Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Altoona Top Questions

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

Heather

College is a serious commitment and a passage way to your future. This does not mean that you need to make a decision about what you want to be when you grow up instantly. Do not be afraid to start college with an undecided major. Meet with an advisor, schedule general education classes and a career search class. You won?t be wasting time. These classes will fulfill requirements and give you time to transition into college life and curriculum. Do not rush through the first two years. College is set up to declare a major after your fourth semester. Take this time to research and talk to adults in the career fields you find intriguing. Meet with an advisor regularly and schedule classes that sound interesting to you and are related to these career fields. Do not allow one bad grade to discourage you. Make a list of goals you want to achieve each semester and check them off when you reach them. Write your own synopsis of each course you successfully complete summarizing the most important topics you learned. These summaries will be a useful reference for your higher level classes. College is exciting, have fun with it.

Emily

As I look back at my high school career, I realize now that I didn't even understand what college was until my very first campus visit during the fall of my senior year. So if I was able to go back I would try to inform myself on exactly what I was going to be getting in to. I would tell myself to take an SAT prep class and not stress about the SATs but feel well informed and confident while taking them. I would also tell myself to take advantage of every chance to get good grades, because every little bit helps towards getting in to college, as I have since learned. Lastly, I would tell myself that in the long run college is only one little part of a life long time of achievements and to remember to have fun!

Cassandra

For me this is an easy question to answer not only is it something I have thought about often, but it is also advice that I attempt to give all the younger people in my life. A lot of the time as a high school student much advice is provided but quite unsuccessfully. As a stubborn teenager, it is much easier to believe in forging your own path. That's how I was. But now, looking back I wish I would have told myself one key thing. Take advantage of all opportunities given to you. There are so many wonderful people and programs that can put students ahead of the game and I wish I would have taken advantage of all that was offered to me. I'm glad that I know this now because I am still very young and I know now I will always chase after any future opportunities that can make my dreams come true. My belief in finding opportunities is how I was led to Campus Discovery. It is my hope to take steps everyday to better myself and my future.

Melvin

I would say not to worry. College is of course something new and different. You may never see some of your friends again, you're going to be away in an unfamiliar place, it's going to be in a new enviroment. That does not mean, however, that you should be in total panic. If it's meeting new people that you're worried about, it's not hard at all. The first couple days, everyone wants to get to know everyone else. It's the best time of your new college career because of how many people you'll be meeting. I'm not 100% sure about other colleges, but Altoona goes out of its way to get everyone situated and comfortable with activities. There are always going to be many opprotunities to meet new people throughout the school year anyways. Don't be afraid, don't be shy. Be eccentric. Be outgoing. It's time to start again. Learn from past mistakes, make yourself better. Be the best that you can be and don't look back, don't hold back. Break free.

Kelly

Don't blow off homework assignments if you know they won't be graded. Ignoring homework will make things harder to remember and bring the class grade down. Also, study more than you did. Tests are different than what you are used to.

kristen

Wow, what a unique question. There are a few things i would tell myself as a senior. Id assue myself not to worry about if I'm smart enough to go to college, or have the money to go. Id tell myself to give myself more credit, your smarter than you realize as long as you simply have a goal and apply yourself and have the passion to do it, you can do anything. I'd tell myself to prepare for an amazing life; that you will go through incredible life experiences like living and working overseas. Id tell her to be open to experience new cultures, places and people. The best part I'd tell her is not to worry about whether or not your going to be alone the rest of your life. You will meet an incredible man that you'll marry, he will be your best friend and will help and support you in every possible way and help push you when you need to be pushed, and will support you no matter what you go to school for or where you go. Id tell her her future looks very bright., and trust God.

Martin

Martin! Hey Martin! Don't freak out. I know I look like an older you, but I don't have time to explain. I only have two hundred words to give you some advice about your college life. To start off, you are going to need a monthly calendar and a weekly planner. All those tests, quizzes, and papers can really sneak up on you, if you don't remember when they're coming. The process is simple. You put the important dates in both your calendar and planner. The calendar will keep you reminded every day when you wake up that you have a chemistry test next week. Then you use the planner to schedule times to study, write, or do homework. Don't forget to schedule some time to unwind with friends too. The cold fact is that college is tough, and you can't make it through without a few friends. Also, if you want to keep passing your classes, you're going to want to make study-buddies through classes and not drinking-buddies through parties. Yes drinking is fun, but if you want to be a teacher, right? So is it really worth the risk?

Chelsea

If I could go back into time and teach myself what I know now about college it would be simple, I would teach myself to let the little things go and not stress because that makes it worse. I would also teach myself to study properly and take my time on project. That college is just one chapter in my life and though it is to be taken seriously it should not be taken to seriously. To stop and enjoy it.

Lindsey

I would never regret attending Penn State because I've gotten a great education and have met wonderful and helpful people, and I 'm aware that i said I would probably not go back and change anything, but I have to wonder: Would having attended a film school changed my career options? I didn't know back then that i wanted to work in the film production, but now i know that i'll just have to do whatever takes and as long as i have the drive I can accomplish it.

Linda

Do everything the same, and live with no regrets!

jennifer

go out and live a little and get some real life experience under your belt, this will help you in college.

Jennypher

Jennypher, Make sure you never leave work for the lsat minute because work loads are very and they accumulate very quickly. If you reveiw your notes before and after classes studying will be a piece of cake. DON'T CRAM! Final exams are cumulative and the information you cram all semester will not stick. Now about money, please get a summer job EVERY summer and each semester after your first year (aking the first year to focus and the transition and your classes will do you good) so you atleast have a part of the tuition bill. Try to not take out too big of loans because you dn't want to graduate and have your present be a $100,000 debt. I hope you take my advice! Jennypher

Katherine

If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior I would tell myself, that no matter what traumatic events happen in my life somehow thing will be okay. And, that college is for my self discover not just for my education. I should not be afraid to change my major once. After my brother's death my freshman year I loss hope for a while. I would tell myself to have faith in life, God, and my loved ones to get my through.

Aaron

In high school, most of our learning was spent in the classroom. In college, only one third of that time is spent in the classroom, which means that you have to teach yourself and practice as much as possible. In high school, a lot of students judged others by what they wear, the color of their skin, and other unimportant features. It is completely different in college, so be yourself. You will meet the people that you can get along this way, so don't try to be someone you're not to fit in.

Chelsea

The most important advice I would give myself as a high school senior is to apply for any scolarship possible. I would tell myself that college is suppost to be fun and not to waste that time working and stressing about how I will pay for school. That a college work load is stressful enough and not to focus on financal problems.

Aulalys

Dear High School Senior Ally, Congratulations! You're close to graduting and pursuing your goals of attending Penn State University and joining the U.S. Army. Within pursuing your goals you will face different challenges. In this letter are two advices that will guide you as you endure your adventure into the "real world." First advice is to set your priorities straight - study first, then hang out with your friends later. There are going to be times in which you will regret not applying this rule. For example, you will chose to watch a game with your close friends, instead of reading for political science. The next morning you will take Professor DiLeo's pop quiz , with which he uses to evaluate whether his students read the night before. Second advice is to stay motivated. There are going to be times in which giving up seems easier, but do not quit or accept defeat. No one said it was going to be easy, but with much heart you will climb and move mountains. Believe me when I say that this is going to be one of the best times of you life. From the Future, Ally

Breana

I would advise students and parents alike to start looking for colleges years before the student plans to actually attend college. Many students are clueless when they begin the college application process. By allowing students to visit colleges that far in advance not only will it help students decide on a campus but also to realize they must start begin preparing for college now. That preparation is academic, financial, and mental, without being prepared a student and/or parent may not make the most of the college experience.

briggite

if you can pay for it and its a good school, go. -__-

Tom

Make sure you are comfortable with the area you are going to.

Brian

I recommend that students and parents discuss a college that has good academic programs, oppotunites for students to socialize without alcohol and is in a safe area. If you get turned down by the first campus you chose, don't be upset, because you will still enjoy the college that accepts you. I didn't get into the first college I chose, but I really like the college I'm currently attending. I have enjoyed my college experience so far because I have stayed away from alcohol and I don't need to drink in order to have a have a good time. Balance your free time and be sure to buckle down and study for mid-terms and finals.

Vincent

1. Make sure the school meets your financial needs. 2. Make sure campus life is exciting and diverse. 3. Make sure teachers are accessible. 4. If a student goes away, make sure they are able to handle living by themselves. 5. Make sure students balance school life and social life. 6. If the student can, be involved in on campus life. 7. Make lots of friends and have a great college experience. Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Linda

Make sure you vist the campus and know how far it is from home. I have seen too many people who, impatiant to get home, skip class to get there and then fail the class. Also keep an eye on the campus' reputation. How a school is known to other colleges is just as important as how good it really is.

Brittany

The name of your school is not going to make you happy. For example, when I was looking at Penn State University, I was really drawn in. I heard so much about it and knew of it's outstanding reputation; it sounded very appealing. Once realizing how big the school was, and how big the transition from high school to college would be, I opted out of applying to University Park and decided on a branch campus. Branch campuses offer a lot such as, smaller class sizes (30 compared to 300), more interaction with the professors, and easier transitions. They also give you a chance to achieve a good academic standing in your first year or two especially if you are unsure of what you want to do. Getting involved at a branch campus is also much easier and more personal than at bigger schools, and it is the best way to make friends! When choosing the right school for you, keep in mind the type of setting you are comfortable in. The transition is not always easy, but being comfortable where you are will make it easier and will also give you a more positive attitude and get involved!

Maureen

Live on campus in a traditional style dorm. This is the best way to get the most out of college. You will be able to go to more activities on campus, both for fun and for education. This will also help you to become more independent and able to live on your own. Sweet style dorms may seem more appealing, but you will meet more people in a traditional style dorm. Also, choose a school that offers a lot of majors, that way if you change your mind you won't have to transfer schools to change your major.

Ashleigh

I would strongly advice students and their parents to tour the colleges that they apply to before choosing one. I would also encourage them to speak to students that attend the college and not just to the representatives that are there to give them tours. They will be able to get a better perspective from the insider's view that way. I would also encourage them to ask about anything they are uncomfortable with or have questions about directly. That way the student understands exactly what situation they will be dealing with. I would also advice them to think about things other than academics such as, living arrangements, student organizations and clubs, and social aspects of college living.

Heidi

Allow your son/daughter decide where they want to go to college. They know what they want to get out of their college experiance not you. Allow them to major in whatever they want, becuase they are learning the material, not you.

Ian

Make sure you visit campus and that you like it. Also, definitely spend a day visiting the area around campus, everyone needs a break every now and then and going off campus is a great way to do so.

Scott

Finding the right college is a long process. You should start researching colleges at least a couple of years before graduation. You can talk with teachers, counselors, and other college students. You first need to be sure what field you want to major in, and research the colleges that offer that degree. You need to consider the location, the size of the college, and what all it has to offer. You need to check tuition costs and financial aid. You should start visiting different colleges about a year before graduation to check out living accomodations and transportation to nearby stores. You should at least apply and visit 3 diffferent colleges before making your decision. You need to realize that the college that you choose will be your new home for the next 4 or 5 years, so you want to pick the one that's right for you.

Ben

As a parent, it may be difficult to see their child, who they have raised and nurtured for the last 18 or so years, just get up and leave. Indeed the transition is difficult for parents, but they must understand that the transition difficulty for the student is ten fold. Increased responsibility, tremendous amounts of time dedicated to school, and the fine balance between work and pleasure, are all some of the things students have to adjust too. So when it comes down to the time, your son or daughter finally departs too live on their own, and lay the foundation for their future, you must maintain a steadfast love and affirmation that your child will succeed and make the best of their present and future opportunities. Now matter how grim things may look, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Parental support is vital in the first stages of a students transition, but you have to be willing to accept and understand things you may not accept, or a lack of communication will insue. A parent will undoubtedly be lied to, if they are not understanding of the realities of college life! Regards, Ben Beaver

Christine

Look for the right college that not only meets your academic needs but your social, spirtual, and environmental needs. Look for a school that would match what will help you grow and learn.

Nicole

Do a lot of research and visit a lot of schools. Make sure that it is the right fit.

Jacquelyn

Parents: Try to take your child to as many campuses that you can. It helps them find out what they do and do not like about a campus. If there is some way for them to say at the campus for a weekend, allow them that experience. Don't try to force your child to go to a school or sway them on a school that they're not crazy about. They're the one that will be going there the next 4 years. Trust your kids! Students: Apply to more than 1 school. Apply to schools that strike your interest. Don't apply to schools because that's where your friends go to school there or are applying there. Don't apply to a school just because a boyfriend or girlfriend goes there, unless you genuinely like the school. When you get to college get as involved as you can. Take classes seriously from the very beginning, and take classes that aren't in your major to find what you like. Join groups and go out with people you normally wouldn't, because those could end up being your best friends. Most importantly, have fun!

Alexandria

We all need to think about our personal needs when it comes to what setting you need around you, the kinda of people and professors you need within your enviroment, what special needs mentally, physically, and spiritually you need to keep you balanced. It doesnt matter about the name of the school and the weight that holds but what is right for you and what helps you achieve what your there to achieve. We shouldnt choose a school because of the number of parties that occur or the ratio of males to females. We shouldnt choose a school because of where our families want us to go or choose a major because of what others want us to be. We come to college and spend many hard earned dollars for ourselves and what will benifit us the most in the future. We choose a school because of what we want and need personally, because of what end result will make up happy and because of what journey will help us grow. Only you know the right college for you and dont let anyone tell you otherwise.

Michele

I think the student needs to decide what they want from school. Then the search should start for a school that will meet their requirements. The most important thing to do in college is work and enjoy! The work and the social experiences will go with you forever.

Katherine

I would tell students looking for a school to find one that fits their personality. Some advice I would give would be to study hard and make friends with your classmates and professors. It is a lot easier to study with people in your classes than it is to study on your own. Don't hesitate to get help with things you struggle with because there are many people avaliable that would be willing to help you. The more people you get to know the larger your network is. Also, be nice to everyone. You never know what the future holds and where people might show up again in your life later on down the road. Study hard and get involved. The more you get involved with your school the better your college experience will be (not to mention it looks good on a resume, but that is just a bonus).

Shanae

One i would say make sure that you balance out all the expenses and make sure you are able to pay for your college education. I would also say when you come to college as a freshmen be very aware of your surrounding and do not be scared to talk to other students, faculty, and staff who are there to help you !!!

Ericka

Take your time. You don't have to go to school right after high school. Sometimes it's better to just wait and see how the real world works first.

Luis

Find a college that fits you. Makes you feel comfortable from the moment you step onto the campus. Finding the right college just like finding anything else takes a lot of time and thought. I know for me personally, when I was living in Georgia, I knew I had to move to Pennsylvania to attend Penn State. It was something about it that just sparked my interests but near impossible to describe with my own words. Like I said, finding the right college takes time. Upon moving to Pennsylvania I was not in the best financial situation so I had to attend a Junior College to build myself back up and gain residency to lower the costs and expenses. Within the time it took me to get to the school where I am at today, I learned that the experiences you have in college no matter where you are or which college you attend is based on how you make them. Whether living on campus, off campus or commuting a college experience is not about what the college has to offer, but what you have to offer to the college.