Make sure all of the necessary resources are close by. You always want to be able to run to a mall or sporting goods store or quality grocery store, you also want to have a variety of restaurants so you don't get sick of going to the same place over and over. Be sure to plan for all 4 years in all assets of planning, look ahead at your housing options as an upperclassman. You might like the options as a freshman but not for upperclassmen, or vise-versa. If you're an athlete, MAKE SURE you're going to a program where you will START on varsity as a freshman or sophomore, don't waste your eligibility to play and not be playing. You forfeit any shot of playing at the next level if you just sit behind someone better all through college. Also there are schools for just about any level of athlete, don't be discouraged if you're not recruited out of high school, there are schools that compete each level. Most of all, set yourself up for success, it's more fun that way, go somewhere you know you'll succeed with relative ease.
To make the best out of your college experience be proactive. Study beyond what is required, make positive friends, make use of all opportunities and prioritize. Don't be afraid to ask for help when needed. Be honest with yourself about who you are and what things you want in your life. Don't waste time trying to fit in - there are people who have similar interests, values, and goals. The best way to fins these people is by joining a student organization of personal interest. Never give up!
Know thyself! College is a time where you will make some of the most important choices of your life, so pick an envirement that is best for you!
Find a college that fits the things that you would see yourself doing. Make sure you decide on going to a big school or a little school. When first getting there you may be scared or worried that you will not meet anyone but dont worry because there are hundreds of kids just like you who are in the same boat. I would advise parents in not letting their children come home the first couple of weeks of their new year. This give students the time to get to know other students and have fun experiences. Going home every weekend will only make it harder to come back to campus and harder to get to know people. Study but dont study too hard, socilizing is also one part of the college experience.
The best advice is to tour a lot of colleges. Focus more on what you want academically and on campus. Be willing to change and accept new ideas,
Don't simply consider which university will gain you the most worldly success. Don't focus only on what scholarships are being offered, on what athletic success you might have. Rather, search for and find the place that will help make you who you are meant to be. Search for community, for inspiration, and for challenge. Don't settle for a school simply because you feel comfortable there but find the school that calls out to you, that inspires you to go further.
Once you've found that school make sure to not take it for granted. View it not as a place just to take classes at, but get involved, make your school your own. Care for it, become emotionally invested in its success. Make it your home. Attend sporting events, don't go home every weekend, go to social nights and meet new people, keep up with your schoolwork and try keeping sober.
Above all else be genuine and vulnerable. Form relationships that will last far beyond these four years, that will matter more than the degree that will hang on your wall, that will form memories that will last long after lectures fade from your mind.
Look at the brighter side of things. Don't be to quick to judge. Take notes and look before you sterotype. Just be open minded.
Figure out what major you want to choose and base your choice on that along with the atmostphere of the college. Go out of your comfort zone because you only go to college one and it goes by pretty fast. Meet and talk with people you usually wouldn't talk to because you never know who you will become close to. You grow so much and find out so much about yourself, so embrace changes and be open and willing to talk to a counselor, they are extremely helpful.
The advice I would give to parents and students would be to visit and do the research on the colleges that the student is interested in and look at some of the statistics that may be a big factor as to how comfortable the student will be during the school year. Look for scholarships that the University may offer and the services that are availbable to all the students so that they will be safe and feel more at ease while away at home.
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