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Sierra College

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

The first thing I would say to myself would have to be, "Make sure you get involved in extracurricular activities." The reason being that, while I attended school in Hawai'i, I was a little intimidated and nervous, so I did not become involved in much more than my academics. This turned out to be a mistake. I became dissatisfied, irritable, and slightly depressed as a result of limited human contact, and my academics suffered accordingly. Upon returning to California, I immideately began contacting people and participating in activities, and I have found that this makes me more relaxed, in better shape (both physically and mentally), and an overall happier individual. As a result, my capacity for learning has increased tenfold, and my academic prowess has increased greatly; even advancing to a point in which I was able to achieve the President's List Award for this last semester. I would also inform myself of what learning techniques work best for me, as I had to learn them throughout my first year, and I could have saved myself much hastle if I had known what works best for me beforehand.

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If I could travel in time to advise myself on the transition to college life I would tell myself, "LIVE UP TO YOUR POTENTIAL WHILE STILL IN HIGHSCHOOL! Too many college students, including your current friends, will waste their time trying to find themselves and discover their interests in the first few years of college rather than hitting the ground running. During their many years of self-discovery they will neglect studies, party, chase girls, and generally waste time that they could have spent studying, travelling, and on worth-while hobbies. If you, Thad, learn to use your time wisely and study hard now you will go into your freshman year of college with an advantage over most other students. To help you understand how many opportunities you have in this country you need to travel. Go to El Salvador and Mexico, see how those people live and how few their open doors are. Go to Europe and open your mind to the great acheivements of men before you, men who lived up to their potential. Take pictures and keep a journal so that you can remember why it is you want to succeed."

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The advice I would give myself as a senior in high school while making the transition to college would be, "Focus. Study. Relax." Focusing is a key aspect in that you have so much more freedom in college and your work and grades are strictly based upon your motivation to complete work. In the beginning, I was so overwhelmed with the differences in college that I lost focus several times, and that affected me greatly. Studying needs to be a most practiced ritual as you cannot just expect to pass a test or surprise quiz off of things you read through once. When you study and begin to remember, it will serve you later down the road; during finals in the same class, in an advancing class, and later towards a career. Relaxing is vital in that a student will get stressed no matter what, and small breaks are needed in between homework. Whether it is taking a bubble bath to sooth your nerves or going to a party, a student needs to relax in whichever way suites them. Strictly school and no play only ticks a toll on the student and holds them back from their true potential.

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Knowledge is one of the most valuable things in this world. All that any person needs to do to gain knowledge is to listen with an open mind. To be able to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior would give me some essential advice that I wish I would have had. First, I would tell myself to reach for the stars and apply for colleges that seem out of reach. To apply and be rejected is more gratifying than not applying at all. Instead of doing this, I settled for junior college and took the easy way out by skipping the application process. Little did I know, the hardest task of applying to four year universities is the transfer process. As a senior, I would advise myself to apply for all of the colleges I possibly could. Another tip that I would give myself would be to start the research process much earlier. Research financial aid, scholarships, and different schools as early as possible for the greatest fighting chance. Knowing my plan of attack and staying organized would have helped me immensely. College is not easy, so being prepared is the key.

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I would go back and tell myself to not slack off on the classes that might seem difficult. Time is limited and take advantage of the rescources left at school. Also just focus on school and avoid intimate relationships till after I earned a degree. I also would give myself the advice to take advantage of the tutoring center anytime I felt I could not handle a class. The classes that are offered at Sierra college are great but I would tell myself to try out other colleges to prusue a better selection of classes. I would also tell myself to save some money because the economy is making things at the school more expensive(such as books) with each progressing year. Just to make things reasonable I would tell myself school is nothing more than an advanced high school where I make the right and wrong choices; and the teachers are not the ones to depend on to learn. For telling myself something worthy I would say I need to look to myself for making the right choices for my future, and not wait for my future to make my choices for me.

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Dear Ryan, As you get ready to graduate, I have a few words of advice. First, apply early to both Texas A&M and OU. If you apply to A&M too late, despite your SAT and academic standing, they will not accept you. Choose wisely between the two schools. A&M has the Corps of Cadets and the tools to help you study. OU is a great school, too, but you will have to be self-motivated. Don't treat college like high school, or else you will find yourself failing miserably and end up back home at a junior college. Also, major in what YOU want, not what you think the Navy wants. Astrophysics may sound awesome, but face it: you are not a scientist. Stick to General Weber's advice and major in Business Administration like you want. After all, the Navy just wants to see any baccalaureate degree for a commission, they aren't terribly picky about the field of study--especially since you don't want to enter a high-scientific field. Finally, apply for student loans EARLY. It is a pain in the neck when you put it off too long. Sincerely, Future Ryan

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Do not ever feel ashamed about where you decide to educate yourself. You are one of the few who has chosen this path and you should feel confident and proud. It is not as important to consider what your school can do for your education; it is most important to consider what you can do for your education. You will achieve whatever you believe you can achieve, regardless of where you are. In high school, where you go to college is more important than how you educate yourself. Do not let yourself get sucked into the need to attend the most expensive and most prestigious school if that is not where you really want to go. Instead, consider every place and every person an opportunity: an opportunity for discovery, for friendship, for learning. You will get out of your education what you put into it and although that sounds like a lot of misdirected work, it is actually a lot of fun and very rewarding. You are the innovation of the future. So let yourself be comfortable and allow your mind to imagine. That is what college is truly for.

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College is a hard transition from High School. As an adult, you are going to determine how much this period in your life is going to help or hinder your future success, so don't waste it. The most important thing you can do is make goals for yourself and decide on what is important to you. Focus on what you want for your future and beleive in yourself because you can do anything! College is all about you. You need to learn what you can handle and what your specific needs are. You will have to adjust to college classes and figure out how many units you can handle. You will be expected to work hard, and what you put in will be what you get, or your resulting grades You also need to know how to take care of yourself and identify your individual needs. Don't hesitate to ask for help. Seek out what you need and you will get it. Many people will be there for reasons other than to learn, but don't get distracted from why you are there. Don't be afraid of failing. There is more risk in not trying than failing.

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If I could go back in time and speak to myself as a high school senior there are several things I would tell myself. The key to succeeding in college is three-fold: 1) always follow your dream, 2) never stop pushing yourself, and 3) relax. It is important to remember that these are the years that will define who you will be for the rest of your life. If you are worried now about what people will say or how you will be looked at you are handicapping yourself. The great people in history had dreams, and they were laughed at; what made them great, is they didn't care. Secondly, you are always capable of more things than you think you are. If you stop pushing you will never really find out how far you can go in life. Finally, whether you thrive under pressure or crack under pressure, if you don't find a way to relax while in college you will burn out. Always appropriate your time between the things you need to do and the things you want to do so that you never get too overwhelmed and you remain happy to be there.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would recommend myself to take Chemistry in high school. It is extremely hard for me to schedule this course into my semesters, and it would have been much easier to have already experienced Chemistry. I would also tell myself to take some time and think about a major rather than spending extra semesters in college trying to figure it out. The hardest part about transitioning into a college was the commute. I would tell myself to be prepared to wake up extra early to allow time for traffic and time to find a parking space. I would also tell myself not to buy my textbooks brand new from the campus bookstore since they are at least twice as expensive as online. If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to apply for as many scholarships as possible. College is not cheap, and scholarships are hard to come by, therefore I would tell myself to apply for every single one I found.

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