Princeton University Top Questions

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

Samuel

I have but a single regret. If I could give any piece of advice to my high school self, I would need just three words: kiss the boy. At the time, I had every reason not to. There were serious questions. Was he gay? Was I? How would my parents react? It’s hard to risk the leap from friends to something more, and back then, I just couldn’t do it. All the same, I was given every opportunity. A guys’ night out, where the others “just couldn’t make it,” a sleepover far away from home, even the moment when he withdrew from his own closet. If I could have taken that advice and told him how I felt, I would have been a more open person. Regardless of what his response would have been, I needed to learn to talk about these delicate interpersonal relationships. It’s all too easy to bottle up emotions, and it’s all too painful when they come pouring out. Since then, I’ve met other people, and I am learning to be more forthright about my emotions. However, it’s a lesson I wish someone had helped me with long ago.

Ariel

I would tell myself to continue working hard and to learn how to study.

adam

If I could go back in time to my high school self and give myself in any advice I would tell myself to start looking up scholarships and grants. I found out the hard way that money doesn’t grow on trees it comes from hard work, in knowledge of your surroundings. I will also tell myself to look in to your education before enrolling because a lot of times people jump the gun before truly seeing what its worth. The first school I enrolled in a have my best intentions in mind at the time I enrolled. But two later find out I was enrolled in a program that I didn't sign up for. I would tell myself to wait and go to college for what you dream about. To keep in mind that it’s my life and I decide my career path in goals for the future not any one else. I’m in school now for what I wanted to do my whole life so even though there’s been many detours along the way I still will find my way that to living and accomplishing my goals for my dream career.

Sarah

Chill out and go with the flow because there's not nearly as much pressure as you think there is.

Ryan

If I could counsel myself as a high school senior, I would impart this advice: high school is more than just the training wheels. For many, high school was a means to an end. From our first days as freshmen to our last ones as seniors, we were inundated with the message that the destination was not where we were but where we would be after graduation. Just as training wheels are a necessity of learning to ride a bike, we were taught that high school was an essential, though temporary, stepping stone to college. This ideology fails us. It focuses on an intangible future goal and obscures the opportunity in front of us: the enjoyable and fulfilling process of learning and being challenged in the vibrant environment that is comprised of hallways, lockers, and cafeterias. As a result, many kids spend their entire high school careers focusing on the wrong things: good grades instead of actual learning, insincere “resume-builders” instead of genuine pursuits, and blind preparation instead of real enjoyment. Our focus on making sure the training wheels are clean and shiny tends to blind us to what we are really doing: we are already riding the bike.

Shaterica

Knowing what I know now that I'm collge I would give myself a few pieces of advise. First off i would tell myself to make sure before I ledt high school, or at least to get into the habit, learn and master the art of discipline. In college you are hit with a new wave of freedom and it easy to get off track with being disciplined in your school work. If that was something that I learned to get down in high school my college life would be a lot less stressful. Although the stress level in high school is different than in college, I would tell myself to make sure I learn to be disciplined and make school work a priorty. Another piece of advise I would give myself would be that when applying to school during senior year to seek much help and advise from people who have been through the process and apply for scholarships as early as possible. I'm finding myself now changing my college plans but mainly due to the fact that i didn't see much help from the start and having to find ways to fund that education.

Edvin

Assuming that I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to get into the habit of studying all material intenseley. One thing that I learned while attending college is that good notes are important when it comes to passing quizzes and midterms. What I realized is that in high school my note taking was not as good as it is currently in college. I think that I would have been even more successful in high school if I took notes like I do in college. Note taking is not just important to get the information down that the instructor presents, but its important to actually look at the information after and be able to grasp the material. That is something that I did not do as much in high school, where I would not turn back to my notes as often because I couldnt rely on them as I do in college. I would constantly tell my self to take good notes if I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior. Note taking is one thing that is important in college to succeed.

Stanley

I would enjoy high school a lot more. I would have developed better study habits and work ethics during high school. I would have done more activities and made more lasting friendships. I would have tried harder on my college applications. I would have researched more into my college list and saved myself some time from applying to schools that I didn't even want to go to. I would not have added everybody from Princeton on Facebook before I met them in person later on. I would also prepare for college. I would do something exciting the summer before college, because that will be the last summer you have to really relax and have fun before you get a job. I would have really thought deep and hard if I really wanted to become a doctor, or at least would have explored other possible careers. I would have exercised a lot more and hung out with my friends a lot more during the school year and the summer. I would have tried harder and studied more for my AP tests, instead of blowing them off. I would have prepared myself a lot better for college than I had done.

John

If given the chance to give advice to my high-school self, I would tell him (me?) to prepare to take advantage of as many new opportunities available to the college student as possible. Some opportunities in college will be familiar from high school. For example, people with athletic or artistic interests will find club teams or performing groups fulfill a similar role in college as they did in high school. However, there are many new opportunities for the college student to pursue if they have the initiative. There are chances to study abroad all over the world. If you have an interest in a particular region or culture, chances are that there is a program that will let you experience it firsthand for a semester or more. In the college setting, you will also have the opportunity to meet and work alongside your professors. If you have an interest in research, engage your professors, and you may find yourself working on scientific research as an undergraduate. Travel abroad and undergraduate research are just two of the new opportunities that accompany the independence of college. You could benefit greatly from them if you have the necessary initiative to pursue them.

April

The courses, extracurriculars, and dorms are all a great part of college life, but it is the people I have met that define the most important part of my college experience. Amazing professors breathe life into material that might otherwise seem flat and dull, actually triggering a hidden interest that I never knew I had. Knowledgeable advisers and alumni provide outlooks on how life during and after college can be like, opening my eyes beyond textbooks and the lecture hall. However, my friends, my colleagues, are the real gems of the college treasure trove. Differing, clashing views encourage me to go beyond my own narrow opinions. Sharing experiences and cultures with people from all over the world enriches my thoughts in ways words cannot describe. Being surrounded by advanced intellectuals has also shown me what it feels like to be intimidated. Yet at the same time, I was able to experience the exhilarating rush of having fear turn into excitement, because I could see the challenges that awaited me. Such moments have helped me change into a better, fuller, more open-minded individual and I hope I will continue to do so while helping others change as well.

Ginnelle

My college experience has given me a lot from confidence to a sense of independence. Before attending college I had never worked before or ever really been pushed out of my comfort zone so when I got there it was a whole new world for me. However, I think that being in college and not being able to go back has given me even more. I now see, as I try to go back, everything that I had at my disposal and truly appreciate it and value it that much more such as the abundant access to knowledge and tools for success. I feel as though college was an excellent and neccessary step in my life to help not only equip me for life but to help mold me into a better and stronger person.

Katrina

Princeton has such a diverse campus--it really is a melting pot of races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Coming from a small rural school in western Maryland, I was never subject to the beauty of diversity. This "culture shock" has opened my eyes to many traditions and beliefs that are different from my own. I have learned to be respectful of all different cultures and and to even admire them. I know that the world is not like my homogenous hometown: it is rich with people of different origins, of different creeds. Going to a school with such an assortment of students has helped me think not on a Keedysville, MD-scale, but on a national- and international-scale. I feel as though I am prepared to take on the multi-faceted globe with eyes free from the shadow of ignorance.

Garland

Ever since I was old enough to question the concept of education, my parents have stressed the importance of a college degree. Now, after the sweat and frustration of incalculable hours of academic achievement, I stand on the threshold of earning a degree in molecular biology with minors in neuroscience and environmental studies. I have taken every opportunity I could to pursue these goals and they have paid off nicely. Princeton has allowed me to explore the jungles of Honduras and the coral reefs of Bermuda while guiding me towards graduation. I have had the opportunity to learn from world-class professors alongside students from all over the world. I will end up taking more classes than I need to graduate simply because there are so many amazing courses to take each semester. Princeton has done an excellent job of preparing me for life after my undergraduate years, and thanks to its generous financial aid system I will graduate debt free and ready to enter medical school with a clean slate. I am forever in debt to this wonderful institution, and I could not be happier with my decision to attend.

Javier

Princeton University taught me what power really is. Power is having the resources and ability to change the world. Princeton has the power to nurture her students to become the best in their fields, whatever they may be. With a neat apron around her neck, she tends to every single one of our personal needs, making sure we may flourish under her arms. Indeed, her motto "Under God we flourish," reflects this magnanimous maternal attitude, one that only a truly powerful institution could ever afford. At Princeton, I have gotten a life's worth of lessons in my personal, academic, religious and social spheres. I have learned how to describe the vibrating membrane of a drum mathematically, and I have learned that that the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus is the center of our biological clocks; I have learned that God is with me when I am glad and when I am not, and I have learned that putting together a professional rock concert is something teenagers can do. I have learned I will never quite have learned enough. Princeton enabled me to flourish, with her wondrous love and experience, and I will give back to her in the future.

Rafael

In high school, I was an Eagle Scout, I had been a national leader for Students Against Violence Everywhere, and I was ranked first in my class. Though proud of my success, I was eagerly awaiting for the catalyst that would give me the tools and knowledge to reach previously untapped potential; college proved to be that catalyst. At Princeton, I met other first year students who were accomplished athletes, researchers, writers, and artists. Meeting other dedicated students was a truly inspirational experience. The classes I took, Social Psychology, Epistemology and Metaphysics, and International Relations, made me grapple with questions I had never previously considered, and stretched my thinking and understanding of the world in ways I found exciting and refreshing. It is this world-class education that will prepare me to create change on the global scale I’ve always aspired to achieve. The tools and vibrant diversity of thought that college provides are essential to succeed in nearly any enterprise one chooses to undertake. College is an invaluable experience that is giving me the inspiration to reach higher and the preparation to succeed in what I choose to do, bringing my fullest potential to mind and to fruition.

kaya

I've always been working towards something - towards an Ivy League school, a trophy, an A+. And finally, after overcoming a plethora of obstacles and challenges, I'm faced with a problem - I'm now in an environment in which there are too many opportunities, too many goal oriented people, and a grade deflation policy that prohibits no more than 5 A's per class. From Princeton, I've learned that life is not as simple as "winning"; it's more complicated than that, because it requires that one chooses the very challenges that one will eventually have to overcome. And that's what makes life so difficult - knowing that you have the jump the very hurdles that you set for yourself. Mom isn't there to tell me to run the race, nor to pat me on the back if I win it. Now something else must define my existence. There's more to life than just getting high grades and winning a trophy - it's also about defining the character of your life. I've come to realize that living is not about "working towards" life, but rather, defining and living it yourself.

Bonnie

I've learned so much about topics both academic and otherwise--about people, about life. I've met awesome friends and been exposed to great opportunities, and I finally feel like I can live up to my potential. What's not to love?

Jin

The value of Princeton University is not the educational experience that a student will receive there. Granted, academics at Princeton are top notch and the university?s faculty places a special emphasis on undergraduate teaching. The real value of Princeton, however, is the intensive leadership training that the environment provides: Students are plunged into a peer group of a thousand other brilliant and interesting young people. The wealth of extracurricular activities allows every student to take a huge role in shaping the campus environment. The vast resources of the university allow every student to pursue his or her passions. Faculty and administrators do not just lecture, but challenge and engage students to make a difference and to go the extra mile. I received a wonderful academic education from my four years at Princeton. I am more grateful, however, for the experience to interact with other amazingly talented youth who are going to make a difference in the world ten, twenty years down the line.

Carlee

I would advise myself to go with my instincts and to keep an open mind. As a high school senior, I was eventually admitted to my first-choice school, which was in my home state of California. Having applied early to this school and been deferred, however, I would advise myself to not apply early. Applying early just increased my stress levels, and getting deferred was a huge disappointment. Instead of applying early, I would advise myself to keep considering all schools and to really think about the possibility of going across the country for college. I ended up choosing between two schools, my initial first choice in California and another school in New Jersey, about two hours before the deadline. Ultimately I chose the New Jersey school, but seriously considering that possibility from the beginning of the process might have made my decision easier. I remember that at the end, I was almost crying from the enormity of deciding to leave home. Thinking about that possibility earlier might have made the process less emotional. But most importantly, I would tell myself to have faith that my college experience would be worth the pain of applying.

Jacqueline

I was always extremely eager to finish high school and begin my college experience. I thought I had everything figured out. I knew exactly what I wanted to pursue and couldn't wait to begin. If I could travel back in time, I would tell myself to let go of that close-minded certainty. I would advise the younger me to open her mind to all of the extraordinary possibilities Princeton offers, even those that may seem incompatible with what she wants for herself. College has expanded my way of thinking in a way I never could've imagined. In my first semester at Princeton, I learned more about myself than I did in the last two YEARS of high school. The preconceived ideas I had about myself dissolved within months. I'm now pursuing a major in Astrophysics, something I never would've considered as a senior in high school. I am discovering who I am as both an intellectual and personal individual. College is such a valuable and life-altering experience if one enters into it with an open mind and heart. "You don't know anything," I would say to myself. "Your real education starts now."

Ricardo

First: relax. Although the college application process seems frightening, stressing about it every single second will not make it better. Take a moment to breathe and remember that all of your hard work up to now will actually pay off. Second: Remind yourself that you will be around people who are not from the same area as you. There will some things that your fellow students will do that you are not used to, and there will be things that -- while you may find normal -- they might find odd. As long as you keep an open mind and see things from other people's perspective, cultural differences will be less of a burden and more of a learning experience. Finally: Never forget to have fun. Yes, your primary reason for going to college is that you want to get an education that will prepare you for the real world. But there are many other ways to prepare, and some ways you can only learn from participating in an organization or going to campus events. If an event looks interesting to you, go to it! You may find a new friend, or a new talent that you never thought you had.

Birgtt

If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would advise myself in three areas: time management, the importance of companions and family, and the fervent use of my God-given talents. In regards to time management, I would tell myself to work hard, not letting any petty or frivolous distaction sway my attention, and to invest time in hobbies once the work was complete. I would also tell myself to invest time in the lives of others. Oftentimes, striving to succeed can distract people from the most valuable gifts of all: people who were there for you in your success and your failures, loving you every step of the way. And finally, I would tell myself to use my abilities with confidence. Sometimes people are more talented than they think they are; don't be afraid to be passionate about things that interest you, even if you aren't an expert!

Tenley

I would tell my former self to spend less time partying an worrying about your social repuatation an spend more time on academics and ultivating a relationship with your advisor and professors. These relationships may last a lifetime. while false social relationships come and go.

Carrie

After completing practice, finally having a chance to get dinner and shower in the locker room, much time has elapsed, and it is essential to complete the necessary assignments at a decent hour, in order to get a good night of sleep prior to class the following morning. To get work done in the most efficient manner, going straight to a library after dinner is the most productive means. Then, after completing all homework for the night, time can then be spent to relax a little and socialize with others at college. But while in season, managing time is of the utmost importance, as you are not just a student, but a student-athlete. The rigors of being a collegiate athlete are much more demanding than in high school, a lot in part to the challenges of a college curriculum as opposed to that of high school. Once good practices are established and a routine is in place, it is then easier to adjust and find times in the day and during the week that are more suitable for "down-time." College life is what you decide to make it, and the experiences had are dictated by your choices.

Robert

Meet everyone you can! Don't let anything hold you back from trying something new.

Annie

Once you graduate high school and enter college, don't assume that you can slack off. Just because you are now safely in college does not mean your life is set; you cannot sit back and relax. Now more than ever, you have to work, work, and work. As an entering freshman at Princeton, I thought that I had finally reached the peak of this mountain that I had spent the last four years trying to climb, only to find that I was merely at the summit of another mountain. If you thought getting INTO college was hard, wait until you actually have to get THROUGH college. Now more than ever, I realize that the process of striving never ends. As a high school senior, you probably are disheartened to hear this, but as you experience college and all that it has to offer, you will come to relish the act of striving for something you really desire. But at the same time, balance is key. All work can drive you insane, causing you to miss out on your college experience.

Maya

If I had the ability to speak to myself a year ago about my future college experience I would reassure myself that what I was going into was the right choice for me and that Westminster Choir College was an excellent fit for me. I think I would also mention how I would quickly come to really like the cold weather and snow!

Oscar

I would probably emphasize how important GPA will be in simply getting an interview for a job. Furthermore, I'd advise myself to prepare better for each school year and do the best quality work that I can.

Madison

Give yourself a break. Grades and schoolwork is just that; don't let them alter how you live your life. Enjoy every moment and don't let the pressure of transition get to you. You only get to be in college once. Make the most of it.

Katherine

Make sure you're roommates with acquaintances, not good friends. Rooming with a close friend can quickly ruin the relationship (though it sometimes works out).

Dolores

I would advise myself to stay in California for college because I had no idea how important things like familiy and culture were to my sense of normality. I arrived in New Jersey eighteen and alone, and the culture shock of it along with the transition of a California public school to an Ivy League university hit me like a brick wall. I chose to come to the east coast because I wanted to get away from the life I had. I never even realized that what I had was great. I don't regret coming here, but if I had known that a different university would be a better fit for me I would not have set Princeton as my first choice. So, I would tell myself to look at what I had and think about how it would be to lose everything in one day. I would tell myself to think about what I wanted and not focus trying to get into the "best" school possible because it doesnt matter where you go, it's about where you end.

Flavia

College is unlike high school in that no one is holding your hand, setting intermediate deadlines for drafts of papers or giving you quizzes periodically to assess learning; good time management will be more important than ever. Nonetheless, college is an amazing time -- good luck on making the most of it!

Robin

Don't worry about the fact that you like girls, too. The main open lesbians on campus aren't incredibly fun anyway, so making an impression is not a big deal. Take biology in the fall, because 8:30 classes in February in the snow are impossible. Stock up on Red Bull, all-nighters are expensive. Find the right balance between aloof and passionate, because even at Princeton, you might be all alone in your love of something. Don't hook up in the first week. There will always be someone who starts off as a fantastic friend, but then reveals himself to be a complete douchebag; cut him loose. Do your reading. Stay up late to do your reading, even. Don't spend too much time rehearsing your answers in precept; everyone sounds stupid anyway. Learn to love the nap. You might have a great immune system, but that still doesn't make sleeping in a sick person's bed, even if she's not in it, a good idea. Try to be less witty, more sincere. People like witty, but sincere is more lasting. Go to that foam party.

albert

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Pray daily and be filled with the Holy Spirit. http://www.tjc.org

Robert

Your greatest danger is fear: fear that, perhaps, you will not live up to your college's or parents' expectations; that your talents in high school will not impress your new peers; that your personality will not win over new friends; worse yet, that the admissions department made a sloppy mistake. College should be a great experiment, where others' perspectives enrich and enlarge your own world-view so that you can see what is possible. To make college such an experience, however, you must banish this fear. Do not ask whether Alice will find you intelligent or attractive enoughfor her tastes, but rather what you can learn from her example. Do not ask whether the auditions director will hate the fact that your C-sharps are just a little flat or your quarter notes a bit fast, but rather whether playing violin is a true passion and a worthwhile pursuit. You fear in the moment that others judge you and only later will you regret all those missed oppurtunities. But, while your fear lasted an instant, your regret will extend far beyond the moment and harass you years later with a series of "what if" 's and alternate outcomes.

Tara

I would tell myself to understand that what matters is not being the best at everything. While that may have been a focus in high school, focusing on winning while surrounded by thousands of extremely talented students results in unnecessary stress and anxiety. Instead, pursue your goals according to your personal best- all corny-ness aside, it's the best motivation.

Brittany

No one forces me to go to 9 AM class or stay in before an exam. There is no one to stop me from doing just enough to get by - except myself. Have high expectations for yourself, but believe in yourself too. College is a chance to delve deeper into old passions and discover new ones. Far from detracting from your education, devoting time to groups and projects outside the classroom facilitates lasting friendships, teaches valuable lessons about cooperation and time management, and provides an outlet for real world application of knowledge. Strive to maintain balance between major priorities: health, academics, social life, and extracurricular activities. Never forget that so many would love to be in your place. Everyone deserves the opportunity to study at a university that encourages independent thought and supports its students in every endeavor. Yet only a fraction of the world's population gets a chance - for millions, like an African student whose every penny goes towards paying for his malarial sister's medication, a college education is merely a dream to be fantasized about in rare moments of rest. Embrace every opportunity so that your education will matter beyond your four years on campus.

Sarah

It might be hard at first, but trust that it will get a LOT better.

Sara

If you?re used to high school being pretty easy, get over it. Princeton is VERY demanding of your time, intellect, and energy--but don?t worry, it is totally possible to succeed here. Just stay organized and budget your time (and try to sleep a little), and you?ll do just fine academically. However, those hours you spent in the library are not what you will remember about college. You still have room for a great social life! I can say with absolute certainty that the best thing about Princeton is the people. This place is home to thousands of fascinating individuals with ridiculously diverse backgrounds, interests, and personalities. One of the things I love the most about my school is that you are constantly learning--not just in class, but outside of class, too. Make no mistake, you will learn a ton in the classroom, but just as important is what you will learn from your classmates and the stories they tell. In only one year here, I have become familiar with cultures that were all but unknown to me before, and I have developed new and unexpected interests. Bottom line: be more than just a student.

Omoshalewa

Everyone around you may be telling you exactly what school to go to or not. Or maybe there's no one to support you or no one cares where you end up going to college. Or perhaps you have no idea what you want to do with your life. Or you've "had a plan" since you were three years old to attend the most prestigious university, study aerospace engineering and become a rocket designer for NASA... Whatever your "or" is, don?t stress it. This is perhaps the most important decision in your life thus far, but you have many more years to live. Keep it simple. Look for the place with the best bathrooms, comfortable (as much as possible) residential living, good food, and most importantly where you can actually see yourself being. Think about your home and all the things you like and don't like about it. You're going be living in one place for four (more or less) years, the environment is definitely one of the most important things to pay attention too. Once you find the right place --whether it takes you visiting 20 schools or just one-- everything else will come naturally.

Henry

When entering the college application process, keep an open mind. It doesn't matter where your parents went or where they want you to go; it's your life and should ultimately be your decision. Obviously cost can be an issue, but it should never be the most important factor; your education is priceless. Once those letters of acceptance arrive in the mail, it's time to pick your college of choice. If you find yourself broken between schools, visiting the campus can be the best way to make a decision. Pre-freshman programs are your best friend in helping the decisions because you get to really interact with core of the school: the students and the faculty. As for making the most of the college experience, treat it like a whole new world and throw out your preconcieved notions developed in high school. Take a pamphlet from every station at the activities fair; get out and get to know your school community. DO NOT sit in your dorm all day long doing work. Of course school work is important but college offers much much more academics so be sure to take advantage of that.

Aaron

Everyone tries to convince you that finding the right college is like choosing the perfect meal: it must taste right without breaking the bank. When ordering dinner at a restaurant, the primary concerns for most people are taste and price. The ideal entree satisfies hunger without leaving a dent in your wallet. Likewise, the most pressing concerns for prospective college students are ?fit,? and cost. It is important to find a school that meshes well with your ambitions and personality, but it would stupid to throw money away by going to a school with a big price tag, no matter how great it is. Or so they tell you. While it is important to live within your means, when it comes to what you?ll be ?eating? for the next four years, the size of the check at the end of the meal should never be the most important factor. It is far better to be happy at an expensive school than to be miserable somewhere while you save a buck. After all, you can always go back to a restaurant to try a different dish, but choosing a college is a once in a lifetime decision.

A.

When you walk onto campus, it should feel like home. When you experience that, you've found THE place for you.

Zahava

Don't expect your admissions process to be logical or predictable. College admissions brochures may not be totally honest, but by seeing which features colleges play up, you know what features are importatnt to them. Email students (you can find them via student group websites) to find out the real story of what's going on at the college. Get involved in extracurriculars, and always make sure you don't take on so much that classes become secondary.

Eric

Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Students, follow your heart. Parents, stay out of your kids' way. Did I know the financial burden I would face by choosing the school I did? Aboslutely! Did I know how hard classes would be, and how difficult it would be to also play a varsity sport? Absolutely! However, I knew the second I set foot on that campus my senior year of high school that I was home. Everything I had dreamed of about college growing up, playing a varsity sport and going to school on the east coast, culminated in a school that also satisfied my new found desire for learning and spiritual growth. At that moment, when I stepped foot on campus, I knew that I couldn't let anything prevent me from going there, not even the almighty dollar. Don't pick the school with the best academic record, or the prettiest campus, or the one that is most affordable for you. There is money available for motivated students, you just have to find it. You'll know which school is right for you, because being there will be like going home.

Courtney

Make sure to visit everywhere you go - you CANNOT decide just by reading about a school or looking at pictures. Also, don't base where you go SOLELY on financial situation-if you need help, there are ways to get it. Also, it seems to all fall together. Once in college, make sure to relax sometimes--for many, this is the last 4 years of "childhood"; enjoy it, but try hard-you are shaping your future.

kate

Parents, welcome to High School, where students compete in America's most vicious sport: Getting In to College. Forget about your fond memories of Senior Prom and Cheerleading. Today's kids have been groomed since birth with club sports and SAT tutoring. Fascinated by the insanity surrounding college admissions, I wrote a comedy , "Getting In, the Musical", and produced it at my high school. Because the main character was the 'College Admission Officer from Hell', my parents did not want me to include this play with my admissions packet. Actually, they were furious that I dropped Varsity Water Polo, "my ticket to college", in order to write this musical. LESSON ONE: LET YOUR CHILDREN FOLLOW THEIR PASSION Not only did I discover my passion for writing with 'Getting In', but I also know that my Early Admission Acceptance to Princeton was due, in large part, to that writing sample. Princeton's Creative Writing Department is amazing and turned out to be the perfect school for me. LESSON TWO: LET YOU CHILDREN FOLLOW THEIR INSTINCTS IN SELECTING A COLLEGE. Their first impressions of a school are usually correct. COLLEGE IS AMAZING: BE BRAVE, BE OPEN TO NEW EXPERIENCES ACADEMICALLY AND SOCIALLY.

Ian

The most important part of the college search is the visit and talking candidly to real students. There is no other way to get the true "feel" of a university or college.

Catherine

Don't let the college process get to you: it's overwhelming and overrated. Take your time, try not to stress, and listen to what your heart tells you when you step onto the "right" college campus. But to be honest, there is more than one "right" college for each person. Also, to parents -- putting pressure on your child is not going to help them in any way to make what seems like the hardest decision in their life thus far. Instead, try to give them space and support whatever decision they make. And students -- once you finally do start college, take advantage of every second because it will be over before you know it. Make a million friends, have fun, meet your professors and maximize how much you can learn from them. Pick a major that you truly love, not what your parents have been dreaming about their whole lives, but whatever subject makes your heart beat just a little faster and whatever classes make you spring out of bed just a little sooner. But truly just remember to enjoy yourself!

Lindsay

The college process is a very personal one; I would therefore encourage parents and students alike to branch out from pre-conceptions of one college versus another and visit as many schools as possible in order to make their own decisions about what FEELS right to them. I would likewise encourage students to apply to all of the schools that they really love (REGARDLESS of the "reach"), while all the while keeping an open mind to options that they may not have thuroughly explored. In my opinion, the best way to go about doing this is to look at the list of schools to which you will apply as a WHOLE as opposed to focusing on a single school; make sure there's some variation of your own percieved culture and feel as well as level of selectivity among the schools on your list, and be sure to inlude some schools that might somewhat extend outside your general "comfort zone." Once a list like this is constructed, you can sit back, relax, and leave it up to the admissions process to highlight only those schools where you will truly thrive!

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