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Oklahoma Baptist University

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

Inidividual traits and desires provide the basis for delineating between innumerable college options. Students should evaluate their personal needs and skill sets to find an academically challenging university that will foster their growth. Limiting factors such as budgetary constraints, or opposing value systems need to be accounted for to finalize the decision. The campus culture is of utmost importance regarding overall happiness, as belongingness is a vital human need. Many adolescents develop and grow immensely during their tenure at an institution, which may lead to transferring to another postsecondary institution. Therefore, school choices should involve painstaking analysis, but not viewed as an unchangeable conclusion. Combining the aforementioned factors is the most favorable process to a satisfying college experience. When students arrive at the desired institution, they should take advantage of the bevy of facilities surrounding them, as well as the opportunity to interact with the diverse personalities of their colleagues. The learning process is a lifelong endeavor that is shaped through both formal teaching and peer interaction. By becoming a leader in the campus community through your selfless action and devotion to compassionate understanding, you may find yourself rejoicing in the enlightening transformation a life of service and leadership offers.

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Finding the right college can be a challenge, because the choice can easily determine the path (including job, friends, and spouse) a person will travel for many years to come. It is also the first big step a student must take alone, often separated from high school friends and family. The best advice for making this choice consists of searching for a place that will both push its students outside of their comfort zone and provide guidance and support at the same time. Education is a privilege, and its acquisition is accompanied by responsibility. Colleges aim to prepare and equip the future leaders and workers who eventually must replace those reaching retirement. The process of growing and being shaped into people able to fill those roles is vital, and a college should provide the right environment for that development to occur. College also involves expanding socially, so a place that encourages fun with friends as well as community service is important. College is all about learning to balance the different aspects of life (school, friends, work, service) and to deal with stress effectively. Invest in each sphere rather than in just one, and the experience will be greatly enriched.

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I cannot yet know the full extent of what I have learned during my 3 semesters at OBU, but I have grown intellectually, spiritually, and physically during my time here. OBU is dedicated to giving its students a liberal arts education. This is something that I appreciate greatly. I have learned so very much about our culture and its beginnings. I am much more capable now of drawing connections from the past to the present, which furthen enables me to make decisions regarding the future. OBU is a wonderful place to learn about all aspects of western culture, while the studybody is conservative, our professors push us in every way possible to come to our own conclusions and not to blindly follow in the footsteps of those who have come before us. I have been greatly blessed to have attended this university. I have grown to love learning at this place as a result of the curriculum. All areas of the liberal arts are necessary to be a well educated person and OBU is helping me to achieve my goal of being well educated. OBU is the place where I have been challenged, and it will continue to do so.

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I would tell parents/students to look for a college that offers majors that you are interested in pursuing--just in case you decide to change majors, other majors at that school are still interesting to you. Also, choose one that has activities that you enjoy. For me, I love cross country and track, so, that was a big deal for me. Make campus visits and talk to as many people as you can; hear their story, gain insight from them about the school, and drill them with ANY questions you have. To make the most of the college experience get involved! Whether its with a team, club, or voluteer group, do something! Be focused on your academics so you can get good grades and hopefully get a great job but, find (experiment with) the right balance between school work and social activites. Do fun things with friends (movies, get togethers, shopping, coffee chats, etc) can enhance your experience because you learn about each other and they can open your eyes to new things. Also, every once and a while, go chat with your professors--they really do care about you, and they have GREAT advice!

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This is the million dollar question, right? Everyone in this culture is looking for advice everything from marriage issues to advice on how to cook chow mein. Advice is a dime a dozen these days and everyone has some from presidents to talk show gurus to the mailman. I could use this space to offer college students all the tired, worn-out, and clique-ridden advice I wanted to and it probably would end up where it always does-- in our mental garbage dumps. I could remind students of their new freedom and how not to take it for granted (except, of course, on the weekends). I could alleviate their parents fears by saying that college students don't drink that much and often use safe sexual practices (if, of course, they have time for sex considering they are so busy studying). I could promise students all fun and frolic awaits them at their new destination, but I am not going to say that. Instead I will say one thing: "Fear God, for this is man's all" (Ecclesiastes 12:13). If college students lived out this Bible verse, they would change the world. Students: go change the world!

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The right college should express the comforts, the dreams, the ideals, and the attitude of the person. My school is small and woody, therefore I feel more cozy and more able to focus on studies as I bask in the comforts of nature. It gives me the feeling that I am in the midst of the beautiful green meadows near Oxford, England and that makes me feel like I am in a place of legacy -- a place that is passionate about literature and the arts. If a student finds comfort in city life and in social interaction, look at schools that support and hold up that need for noise and intense human interaction. Every one learns and feels comfortable in different settings, so go with that mindset. And above all else, know first what you want to do for the world after you leave. Find a place that nurtures your ideal picture of world change. You are at school to learn how to make a difference, how to leave a legacy, how to blend history with the present. Never forget that while your university reflects who you are, you will be a product of that university's life lessons.

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I do not feel that my high school experience adequately prepared me for the transition to college. If I were able to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would start by better preparing myself for the academic rigors ahead of me. At my high school, it is expected that seniors enroll in an easier course load. If I could go back in time, I would encourage myself to take a more serious approach my senior year. I would also encourage myself to form better study habits. I never had to work hard to make good grades in high school, but I quickly discovered that in college I had to put in time and effort if I wanted to maintain a high level of academic excellence. I would also encourage myself to learn how to better cope with stressful situations. In high school it is easy to turn to your parents whenever a difficult situation arises, but in college you have to be able to address problems and challenges you may face on your own. In short I would encourage myself to be more self-sufficient and better focused on my studies.

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My advice to parents and students about finding the right college and making the most of your college experience is to start early, and to visit beforehand. My biggest regret in my college search is that I started too late. Thankfully, it did not hamper my ability to get into the university that I needed to be in, but it really affected my chance at obtaining a full-tuition scholarship. Never be satisfied with what grades you make on your first SAT, or on your AP tests, but start early and continue to strive to improve. It has definitely been a struggle since to continually need to seek financial aid, and that is not a burden anyone wants. The visit is the most important part to having a successful college experience. Without it, you will never be able to know the community that you are about to join, and if you're like me, it will sell the university to you. I'm so thankful that I went to visit Oklahoma Baptist, because otherwise I might have made the mistake of going where I didn't need to be. All I can say now is get going and good luck!

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My pre-collegiate era was extremely disorganized, lazy, and lacking the structure of a routine. I was going to college in a town that is a full twenty four hour long drive away from my home in New York, so I knew that my maturity level was going to have to increase. My intuition was correct; during my first semester at Oklahoma Baptist University, I did more studying than I had done my whole high school career combined. I had numerous late-night study sessions that went until one or two in the morning, and that was not because I started late those nights, I started early in the evening! I was required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to keep my financial package at the school, which undoubtedly is more difficult to achieve in college than it is in high school. I did not have anyone to remind me to do my assignments, to do my laundry, or even to cook my meals any longer. I was on my own for the first time in my life, and the experience taught me how to be successful while independent. I became a mature, patient, dilligent man.

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Be open! College can be the place where you discover so many new things about yourself that you love and some that you need to work on, or it can be a place that makes you feel small and uncomfortable and unhappy. Don't even worry about fitting in, everyone else coming to OBU is in the EXACT same boat you are; they don't know many people (if any) either, and they are just as nervous about meeting new people and adjusting to a new way of life. Simply go talk to them. Put yourself out there; join up in some clubs you think are worthwhile. Studying is something you will really need to work on. Trust me, I saw you in high school, and you need to work on it. You can succeed in so many ways here if you just open yourself to the idea that everything, even our faith, plays into your academic journey in a way you have probably never thought of before. There is knowledge to be known and mastered, and people to be befriended and loved; maybe even a REALLY special someone! I know you can do it, just give everything you have.

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