important, but it is even more important to be social content because otherwise succeeding academically is more difficult. Do not be afraid to pick a college slightly out of your comfort zone. College is about gaining life experience and if you aren't challenged by your environment, you won't grow. It is also important to remember that there are many great colleges out there and any school can be great if you give it a chance.


Pick the place where you think you will do your best at, and will be able to grow.