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Sonoma State University

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

I would tell kids to stay away from the larger party schools. Too many kids choose a school where accessibility to alcohol is plentiful and the majority of them drops out or graduate with horror stories. We come to college to learn and quieter smaller schools offer a much better environment for study. Overall I would suggest a university rather than a state school because of classroom availability. The price may be as much as double but the teachers are more qualified and registration is easy. At my smaller school of 10,000 students, by the time my registration appointment arrives many of my classes have filled up and I am stuck taking last choice alternatives. Once in college i suggest living with random room mates. Living with friends always seems fun and a good idea but usually ends in disaster. When living with random people, room mates respect your space and possessions which ultimately leads to a less stressful living experience. Also, a student?s focus should be school so avoid pets. They seem cute and furry but only serve as gigantic distractions. Lastly, do not succumb to peer pressure; strive to be individual despite what the majority wants.

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A college should be one a student and family can afford. No matter how fancy the college, keep in mind that it is the student who makes the college, using it's unique resources to further enrich their own education. Some students may need more time to determine which career path to take. There is nothing wrong or embarrasing about attending a junior college close to home. What matters more is a student's personal pride in their own education. Preparation is everything. Students who have participated in extracirricular activities and developed good study habits throughout high school will find the college transition much easier to make. As for students like me who were not the most social in high school and who did not have education as a top priority, will be in for a harder transition once college starts. College is the time to accept whatever mistakes we have made in the past and move forward. Whatever college experience a student will have is their responsibility to actively shape. There will be many experiences, both good and bad, that is life. Time is something a college freshman still has pelnty of. Put it to good use friends.

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Many students celebrate their transition to college life as a step toward independence. They no longer have Mom and Dad looking over their shoulder to make sure that assignments are completed on time or that they are in bed by a certain hour. They can make their own decisions, and they relish the fact that they don't have to report to anyone but themselves. At the same time though, they may not count on the fact that there are consequences for their actions. If their assignments aren't done on time, they receive a bad grade. If they don't get enough hours of sleep, they can't concentrate the next day and miss some of the important information they are given in lectures. They also might not count on the fact that homesickness can set in, affecting their performance. Knowing what I know now about college life and making the transition, I would tell myself to keep up the good work because you will benefit from it eventually. Also, even though your parents may seem overbearing at times, they are really looking out for you. And, remember, you only get one set of parents -- cherish them.

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To parents, do your home work regarding available financial aid and scholarship opportunities. It makes the college experience much more enjoyable if you don't have to stress about money. It is possible to work yourself right out of school, working an on campus job helps keep you involved and is easier to manage. Also take advantage of living on campus as long as possible, you will make more friends that way. Get involved with group activities at school. Be honest with yourself, are you the type to get lost in a lecture hall class and not advocate for yourself. If so maybe a smaller campus would be best, it sure has made a difference for me. Get to know your professors, if they know you care about your performance they are more willing to work with you and allow you extra credit work. Also the environment off campus is something to consider, big city verses small town. I prefer the small town, there is less distraction and I am at schools to earn an education not party. GO TO CLASS, you are only cheating yourself by missing, trust me you will regret it. Don't stress out, have fun!!

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If I could go back in time and speak to myself as a high school senior I would remind myself that hard work and dedication are the keys to obtaining an education. I would inform myself that hard work and dedication in academics is important however those two characteristics are needed in other aspects of transitioning to college and successfully completing the college experience. I was unable to enroll for the spring 2010 semester because I did not work hard to find other means to pay for my education and now I have to involuntarily take a semester off of school because of that lack of determination in that aspect of my college career. I would also tell myself to use those characteristics in extra-curricular activities and community service because my persistence in those areas allowed me to network with other student and craft a place for myself in my school community as a leader. I would share this secret with my high school self because this information is often generalized and intelligent active students like I fall victim to the life lessons we wish someone would have shared.

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First and foremost you need to be comfortable. This may mean going to a smaller university, where you don't get lost, or a bigger campus, where you are presented with many activities. Four years is a long time to study in a place that you don't enjoy being. Those who do the best in college are the ones that are comfortable with their surroundings. Find what fits your preferences and situation, when you are able to do this your college experience is so much more robust. Once in the right college it is important that you stretch yourself. Try things that are new and challenging. This can mean taking a course that is outside of your field, or doing volunteer work. These will expand your horizons and may help you realize an affinity for something that you had never thought about before. College is an ideal time to discover or explore passions and interests; epistemology, the study of oneself, is the most rewarding. Though you will be challenged in the classroom, it is the many novel opportunities to challenge yourself outside the classroom that will make the most of your college.

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Be sure that you and your child understand the major programs, and consider declaring a major going in to the college, whether or not it will be pursued. This allows them to explore what they are most interested in at the time, and if it does not work out, they are no worse off than if they were undeclared. I cannot get into the major of my choice yet, so at least they can already be accepted into a potential major. Also, I was never given too much responsibility regarding finances, so without making it a burden on the student, I think that some way to give them more responsibility than they were given at home would be appropraite. (if you are paying their bills, put the money into their account and let them pay the bills). This teaches them budgeting and will probably make them more conscious of their money, and of all that you do for them. Finally, let them explore their new college on their own at first! I have seen very often where students appreciate the freedom, and in turn, wish to see their families more, as they want to share their accomplishment with you!

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DIVERSITY! You want to feel comfortable as soon as you walk on the campus, because if you don't get that feeling of comfort; you're not going to be able to walk around there like that. Undecided or decided make sure their are enough options in case you change your mind, but do take into account to check for things that you enjoy doing or want to participate in. Ask as many questions as possible about finances, because you want make sure that you benefit out everything you can for yourself to achieve success the way you want to. And since you want to travel and attend school somewhere outside of your home state, go!; even if it's community college for the time and do the basics to prepare yourself for a university Accacia (lol). Make earlier arrangements with your chosen school; ask what you can do for the time being with still being in school, that will help you attend the school of your personal choice. But always look forward to and for the best, because your perception of success with lead to a postive result for yourself. Smile, you're graduting and still going!

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Dear high school-self, I am your future-self writing to warn you about some things that could change your future. I know that choosing a college can be difficult, but by looking at a few things the applictaion proccess will be alot easier. Some things that I wish I'd thought about are the level of academics, the location, and cost. Go to a school where you know you will still feel challenged by the academics but not overworked. Think about the time you want for other things such as a job, friends, or hobbys. What kind of school fits you? As for location think about environment you want to be in. Do you want to be in a city or the country? Think about things that the surrounding town has to offer. Afterall, this is where you will be spending your next 4 years! As for cost think about what fits your budget. What kind of scholarship and financial aid oppurtunities are there? Just know that you cannot make a wrong choice. Whatever college you choose, wether you end up staying or transfering, you will be learning something about yourself. It's all about the journey!

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If I could go back in time and tell highschool senior self anything, it would be to take college seriously from the start, put in the extra effort, and take a few extra units each semester. It would be worth the extra work to get done earlier and start in my chosen career. I would also tell myself to be more involved in campus life, that such a community is hard to come by and to enjoy it while I'm young and have that opportunity. I would emphasize the importance of internships. Experience is invaluable as well as networking I should have started much earlier. The relationships you make in college can be so rewarding not only on a personal level but also a professional level. Most importantly I would tell my past self that college is a great experience and to be so grateful for the opportunity to go. Instead of dreading class and exams remind myself that not everyone is lucky enough to go to college. I would tell myself that I am capable of anything and towards the end of my college career I would be raising my beautiful daughter and would graduate with honors.

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