When selecting a college, just the person entering before looking at the statistics. Small class sizes and a high ratio of professors-students will not do anything for one that wants the typical movie college experience. Any person who is determined to make the most of their education will bite the bullet and make themselves known to their professors. Also, education applied in the real world is everything to today's society; in other words, check out the community surrounding the school. Look at what the student is interested in and use common sense, i.e. do not send an intended international business major to a farm town. Another point to question is whether or not the campus population is a good fit for you. If unable to visit the campus, call them, talk to them, or maybe connect with them in other means of current social networking (facebook). Lastly, do not get overly attached to statistics and ratings. Every 'number one' school on the review list that you hold had to replace a previous 'number one'. Those ratings will change every year, and schools will change their styles and mission statements several times over your lifespan. Make yourself count.
When searching for a college, it is most important to find a college that will allow you flexibility in your studies. Many well known and respected colleges have very strict programs that make you feel like an item on an assembly line, and this is a negative if you consider yourself a creative individual. Even if you are interested in the hard sciences, fidning a college that allows flexibility in your studies above all else is crucial to a successful college experience. Look for original honors programs, independent study courses, and applied study courses as signs that the university offers an experience geared toward the individual student wants. Make the distinction between faculty that are interested in teaching and faculty that are interested in their own research, and appreciate the former for their dedication to your education and to the student body rather than their own interests. Find a college that offers a vast diversity of studies with a diversity of courses, and a low student/professor ratio. Above all, college is what you make of it, so don't neglect to get involved when oppotunity knocks and accept the challeges your heart desires.
Knowing what I know about college life and the transition from high school to a more independant lifestyle, I would have taken up a second job over the summer prior to my attendance to instill a stronger feeling of financial security. I also would have doubled my efforts in searching and applying for scholarships involving outstanding academic performance, again to achieve a better sense of stability which would prove beneficial to my college studies in the form of stress relief. Another thing I would do would have been researching more colleges which were compatable with my goals and choice of major. Doing so would have given me a wider range of options to choose from and may have proven beneficial in the sense that a more desireable, suitable college may have been brought to my attention and proved to house more fitting opportunities for me to further my education and advance in my knowledge and skills as an aspiring fashion designer. More schools would have led to more opportunities for connections to the industry in which I want to become involved post graduation as well as better internships and opportunities for me to expand my work experience.
This reminds me of a Brad Paisley song "Letter to Me" . Looking backwards, I have made two transitions in my college career. I first started attending a community college in my area before transferring to Radford University. Each transition is scary due to new things, new people, and new challenges. You have to put your fear behind you and trudge forward. One can get lost in the shadows due to new things because you are busy watching others. I would tell myself that you have to remember that school does come first as it should but the activities and friends that you make along that educational journey are what help you get through those tough courses. You make friends with people that help you towards your goal not the ones that help you blow off your homework. One key to success that I would tell every high school senior is that asking questions in class or after class does not make you stupid. It makes you the smarter student because more than likely there are several other students that are confused on the same thing. Remember to be yourself, be prepared, and enjoy the ride. It is all great!
As someone who believes that education is one of the most important things that our society can spend its resources on, I love that my college education has allowed me to learn new things and constantly add new personal and technical skills to my skill set. College has taught me not only a valuable career for my future but it was also instrumental in developing my personality as a well rounded adult. As a shy person who did not have many friends in high school my college career taught me valuable lessons in how to interact with others. My college experience also allowed me to take a leadership role on campus and helped me to develop skills which will allow me to lead and manage others in my career field. College is a safe enviroment where people can express themselves and develop skills that they may not have had a chance to develop if they went straight into a job after high school. These are just a few of the reasons that college attendance is valuable . College attendance is different for each person and there are a myraid of possiblites that are possible for each and every person who attends.
I would advise my high school self to branch out and make the most of the time that I thought was so abundant when I started my undergraduate career. I can remember spending many afternoons wasting time in my dorm room during my first year at university, not involved in clubs, organizations, activities, or anything outside of the classroom or my immediate friend group. I really regret this, and find myself wishing that I had joined more organizations and made more friends when I had started school. I would also tell myself that going to class is mandatory. Now I attend every class, and I even find myself enjoying it, but I can distinctly recall skipping multiple classes a week when I was starting out. I thought I had better things to do than sit in a classroom and listen to a professor lecture, but now I realize that this was money and time wasted. Moreover, as time went by, I found myself increasingly engaged in class and enjoying learning both in and out of the classroom. I would tell my high school self to start this earlier so as to prepare for an interesting and prosperous educational career.
If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to prepare for a totally different experience. I would focus on time management outside of class because there is an incredible amount of free time in college than high school. I would tell myself to treat the new freedoms as a privilege and not abuse it. I would also tell myself to be very open to different situations that college offers and learn from the opportunities that arise. The reason I would tell myself this is because the lessons you learn in college are similar to the lessons of life and grasping these concepts will make you successful. Another thing I would tell myself is to be organized and always be on time and professional because when you are new to school, your presentation is what you are immediately judged on first whether its writing, apperance, or communication. The most important advice I would give myself is to stay focus and become a leader. The reason for this is because if you are a leader, there is nothing that can stop you from completing the goals that you have for yourself.
One thing I would tell myself as a high school senior preparing for college would be to purposefully learn how to learn. By this I mean that I would want to view every opportunity (whether an assignment, project, lecture time, etc.) as preparation for something in the future, instead of viewing them as a checklist to be finished quickly so that I could have more free time. By learning how to learn, I would have the mindset to see them as excellent opportunities to build discipline, good study habits, and understanding for not only college but for the rest of my career and life. This leads me to a second thing I would tell myself, which would be to learn how to manage time. In college we experience a lot of freedom as we are no longer in high school, but we with this comes responsibility. It takes extra effort to learn how to balance time and make a good schedule to abide by. Furthermore, managing time requires knowing what my priorities are and how much time ought to be dedicated to them. Learning how to manage time is another lesson that would benefit me throughout all of life.
First you need to decide what size college you would like to attend. This is VERY important and can narrow you search by a lot. If you like small classrooms with more attention from the teacher, then a small college may be right for you. If you want to attend a college because it has famous professors or because you want less focus on you as a student then look at big colleges. Then of course you have to take money into consideration. In-state colleges are usually the best choice because in-state prices are much cheaper than out of state in most instances. How do you get the most of your college experience? Don't spend most of it with a hangover! College is probably the most fun experience you will ever have in your life, but you need to realize that there is more to college than drugs, sex and alcohol. I mean college students will be college students but practice moderation, moderation...MODERATION!! Make the most of on-campus activites and clubs. Being an officer in on campus clubs and organizations looks great on your resume and is very rewarding. Good luck!
When you go on tours, make sure you not only look at the buildings and all the normal stuff that your tour guide shows you--but look at the people on campus, around campus. Drive around the residential neighborhoods that make up the community where the school is located. What the campus looks like has nothing to do with the experience. If you get the chance, even talk to people, students and teachers. Ask them where a certain building is, or how to do something--see how they respond. If they respond nicely, walk around with you--or even tell you their names, then thats the school I would send my children to. You want a friendly environment for your children. Make sure that if there is nice weather, what is everyone doing outside? What are the students talking about. Snoop, if you have to. Theres no better way to understand what being a student at that school would feel like than to observe the students going to that school. They can control what the campus looks like when you visit--but they cant tell their students to all be happy and friendly on the day that you visit!.