Rice University Top Questions

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

Kyle

Don't underestimate the amount of learning that happens outside the classroom. The thousands and thousands of dollars you pay each year will be a waste if all you do is schoolwork. Don't be afraid to lessen your course load so you can focus on yourself more. It's easy to think you have time for everything you want to do while still taking a full, difficult course load, but everything requires sacrifice, and the first thing that usually goes is personal time and personal growth. Do not let this happen. I don't know if there's one definitive thing you should learn while in college, but, if there is, I'd bet it isn't something you'd learn in class, so don't take extracurricular or personal learning lightly. Now don't get the wrong idea, class is important, but knowing your limits is more important.

LaQuishia

Hey LaQuishia, I'm the future you two years later. Well LaQuishia, first thing first, I'm in college now and it's not all fun and games. You need to step up on your studing skills, can't study at last minute. Second, you need to set up a BETTER sleeping pattern, you go to sleep late and wake up really early and crash in the middle of the day. Need to pay attention more in class, it will help out more in the long run. Last and not least the worst thing is you need to pay attention and study more in Math, we suck.! Now you are doing great in going to school everyday and on time, and that really paid off good here in the future. Also, you are doing great and reading classes, you did so good you don't need to take reading classes. Help us, no help yourself prepare for the future. And Keep up the good work. Signed, LaQuishia from 2013

Alicia

You will be unprepared. Accept that, and know this - no one else is prepared for Rice, either, and so you're all on equal footing. Don't worry about homesickness; Rice is more than enough of a home to keep that at bay. Embrace your English major, because as much as the idea of being an engineer and making money right out the college gate sounds amazing, English is your true calling, and trying to change that will only hurt. And don't forget the frying pan at home. You're going to need it.

Jamie

If I could go back, I would tell myself not to be afraid of joining in new activities and clubs at the beginning of the year. I would tell myself to be open to all opportunities and realize college is a time to reinvent myself. I would tell myself that it is okay to move forward in my interests and with my new friends and not to worry too much about the past.

Dahyeon

Just because the college applications had a box for declaring your major does not mean that the words you entered in that box must determine your college education. You are not going to know what you want to be so early in life, so don't try to commit so early. Explore your options, because that 14 hours of your psychology major classes and the 6 hours of pre-med classes you will otherwise sign up for your first semester in college will be a complete waste once you realize that you do not want to major in psychology and that you do not want to go to medical school. Relax and have some fun--following a strict path was for high school. Your freshman year should widen your view and have you thinking about possibilities, not turning them down. You do not have to graduate in three years, and college is not solely about getting a degree, although an integral part. But do know that you should always study and give it your one hundred percent in classes--no more slacking, no more procrastinating. College is real.

Sidnei

If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now about college I would have alot of advice to give myself. I would tell myself to buckle down in my highschool studies and get good grades, take advantage of the free financial aide applications, and sign up for as much scholarships that I qualify for. In highschool, it would have been a big help if I really understood how important it was to have acheived good grades and the impact that it would have made for me in college now. If I had paid more attention in highschool, I would have been able to be placed in higher college classes, instead of taking courses that I already took in highschool. It would have also been nice to know how important and easy the financial aid application and process was, so that I could have avoided paying out of my own pockets my first year in college. Last, if I had hustled more and really followed up on the scholarships out there, paying for college would have been alot more easier.

Ja'Lisa

I have learned a lot about myself and other cultures. I have been able to decide on a major and set it. The people at Rice University are there for each other. If you need something there will be someone to help you. I gained valuable relationships. Relationships that will help shape me as a person. When you have a support system it is harder to give up and just stop and say I cannot do it. There is always someone there to tell you that you can and to motivate you to keep pushing on. I have figured out that everyone is intelligent in there own ways. Some are a little more intelligent than others. College and high school are two very different things. It is a huge spatial jump. I have gotten life experience that I can pass on to my friends that are getting ready to enter college. This way they can be more readily prepared than me. I hope they receive a support system like the one I have. However if they do not, then I can be theirs. My support system can hold me while I hold them.

Tyler

My college experience has shown me how responsible I've become and has increased my knowledge of real-world things. It has been very valuable to attend because as a young adult I am transitioning from depending on my parents to depending on myself. College has helped me do this. In regards to school, I rely on myself to decide what classes I should take. This transition is making me make more life decisions that I usually would rely on my parents to make.

Olivia

Here at Rice, I have made connections that will last a lifetime, no matter what direction I choose to go with my degree. These connections are with professionals, professors, classmates, and world leaders. My education is beyond the classroom; I'm learning how to work in the world, and above all, I'm learning how to live.

Vivaswath

Some of the best friends Ill ever make in my whole life.

Haseeb

I would advise myself to keep working harder and that college is no walk in the park. Not to slack off on things just cause they are easy and always accept the extra work, cause the more practice, the easrier the classes will be. Take more notes and what goes on, cause they will be needed. Start waking up earlier and make sure that the work is completed before I begin recreational activities because a lot of time is needed for the work. A lot more reading is needed, and more practice. Other than that, the transtition is not that much.

Christina

?Let me out of here!? I yell to my seventeen-year-old self from within a dark closet. The door slowly opens, revealing my younger-self peering warily at me, heavy textbook in hand to beat the intruder - me. I cannot blame her for being cautious because I, too, would feel unnerved if I heard my own voice from a closet. My purpose for being here is to advise my younger-self about college. There is much to tell about the hard adjustments ahead, but I will only ease the passage ? not make the difficulties go away. The most valuable advice I have is to expect the unexpected; as a college student, I have experienced moments that have shaken me ? first time to truly have difficulties in academics and first time to not have my strong support system surround me. It is important to not be so comfortable when entering college; do not think that this will be a continuation of success in high school. College takes a lot more hours of work and studying; it breaks your self-confidence, but you just need to persevere. Younger-me looks intently at me; I take a breath and begin my story.

Sydney

It's June 6, 2009, and there's a pool party in celebration of tomorrow's graduation. A girl rides around on her boyfriend's back laughing and smiling, but she's really thinking, "It will never be like this again." That girl is me, and I know exactly what she's thinking. She thinks all her new classmates will be smarter and better than her, they won't. She thinks classes will be too hard for her to do well in, they won't; that she will never get sleep or have time for fun, she will; that she will never talk to her mom anymore, she definitely will; that her and her boyfriend will never make it work, they will; that she is going to gain the Freshman 15, she won't; that she may not like Rice after all, turns out, she will love it. Just as I am about to tell her these secrets and give her some peace of mind, I turn away. These fears, these pre-college jitters are all a part of the journey, they give meaning to all that you experience and discover, and I would never take that away from myself.

Matthew

After attending Rice University for a year and a half, I have accumulated numerous pieces of wisdom and learned so much about the college experience. The most valuable piece of advice I would give myself would be to take my time and ease into college courses slowly. Four years is plenty of time to take all of the required courses so there is no reason to try to rush into many difficult classes the first semester of college. There are so many other social, emotional, and personal changes taking place during the transition to college that nobody needs the added stress of a difficult courseload at the very beginning. My first year of college I thought I was prepared to jump a full courseload and skip some of the introductory classes. However, I very quickly discovered that courses in college are more difficult and require more time than those in high school. Fortunately, I realized this early in my first semester and was able to make the necessary changes to prevent a complete meltdown. I dropped one of my more time consuming courses, but I wish I had known this information before even signing up for my classes.

Matthew

If I could give any advice to my senior high school self, I would say don?t worry. When you?re applying to colleges, you are under a lot of pressure and you might forget the goal. College is a wonderful next step after high school. Life will be different, but you?ll adjust. You are admitted to a school because the admissions staff believes you will fit in. You might seem out of place at first, but everyone does. That?s what happens when you go somewhere new. Everyone is adjusting to everything at the same time. The people in your dorm are all learning to live on their own, but you will also all learn to live with each other. The workload might be different from high school but colleges don?t let in unprepared students. All the other freshmen will adjust with you. Finally, you might have a detailed plan of how you think life will be in college. You might not end up following it. Don?t worry. No one has their life planned out by senior year of high school. Just go with what feels right. It seems to all work out in the end.

Brianna

I would tell myself to organize my time well. As an incoming student athlete, the transition between my high school and a University like Rice could prove to be a very difficult obstacle to overcome.

Yichen

Be yourself

Ross

Don't wait around for the oppurtunities to come along - go out and pursue them!

Julia

My advice would be to visit the schools and get a feeling for the enviroment. If at all possible, they should do an overnight to see what the social scene is really like. There is nothing like visiting the campus and just knowing that this is where you belong. If you're like me, it may not be what you were looking for on paper, but in person it is all you could ask for and more. Also, talk about the school with current students. Alumni are useful, but may not have the current "411." Lastly, parents, "Lay off!" You're not re- visiting you're college years, let you're kid pick the school that's right for them, it may not be an Ivy, but they'll be a lot happier and get so much more out of the college experience if they're at a school they WANT to be at.

Alexandra

If you are able to, go visit the college while it is in session so you can get a feel for how the classes are. At the same time, you can get an idea of the students that attend the college. Staying overnight would be the best option so the prospective student can really gain a good understanding of all that makes up the university, during the day and night. Make sure to do extensive research on each university you are applying to so you are able to consider everything you would like the college to have. Once you select a university to attend, try to get as involved as possible to take advantage of all the opportunities available. Try being part of something you may find interesting but have never done in the past. Those are always the most rewarding experiences. Take classes that you find interesting, especially if you are undecided in your major. The major will come later. At the same time, continuously try to identify your primary interests and your skills to make your academic experience the most valuable.

Hadley

If you're able to do so, visit the campuses that interest you. Rice University wasn't one of my top choices until I took a campus tour and met some of its students; after that it became my top choice. Meet students! Ask them questions about things you might not be able/want to ask professors and admissions. For example, ask them about social life, the party scene, how students interact, etc. Gather as much information as you can! You'll be spending the next four years of your life there. Sit in on classes. If you can, sit in on an upper-level class in a subject that interests you, because after the first year, this is where you'll be spending your time.

Arianna

Go where your heart leads you to go, no matter the distance and be prepared for a lot of work mixed with a ton of fun. Don't take hard classes your first semester, just get used to college life, because you have plenty of time for the hard stuff. Enjoy yourself, but not too much that your work starts to suffer. Go out with friends, try new things and when you look back on your college years, you'll know you made the right decision and picked the perfect school.

Malinda

Finding a college that is a fit is incredibly difficult. Just because its Harvard doesn't mean its the best school for YOU. I highly recommend visiting all the colleges and universities you're interested in applying to during the week and on the weekend to truly get a sense of campus life. Ask to attend a class, to which most colleges will be more than accomodating. Talk to students on campus of different backgrounds, don't take the advice of a single tour guide to reflect the entire school, remember its their job to impress you. Once you've found you're dream school and you're there, know that you'll get as much out of it as you put in. Freshman year can be make or break for a social life, academic career, notariety in campus clubs, internship opportunities, and professor relations. Remember that if you're at a competitive school, the game isn't over after you're accepted. If you choose a top 20 school, expect to be studying, applying for scholarships, and making academic and career connections from the very beginning because thats what who you're going to be competing against later.

Caroline

The most important thing to make the most of your college experience is to not limit yourself. There is so much to do on any college campus that just because you may not have any experience doing something doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. Try everything! These are the things you end up wanting to do for the rest of your life, or even if you don't, they are great opportunities to meet new people. College is about new experiences. Try everything! For real! Don't limit yourself by what other people say or what your parents tell you. And you don't always have to worry about your future career. I was worried about my career for half of my time in college when I should have been just doing things I was interested in. Try new things! That is the best advice I can give anyone.

Alexandra

Findint the right college is really important for students and it is a long process. If it is possible, visit as many colleges as you (the student) are interested in, preferably while school is in session. This will allow you to get a good sense of classes, and the social life on campus (whether people are friendly, what goes on on a daily basis, extracurriculars available). It is very important to do a lot of research on each university to which you are applying. Everything you are interested in, anything you are involved in at your high school that you want to continue, anything new that you would like to try, academics, athletics. should be researched because this may help you as you narrow down your college choices. Do not take financial ability into account until the end, for you don't want to narrow down too soon. Don't get too stressed with work or you may not enjoy the years that go by fast. While in college, feel free to try as many new activtities because college comes only once and these experiences can turn out to be fantastic!

David

Your academic interests may change while in college. Therefore, it would be wise to select a college with a well-rounded academic reputation if you are unsure of your interests. Visit a college before you decide to attend it--make sure that your lifestyle is compatible with the school and keep location in mind. While in college, focus primarily on academics and your future career. At the same time, do not lose sight of other other (non-academic) opportunities that exist in college. Now ignore my advice--you must make your college experience your own and live for yourself.

Christine

Make sure that the students choose a college that is the best fit for them, whether this is the programs associated with the college, extra curricular activities, surrounding environment, school size, etc. Parents, though it is tempting to want the best for your child and to provide "guidance" for his/her decision, parents must realize that utlimately the student will be spending 4 years of his/her life incollege. 4 years at a college that the student loves is a life changing experience.

Ferras

Focus more on the atmosphere of the university rather than its prestige when making a college decision. If you work hard, you can find opportunities regardless of wherever you choose to attend. However, if you make a decision solely based on the prestige of an university, you may miss out on a truly worthwhile experience.

Eastman

First look through college books to get an idea for what is out there and then try to go the the campus for as many as possible. You can read all day but until you actually experience it first hand you don't really know what it is like. TRUST YOUR GUT. If you step onto a campus and it doesn't feel right, then it may not be right for you, but if you walk on the campus and suddenly feel at home then it is probobly a good fit.

Kimberly

It's always a good idea to choose a school with a strong department in the area you think you'll want to study. But plans and majors change, and in the end, you'll be happiest with your experience if you were able to fit in well with the other students and community surrounding your school. If you're Texan, be careful about choosing schools in the north (they have 'real' snow!), or if you've been close to your family all growing up, don't move so far away that you can only fly home once a semester. Pick a school that offers more than just the academics that interest you. Even if you want to study engineering, if you play an instrument and want to keep it up, think about a college with a good music school, where you can join an orchestra with non-music majors. Think about the city you choose - after freshman year, you may want to venture outside of campus, where a larger city could offer pro-sports teams and big concerts or a wider variety of interesting restaurants. Maybe you'd be comfortable in a smaller town, something to consider as well.

Gianmarco

Believe in your dreams and try the best you can, you would be surprised of what you can achieve. Believe in yourself!

Kathryn

The most important advice I can give to students is to study what you are passionate about. When I first came to college, my only goal was to prepare for medical school so I could be a doctor and make a lot of money. Along the way I realized that my true passion was in bioengineering. Although becoming a bioengineer is not quite as lucrative, I will have the academic background to choose jobs I love for the rest of my life. Take the classes you like with everything you have. Form close relationships with people you look up to. Use college as an opportunity to create your life and your passions. There are many students who follow the dreams of their parents without passion or success. They seem so unhappy to me. Parents, allow your children to choose their own future. I will always be thankful for my parents' support and understanding. College is an incredible rites of passage--a safe place to explore the world as an adult for the first time. Live it for yourself.

Weikei

Find a college that is extremely expansive when it comes to different disciplines. That way, if you don't know what you want to do, you can find that out in college. If you're set on what you want to do, find a college that is either very well rounded and developed in areas of your interest.

Ariana

Don't make judgements about at school or it's students until you've visited. Preconceived notions are the most dangerous aspect in choosing a university. Be sure to take a visit with a clear mind and no judgements. Sit in on a class, and ask students if this is a typical class for that university. Get the students talking. They were in your shoes once and are often eager to help.

Emily

Don't cross off any colleges for silly reasons. If you're unsure, be sure to visit.

Sofia

Location, location, location. Take time to consider the area where you will be spending the next few years. Would you prefer to live in a small towns or a city? Do you like the beach or is snow more your thing? Most importantly, what kind of environment do you see yourself thriving in? What surroundings would be most conducive to your personal and academic growth?

Jessica

You should definitely visit the school and see when you're there, whether or not you can see yourself going to school there. That's what I did, and that was how I fell in love with Rice.

Lisa

Make sure you can picture yourself at this college/university. Also, keep in mind that you may not be able to use/involve in all that the college/university has to offer. So, don't necessarily look for the college/university with the most resources or opportunities. Think practically of what you would like to do once in college/university and what you will have the time to do.

Austin

While you can never know everything about a university without actually attending it, I found it most helpful to visit the colleges I was applying to. Yeah, rankings and statistics can be indicative of how well a school will prepare a student for the "real world", you've really got to visit the campus and talk with real students about what the school is like. Even after visiting a college, it's hard to tell which one is the perfect fit. I picked my school based on the fact that it was in a particular region, and it's been the best experience of my life. Maybe I just got lucky; probably not. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, you'll end up loving the college you enroll at. Once you get to college, do what makes you happy. Studying is important, but making friends and doing something that interests you is just as necessary. If you want to sit in your room reading textbooks all night, go for it. If you want to party every night, do it. Find a balance, do what you want, and it'll all work out in the end.

Catherine

don't fuck it up.

Pam

Don't base it on athletics

Rene

College is a time to stretch yourself; it is a time to find a new definition of comfort. It is a whirlwind of challenges made worthwhile by triumphs. It is a time to answer questions, but also a time to ask more. Allow yourself to be confident in uncertainty. I remember those hectic days as a senior in high school, scrambling to write the perfect college essay then trying to ace my admission tests the next weekend. I remember sitting around the dining room table surrounded by glossy college catalogs, armed with my mental checklist and my desire for a beautiful library and a comfortable campus. I saw the perfect college experience as an image of myself studying under a tree with a blue sky above, my trusty textbook below, pausing long enough to greet a professor--who knew me by name, of course! Although my time at college wasn?t exactly like I imagined, I did study under a tree once or twice (while studying abroad in Peru) and I certainly had plenty of friendly, supportive contact with my professors. Things may change, but that?s okay. Set the pressure and competition aside and just let yourself BE.

Alicia

Investigate. Talk to students that have the major yor are involved in extracirriculars you're interested in. Consider expenses. Are you willing to go into debt? Can you pay off debt when you graduate? What do you want from college? Just an education? An experience?

David

The most important factors in finding the right college are the college's strength in the major(s) you're interested in, the college's social fit, and whether it's actually practical to go there. Telling whether you'll be happy somewhere socially is the hardest, but possibly the most important. Even if you don't go somewhere that's best for your major, if you can stay energized because of the people around you, you can make up for it; contrariwise, you could go to Harvard or MIT, but if you end up unhappy with the place or the people, you probably won't succeed. To tell where is the best fit for you, you probably need to actually go there, talk to people, and take in the atmosphere. And get lucky. Once you get to college, you've gotten past the easy step. To really enjoy college, you'll need to do as much as possible in a place where you can make hundreds of new friends and learn more than you've ever learned in your life. The best, if impractical, advice I received was, "go to sleep late, wake up early; do everything."

Denise

The most important thing that students and parents can do to make the best choice they can possibly do when trying to find their best fit collge is too keep in mind all the things that they expect and want the college to provide. It's important to choose a college for it's fit to the student rather than purely based on academic prestige. A good way to decide on a college's fit is by visiting a college before or after being accepted as a prospective student and trying out classes at the college as well as social life and other college-student activities that exist. The College experience should be about finding ones passion and their purpose in life, whether the college is a good fit to the student greatly affects whether the students' ability to grow and learn.

Samuel

You need to make sure and visit all of the schools you are deciding between. Schools look great on paper, and until you actually get there and walk around the campus it will be impossible to determine which one is right for you. Also, make sure you find a school that allows for an open learning environment. Too many colleges have become competitive to the point where students no longer feel comfortable working on assignments together. College should be a time when individuals not only learn academica subjects and grow intellectually, but also where they mature and develop on a personal and social level.

Arindam

The most important thing to consider is a good fit for your individual needs.

Cynthia

Take your time and start thinking about what you want early! Also, don't set your heart on some specific place or type of experience. It's important to be flexible and positive. No college experience is ideal, but you will have a much better time if you are making the best of things rather than looking for problems!

Kevin

Finding the right college is all about visiting. You can't know if a place will fit you until you go there and see it first-hand. It is possible for a place to look great on paper, but to rub you the wrong way when you visit, just as it is possible for a place to sound terrible on paper but fit like a glove when you go there. To make the most of your college experience, GET INVOLVED! Don't wait to start volunteering for organizations, running for positions, attending events, and doing all of the things that college offers. You'll meet people, make friends, and find out alot about yourself by getting involved in happenings around campus.

Michelle

The college one chooses will shape the rest of their life, I urge students looking at colleges to take an active role in evaluating both their potential colleges and their own future goals. It is important for parents to advice their children, not to make the decision for them. Students should do all the research they can as well as take opportunities such as overnight stays when they are available. Choosing a college is an exciting yet important time in ones life, and the decision should be made only after adequate research.

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