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Oregon State University

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

Selecting the perfect college is very important to create a great educational and social learning environment and experience for each student. There is a lot of anxiety attached with picking a school. When deciding where to go, it is very important to visit the campuses of your choice to make sure that you like everything from the size or the campus, to the amount of students attending, how crowded the school is, and the overall feel of the campus. It is a good idea to research the weather if you are going somewhere far away from home. Some students are not used to lots of rain, for example, which can cause seasonal depression. It is also extremely important to be realistic. Students will be much happier attending a school at an appropriate academic level for them. For example, if a student is not ready to work hard, do not apply to an ivy league school where academics are the absolute main focus. If you value your social time as much as your education and are not willing to spend all of your weekends studying, go to a college with a more relaxed atmosphere. You will be much happier there!

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I would say that a student really needs to research and go visit the colleges that they apply to. It's all about compatibility when choosing a college to attend. One needs to keep in mind that it's going to be the next two to four years of one's life. It's a hard transition to go to college, so it needs to be a careful decision. A student needs to think about all different aspects that will apply to their future college life. Transportation needs, sports, academic levels, and food store needs. It needs to be selected based on your own personal wants and desires. Making the most of your college experience is all about being open to new experiences and seizing all the opportunities that comes your way, without compromising your own values. College is all about discovering who you truely are and what things make you happy. Being open to new experiences gives you a chance to not onlylearn about other people and experiences around you, but most importantly, it gives you an opportunity to learn about youself as an individual. Always keep in mind that both school and social life needs to be inbalance.

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College is a time of learning in and outside the classroom. As talking to my high school senior self, I would highlight three key points. The first and most important advice would be to meet with your professors during the first week of every term. In the long run they will be able to help you with academics and teach you professionalism. In addition, it will be the beginning of networking with successful men and women. Secondly, sit in front of every class because this will keep you focused and reinforce a relationship with the professor. As you become more recognized by the professor, they will learn your name and be more interested in who you are. The third key point I would tell my high school senior self would be to expect college to be difficult. By expecting college to be difficult and to be ready to spend long hours in the library. This will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by the large amount of homework given that is much different than high school. These three things are not everything a student needs to know going into college as a freshman but it is vital to being successful.

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I would advise parents and their children to start "shopping" for a college or university early on; during their sophmore year in high school would be adequate. It is very important to not only find a colllege in which your major is offered but to also find a campus that you are comfortable with and a city that you can live in comfortably. That means researching the climate, night life, crime rate, population, housing market and job oppurtunities. Once decided on a university, I would highly suggest visiting for a few days to get a feel for the campus and the residents of the school. Upon begining college I would advise students to take classes outside of their comfort zone. Meet new people, explore the surrounding area, go to pep ralleys, football games, and bonfires. See the fall concert put on by the school band and view the play put on by the drama department. Much of who I am today is because of my experiences in college, and I wish that I would have looked beyond studies, frat parties and a part-time job to experience those other things you will never experience in the same way again.

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The advice that I would give parents and children about finding the right college is: choose your college based on your chosen career field and apply for as many scholarships as you can. Financial aid is sometimes hard to find, so start early on in the process for college. Take time with your application and apply detail to them and the scholarships that you apply for. They determine you success and acceptance into the school of your choice. In order to make the most our of your experience in college, I would enter college right after you graduate from high school. You will be more prepared for school work and for the world of studying. Entering into college with you graduating class helps get you aquainted with others with possibly the same interests as you. In addition, you will meet friends and have a quality social life if you do decide to live in the dormitories. Living with people of the same age and having a roommate who is always home and there for you to talk to is the best environment for the first couple years. Moreover, go to every class and always be prepared and on time.

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Definitely attend a school that offers the major you are seeking! I heard for graduate school, a slight advantage is given to those who have attended that school for undergraduate studies. Also, attend campus visits to schools you are thinking about going to. Don't let money be a factor. Financial aid is always available and there are thousands of scholarships available for everyone. I also suggest living on-campus for the first year of college. Everyone around you is in the same situation and it is an easy way to meet a lot of great people from all over. Another suggestion is to utilize your resources. There are so many opportunities to get help, get advise and get involved. It can be difficult to incorporate school life and social life. Keep a good head on your shoulders and know that there is always time for both. Schoolwork can always be put off but it is really easy to fall behind and it can be difficult to try to catch up. Friends=college life. Find ones you can really connect with and keep them but don't let the others disappear because you might want to hangout with them later.

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Take the time to understand yourself. It is the simplest of concepts that many people take decades to realize and some never do. It is something that you do not find on a school retreat, it is not something you find drinking with friends, watching TV, or even, sad to say, reading books. The characters in other stories moving across screens or twirling across pages can only, at best, provide a glimpse into the world of who you are and who you would like to be. It cannot be found through the fabricated identity that Facebook or Instagram provides. Deep quotes plastered on landscape photographs do not invoke its presence. Experience life through your own magnificent lens and elegant prose. At the age of 17 you will move away to go to school and within a year your grandma, who helped raise you, will be diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer. The decision that family means more to you than your new life in a different state will be the best decision you will ever make because it will teach you that understanding who you are and what you want will always take you exactly where you need to be.

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When I was in high school, I was a high acheiving student and my self image was based on this. I entered Oregon State as a member of the University Honors College. Early in my college career, I was often stressed as I compared myself to other honors students rather than average students. This stress was especially acute during times when challenges outside of school (my own health and my father's battle with cancer and death). It took me until the end of college to realize how much I had acheived (multiple internships and undergraduate research in Food Science as well as Industrial Engineering) compared to many of my classmates. I would tell myself that there is no value in comparing myself to others. Worrying is a distraction and will not help you suceed. Focus on getting good grades but the most important thing you can do is to build relationships. Every opportunity I have had in college has resulted not from competing with others but from asking a professor for help. Opportunities will come to you through hard work and asking for help in pursuing your interests. You will be fine.

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For students, picking the right college may be a difficult task. First off you need to think about what are your top priorities. The different parts that go into finding the right colllege for you are; location, size, price, and surrounding area. Location is a big part of the decision. Whether you want to move far away from your family or if you want to still be close enough to go home on some weekends. The size of a campus should influence your decision because you want to be comfortable at the school. The price shouldn't be as much of a factor because there is always financial aid, but for most people it is a huge factor because most people dont want to end up with debt after finishing college. The surrounding area is a factor because if you don't like anything around the campus then you better make sure there is enough to do on campus. For parents,helping your son/daughter find the right college is a little easier. They should it show the differences wbetween colleges to the students. It is helpful if the parents are involved in the process of finding the right school.

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I know you've been hearing this a lot, but do NOT get pregnant. There will be parties and boys, and these are just distractions that will keep you from your studies. You will need to learn to balance your social life with your school work, and do it early on. Cherish each syllabus as they are your guidelines to your courses. Keep a planner, and read the assigned readings BEFORE you go to class. This way, you will have already thought it through and will be able to absorb the information better in class. Work on your homework the day it is assigned, and if you don't have much time, just look it over so you know what to expect. Take advantage of your academic and extra-curricular resources; they really make a difference and you pay for it so why not use them! Contact your professors if you ever have any questions or if you messed up by not going to class or missing an assignment. Get involved and have fun! Be responsible, and try not to fall behind. Exercise and play around! Volleyball, basketball, snowboarding, swimming, rock climbing - there's so much to do here!

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