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Seton Hall University

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

As you become a high school senior, you must decide what to do with the rest of your life; most students opt to attend college. The most important thing piece of advice I wish I would have been given as a high school senior is this: although you think you are at the same place in your life as the others that you graduate with, you are not! Grades, yes, are an extremely important way to predict how one will handle college, but it is definitely not the most important. How you, yourself can adapt to change is a huge factor in what kind of college experience you will have. Some students believe that since their friends who are on the same academic level as they are moving off to a major university, that they too are ready to move off; however, in reality not every person is ready for such a drastic transition. There is absolutely nothing wrong with attending a junior college after graduation. If you think you may not be ready for a dramatic change in your life, junior college is the way to go for a perfect transition!

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I would tell myself to focus on grades and apply to a variety of schools to give myself options of what school I would prefer to attend and how much debt I would incur. I would also tell myself to not be afraid to attend a community college if my options for a four year school were not as I imagined because a good GPA at a community college can get you a better scholarship for a four year college and limiting student loans should be one of the biggest factors in the decision you make as an undergrad especially if you desire to attend a grad school. Finally I would tell myself to not be influenced by your high school friends, although that may be difficult, you will make new friends in college and high school is a short period of your life. The school you attend for your undergraduate degree can have a large impact on the rest of your life so you should make that decision based on factors that concern you not your friends, even if it seems like a great idea to try and go to college with your high school buddies.

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I remember the stress of applying to college and trying to make sure it was the perfect school for me. It was a long and grueling process that I just wanted to quit. The one peice of advice I can give to those currently trying to find their perfect fit school is don't give up and don't settle. The process seems endless and like you will never find where you want to be, but if you keep looking there will be that one school that you completely love. It will be perfect for you, a love at first sight time romance. My advice is to keep looking for that school, because when you find it, if you don't settle for less, you will have a much better college experience. If you can't find that perfect school, your college experience does not have to suffer. Make the most of it. Join as many clubs as possible and stay on campus freshman year! Too many freshman leave campus and miss out on all the fun. Stay on campus, get involved. With those two actions, your college experience will be infinitely greater and more wonderful.

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Don’t Listen to Your Parents Nod once, nod twice and nod a third time. This means your parents think you are listening, understanding and will do whatever they tell you. I was one of those kids, I respected my parents so much and believed everything they had to say so much that I went and did what they told me to do which was, “work hard and you will go far.” Currently my house is going into foreclosure, my credit is not so good because of it, I am unemployed, I have no higher education, I have no money, and I am almost 40 years old. Okay, I would have taken their advice but I would not have thought of on such a board scheme of life. I would have narrowed it down and been more methodical and not have just nodded and said yes ma and pa. Telling my high school self to not listen to her parents, she would have loved that. Telling a teenager not to obey their parents, heaven! Just think if a teenager was allowed to look around and take stock of the real world without being stifled by their parents. What to do?

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If you have faith, it is important to completely trust God and ask him as well as believing that he will give you the best school. The best school may not necessarily mean the school that will be easy for you. There will be hardships such as finances, academics, social life but in the end, the right college will feel right when you are there and after you finish the year. Yet, it IS also important to think about you resources and compare it with the cost of the school. Students should be outgoing and participate in activities which they have a calling. If there is a club you want to join, join it! Don't hesitate to go to the meeting by yourself and don't let your worries keep you from doing what you want to do. Also, if there is something that you don't like (such as a club you don't want to be in anymore), don't do it. Stick to your intutions, and (if you have faith) hold onto God. Speak up and tell others how you feel. IN the end, they may want to listen to what you have to say.

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College itself is a paradigm shift for everyone. It takes one out of his or her comfort zone and causes one to adapt to new living styles and habits. I am from Baltimore, Maryland and although quite comfortable at home and fearful of the unknown as any normal person would be, I knew that I had to go to school away from home for my own personal growth. Living and attending school at home is naturally more comfortable. I depended on my parents for many things and many unknown answers. I even took on their political, religious, and world views. By moving away it allowed me to experience life for myself and gain my own opinions and views. Seton Hall University is a very diverse campus in every sense. I have met many differnt types of people and without judgment have been able to gain an understanding of people from all types of backgrounds whether ethnic, socioecnomic, and/or creed. College has taught me to be more of an individual, to think for myself, and to see situations in a new light.

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Freshman year of college, I was stepping into a world of uncertainty with no idea of what I wanted to pursue, absolutely no independency, and incredibly poor organizational skills. When I began my first year my mentality and opinion of college was that it was a waste of time and money, and that I had what it took to start a career without years of school. Fortunately my perception drastically changed, as well as, many aspects of my own personality. College has given me a since of pride, motivation for making goals, and an incredibly positive outlook on life. In my experience college isn?t solely about a grade; it is a crucial step in preparation for a fulfilling career, a balanced life, and the drive to keep pushing through every obstacle without giving up. If it wasn?t for the time that I have spent taking courses so far I perhaps would have never been exposed to the subjects that create passion in my life such as psychology, philosophy, and a majority of the humanities courses.

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There is a lot of advice I have to give about looking for a school with your heart and making sure you feel at home when you step onto campus for the student. And for parents, let your kids make the decision. This is their life and they will know whats best from them when they see it. But my best advice is to take a lot of pictures when you visit each campus and file them by school name or with brochures you receive from the school. When you get back all of those acceptance letters sometimes its difficult to remember what school is what and tell them apart. It's great for the student and parents to be able to look at the pictures they have taken of each school to remember which is which. This is a great way for parents and students to sit down and talk about what they liked and what they didn't like from their visit to each school. And because the pictures were taken by you they are from your perspective and not from the marketing perspective that the school wants you to see.

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It is my belief that community is an integral part of the college experience. In addition to finding a college with suitable merit and academic standards, I think that an important part of university life is made of its people and the events they organize, ranging from internship to community service opportunities. Many organizations on my campus, Seton Hall University, are entirely student-run, such as the well-known radio station, WSOU, while others are run by faculty. Students and faculty often play a very active role in the university community. To find a school whose academics and community are both of worth, I recommend consulting an alumni of each university investigated. Alumni can have a lot to say about the college experience and be living descriptions of their campuses. Further, they can continue to be very much involved in campus activities, and helping new students adjust or find internships, such as some upperclassmen and alumni did for me.

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If I were to go back in time to talk to myself as high school senior there would be lots that I would inform myself about college. I would make sure I applied for many my scholarships and awards because as college student you need to be able to financially support yourself sometimes. I would tell myself not to stress so much on making friends or worrying about fitting in because unlike high school there are not any cliques or "popular" people that ruled the school. In college you can focus on being yourself and people there will accept you for being you. I would tell myself to focus more on the education perspective of college, rather than the social perspective because the school and your family are financially invested in you to succeed and graduate college. I would tell myself to relax a little bit and do not stress too much in the first year of college, just focus on transitioning smoothly into college and getting the groove and feel of college.

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