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Salem State University

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

After attending the local community college for a year, I have taken many classes and observed what I would like to major in. Journalism, philosophy, drama, english, history, speech, logic, creative writing, cosmetics; each class is a different language. Each subject has a different world of mental processing. In under a year my thought process has changed dramatically. At first I desired to be an english teacher, however after some classes my major changed to psychology. I enjoy learning and observing people, their personalities and character. I now know the basics in a college education, the layout of the college world. My education has gradually increased and I adore the change in myself. There are more possibilties and doors that have opened because of my community classes. A person with a college undergraduate gains about $1 million more through their job than someone who never attended college. Hopefully I can educate high school students and recieve good pay for the task. A high school history teacher who lived in a small home who never made any large electronic purchases left $1 million dollars of saving behind because he lived simply. Anyone with money and power has a college education.

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I attended Salem State College after transferring from a local community college. The transition was made easier by the intimate class sizes and the availability of good career counseling. At the time, this was also an extremely affordable endeavor, so I was able to graduate from college with no debt. I was unsure of my future plans when I left community college, and my self-esteem was fragile. I was fearful of making life choices and living independent of my family of origin. Because this was a local college, I was initially able to commute from my home with friends I was comfortable with. As I became more involved in the academic community, I also began to broaden my group of friends and interests. Soon, I met new friends I would share an apartment with, and thus began my move towards independant living. I attribute my transition to becoming a successful young adult and elementary school teacher to the importance my college placed on realizing the individual needs of their student population, and nurturing them towards their goals. I have internalized this philosophy and have used this as a motivating factor in all my personal and work relationships.

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Finding the right college is a difficult process, but a vital one. Visiting the schools helps, but students may not always communicate how they really feel towards their school. I would recommend going online to third party survey sites as a way to see how students feel. You may also find some information at social network websites such as facebook and myspace. Of course, you will never really know whether the school is a perfect fit until you actually attend it. Talking to fellow students will help, but college is about individuality and exploring yourself and what you like to study. College is great grounds for experimenting and exploring safely. Realistically, every professor may not be an extrovert that is willing to pull an unsure student under his or her wing, but every department will have at least a couple; it is a simple matter of a little research and a little luck. The other large piece of advice that I can provide from my experiences is not to let problems and assignments sit until the last minute. If a roomate is upsetting you, do something about. If an assignment is due, get it done sooner then later.

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It can be tough to find the right school for you. Make sure to visit many different campuses, all of different varieties, so you can narrow down the school that would be perfect for you. Also, start looking early, then you will have time to find your dream school, and a great chance to research the financial aid offered, possible scholarships, and to have a better chance at being accepted. It is never too early to start looking at colleges! If the stress of seeing if your application was accepted is too much for you, see if your school of choice offers on-the-spot admissions. You'll be interviewed by the admissions department right on campus and they decided that day whether you are accepted or not! I truly believe the college experience is what you make it. Freshman year is always the hardest but if you keep positive and be yourself you will have the best experience before the end of the semester. Join clubs in your major; you'll be in a group of people with similar goals as you. Stay focused, work towards your dreams, and college will be the most memorable years of your life.

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I would advise high school students to start looking at colleges with their parents during their junior year in high school. If students know what they want to major in, I would suggest that they choose their schools based on if they have the best programs for what they want to study. For example, if a high school student knows that he or she wants to be a teacher, I would recommend visiting schools like Wheelock, Salem State, and Lesley. For someone who wants to study Communications, I would advise him/her to look into attending Emerson College. Prospective college students should also base their decision on the size and environment of the schools that they may attend. In order to have a positive college experience, I believe that it is important to feel comfortable on campus. Another major aspect to consider is whether or not the schools that a student may attend offers a variety of extra-curricular activities. If a student has plenty of opportunities to be actively involved in the college community outside of the classroom, then his/her college experience will be fulfilling.

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Assuming that I could indeed go back in time, I think that I would tell myself how much I do not need to worry about college! I spent a lot of my senior and junior year of high school stressing about the many factors of college acceptance along with college life and my academic future (as an undeclared student), and everything over the course of my first year here at Salem State turned out better than anything I imagined. Not only did I recieve great support from teachers and counselors about picking my classes and working towards a major - I even have a minor picked out because of them now - I did great in another area I have never done well in: making friends. This is sometimes an uncomfortable subject with me, but I really am not good at talking to people and making friends, and spent many nights fearing what it would be like going to a college where I would have none of my old highschool friends with me. I would tell my younger self that I don't need to worry at all, because my social and academic lives are working themselves out for the best.

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Hi there! I'm sure you're excited to be filling out applications for college right about now (except, you're probably not.) I'm sure you're also enjoying your final year as a high school student. It's good you don't seem nervous about headed off to college, which is great, because there's nothing for you to lose sleep over. You will thrive academically just as you are doing right now as a high school senior. You will definitely encounter many different characters on this campus. Some are good encounters, others are not. This is merely a microcosm of how your life will generally be. Your college experience, regardless of what school you choose to attend, is exactly what you make of it. If you choose to simply focus on the negative, then your experience will be bitter. But if you choose to focus on the positives while accepting the negatives of where you are, you will find that you'll have a small degree of rich, worthy life experience that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Trust yourself: You know that you will do well out there.

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The most important thing you can remember to do is not to settle for less than what you expected. College is a huge part of who you'll be in the future, and you pay a lot of money and work very hard to be there. If you're not enjoying yourself, don't feel 100% satisfied with your education or feel like something is missing, do something about it. Try new things, go new places. You'll be surprised how many resources there are at your school for activities on campus and off that you may enjoy. Where you go to school, ideally, is where you'll spend the next 4 years of your life. But if you're unhappy, you should never be afraid to transfer. Most schools are helpful with this process, because your happiness is what is truly most important. Don't be afraid to ask a million questions, command thorough communication from your schools financial and academic resources, and try as many new things as you can pack into your life. When you can look around your college, take it all in, and smile...you know you've chosen the right place to be.

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The best advice is to make sure you're happy with your decision. Picking a college out of a catalogue will not define your experience there, nor will simply driving by the campus. Sit in on a class, visit professors, talk to students, wander aimlessly for at least an hour, have a meal or two, and sit and think about how much time you will spend there. Choosing a college is not french vanilla or hazelnut coffee. You are choosing the people you learn with as well as they people who teach you. You are choosing the place that you will pay to experience. If you cannot smile thinking of the next four years, then you have not picked the right college for you. It is just as much about happiness as it is about the quality of your education. I promise you will not regret your choice if find the right fit. Learn about your interests and you will learn about yourself. Make friends and you will never fail. Never hesitate on a chance to better yourself. College depends on you to make the best of it and nothing but your best will suffice.

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When I applied to college, I applied as a Nursing major. My family was incredibly proud of me, and after being accepted by my first choice, I was quite excited myself. During orientation, I went to the major introduction meeting with high hopes and left realizing I had made the wrong decision. Nursing is an incredible major, however I knew my emotions would get in the way of my career. I was terrified to tell my mom I wanted to switch my major to another passion of mine - Music. My mom was so proud of me becoming a nurse. It killed me to think I might disappoint her. However, I gathered up my courage and told her my decision. She was disappointed, but only because I'd worried so much and didn't feel I could tell her. Today, I'm an incredibly happy Music major and my mom has never been prouder. She's happy I decided to follow my heart. I wish I could go back to my high school and tell myself not to have felt pressured by expectations and to have followed my dreams. Though it took some time, I'm on the right path now.

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