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Old Dominion University

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

First, consider you goals both academically and professionally as this is the basis for choosing the right college. However, keep in mind that college education is only one step towards achieving those goals. In this regard you may want to pick something that you will feel comfortable with in terms of price, location, and academic challenge. It is essential to do the research and definitelly visit the college(s), sit in a class, talk to people who are enrolled. There is no substutite for first hand experience and direct impressions. Then do the cost versus benefit analysis - sometimes it is smarter to enroll in a bit chceaper university and less demanding university but get out debt free with high GPA; likewise if you get motivated by challenge enroll in a competitive one for some people paying a lot of money for school keeps them more responsible. Your choice is very important and will affect directly the next four years of your life and indirectly the rest. Nevertheless, more important is to get the best out of your college life by acquiring new knowledge/skills, getting better orientation towards future academic and professional development, networking, interning. Just stay foccused and motivated!

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The most important advice I would give parents and/or students about finding the right college is to be open-minded. Originally I planned to attend Hampton University. It is an Historically Black College/University or HBCU. Unfortunately it was too expensive, and from my experience touring the campus it didn't seem like it was worth the money students would have to scrap up to afford to attend. The facilities seemed, at glance, outdated and bland. Luckily, I had heard some impressive things about Old Dominion University. The student body and staff were diverse and the campus was very up-and-coming with the promise of the university's first football team, stadium, and new fitness facility. There were also several more dorms being created. The people seemed more friendly and welcoming. The faculty and staff seemed very engaged in the well-being of the students. These qualities were the opposite of those I experienced touring my first choice. I immediately fell in love with the campus which was surrounded by water and friendly faces. This was the best decision I almost never made. In conclusion, it is very important not to be narrowminded about this very important decision.

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I've gotten out of my college experience as pursuing a career under the major of Communications. I have chosen the field of Communications, because as my college experience has progressed, I’ve noticed that I have a natural skill that is outstanding under the field. With Communications I’m able to always connect with others, whether it’s words of encouragement, the persuasion of a bargain, or representing a committee. With the attribute of communication skills, I learned there comes the power to make change. This field of study will help me reach my future goals of becoming either a successful TV show host or film producer. I've already gotten myself involved with organizations throughout the school year such as FSI, Student Council, WODU Radio, Women’s Basketball Scout Team, and Intramural Sports. FSI stands for Freshmen Summer Institute, where incoming freshmen are chosen to develop leadership skills that will prepare them to help guide others in the freshmen class down the right path to have a successful first year as being a college student. Student Council is an organization that schedules social events to bring all of the students together to interact with each other.

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The schools that you are first attracted to are not necessarily the best ones. In my case, I ended up going to a school that did not have a stellar reputation, and was known better for its partying than academic achievement. However, I am receiving an excellent education, not only through my classes but also through the other students I meet every day. It seems that the schools that are more culturally and ethnically diverse are the ones that are most accepting of different types of people. Parents are prospective students should keep in mind that academics alone do not determine how good or bad a school is. Another important thing to look at is the quality of the learning facilities on campus. When schools put more money into academic programs than athletics, it is reflected in student achievement. One important thing all students should consider is whether they want to attend a large university or a small private school. Both can offer excellent learning experiences, but in very different environments. Finally, to make the most of your college experience, you should make as many friends as you can and when given the opportunity to try something new...take it.

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By attending Old Dominion University I have received a valuable amount of college experience. Around six months ago, college experience only meant getting out of my parent's household and living by my set of rules. Quickly I learned that the college experience is what sets you up for success in the "real world." I am majoring in Business and have met several other more experienced students along with helpful advisors who have given me very valuable tips. I now notice that long lasting relationships that you build in college can help you better yourself along life's journey. Therefore, you cannot take for granted one person you meet. College not only gives you the proper education to succeed, but gives you the benefits of meeting potential colleagues or personel in the future. Also, the help I gained from others led me to the career path I felt that was perfect for myself. I feel confident that the education I am retaining from the diverse Old Dominion University campus will ensure myself a bright future later on in life. Perhaps, if I decided to attend another university 6 months ago, I would not feel this great sense of accomplishment today.

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Rise above the urge and pressure to cheat: our education system includes getting graded for your work, the accumulation of your grades gives you a GPA, and that GPA will either award you scholarships, recognition, and admission to your top schools or it won't. Because of this heavy emphasis on your grades, it is almost natural to feel the only goal is getting A's rather than receiving an education that will not just get you a job, but will mold you into a well-rounded person. Consequently, you have the majority of students CHEATING throughout college to insure an outstanding GPA. My advice to you is to have CONFIDENCE in your ability to learn, have INTEGRITY, and DO NOT CHEAT because today, as a Junior in college, you stand extremely proud for committing yourself to not cheating through your academic college career, and for getting accepted as one of 375 students into Loyola Marymount University's Business School as an Entrepreneurship Major with your hard earned honest GPA. Be astounded by those who do cheat, and rise above knowing they ultimately lose and will graduate un-knowledgable citizens incapable of even writing a simple coherent essay.

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My experience at ODU has been one I didn't expect. I entered the college setting expecting to be swamped with assignments that I couldnt possibly complete. I learned immediately that college isn't considered more difficult than high school because of the work load or academic expectations. College is tricky because instantly youre given tons of liberty and even more free time. The combination creates an atmosphere where many mistakes will be made. The best students avoid these mistakes completely. But most of us will make one or more. What seperates the group that succeeds and the group that fails is the ability to learn from mistakes. ODU is the type of university where if you lack drive and focus, you'll end up off track. Freshman year, with no major in mind, I found myself off track. I was making great grades in all of my classes, but I had no idea where I was headed. Ultimately lack of direction stopped me from reaching my full academic potential. This taught me a valuable lesson about college. Sucess in college is the result of having self-motivation, time management skills, and the ability to balance social and academic life.

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I'd tell myself to talk to current or recent college students. Now that I have the gift of hindsight I would've engaged myself more. The financial aid process is easy, but had I known what I know now I would have kept track of my finances much more closely; research the approximate costs and the actual cost of attending school. I would've maintained a closer relationship with the financial aid counselor, and got more involved in social organizations/activities. You will not only learn about yourself, but those social interactions allow you to meet various people from various ethnic and racial backgrounds. Being apart of an organization whose common goal matches what you want to do in life helps you feel as though you belong. Colleges and universities have a lot to offer, but every college/university is not right for everyone. I'd look at the school's curriculum and majors offered to determine whether or not they meet my needs. Test scores are extremely important because they determine your placement in college. I'd make studying a priority in high school and learn time management skills because one slip up can cost you your GPA.

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Advice no.1: In the midst of meeting people and making relationships, learn not only about yourself, but also learn "people." Don't close yourself off, but make yourself available to welcome friendships. This makes academics a little lighter. Advice no.2: Come to college with ambitions centered around understanding your potential. Don't come to college to get away from home or to party it up. Come to college with believing you are making history so that in all the things you do, whether it's studying or hanging with friends, you are doing it with intention. Simply be intentional and purposeful. Advice no.3: Train yourself to master the art of time management now instead of later. Learn the way you learn best before you get into college so that you won't find yourself procrastinating and then incidentally flunking a class. Advice no.4: Do not depend on your advisor or counselor to tell you anything. Use them as a resource but do not depend on them. Pay attention to deadlines. Sometimes classes can only be taken at a certain time, or that certain majors only accept new students at a specific time. Pay attention to them!

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I would recommend that parents and students talk amongst themselves in deciding the best choice for a college. Price, location and environment are all keen factors in choosing the best college. I would also recommend that a student goes away to college. As a commuter I feel I do not get the most experience out of my university that I would receive if I lived on campus. I would also suggest that the student get involved in as many extra-curricular activities on campus as possible. Sticking solely to academics can be stressful and make the college experience seem like there?s no room for fun and excitement. There are so many great advantages to living on campus and I really recommend that students and parents consider this when choosing which college is best for them. Also, there are so many great opportunities available at any college. There are tons of student organizations and ways to get involved with the community that you, as the student, have to go out and find. These activities are not going to find you. I would recommend finding that perfect college and taking it on full force. Don?t miss out on a thing!

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