College in my opinion, was pretty similar to what I expected. The only aspect that surprised me was that it's rare to find other students who are as sure about themselves and their identities as I am. I didn't think that students would have the same mentalities as highschool students; I expected students to be much more mature. I had also expected classes to be more challenging, but a lot of the material that I learned in highschool was repeated again in college.
Make sure you go on as many college tours as possible. And not only talk to the faculty and tour guides, not only read the information on their websites or brochures, talk to the students. They're going to be the ones who can est describe to you how it feels to be at that facility. They're the ones who can tell you what its like going there day to day. They're the ones who can say whether or not what you want for your future seems like something that can happen after attending a school like theirs. The students know the ins and outs of the schools, whether the faculty is aware of their knowledge or not. Go to the students and most of the time they'll be truthful to you.
when you visit the school, talk to the students who attend who are not giving you the tour, they will give you the best description of the place. Even if there is no housing offered by the school, still look at it. However make sure the area is in a place you want to be.and do not fret.
Thoroughly research the school that you plan to attend because this is a decision that wil not onlly determine your life for four years but help mold the rest of your life. Also, priortize between your school of choice, the financial aid package, and the location of the school. A big shock from living in an urban area to a rural school (or vice versa) can be shocking to a young adult. It is important for both students and their parents to sit down and analyze all aspects of selecting a school.
To make the most of the college experience, make sure to make plent of friends and forge connections. Stay goal oriented and avoid troublesome people and situations.
Parents: Let your kid choose where he/she wants to go. Don't decide for them or force them into certain situations.
Students: Only go somewhere that after four years there you feel like you wont regret it. Go somewhere that will make you happy, where you can learn, and have fun.
My advice to parents and students who are looking for the 'right' college would be to have an idea of what makes you happy, not neccesarily a job that you can get after college, but activities that you enjoy. Figure out what is important to you, for example, family(going home), finances, location, and amount of people you would want to have in your classes. Every college has a social aspect and you can make friends wherever you go so that shouldnt be a main concern. In terms of making the most of the college experience is to find people who you like, dont conform to ideals and morals you dont beleive in, be open to new ideas and activities, explore clubs and the community outside of school. Take advantage of what your school has to offer.
My best advice to parents and students would be not to rush when making your decision. Make sure that you have looked into all the school and pick the school that is maybe not the most intising socially (ie. not the biggest party school on the list) but the school that has the best program for whatever it s you.your child are going to study. If that school happens to be the party school, well then I guess you are in the best of luck!
Also, attend orientation! you will meet lots of mew people and it makes breaking the ice so much easier. Many times it is the friends that you meet in orientation that you keep for the rest of your college career and life.
Lastly, go to class! Your teachers will help you learn, and you are not paying all that money not to hear what they have to say. Yes it can be annoying, but you are not in high school anymore, and while there is no detention for not going to class, your grades will suffer and so will you!
One last thing, really, don't ever look back!!
Your educational experience in college should be a postive memorable one. When looking at schools, do not solely focus on one area such as academics, social life, fraternities/sororities etc. You must take into consideration all aspects of the school. Above all your happiness is what really matters. If you are not satisfied with your school, you will not get the most from it. To get a good idea of how a school really is, do not just visit during orientations and open houses. Ask the school if you can get a tour during an average day. Go even further and inquire if you can sit in a classroom to experience first hand what a class is like at that school. This way you can see what the kids and teachers are really like, without them sugar coating everything. Though having a social life in college is important, do not allow that to be the deciding factor on choosing a school. Putting school first may not be as fun but it is necessary to learn. Remember, your parents aren't paying bundles of money for you to party; they are paying for you to get the best education you can.
Never be afraid. When it comes to picking a college fear is your worst enemy. Never be afraid of leaving home, friends, the familliar, or your comfort zone. If you pick a college baised on being afraid of the change to come you will make the wrong choice. When I was looking at colleges Florida seemed like the easy pick; I was born and raised in the sunshine state, all of my friends were staying close to home, my long term boyfriend was staying in Florida, my family would have been able to help me more financialy, and it would have been cheaper to stay in state. However, I knew I needed to go to Boston. There was an school that was calling to me and I coulden't let my fear of change get in my way. Everything was scary and new, but it didn't take me long to realize I had made the right choice. If I had let anthing tie me down when I was makeig my decision I probably would have picked the wrong school. If I could give anyone advice about picking a school it would be to burry your anxieties and be fearless.
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