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Randolph College

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

To find the right institution, you must first have some kind of goal in mind: do you wish to study French or are you in to journalism, or perhaps do you want to be a doctor or a teacher? Armed with this self-knowledge, search through the programs offered at each school--and not only educational programs, but also clubs, associations, and sports that are an integral part of your life. Then visit. Visiting gives you the opportunity to speak with the professors you will be taking classes from, to question the students about the assignments, classes, and attitudes. Then decide, could you thrive in such an environment? The necessity of working hard aside, take the courses that interest you. As the years go on and you come closer to graduation, the work is only going to get harder and there is nothing worse than doing hard work you detest. When work inspires your imagination, makes you feel like you are walking a tightrope with a pen in hand, then leaves you grinning and giddy once it is completed it is no longer work at all but enjoyment. One such class makes surviving all the other required classes worth while.

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Look for something that suits your (the student's) interests, and does not appear like it will have financial troubles in the near future. The biggest complaint I have about my school is that it has been lieing to students, prospective students, and alums for the last 15 years. Since I started here, it has cut 6 departments, including two of the programs I was interested in. If your main reason to go to a school is for a single program, consider finding out if you can still attend that program as an outside student. Putting all your hopes into one place, is likely to get them trounced. Also, unless you are one to hole up in your room, make sure you can actually get around the vicinity of the school, either by walking, or other means, especially if you do not have a car. A pretty campus is one thing, but if you cannot walk anywhere and there is nothing but schoolwork to do on campus, you will go insane, particularly when they decide to raise your tuition 15% a year (or more). In other words, do not choose the school formerly known as Randolph-Macon Woman's College.

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Before starting college I would advise that you find out what you really want to do for your career. I have heard it time and time again, but remember the workforce you go into is what you are going to be doing for the rest of your life pretty much. If you are not happy in your field of study don't force it upon yourself. I would recommend that you use your years in highschool to figure out what you enjoy doing for a career such as interning or even visiting as place that allows you to experience the field in real time. Having this knowledge of yourself will not only help out in college so you don't waste time in school but also help out your whole life because that is where you will most likley stay in your career path. Finally important thing that I would advise to myself about would be to take my grades and classes seriously. School is a necessity and if you are wanting to be successful in life hard work and schooling should be a constant factor that should be kept in mind for everyone especially myself.

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Selecting a college for the first time is sort of like going shoe shopping. As a prospective college student, you are a shoe shopper that has worn out his or her old pair of shoes and are looking to start anew. Unfortunately, there are thousands of different shoes styles: some with frill and exciting colors like hot pink and neon blue, while others are more prim and proper as exciting as glue. These new pricy shoes have to last you four years, so choose wisely, but don't come to tears. Have faith in yourself to make the right decision. Of course, you should listen to the advice from your friends and family, but your heart will tell you what choice to make in the end. After what seems like the longest time, you will find a pair of shoes that might cost much more than a dime, but will allow you to be at your prime. So stand tall in your new found shoes! Cast aside your doubts. Step forward onto the path of life and make the first step count. Go beyond what is just near and conquer all that you fear.

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The advice I give to you is very opinionated. However, choose the college that feels like the home away from home. I never expected the school that is $40,000 per year to be the right college for me but it is. I understand money is an issue for most people as finances are tight; but that is why there are loans. Your college experience should not be entirely based on your grades and GPA. Yes, I too was an overachiever with a 4.0 in high school , but now I have a 2.0 in college and am still very proud of myself. You may say this will never happen to you as a student, but that is regardless, the point is that grades aren't the only important thing. College is about your intellectual growth as a person and an adult. College is also a fun, but make sure that you balance your time well to ensure that you don't get over your head. Sometimes college can be a long and challenging road to bear, but that is what sets you apart from other individuals who did not take the journey to get the degree.

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First off make sure that you visit the college and make contact with as many people there as you can! Professors, staff and students will all play an important role in your college experiance. Visiting also allows you to get a feel for whether or not the school is a good fit for you and a place you would be comfortable living and learning for the next four years. Don't neglect taking a look around the surrounding community either. If you enjoy attending church, volunteering or watching performing arts performances then figure out what is offered in that area. Go see a show, talk to community service organizations or attend services at a local church. Then once you enroll in the school conect with those organizations, get involved on campus, take a very active role in your education both inside and outside of the classroom. Take an active role in your college experiance and make it your own or encourage your child to do so!

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Understand the financial aspects of going to college. It isn't fun to get there and realize you don't have enough to stay. Make sure you have all of your finances in order early on. Find your niche in the community. There is always something for everybody you just have to go out and discover where you belong. Don't become recluse becuase you will never survive. When picking the right school, make sure that you know what you want. Don't judge a school by its size, political ideals, religious ideals. It's all about education. Sometimes the smaller schools are best becuase you will get great faculty to student ratios and there will be no TAs or grad students teaching classes, only the professors. The professors, more times then not, are also holding the highest possible degree in their field and are the best to learn from.

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I encourage students to think about what they want before going into the process of chosing a college. Making the decision involves careful thought. It is a decision that has an immense impact on one's life. Know your learning style, living habits and what type of environment you want to be in. I encourage students to visit schools to help decide. This will allow them to creatively place themselves into the campus atmosphere. Take advantage of the resources your institution provides you with. If you ever find yourself struggling, realign yourself with the vision you have set for yourself. Ultimately, your personal vision is what binds you to achieving success. More importantly, know what to expect and devise of a plan to assimilate into the community and make the best of your college experience.

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Chosing a college is truly one of the most important choices you can make. The best advice I can give to parents and students about finding the right school is to go on college visits, stay overnight, attend a class, and talk with current students if you can. It isn't always easy to find the perfect school, but it's important to do your research. The advice I would give to students to make the most of the college experience is: take and savour every expereince that comes your way; at the time it may not seem like much, but you never know how that experience can make you a better person. I would also recommend completeing an internship and building contacts through out your college experience. It will only help you later when you are ready to enter the real world!

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I would tell myself to have more fun and take more risks. I was concentrated on academics and while I did have a social life I was afraid sometimes to try new things. I think I should have enjoyed my youth and experimented with more things in order to learn more about myself and others. I would also tell myself to be more organized earlier on (i.e. taking internships more seriously) and not to stress out as much as I did. That would have helped me enjoy myself and not put so much pressure on myself. Lastly, I would have told myself to participate in more traditions, save more memorabilia, and really try to network with alumni and other people outside my group since my school is now co-ed and I do cherish those memories even more.

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