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Rochester Institute of Technology

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

I would tell myself a number of things! First, don't be afraid to put yourself into awkward social situations. People in college will be among the most interesting that you will ever meet. But don't be too eager to cling to everyone you meet. That’s an easy way to end up with bad friends. Work on maintaining a regular sleep schedule. Yes, this will be frustrating and boring, but it will pay off in an improved GPA and in not feeling terrible all the time. Get a head start on classes with essays and projects that you know are coming. Make sure that you really do this, because it's way too easy just to let time pss, or to spend it on the internet’s many wonders. Finally, LEARN TO RELAX. Stress eats at you from the inside and does more harm than good. Do your best while staying calm. Give time to yourself even when you’re busy. Leisure time that reduces stress and makes you more effective is incredibly valuable. It’s all in the balance, and in a way, that is what college is about, learning to balance all the challenges and opportunities.

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Oddly enough, the most important things I've learned here have come to me outside of the classroom. The way I see it, college is less about classes and more about learning about people and yourself. Sure, I've picked up some great information and terms in my studies for classes, but that will never compare to what I've learned from spending the waning hours of the night becoming best friends with students from all over the world, from working in a production studio, from realizing that I really can take care of myself and make good choices. I've learned how much more important actions are than words, and I'm learning how to see people for who they really are, not so much who they say they are. I've learned how people can make fools of themselves and how people can make kings of themselves. I'm not afraid of debt; I wouldn't trade this for the world. That's another thing I've learned; don't fear, or rather, walk through fear. There is nothing that is stopping us from learning what we want to learn except our own fears and taboos.

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I spent my last year of high school trying to make it as easy and fun as possible, while stressing about having a future the following year. As a result I put off a lot of necessary things until last minute and even skipped some important items. At this point in school as I was trying to get recommendation letters and write my applications, I was already regretting my previous years where I had neglected to get as involved as possible. With this in mind, I would make sure I did everything my senior year right. I would take the SAT's twice so I can get comparable scores, and then have enough scores to apply to certain colleges. On that note, I'd make sure I read all the collegeapplication needs and deadlines before it was too late. I'd tell myself to start hunting for scholarships as soon as possible. I would beg the me of senior year to ask my college for more money. After making sure my senior year self did all this, I'd tell me to enjoy every moment because college is an entirely different life. Take pictures and relax, it will be okay.

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As a high school senior, I had considered myself to be relatively grounded, realistic about goals and future options, and I was also pretty proud of what I had achieved during my high school years. With a GPA over 4.0 and consistent straight-A grades, I didn't think there was anything that could stand in my way. However, I soon realized upon entering RIT, the competition is far more fierce, and you stand toe-to-toe with other students who hav achieved just as much as you have, if not far more. It's a pretty humbling experience. If I had to go back now and give myself any advice in planning for the future it would be this: Don't think you are alone in your pursuits, and don't mislead yourself in thinking you are the better than anyone else. You can certainly achieve and attain what you set out to, but there are others out there just as deserving as yourself, if not more so. Don't stop dreaming, and dream big, but stay grounded in reality. Budget your time (and your money) wisely, and, above all, be smart and stay true to yourself.

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If I go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior I would definitely teach myself about time management. My college moves very fast and I would definetely be more prepared next time. I would teach myself how to keep track of assignments, make schedules and budget money. I would also make myself apply for more scholarships. I don not think I realize, as much as I do now, that college is a lot of money (but totally worth it). I would also tell myself to let loose a little. I would tell myself that I cannot stress myself out so much. Keeping your cool and being organized in essential in college. I would tell myself that everyone needs a little break now and then. College is a lot of hard work which means a lot of stress. Learning how to manage your stress is key to surviving in the college environment. I would also tell myself to make decisions for myself. I need to do with my life what I want to do, not what others expect me to do. If I could talk to my high school senior self, I would say these things.

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Take your time and visit the schools. One of the most important things for me was how I felt on that campus when I visited. If you don't feel comfortable taking a simple tour, chances are the feeling during classes will only get worse. Visit as many schools you're applying to as possible that way you can compare how you felt on each campus and you'll known which fits you best. Pay attention to your known strengths and weaknesses and asses how they compliment the school. When you visit, try to talk to currenty students away from the tour to get a real feel for the school. Most students will be honest about how they feel when they're not getting paid to talk you into coming. When you've narrowed it down, visit during a different season to get a feel for how you'll react during the winter versus the spring. Most importantly, know yourself and be honest. If you're a social person maybe Daytona, FL should be avoided, if you don't do well without sun, maybe Rochester isn't for you. Those are only a few things that will help you succeed.

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The most important advice I would go back and give myself, or any other high school senior is not to be afraid. I remember so clearly how terribly anxious I was about starting college in a new place, leaving all my old friends behind and starting out completely alone. However, my fear was completely needless because on the first day of college nearly every freshmen is in the same boat. Everyone has the same fears and as a result everyone is open to new friendships. The friends I made during the first few weeks of college are some of the best friends I have ever had and are friends I know will last a lifetime. So really all the fear and dread I felt during the first few days of college were completely unnecessary, because in reality it was the start of the best year of my life. I would advise any incoming freshman to cast away any fears they have about starting college and simply embrace the experience and be open to trying new things and meeting new people. Also I would tell myself to buy more EasyMac, because I lived off the stuff!

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College is about more than just classes. I am a mechanical engineering major, and I always knew that it was what I wanted to do. However, not everyone knows this, and it is important to pick a school with a lot of options. I would highly recommend looking at a school in a location you like butthat you also feel has a lot of opportunities for you to try new things. When looking for colleges, it is important to talk to real students who will not give you a "canned" speech written by the office of admissions so that you can get a real feel for what it is like to be a student there. Also, it is important to keep an open mind once you get there about meeting new people and learning new skills. I would also highly recommend getting involved with clubs or other campus organizations sooner rather than later to become part of the campus community. It is easy to get caught up with homework, but there is a lot to learn from social interactions with other people in non-academic settings. Stay positive, and make the most out of what you have!

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Make sure that you visit every school that you apply to so that you can get the best perspective of life on the campus. I recommend doing an overnight also if possible. Try to see if anyone you know has been to the school/visited the school/ or is going to the school and find out their opinion on it. Ask yourself what kind of life that you want in school. Do you want to party all the time, a balance between partying and academics, or do you want an academically focused school that promises a bright future? These are all important things to discuss with your peers, and think about. Remember, nothing is permanent and you can always change colleges if you dislike the one that you choose to attend. Meeting friends and being active in the social clubs is highly recommended. While personally participating in a varsity collegiate sport I have found that it is very beneficial both academically and socially. Choose your college carefully and enjoy the experience to the fullest. You only get a short period of time to take advantage of it.

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I am a 31 year old male, who attends Rochester Institute of Technology as a part time student. My major is Information Management Systems and I am looking to graduate in a few years with assistance from scholarship programs like yours. I have a learning disability that has not deterred me from pursuing my dreams. I already have two years of college experience from Monroe Community College and one year of experience from Rochester Institute of Technology. My journey through college has made me a better person by becoming more organized, educated and responsible. Not only does College provide me with more knowledge but it also gives me prestige and a type of status. My college experience has provided me with the opportunity of being the first male in my family to attend and eventually graduate from college. Even though my father past away when I was 24 years old, I believe that walking across that stage would make him so proud. I would appreciate it if you provided me with financial assistance to make that dream come true.

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