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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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

Realistically weigh out the student's motivations, dreams, and academics capabilities to seek the best reputable college accordingly within reach. Obtain information (visiting the campus, taking a tour, and asking questions to real students is probably the most effective) and knowledge about the subject school(s) regarding: the workload; the level of academic challenge; facilities; availability of extracurricular activities; the student body, diversity, and social life; faculties; atmosphere; housing; the surrounding area; job prospects and career development services; etc.... and compare with the student's expectations and preferences. Cost should not be an initial item of concern, given the student truly wants to attend the school in analysis-- most of the time the student's motivation and academic capabilities will yield an appropriate level of Financial Assistance from the school. Only once the family obtains that information after submitting the application should the student and his family finalize their decisions on availability of family contributions, and the student's willingness (note not by blind ambition) to take on loans. Given that the student and his family approaches the college selection process logically with each involved member assuring each others' objective judgment, finding the perfect school is not an impossible task.

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Finding the college that is "right" for your child is essential to their long-term success. The right college is the one that fits your child's needs in every area. You must give careful consideration to how your child fits in academically. Your child's GPA and SAT and /or ACT scores should fall in the colleges median range. The college should offer the extra-curricular activities that your child will want to participate in. Make sure the size of the institution fits with your child's personality. Some kids thrive in large public university settings while others get lost. Sometimes, it's best to be "a big fish in a small pool." The geographical location of the school should also be given consideration. Many activities are driven by location. Lastly, give careful consideration to the costs. Public universities are subsidized by the state and federal government, making them more affordable. Private institutions are more costly, but have more funds available to award for top notch academic candidates. By researching all colleges and universities in the country using the critieria outlined above, I know you will find the college that is RIGHT for your child.

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In order to find the right college, it is first necessary for the student to identify who they are and aim to be. There are multiple online resources available, as well as high school counselors, to help students align their interests and goals with what schools have to offer, and I would highly recommend taking advantage of all possible resources. Once the vast list of universities is narrowed down, the next step is to visit them all (or as many as possible) and speak with current faculty, students, and alumni to get a feel for the campus from different perspectives--I truly believe that it is necessary to visit the campus and surrounding area so there are no surprises. In order to make the most of the experience, students should be willing to try new things and interact with new people, while maintaining a healthy balance between academia and extracurriculars. There is always something to do on campus or in the surrounding area; however, activities are not necessarily advertised for, so it is sometimes necessary to do some research. To summarize, the best decision is an informed decision, and happiness really does influence a student's outlook and performance.

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My freshman semester, I overloaded on difficult classes, pledged a service fraternity, accepted Associate News Editor Position at the Polytechnic and took an EMT-B class. All of these experiences allowed for the making of long-lasting friendships with ‘brothers’ that still inspire me, exposure to shocking emergencies as part of RPI Ambulance, and late nights in the Student Union putting through front page layouts only to be harassed by copyeditors over orphan words. Sadly, that first year of college was a blur of activity that was torment on my grades that semester. I let myself be too easily and quickly drawn into the possibilities of college life, having largely lived a studious and academic existence in high school of debate team, robotics and forensics club. If I could advice myself about making the transition now I would tell myself to take one thing at a time. Looking back on my college experience now after having completed my Bachelors and Masters of Science in four years, I reconsider my efforts. Life is never a race. Ample time should be taken to relish the simple things in life: Celebrate your victory over a brutal 14 hour take-home-exam.

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In recent years competition to get into college has become so rigorous that simply being accepted into one is rendered a significant accomplishment. Unfortunately, this causes many students to define success by the college they get into. Bear in mind that attending college is not success, but a trail to it. Whether you attend your top choice university or not, make sure you do not underestimate freshman year. The change in lifestyle and new social scheme can be distracting; work hard and keep your goal in focus. College is expensive! Use the free time you have at the end of senior year to apply to scholarships. The summer after high school is valuable time; save some of it for yourself and spend the rest wisely. College is Pandora?s Box of opportunities, many of which come from your professors. Be sure to talk to your instructors; they are very resourceful and can help you make the most of your education. Lastly and most importantly, do not procrastinate! This is a golden warning that too few heed. You may get away with procrastinating in the beginning, but it will catch up to you. Overall, college is quite the experience, so enjoy!

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College is one of the greatest times in your life. It is extremely important that you are comfortable, happy, and enjoy whatever college you attend. The perfect fit exists, you just need to find it. When searching for colleges, look for opportunities to express yourself and explore new things. Other near-by colleges offer great ways to meet people and avoid stagnation. It is possible to focus so much on your home campus, you never realize that there are other ways of learning, studying, and enjoying yourself, some of which you might prefer to what you do now. An adventurous spirit and a commitment to exploration will show you a world of possibilities. Above all, know that the college years are years of opportunity. Anything and everything is possible. At college, you have access to resources the likes of which you may never encounter again. Colleges are filled with experts in any and every field of study, with funding ready for an interested student. Your peers are full of energy, and can help you fulfill any goal you set. If you have an interest, a desire, pursue it. Discover your world. Make things happen. You won't regret it.

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SAT scores and high school GPA's are a common focus among high schooler's looking to find where they belong . Average salaries and companies graduates work for is also seemingly important; but these factors are nothing more than statistics, they provide no information pertaining to the quality of life of the average student. Intellect and future prospects are important factors, but I wouldn't consider them deal making. I strong urge all high school students looking to find the college they belong in to go to campus when classes are in session and visit with some of the students. Talk to them and ask them how they are enjoying the scool and how they get along with their classmates. Find out if the amount of time they dedicate to their studies versus their social life is a balance you are comfortable with. Make sure that you can relate to the students there, that you can connect on multiple levels in multiple ways. Most of what I learned in college wasn't from the classroom, but from connecting with the people I bonded with there and undergoing the pitfalls of life together. Money and grades are transient; expereinces last forever.

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Finding the right college is about being completely honest with yourself. You need to determine the environment where you do your best work, and try to find a college that facilitates your learning style. The best place to start is to characterize your high school experience. What did you like or dislike about your high school experience? What would you change about your school if you had the chance? When you think about your high school experience, you can often find what you are looking for in a college. When you get to college, the most important thing to remember is that opportunity will not come to you. You are responsible for you own destiny, and have to seek opportunities. That said, once you put in a little bit of effort, the school will pay you back tenfold. Further, if you want to do an activity or would like to see something about campus changed, make an effort to do it. Most schools are very supportive to student initiative, and one person can make a difference. Finally, if you want something changed about the school, join the student government and make a difference. Remember, college is whatever you make it!

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First and foremost, I would tell myself that in order to get the most out of you college experience and education you MUST learn to handle all of your newly acquired freedom responsibly. Naturally, your first wish is to make new friends, go to parties, and explore the surrounding cities, while almost completely ignoring your academic obligations. But you've got to realize that, while it is a time to mature and even develop lasting relationships, your main priority is to receive the fullest college education you possibly can. If you havent already learned proper study habits and work ethic, now is the time to buckle down and do so; parties, friends, guys, they will all still be there after you finish college. So resist the urge to put off school work in lieu of pursuing a social life that could be a thousand times more enjoyable with a degree or two from a presitigious institution under your belt. And of course within all of this, dont forget who you are. Despite the widely varying, and horribly influential, habits of those around you, stay strong and remain tue to your established character and set of morals. Oh, and good luck!

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The first step to finding the right school of architecture for you is deciding whether or not you want to be a practicing, liscened architectural designer. If that's your goal, then go online and find the list of schools with accredited architecture programs in the U.S. In order to become liscened you must have a degree from one of these accredited schools. From there, I narrowed down my choices quickly by considering the geographic locations of the schools on the list. Then it was simply a matter of visiting the ones I was interested in, gathering information, and going with my gut feeling. After you've made your decision, I have two major pieces of advice for an incoming architecture student. Firstly, make sure you get involved with something outside of the school of architecture. Make a time committment to something you enjoy doing--this forces you to get away from your work and have some fun--something that's extremely important for you to have. My second pieces of advice is to enjoy the time you're "stuck" working in studio for long hours. Get to know your peers, and those friendships will become priceless.

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