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Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Erie-Behrend College

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

Picking a college is a difficult decision. Obviously it's crucial to pick a college that houses a solid, accredited school for your intended major, as well as the flexibility to change your mind. The best piece of advice I have is to go walk around the campus on your own during a normal school day, prior to taking a tour, and make note of the atmosphere and your opinions. Then take a tour and compare what you learned and felt on the tour to your own opinions and observations. Also stop into the offices of the clubs and organizations on campus, especially the programming board. Talk to any members present and ask for information on the acitivities they plan and their contributions to campus. Finding a strong academic program that suits your interests is the easy part of finding the right college. It is crucial to ensure that once you are a student there you will feel comfortable as a member of the community, both academically and socially. The instincts you have while wandering around campus and your interest in the social world of campus will be the basis of how much you get from and enjoy college.

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The best piece of advice that I could give to students who are making a college decision right now, is that in order to find the right college, you should make sure you spend plenty of time researching and visiting the college before you choose. I didn't visit any colleges or do any research whatsoever. In the end my decision came down to what was most affordable and closest to home. I don't believe that these are the only factors that should be taken into account when making such an important decision and my advice is simply to make sure you know the school you decide upon before you make your final decision. Make sure that the academic and social environment suits you, talk to current students and see how they feel about the campus, and figure out if you would be able to socialize well withthe people there in your future. Talk to faculty if the opportunity arises to ensure that you will recieve the right amount of attention that you will require once in college. First and foremost, however, take your time in deciding where you want to spend the next four years of your life.

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Dear 17 year old me, Hello. This is your future self from college. There are a few things I wish to tell you and advise you on. I know you had already planned on staying close to home to study for college but ultimately, you will branch out into searching for schools outside of the state once you realize that your dreams and aspirations reside elsewhere. Kudos to you for that because guess what? You will end up on the other side of the country to go to school! And a pretty darn good school at that. But anyway, I digress. I also wanted to let you know that you must take advantage of your time now looking for ways to save for college, because you and I both know no one will be able to help. At least not that much. Look up scholarships online and apply, apply, apply. Save up your money while you work, budget your spending, and be prepared. Know what's important to you and think ahead because unless you want your family to have more faith in your abilities while working toward higher education, then show them just how much you really do care!

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I would have told myself to focus more on learning study skills and improving my GPA in high school. I was so worried about having fun my senior year, I think part of me thought I would never have fun again because I was leaving the people I grew up with. I also would have told myself there is a great big world out there and Selinsgrove high school is a small shell in the world. I would show myself all the different cultures and really cool people who are out there, and not to be nervous around them because they are different from me. I would also tell myself that even though I was really envoloved in high school and super busy, I should stay envoloved in college. There are people out there who need help, and rather than enjoy all the free time of sitting on facebook, it's really important to give back. Lastly, I would stress how key it is to learn balance and time management early in your college career. I could not have got through partying 6 days a week, and I know people who didn't. Classes are the most important thing, period.

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I would say make sure you find something that makes you feel comfortable. First impressions of the school should be looked past. When I first toured the college I just graduated from I didn't like it very much. To find out I LOVED my education and experience at the college. I would also look at the housing. Lots of colleges are up-grading their dorms and apartments. Find a place that gives you some privacy. Just because you want to "college experince" doesn't mean you much live in a shoe box with two bed, desks, and dressers. Once again find a place that makes you feel comfortable. Another thing is figure out how you might pay for all the expenses before going. Trying to get a loan last minute is anything but easy. Save up any little bit before you start. Lastly, enjoy college but also focus on the reason your their...to learn and get ahead in life. Going out partying every night will get you no where. Hang out with friends and find ones that will be there through the good and the bad, not just the ones that you can party with.

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After careful consideration, I would have to admit to myself that listening to your parents is an integral part of preparing yourself for college life and leaving home. I would tell myself that it is normal to want to slack off as a senior, but to not do that! Keep studying. Keep learning. Keep working as hard as you can, because that first day in college is going to be an eye opener. No one cares if you don't show up for class. No one cares if you get behind. There's not a weight added to your college class. All those things I took for granted, just disappeared the second I stepped into that classroom. I would tell myself to enjoy those home cooked meals because the cafeteria food doesn't even come close to what I was used to eating. I woud remind myself that college comes with a very hefty price tag attached to it so enter every contest, every essay, and every scholarship opportunity that becomes available to you! College is a learning experience, but so is high school. Take advantage of it and appreciate it!

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Hello Mark, I would like to tell you about life in college. Life in college is not what you might think it is. It is nothing like the movies show, where people are drinking and partying every day. However, it both relaxing and stressful at times. Work may pile up on you at times but if you do your work ahead of time and get help from the professors at their offices the work load will be much lighter. Furthermore, there are times when there seems to be no work and nothing to do. However, you can always run down to the gym and/or just go for walk down into the gorge behind your dorm. This will not only keep you in shape but it is also a great way to reduce stress. There are also things you can do while still in high school and before you leave for college. For example, take as many advanced placement classes in high school. This will help you adjust to college life by making some classes easier. Another thing you will want to do before you leave is meet with all your high school friends and say your goodbyes. Sincerely, Mark

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If I could go back and give myself advice for entering college I most certainly would. The transition from college to high school is overwhelming and I believe that sometimes, students in high school need to hear advice from students who are currently in college rather than adults. I would tell myself that the transition from living at home to living at school is indeed a big change, but it is not nearly as scary as everyone makes it out to be in their head. You learn more about yourself and your capabilities when you are living away from your parents or your traditional home life and it is a necessary change at this chapter of your life. The second thing I would tell myself is to not stress over the minor details. As long as you work hard and stay focused on your ultimate goals, everything will fall into place. I am in no way saying that it will be easy reaching your goals, but as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort to succeed, it will happen. How determined you are reflects your success.

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As a high school senior, I didn't know much about college nor did I know what major to take. In a case where I can go back in time, I would change many things. First, I would have liked to know what major I really wanted to pursue. Second, I should have been more displicined. In example, having better study habits and an optimism to do good in school(it just hit me my junior year). Third, apply for scholarships so the college tuition can be less and finding a job won't be mandatory, but optional. Fourth, learn to love what you do no matter what others say, but make sure it is within the boundaries of a reasonable job market. Fifth, learn to be independant, such in a way that you won't always depend on friends to make things fun or fall into peer pressure and do things you usually don't do. Sixth, keep a good habit by having enough sleep, excercising, and eating healthy. Finally, just be yourself and make friends, which keeps the other six reasons in cycle. Always keep in mind, happiness everyday brings peace of mind.

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Stop and take it all in. Take in the memories of gym class, the classes with your best friends, school lunches, even though you complain about them now, one day you will miss them. Take in the memories of your last sports game you will ever play, or the last class you'll ever go to in your highschool career. But most importantly take in the memories of how much you have grown not only as a student, but a person. Highschool is a place that you grow, but college is the place where you truly find yourself. Transitioning from highschool to college is a scary time, but such an amazing one. The key thing to remember is this is your time to shine and to become the person you've always wanted to be. Become friends with people you wouldn't have in highschool, study as much as you can, but make mistakes too. And don't worry, you will stumble in your tranition into the new chapter of your life, but its just all apart of the ride, so enjoy it. We don't change, we just live, it's your decision on how its done.

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