Skidmore College Top Questions

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

James

If I were given the invaluable opportunity to give my younger self advice, I would have so much to tell him. I would tell him to embrace the opportunities that he is presented with so that they do not slip through his fingers. Furthermore, I would tell him how important these years are in his life. These are the only years of your life you get to choose what you want to learn and, on top of that, you get to spend all of your time learning rather than paying bills or running errands. He should be reminded of how fortunate he is and that he must put his best foot forward as it will eventually get him where he wants to be in the future. I would also tell him to take advantage of study abroad programs and learn another language! There is nothing better for your communication and presentation skills than knowing that you can communicate the same view in two languages. I would emphasize that this is the beginning of a beautiful four years and you will find what you are passionate about in time but, on that voyage be sure to give every assignment your best.

Aidan

Be open-minded with what you plan to study at Skidmore. It's totally fine if you come in with an idea of what you want to major in, but Skidmore has so many great options that I think it's best to explore as much as you can. Maybe you will stick with your planned major, but maybe you'll like that one elective course you take first semester so much that you'll want to change that plan. This is the experience I had early in my career at Skidmore, and it has worked out so well that I would recommend keeping an open mind to all students.

Erica

I once heard that high school is the mouse race that prepares you for the rat race. When I was in high school, I thought that everything was peachy keen. I was on the Varsity Dance Team, straight A’s (although there was an occasional B), an amazing boyfriend, and loyal friends. Academics were always pretty easy for me from elementary to high; I even learned how to read before Kindergarten. My education took a turn when I got accepted into Nursing School. I have to study 24/7, perform well on tests because extra credit isn’t offered, and show in my clinicals how I’m going to be an excellent nurse. If I could go back and tell myself what I know now, I'd say use your time wisely. When you aren’t devoting your time to dance, devote your time to expanding your knowledge. Knowledge is power. I’d tell myself to talk to a counselor to seek financial assistance before now. I’d explore the options of scholarships as a senior so I wouldn’t have to write essays when I’m almost through college. All these ideas would prepare me for the rat race.

Hannah

Work hard.

Aaron

My college experience inspired me to take my life and career into my own hands and seize greater control. Twenty years ago I decided to skip the college experience and go into life head-on. A couple years into that head-on experience I entered a trade school and managed to get myself 15 years experience in the radio business. As time progressed and things changed, it took less to do more in the industry I love. Consequently fewer people are needed to operate in the radio business and keep it at a minimum and clients get less attention. Those relationships are very important to me and acquiring the tools to better serve them beyond the scope of radio is my long term goal. Now, twenty years later I’ve decided to go back and put in the time to get the education that will afford me the opportunities to get beyond where trade school has taken me.

Abby

I've really grown up since I've been at Skidmore; socially, academically, and athletically. I've matured in all aspects of my life. Socially, I've made some of my best friends and cherish our close relationships, which I know will carry on after we all graduate and throughout the rest of our lives. Academically, I've accomplished more than I thought I would every be able to and can now apply what I've learned to the real world and have an in-depth conversation about topics I didn't even think about a few years earlier. And athletically, my passion for the game has grown immensely and my leadership has really blossomed into where I can relate to each player individually and help them out on the field or off. All of these things are incredibly valuable and will help me in all my future endeavors.

Erin

Skidmore College provided me with a nurturing and challenging environment, in which I discovered and more importantly, cultivated my passion for Visual Art, Music, and Poetry. It was through the guidance of teachers and the inspiration of friends that I pushed myself farther than I ever thought I could go. I took an independent study in Monotype Printmaking with two art professors all to myself. I served as the President of our student arts organization, PROARTS, where we organized parties and educational panels, raised grant money, and opened a new exhibition in the student gallery every week. We even won Best Club of the Year from the Student Government. While at Skidmore , I was given the chance to work in three departments of the Tang Teaching Museum and Gallery, as well as make a forty minute documentary about gender and sexuality. It was there that I learned how to play the card game Spades, which was the subject of a second documentary. I would spend hours every night in the student center playing Spades with people I still consider my best friends to this day. It was valuable to attend because I learned about hard work, personal character, and creativity.

Sarah

College immediately dropped me off into an independant world of time management, money, and self-motivation. The most important advances I've made in college so far are actually not from academics (yet), but in my own personality and in the way I conquer everyday problems in life. From interactions with roommates and strange professors, to keeping track of my own finances and doing my own laundry, college is a fantastic transition between home life under parental supervision to determining your own limits and values and how to take care of yourself in a real world setting, without being too scary - you're not entirely on your own just yet!

Daniel

My college experience has been eye opening. Coming from Cambridge, Massachusetts, I was accustomed to having the ability to appreciate different populations of people. However, when I came to Skidmore I realized that I would not have that same ability. Most of the kids I met were Caucasian, and those who were not mostly stayed together. From the first day I began to become familiar with my surroundings, I felt I was experiencing for the first times the result of inequality that still persists in our country. I am not taking anything away from the students enrolled, for they did the work needed to earn acceptance. However, as I took classes in sociology and social work, I learned that people of color and various populations of lower socioeconomic statuses are systematically left out of the picture of opportunity. A vicious cycle of poverty and stigmatization has minimized the ability for everyone to achieve the "American Dream" I feel I am partially living. As a result, I have found a passion in educating others about inequality and hope to find a career in trying to induce social change in these matters.

Lauren

My entire experience at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs New York enriched both my knowledge and compassion for my fellow human being. Besides a rigorous academic life there were multiple opportunities for me to participate in personal interests and volunteer activities. I was fortunate to be involoved with a yearly program campus wide in promoting action against violence towards women. This week long campus activity concluded with our perfomance of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monolugues. In my senior year I was the director of this play and we raised $4000 and gave half to Eve Ensler's charity and half to the Saratoga Springs Womens Battered Center. This is just one example of how I benefited from my total experience at Skidmore and why I would like to continue in graduate school in my chosen field of psychology.

Megan

Looking back, high school seems both light years away and merely days away. To acknowledge the number of years it has been since high school is both terrifying and relieving. After the initial shock of seeing my younger self (my hair didn't look like that?!) I would start out by giving myself a reality check. I would say that people weren't magically going to mature over the course of a summer, and most people would stay the same. I'd remind myself not to expect everything to change for the better as soon as I stepped onto the hallowed campus grounds. Most importantly though, I would tell myself to ignore those people who told me college was supposed to be the best four years of my life. They're wrong, but that's okay. I have years of my life left to be the best. It would be depressing to reach that so early. There is no sense in rushing it all. Then, I would probably quote a master and say, "Here's looking at you kid," and time travel right out again, because really, life is too short not to go for some flair.

Karen

I f I could talk to my eigthteen year old self, I would advise myself to make practical decisions. I have declared education as my major and american studies as my minor. I wish I would have declared spanish as my minor instead because as a future teacher I would probably be better off when it comes to finding a job. My Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) advisor, Lewis, advised me to minor in Spanish, but I did not listen. My mother too kept insisting that I study Spanish. I was reluctant to study Spanish, and even now I do not understand why. I simply thought that it was some sort of descrimination, that because I was Spanish I had to study Spanish. I was so wrong. Making the practical decision of studying Spanish in the first place would have been benefical. I would be bilingual in two languages English and Spanish. I can speak both languages now, but I would love to professionally develop and practice them more in writing and reading as well. I believe that I still have time to study Spanish, because this time I want to.

Sarah

Five things I didn't know that I didn't know until I went to college: It is possible for a person to truly not understand the importance of boundaries and rules in a group living situation. Don't be afraid or embarassed to tell someone if they are invading your privacy. Even at a small school, your professors will not know things about you that you want them to know unless you tell them. The freshman fifteen is real. Embrace it. Don't save all your homework for Sundays. Its just not enough time anymore. Sleep! Tell all your friends you are sick if you don't want to admit that you'd rather go to bed early on a Friday night than go out and party. Its impossible to be sleep deprived long term and stay your happy bubbly self. Would I have listened to myself if I had actually been able to time travel and give myself advice? Probably not. Some things are best learned by experience. However, I hope this advice can help another upcoming freshman.

Larissa

I have always valued myself as a good friend. I am loyal, a good listener, caring, and always try to be supportive. I was never able to find this in return from my graduating class of forty. I would have a couple of close friends for a period of time but eventually they would decide that ?I was not worth it? and move on. Never able to deduce my classmate?s reasoning, I experienced a lot of heartache throughout my high school years. Stepping onto Skidmore?s campus this past September third, I could not have been more anxious to start my new life and escape the people from home. My first day there, I met some of the most amazing people I have ever met, two of which are my closest friends. I am no longer the shy girl in the corner worrying about what people think of me and if I will be accepted. I get out, I mingle and meet people. I would have love to know that this was awaiting me and that I would see happier days. There are always people to connect with in the world, it is just a matter of finding them.

Alexa

If I encountered my high-school-senior self, I would most definitely tell myself to find myself at Skidmore without forgetting where I came from. As a high school senior, I was already interested in social justice issues and a college major in International Affairs, but I didn't think ahead about exerting myself into the Skidmore community through extracurriculars upon my arrival. I also would have advised myself to focus more on finding a balance between academics and the Skidmore social scene instead of preoccupying myself with making life-long friends the minute I got there. I would have told myself to make sure to talk to immediate and extended family often, for family always proves to be a strong support system, and never let my Skidmore identity overshadow my identity as a member of my family.

Rasheed

If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, knowing what I know now about college life and the transition, I would advise myself on several things: stop procrastinating and apply for more scholarships because to live comfortably in college, more money is better than less money, because if I won even small awards, I would worry less about having to take out loans in the future. I learned in college that most awards are targeted toward high school students and I would have qualified for many of them. I also would advise myself to become more social and do more activities with my friends during senior year because an open mind and free spirit is fundamental in developing close friendships in college. Finally I would advise myself to eat healthy and exercise because like many students in college, I was preoccupied with work and not noticing my weight gain which was healthy.

abra

Work hard, and use the professors, and faculty. They are here to make sure that you succeed.

Celena

The first thing I would tell myself is to work harder and take my work more seriously as a high school senior. Transitioning into college was difficult since I was so used to getting good grades without putting effort in or taking any of my work seriously. I would also tell myself to work on my time management skills, because that that was also a crucial problem during my college career. Even now, time management is difficult, but as time passes, it gets easier. The most important thing I would tell myself is to be open-minded and flexible; take a variety of classes rather than only taking classes in one subject. I wanted to be a Chemistry major and started off taking only science courses and whatever other courses that would fulfill my liberal arts requirements, but that proved to be a mistake. I switched my major at the last minute and it has caused many problems, including being unable to study abroad, which is my one major regret. Finally, I would tell myself to call my family more often. Every once in a while is not enough!

Kate

I would tell my high school self, "It's okay, girl. Applying early decision was a fabulous choice. College is a great experience, but you have to remember that college isn't just school, it is life--there are bound to be both ups and downs. Breath. Relax. Greet change and expect it. Don't forget the friends have you have made at home, but don't feel pressure to hold on to the ones who never made you feel great. Don't fear figuring yourself out, and don't fear not knowing who you are at all. You will meet people who you will love dearly, and who will feel the same about you. You will meet people you don't mesh well with, and this is a good thing. These people will help you to learn more about your self and help you to work on your patience and tolerance. Most importantly, slow down. Every day might not be the brightest, but take advantage of the four years you have at this wonderful place; there is so much you can do, but if you let yourself waste what you have been given, you might feel regretful."

Aki

Seek out good relationships with professors in your intro classes right away. It will spur you on to study harder for those you like and lay the groundwork for potential research or independent projects. Don't try to make friends with everyone or feel beholden to hang out with those whom you do not feel strongly connected. Don't bother trying to find a job right away as a freshman; employment opportunities will arise in your major department. Ask as many questions as you can think of - you are the college's customer so utilize its resources. And never disregard an idea as too fanciful or unrelated: write it down and sleep on it. Your sleeping mind will form new connections between the idea and your understanding.

Michael

I would tell myself to take classes that interest you, no matter what department they are in and to go out and have fun, becasuse college is about experimenting academically and socially.

DAVID

I would have complete an MFA and a PhD before the age of 35.

Derek

Don't let presitige influcence your instincts.

Cheyenne

My advice is for the student to visit as many colleges as possible- large, medium and smaller schools in order to get a sense of the school's atmosphere and if they could see themself being comfortable studying and living there. Visiting a school that you may have previously been uninterested in could drastically change your opinion of the college.

Margaret

The college search is an exercise in being engaged with the world around you. Before you apply to college, you must be aware of your options: research schools online, ask teachers and graduates, see what people have to say about different schools. Visiting is both exciting and tedious; though all tours sound alike, they give you a reasonable sense of a school's size and dynamic. While on campus, keep your eyes and ears open- see how students dress, what they carry (books? footballs?), look at the posters hanging around campus. Sit in the campus coffee shop and observe the campus pace. Ask students for directions, see how they respond. Visit different sized schools in contrasting settings. The cardinal rule is to keep an open mind; it's difficult to discern what you want when you don't know what's offered. Once you have chosen a school, it is imperative to understand the opportunities available to you. It is only once you are aware of what is possible that you can begin to take advantage of it all. Wherever you are whether it be in the classroom, at the gym, in casual conversation or intense debate, do not disengage.

Mary

Choosing a college is a tough process, but it's also really exciting!! When choosing schools to look at, i'd suggest you stay very open to all possibilites. and visit lots of schools! These is nothing more helpful in decsion making than being on a college campus and observing the students and professors while getting a feel for the campus and surrounding town or city. If you have any friends attending the schools you are looking with, it's also really helpful to visit with them to get a really honest understanding of that college dynamis. Overall, the college experience is absolutely amazing. Make sure to take advantage of the educational oppertunities, but also enjoy the social components. A healthy balance of work and fun is key to surviving the stresses a college workload may bring. Generally speaking, I think people can be happy nearly anywhere so long as the make the best of it. So keep an open mind, and stay true to yourself when looking for the perfect place for you. Remember that everything happens for a reaosn, and sometimes a second, third or even fourth choice school may end up being the best place for you!

Ani

If your child makes a descision that you don't like, and you are funding their college experience, cut them off. They aren't babies anymore. If you make your kid pay for college themselves, back off.

Monica

Truly stay true to who you are and your needs because if you follow what your guidance counselor thinks is best for you or what your parents want for you, you won't have the best college experience and thats what you want because college is the place for you to grow and learn not just material for your future and your career but about yourself.

Yasmin

Visit and do as many overnight's as possible. Make many lists of what you want and don't want in a college or university. Think about the factors that will affect your quality of life- dorm life, social scenes, weather, etc. Don't settle for a school, apply many places and don't set your heart on just one.

Kevin

Decide a college not only on its academics. That should be the backbone to the decision, but it is just important to make sure that the college fits you. What is a good school if you don't enjoy it there?

Zoe

pick the best college environment, not the most prestigious or academic place

Rainey

I would suggest the student makes a list of what the definite wants are, and the do not wants. Everytime a school is visted, or expresses interest in, the student should then make a pro and con list. Those two lists should compare, and match up. Parents should let the student explore for themselves and not push any school or majors. Advice and suggestions are completely welcome, but not in a condescending fashion.

James

Make sure you look at EVERYTHING. My first choice was the wrong choice and I transfered. You would be amazed at how big a role the campus food, weekend activity, and location of the school and its surroundings plays in you're overall college experience.

Kezia

When looking at different schools, make sure you get a feel for as much as you can. School reputation, social activity, academic integrity, physical conditions of buildings, dormitories, apartments, quality of education, quality/dedication of professors, available resources, surrounding area, ease of access to specific needs (counseling, tutoring, learning disability assistance) -- all of these are important to consider in the college you plan to spend the next four years of your life at. What is most important, however, is the overall quality of LIFE at the school, and the overall quality of happiness that students find there. In terms of making the most out of your college experience, the most important advice I can give is to try new things. Don't allow yourself to be intimidated or frightened by new people, new activities, new customs. Throw yourself into anything you think you might be interested in, because you never know what kind of inspiration it might spark. Partaking in extracurricular clubs is also a great way to make friends who share similar interests. In essence, the best advice I can give is to not be afraid. Great memories can be yours if you simply allow yourself to have them.

Andrea

Parents and students, especially those in middle or lower class families, should not worry too much about the price of a college. There are many ways to pay for school, and if a price tag stands in the way, you or your child may be missing out on one of the most important opportunities of a lifetime. Find the school where you feel in your gut that you will be happy and eager to learn more than you could imagine in four years, and your family will never regret how much you paid for it!

Brendan

Find a college that's right for you. Don't settle for something that seems nice and pretty. Ask questions during your tour and make sure that it's the right fit. A college is your home for 4 years.

Caroline

Be flexible, relax, don't worry so much. The student is the most important factor in any educational experience. If the student works hard, s/he will succeed. If the student is lazy, s/he will not get much out of the experience, regardless of which college s/he attends.

Krystina

To make the most of your college experience get involved, even with activities that you might not feel comfortable with. You will meet tons of new people and get a broader experience.

Michael

It is an important decision, but in the end let the child decide. He/she will make the right decision. And in the worst case, the child can always transfer if he/she does not like the school they are in.

Christopher

Walk around and talk to people. Check out the feel of the college itself.

Laura

My advice for parents and students in finding the right college and making the most of their experience would be to make sure the students visit the school a couple of times, in order to be certain they think the school is a good fit. Once the students are accepted and attending the school, they should make sure they do not enter school with "one foot out the door," otherwise this sort of mentality will taint their experience. In the long run, the attitude with which you approach your school makes a difference in your experience. I would say, get involved in something right in the beginning, make sure you stay busy. Spend time with friends, stay on top of work, and enjoy! If you do all of the above, you can have fun at any school you attend. Fully emerge yourself in the "culture" of the school. Don't hesitate to be yourself, be open to new experiences, ask questions, don't be afraid to let your guard down. Embrace new challenges, and always maintain a healthy balance of work and fun.

Hayley

Deciding where to spend the first four years of your life as an individual is, obivously, an important decision. Yet, you also have to remember that getting into your first choice school should not mean life or death to you. Making yourself unhappy, because you do not think you can get into the school you want most, is the worst thing you can do to yourself. I did not consider my current college as my first choice, by any means. But, I approached the experience with an open mind, and a hopeful heart. I realize now, that my idea of the perfect college was based more of the reputation I would recieve by attending there, more than the education. My advice would be to, please, do yourself a favor, and find the reasoning behind your instinctual choices before you decide some place is the perfect school for you. It's more about what you can take out of a situation, good or bad, than if a school sounds perfect to you on paper.

Michael

The student must know what he wants and then start your search. After compiling a general list of schools, meet with reps from the schools, talk to current students and then after the prospective student gets a feel for all the schools, let the child, and not the parents make the decision.

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