It's really important to experience as many aspects of the college as possible before making your decision. Find out if the school will let you sit in on classes, whether it offers overnight stays with students and campus tours, or visit a friend who already attends the school. Ask other students what they like most and what they like least about the school. Visit the surrounding areas to get a feel for the availability of weekend entertainment and other dining options. Find out whether the school has an internship program, travel opportunities, or other ways to experience the real world while you're in school. You'll never get a better chance to intern or study abroad than in college. College is a unique time in your life, where everybody around you is all working toward the same goal, where everybody is interested in learning and growing and experiencing life in similar ways. Make the most of your college experience by balencing work and play. Employers value a positive attitude and likeable personality almost as much as, and in many cases even more than, book smarts. So have fun! And enjoy the naps and long holidays while you can!
For a rising college student to make the best of his/her college experience, I would advise him/her to look into several different colleges or universities that he/she is interested in and apply. Afterwards, he/she should visit the colleges that have accepted him/her with his/her parents. They should look into courses that the school offers and see if the curriculum is what the student may see himself/herself doing in school, as well as applying that potential degree after graduation. Affordability is also important especially if the student is mostly paying by himself/herself. The parents should look into possible scholarships and grants available and offered by the state and the school itself. If the student wants to be highly involved on campus, he/she needs to look into a school that offers an array of extracurricular activities and programs such as sports and clubs. But the most important factor for a student to make the most of the college experience, is not necessarily finding the "perfect" college, it is having the positive attitude of wanting to make the most out of his/her college experience.
My advice would be to EXPERIENCE IT: visit, visit, visit and don't narroaw your options until you are sure. All colleges are going to try to win you over with brochures and paraphenalia but these are only words and pictures. I think the best way to decided where you would benefit the most from attending is to visit. You are able to see the campus, dining areas, dorm rooms, classrooms and even interact with faculty and students. Take a tour. Go to class. And ultimately, spend a night on campus without your mom or dad. It is important for your parents to be part of the decision but you are deciding where to go and live without your parents to help you grow to your full potential. Through people you know or admissions, find a student to stay with and fully EXPERIENCE the school. Do this for each school you are interested in and in the end, you will know where you feel most comfortable and where you can thrive. Stop reading and go EXPERIENCE IT. Once you have decided and begin your college experience, do not stop there. Get involved on campus and live your college EXPERIENCE!
Presbyterian College is an amazing place. Not only does it offer an excellent education, it provides a lifelong support group of alumni and classmates. There are numerous activities students can choose to participate in for entertainment, educational, and competitive purposes. There are never many worries about finding a job or pursuing higher education, because the alumni are all helpful and want the Presbyterian College students to succeed as they did. Although it is in the small town of Clinton, South Carolina, there are numerous options for traveling both near and far. I, personally, am going on a Maymester to Ireland with the History and English department this summer as well as living in Los Angeles, California for an internship in fashion. The school helped me find the internship and gave me the opportunity to go on the maymester. Presbyterian College is an excellent choice for a student who is not sure what they want to do after college because the Liberal Arts atmosphere helps students learn what they enjoy.
If I was a senior, I would have visted ALL seven of the colleges I was accepted to, not just some of them because you don't know if you like it unless go there yourself. Sometimes I wonder if I would have liked the schools I never visited. I would advise to change your voicemail if it's silly or a prank because professors WILL call you. I would tell myself to make earlier deadlines for myself when trying to get work done, especially papers and essays. Be open-minded and patient when you first start living with your new roommate. Don't put anything on Facebook.com that you wouldn't want your parents to see. STAY ACTIVE. Cafeteria food WILL catch up to you if you don't do anything! Don't stay up late for no reason. Sleep is VERY IMPORTANT in college - Many students get sick and miss classes because they're so worn down from school work and no rest. If you go to a small school, don't do anything you don't want the entire campus knowing about! Small campuses TALK. Engage in class discussions.
Make sure you visit a lot of colleges. Do NOT look at schools with or make decisions based on your friends or boyfriend/girlfriend; the college search needs to be completely about you. Pick the school that makes you feel most at home. Talk to students, sit in on classes, go spend a few weekends at various schools (if you're shy, push yourself!). Don't judge a school based on one tour- do your research and try to see various aspects of the school's community and campus life. Most importantly, keep an open mind. You may switch your major ten times (I thought all my life that I'd be a lawyer until I got to school- it's not even a prospect any more). You may think Greek life would be amazing and end up hating it, or vice versa. Go to the college that fits you best (and you alone) and make the most you possibly can out of it- I promise you'll love it.
I did not study much in High School and I made all a's. College is a completely different story. My first semester I studied hours each night for tests and still would not make the grades I was hoping for. If I could go back in time and give myself advice, I would tell myself to start studying then and learn the techniques that work best for me. That way, when I got to college, I wouldn't have to experiment with different study techniques, I would just know the best one for me. Also, I would tell myself to start practicing time management. College is very different from High School in that you may have 2 papers due for 2 different classes on the same day you have 3 tests. It's difficult to manage your time efficiently especially when you have so many different things going on at one time.
If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would advise myself to cherish everything. I took high school for granted because I was ready for a change and could not wait to get to college. If I would have known how difficult the change from high school work to college work, I would have prepared myself better by taking harder classes. I would also advise myself to spend as much time with my friends as I could because now that we have all moved on in our separate directions, I never get to see them. Even when we are all home together, it is not the same because we have changed. Overall I would have just told myself to be better prepared for what was coming in my future, so that it would not have been such a shock once getting to Presbyterian College.
Advice that I would give myself as a high school senior would be to push myself and to go beyond what I could ever imagine me doing. I would advize myself to take more AP classes and also to take dual credit courses to earn as many college credits as possible. I would have continued working after sports, but focused on school more and try to learn how to study while in high school. I would say to start applying to colleges early and to start touring as soon as I had a college choice in mind. Saving money is key and applying for college scholarship is very important. I would encourage myself to apply for any and all scholarships that apply to me. It is a very important aspect and very beneficial in the end with the cost of tuition.
I would advise parents and students to take their time about finding the right college. Take trips to visit, talk to as many people as you can, and weigh your pros and cons. You'll feel that "fit" when you're at the right place, and once you feel that, you'll never want to look back. Once you're there, get involved, serve your community, and make a difference. You've got four years at this place and you've got four years to leave a mark. Study hard, do your best, but never forget to have fun. Not only make your parents proud, but be proud of yourself. When at college, thousands of opportunities come your way...so don't ever forget to make the most of what you have, and most importantly, become the person you've always wanted to be.