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Seton Hall University

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

Recently, I have become PTK president. This is a big accomplishment for me. If I had not gone to classes, tried my best, and got great grades, I could not have been invited to Phi Theta Kappa. If I was never invited, I would have never been offered such a prestige position! I am grateful and honored. Being a part of PTK has helped me overcome fear of speaking in front of large groups, and it is helping me become a strong leader. My college experience has been hands-on. In science labs, in speech courses, and in my other classes that require team work and creativity outbursts. Besides the classes, I have attended get-togethers and worked in community service projects. I have gained tremendous amounts of experience by working these events. I have gained experience in team work, leadership, fellowship, and I have learned things such as the importance of community service, teamwork, being involved, and valuing other's opinions. I am a growing business leader and I will take advantage of each day I attend college, club events, PTK, and other community involvement.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would stress the importance of time managment. Ever since I could remember, I had always been put on a time schedule to eat, sleep and do my school work, so for me to go to college and not have that structure it was overwhelming. I had to be the one to incorporate eating three meals a day around my hectic schedule, as well as getting the proper amount of sleep needed at night. Getting a valued education is important in college but keeping myself healthy in terms of eating, sleep and exercise is even more important, because without those elements there is no valued education. I would prepare myself as a high school senior on making my own schedule and being in control of my own life. Independence; thinking for ones self without the influence or control of others, and that is the hardest thing to adjust to. Its an important trait but a hard transition to prepare for in the matter of two months, which is why i would stress the importance of time management to myself as a high school senior.

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Parents and students have to discuss what the students needs to get out of their college experience. Everyone is different. Some need a more autonomous and competetive setting, and prefer to study alone, as is in the case of Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Others , like myself find comfort in the fact that having "study partners", or students in the same classes help the cause, and helps to eliminate some of the pressure of the intense course study. Money should not be an issue either. Just because a certain college has a higher tuition than another, it does not mean that the lower tuition one is a better fit for the student. Students need to be comfortable in their surroundings, and at ease with the course of study they choose. If money is an issue, scholarships, federal loans, and grants can be taken and sought. To reiterate, hopefully the career path taken by the student is one that is well thought out, and discussed with both parents and school councelors. The right "college experience" will definately make a world of difference!

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I would advise myself to shoot for my dreams but to be more realistic. My dad suddenly passed away as i was applying to college. At the same time my mom had cancer. My decisions about college were made on a very distracted premise. I didnt listen to my mom or anyone for that matter. The truth is, listen to your parents! They are usually right. It is totally worth going to a state school/more afforable college than to spend money at a prestigious college when you don't even know what you're yet passionate about! Take your time because despite the fact that everyone is trying to rush you into making all these big decisions, you have a lot of it. In your undergrad there are a lot of people who don't know what they want. Let that be the time to explore things you wouldnt normally. I know many people who have switched majors, including me. You can always transfer schools or further your education at a higher ranked university in a graduate program where it really matters nowadays. Follow your heart and take your time when deciding. Its your life, no one elses.

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I know how intimidating it is knowing you have a huge milestone ahead of you to overcome . At first it seems like you’re entering a new world with no familiar faces around, but trust me that feeling never lasts. Never doubt yourself and never doubt the power of believing in yourself. Take advantage of all the opportunities at your disposal, stay active, but don’t get in over your head there only so much time you can spare. Everyone has their weaknesses but the key is to take those weakness, improve on them, and make them your strengths. Don’t be afraid to fail; failure is the first step on the right track. But you have to learn from your mistakes; if you’re on the right tack but not progressing the train will hit you. The next step, in the words of Socrates, is to admit that you don’t know anything and your thirst for knowledge will lead you to the fountain of success. Most importantly, you are you, don’t let anything or anyone change that and always remember the words of Sean McCabe : “You will never influence the world by trying to be like it.”

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If I could talk to myself in the past, I would try to give my current wisdom. I would tell myself "Don't waste any free time while on campus!" Being a student is a job! If you're on campus from 8 to 5, you might as well do some reading and homework when you're not in class. You don't have to cram information the night before the exam because you have already studied. Two others tips I would definitely give is to "Read/Skim/Skip" and to "Remember to take a break". For the first tip, I remember when studying I read practically everything in a textbook. This gave me unnecessary stress and overloaded my brain with information that wouldn't be on the test. I should've READ the important topics, SKIM the ones that I might need or wasn't sure about studyinf, then SKIP the unnecessary. For the second tip, I can work really hard without taking a break. Studying is like exercising, but like all muscles, the brain needs an occasional break to be more effective. Taking 5-10 minute breaks every hour is more effective then studying five hours straight.

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You're doing pretty good for yourself, and you're handling the college transistion pretty well, but there are some areas that you should shape up in. For one, don't procrastinate! You're just stressing yourself over small things that you would otherwise think nothing of. Get stuff done early, and it gives you time to go back over, check things through, and get help if you need it. Another little tip for you is to kep looking for schools throughout your time at community college. Two years go by fast, and the college selection process is much more time consuming than just looking on their website for 5 minutes and filling out the application. You really should go to all the schools you are seriously considering and not put all your hope in one school until that. Believe me, I did it and here's a hint: I'm not going there. It sounds like too much work and too much time to invest, I know. But it's better than spending 2 or 3 YEARS at a school that's too expenive and you don't even like it. Oh, and fill out your FASFA every year.

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It's all about the right balance of your activities. Deciding to attend college means that a students primary focus should be their academics. Of course once most have taken that first step, or more of a jump, into the college lifestyle, most students will find other activities to take part in. Sports, clubs, jobs and ones personal life are all activities that need to be calculated in, in addition to academics, for a successful college career. When making a decision on the right college the primary focus, aside from the desired academics, should be the students' happiness. They should search for a school that appeals to them because while they will be focused on their school work, they'll still be able to have a social life and find the happinesses that all students need. It is well known that students who are comfortable in their surroundings and have a productive learning environment will do better in school. Remember that grades are not the primary focus, but life experience when it comes to gaining a job after graduation.

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Prioritize and focus. That's the advice I would give to my high school self. I used to be a defiant and idealistic girl, always wanting to volunteer more than I could afford. As a result, my GPA dropped to a 3.8, and while that was still a pretty decent grade, it wasn't good enough for the likes of Georgetown or Princeton. I realized that to get the scholarships and admittance to attend quality universities, I should have focused more on my grades rather than my extended volunteer list. After all, one of the priorities every university looks at is the GPA. Another factor that inhibited my chances of getting into an ivy league school is the fact that I chose quantity over quality. I applied to 15 universities during my senior year, stretching myself too thin when writing multiple essays for each university. I lacked focus. What I should have done was apply for 5 schools, each ranging from my dream school to safety net. If I had prioritized my actions and focused on them, I believe I would have gotten into my dream university.

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I would tell students (and their parents) that they should visit each college campus that they are interested in attending. While visiting, not only will they get an idea of how large/small the campus is, but they will also have the opportunity to speak with current students to see how much they enjoy attending school there. Some colleges even let visitors sit in on classes, so the student can get an idea of what a course in their field might be like. In order to make the most of the college experience, students should maintain a balance between their studies and social time. It is very important to dedicate time to schoolwork in order to be successful in your classes. However, getting involved in clubs, sports, or other organizations is just as important. This will provide students with great ways to meet people and get involved in the university community. It's also a great way to escape the occasional stress of classes. This balance is key to doing well in school and enjoying your education at the same time!

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