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Otis College of Art and Design

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

When I first started college, I assumed it was a commitment that I should complete just to receive a degree. However, during my attendance, I discovered a completely different experience that undermined my expectations. My initial stance was monotonous days filled with lectures, tests, and of course never-ending research papers. On the contrary, my college days were more unique than anything else. Every class was a new experience that was challenging but very enjoyable. Assignments were engaging, not just yes or no answers. But college didn?t just stay in the classroom. Activities went on throughout the entire semester, and there were clubs that fit all of my interests. I didn?t have to abandon any of my hobbies just because I was a full-time student. During my journey, I learned things I never knew about myself, including realizing my passion for art. This can be attributed to the numerous choices and options made available. My college experience was invaluable because it helped me develop and grow as an individual all while gaining extensive knowledge. I was able to achieve my goals, establish new ones, and create memories that will last a lifetime. The experience was truly rewarding.

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Education, of course, comes first as well as desired career and job opportunites. However, the community, the area, college programs, what a student wants to get out of college, financial situation, extracurricular activites, social life, individuality, and finding people/a group who are accepting/interested in one's individuality, or personal philosophy, is as equally important. I personally believe that a student has to ask themselves when they choose a college, and want to get the most out of it, is whether they've enrolled here for a certain desired social life/lifestyle, what they want to persure in college/ in the future, and to try and take advantage of what is thrown at them. It maybe hard at the moment to commit to something, or perhaps it is easy, but parents and students must never forget about flexiblities, options and experimenting/ questioning to really know what one wants or what a college has to offer. Obviously college can be a life changing experience, and a period of growth, that possibly will direct an individual, hopefully in what they want out of life, or even to discover what exactly they'd like out of life, socially and professionally. :)

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Over time, I have gained insight into what is really important about the "college years" of life. I attend a private art college that is only one-fourth the size of a standard city block, and have compared this to the experiences of my peers at some of the largest universities in the country to find that the most important factor in finding the right school is growth. First, educational growth : What do you want to learn and what are the methods in which you want to learn it? State colleges tend to have very common majors for a conventional job market versus smaller schools for more specific or obscure majors. One is not superior to the other and your decision should consider both options. Investigate the methods of teaching within that school. Is there community involvement? Are certain labs or equiptment facilities available? Second, personal growth: How do you want to develop as a person during these years? This depends on many factors from the school's location to what extracurricular activities are available. In the end, find a place that alows you to be comfortable, while providing for you the tools necessary to gain a great education.

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I would advice them to research the school in early hand before entering the college. It would be nice to visit the school that the student wishes to attend before applying for that college to feel and see if the college is right for the students. There are many convenient websites for most colleges, and there are also websites such as Campus Discovery.com that talks and rates the school on what their best are, and what their worst are. The most important thing in my opinion, is that it is the students? will to choose where they want to go to pursue their dream/goal, because they are the ones that will choose what they want to become after graduating their college that they chose. To make the most of the college experience, the students should know the diversity of race and also the activities that are available to them. Since most of American universities are not all about studying, there are fraternities, and sororities, sports, extra curricular activities, clubs, etc. that the students can experience and enjoy through out their college years. In addition, students should be open to other ethnicities and socialize to make a better community.

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The most important question in the college application process isn?t the one that requires a 250 word limit, or a quote from a famous author or poet, it is the question the applicant must sincerely answer in the secret corners of his or her mind, ?Why do I want to go to college??. My advice to prospective undergraduates is first, to simply answer this question truthfully, and following, to apply their answer to the college that will best serve their reason or purpose. Choose the one that will help you fulfill your ultimate dream of perhaps becoming the next Einstein, or Van Gogh. Although it is a wise decision to weigh the differences and propositions of each institution, it is equally important to follow your heart. You must feel at ease in the campus and surroundings because you will be spending four or more years of your life within its grounds. Ultimately, one should never be discouraged by financial hindrances within the college process because there will always be a way around and out of these difficulties. College is all about willpower and making wise decisions, invest in a school that will guarantee you success in the future.

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Otis College is the 4th college I have attended. Unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, I attended two large universities (CSULB & UCLA Extension) and a junior college (LAVC). I switched majors 3 times. I experienced multiple academic environments and truly found the most suitable college and major for me. Most students are confused and study some major they probably won?t make a career out of after college. Students must ask themselves what are their interests. Hobbies are a good indicator for discovering what one likes. I studied Business Economics and Communication before realizing my true passion was Architecture. However, I always hoped in the latter part of my life I would pursue this field. I felt pressured by society and my high school peers to choose a more secure major that might lead to a promising career. I soon realized I wasn't taking into consideration my happiness. If I don't love my work, I will be miserable and work will become just a job to make money. No passion. No hope for a legacy to leave behind. I now find such satisfaction in what I do. College is about discovering yourself; take risks!

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As a college student, I would give the parents this advice in finding the right college for their kids: ask those who are or have attended the college. It's important to ask those who have experienced the college and to ask many people as possible. One person's opinion can be different from another, and it's important to listen carefully to what the students are saying. Another advice I strongly recommend is to enroll in a portfolio design school, or program. Many of the portfolio design programs and schools have access to many information and they also have much experience in the field. It is worth the money to invest in because you will make an informative descision before applying. A portfolio school helps you take advantage of the preperation before school begins, as well as the teachers and aides in the program and schools. For the students, I give this advice: Go to a school you feel most confident, and comfortable in. If at all possible, visit as many schools as you can before making your final desicion, and remember, don't be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS about other people's experiences in college. Good luck!

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College has become an enormous foundation during my journey as a future educator. The values it has taught me are unmatched. This organization has encouraged responsibility as well as desire for success. It has helped me rise to the occasion when I least thought possible. At the same time it pushed my ability to learn above and beyond. The interesting thing is that this incredible transition occurred at a junior college. I can only imagine how much the tasks and trials at a 4 year university will build my character even more. While here, I also started to value diversity substantially. I realized that no matter what their background, religion and even race, the students were a part of me. These classmates like me, were all part of a body (the institution) driving their intellect to gain the highest merit and at the same time, to benefit the institution with a rich cultural variety. However, the value I hold most from this experience is the ability to believe in myself. This includes realizing that although I came from a poor and uneducated background, I can break the chains of that norm and achieve more.

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From my personal experience I believe that when it comes to deciding the best college for your child there are many aspects you should consider. The first thing as a parent, I think you should consider your child?s needs and not what you think is best for him or her. You don?t want to pressure your child into a career that he or she in not passionate about, because ultimately in the end you are not considering your child?s happiness. If your child is undecided take the time to help him or her discover different careers they might enjoy and give them an idea of what their future might entails. Secondly, take time to visit different colleges that specialize in that specific majors, but also one that provides a wide range of academic majors. Also consider the extracurricular possibilities, the classroom size, the facilities, and the safety of living environment. I am sure that this process is hard for any parent, and even when you have carefully researched everything, there might be obstacles that they may encounter. I believe the most important thing to keep in mind is to have an open mind and be supportive.

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To maximize your college experience above all you need to know yourself and what kind of experience you want. It is hard to know coming from high school exactly what you want to be in life, not everyone is so lucky, but hopefully at that point you have some idea of who you are. This needs to be gauged carefully and you need to investigate the experience a college is selling. I know from experience that if you do not think about the kind of life you will lead away from academics, you will not be happy. Everything from location to meal plan; library resources, activities, politics, gender. Each school has its own persona and while not everyone there will meet the stereotype, you need to think bout the students. Do you want to be surrounded by party animals or bookworms, closed-minded or free-thinking people? How comfortable will you be surrounded by people who have a completely different background than your own? Do you like a challenge or will you be more comfortable with continuity? Looking for the right school is about the next step in your life and finding a place that will allow you to blossom.

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