Principia College Top Questions

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


If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior I would tell myself that college really isn't going to be as tough and scary as it is made out to be. The school work really isn't that much harder in college, and I have met many great people. Overall I would go back and tell myself to stop worrying and enjoy your senior year!


You know what is good? Your life. Don't walk away. I know high school wasn't fun overall - or any part of the school system you have seen so far. Just wait until college. Give education a chance to be exciting and fulfilling. You think discrete math sounds like a ton of bricks. Wait until you've learned it from a former CIA data analyst in a class with people like you. Wait for the chance to swim the Mississippi for a PE course or build a solar car for an engineering class - a solar car that wins 7th worldwide against ivy league schools. Wait to play Phantom of the Opera on French Horn with an organist in full costume. Wait to take Russian history with a man who witnessed the Berlin Wall break. Wait for the chance to build a caving organization in your area or plan an all campus field-trip to the most significant job fair in your field. Yes you want to focus in computer technology, but Principia won't let you be so narrow minded. Don't consider anywhere else - the love of your life is just a college application away.


There are definitely many things that I would consider changing regarding my decisions that were made in high school. One decision that stands out the most would be putting forth more effort. Experiencing my first year of college made me realize that it is such a complete opposite when you compare it to high school. In just my first of college I have done much longer and more difficult work then I have ever had to do in my high school experience. So, if I could go back, I would have tried harder to get better grades because I know that I had and still have the capability to have done so.


As a high school senior, I wondered about what college I would want to attend and what I would want to study. After attending several high schools I knew that I wanted to study at a college that would allow me to explore myself. I wanted to focus on a place where I could take a potpourri of classes in different disciplines, get involved in student-run clubs and artistic endeavors, along with allowing me to experience new cultures and develop skills. When looking for a college, I believe that you should have an idea of what you are envisioning, and ask questions to those who work and attend the colleges you are considering. Will this college give you opportunities to intern, work on ?hands-on? projects and gain skills that will enable you to start a career, or will this college simply give you fact-based or theoretical knowledge? Make sure to inquire about the social structure, class sizes, dining services, and student housing as well. As a college sophomore, I?m grateful to say that I asked these questions, and the more that I am asking them, the better my college experience has turned out to be.


A student's college life is about finding one's self. This is the time to learn about hard work and work ethics and that's why its important to be surrounded by quality people at a quality enviornment. Is there truly a need for a party school? There will be plenty of years after college for partying. If you decide to go to college its because you care about your education and about your learning experience. That is why you need to find the perfect place you identify with solemnly. A place where you can study and feel comfortable being yourself. College its about yourself and your future! What's it going to be?


Make sure you really know what the school and the people who attend the school are like. Visit during the school year and meet some of the students. I transfered from another university, and the type of students makes a big difference.


Go someplace where you can grow. That has a different meaning for everyone. Maybe you think you're only interested in one thing--go somewhere where you can try out different classes should your tastes change. Maybe you are completely satisfied with your high school friends. Go somewhere where you can meet different people as your personality shifts or your interests expand. If you're scared of something--a place too big, too small, too far from home, too close--don't completely shut out your options based on that fear. Realize that college is meant to be an education, but it is also the fence between structured life through school and the completely unplanned future. It is a time to explore and hopefully change. Sure, college should be comfortable. Visit your choices and envision walking those paths, sitting in those dorms, learning from those professors. But, make sure you don't feel so comfortable you will never try new activities, branch out to different people, or have the courage to study something foreign to you. Make college a personal and strong choice, but just know some anxiety just means you have the opportunity to grow.


The right college for you is not always the one that looks right on paper. One of the most important things you can do is to go visit the school while it is in session -- sit in on classes, talk to professors, and talk to students about their own experiences with the school. Your college years are some of the most important and memorable ones of your life so you want to make sure you're in the right place. Once you get there, don't forget that you get what you put into your experience. If you sit in your room and study (or play video games!) all day, you won't enjoy college. Put yourself out there -- get involved in at least one or two things that you're passionate about. You'll becoming a more well-rounded (and marketable) person and you really will make the most of the opportunities you have in front of you. Most of all don't forget to have fun -- you only go to college once! Enjoy your last few chances at having a 'free' summer :)


My advice to future college students is to pick a college that you feel will enhance your skills in every aspect of your life. You should feel comfortable with the school, not only in academics, but socially too because interaction between students and students and faculty is very important. Go to a school that you are proud of. School spirit can bring all students together as they fight to defend their own. Join groups, athletics, or theater productions and get involved in your school. This is the only time that you will be able to join groups carefree of other obligations. Try new things such as leadership postitions to see how far you can excel. My advice to future college parents is to trust your child if he or she thinks they have found the right college. Although it may not be the college you picked out for them, ultimately, your child will know what is best for them. Be cautious of the reasoning to why they would like to attend this college, but know that there is a balance between pushing your child to the highet level and letting them be comfortable in certain settings.


Traveling is the best thing any student can experience before and during their college years. Travel, travel, travel. That's my recommendation. Travel solo or with friends or with a school group. Study abroad or take a semester at sea or take a semester off and backpack for three months. Do something unusual, uncomfortable, or unique (or all three!). Look around - observe different people , different cultures, different ways of life. Appreciate all and then be grateful for what you have and the opportunities ahead. Instead of thinking what you can get out of an experience, think how you can give. Help a stranger and ask for nothing in return. Take time to reflect, to journal, to understand yourself. What do you love? What are your passions? What would you do if you had a single year to live? Call your parents and let them know how you are. Find that unbeaten path - even if you're in a metropolis. What is distinctly you? A city of 10 million still holds 10 million individuals. Don't sweat the small stuff. Be genuinely happy to meet those your come in contact with. Pray. Share with others all you have learned. Laugh.


Take your time. Visit your school(s) of choice. Go with your instict. Ultimately school about you, not only the future. Don't freak out when you are trying to decide. If worst comes to worst you can always transfer. Finally, don't attend any college solely for another person. College is your time to develop yourself for the real world. It's not just about dating, or partying or finding the world's best job, its a combination of the three. The better you balance these in college the better prepared for the real world you'll be.


Don't choose a college based on prestige or super-specific programs. Most of us come out of college doing something much different than we thought going in. Find somewhere that feels like home, where you know you can meet lifelong friends. If you don't love the atmosphere, you won't want to stay. Visit before you accept to make sure. Once you get there, make the most of these short years. Don't drink too much- it's too important a time to only remember half of it. And this is the time in your life when your schedule as is wide open as it will ever be. Do well in school, but don't miss an opportunity to do something random, spontaneous, and fun. Try things that put you outside your comfort zone. Take the time to challenge your values and see everyone's perspective. Different views and ways of thinking are freely being handed to you- examine them all but don't take them all in. All in all, you have no idea what wonderful things are waiting for you- embrace it with a wide open mind.


Determind your motives. Though your major may be unclear, decide what your motives are for attending college. Do you want to explore your options or do you have a career in mind? Also take college costs into consideration. College is an investment, and the return ought to also be considered. If you are thinking about taking out a large student loan you might want to think about how you will pay that back. What kind of jobs will be available to you after you graduate? Community college is a great place to start, especially for students who want to explore different academic areas. They are inexpensive and have reputable professors and often have small classes. Even if you are focused on a clear track in high school and have a strong plan for your college academics and career goals, it can be easy to lose sight of that once you get to college, especially if you go far away from home. There are many people to meet and parties to attend. It is easy to over-party and neglect school. Though you should definitely have fun, it is important to stay focused. Keep your original motives in mind.


The most important part of finding the right school is letting it find you. There are always going to be a lot of schools that are prestigious, known for their fun social atmosphere, or have impressive programs. It takes a lot of humility, but you have got to know that a "good" school is sometimes different than the "right" school. Pick what is best for YOU. It's like going to a restaurant known for it's great steak but wanting salad. Just because there are more elaborate options doesn't mean you need to opt for them! Sometimes you do want steak, and if that's the case, get the steak! Ultimately you have to remember two things: if you are only looking at what you want to take from college, you will never find total satisfaction. Why not look at where you are going to be prepared to give the most to the world? Secondly, your college experience-- no matter where you go--is only going to be as strong as the work you put into it. So stop worrying about finding a dream school and start deciding how you are going to make any school a dream.


I would suggest visiting the school during the school year, to make sure you like the look and feel of the school.