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South Dakota State University

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

There is nothing more valuable than a college education. It can provide career opportunities, financial support, and experiences that cannot be achieved anywhere else. The most important skills I have learned in college are for my future career. I have acquired knowledge about the structure and function of the human body and learned how to identify disease causing organisms. Math has provided the skills essential for making accurate dosages for patients. While working with others in labs I have learned the importance of teamwork. Teamwork is very important for a nurse because there are many health professionals that I will need to work with to ensure the health of patients. As well as the career experiences and valuable education I have gained skills that help me be an independent adult. I have learned how to be more responsible while attending college. By attending college I have learned time management skills such as getting to class on time and spreading out course work so that I get everything done. I have also gained a better sense of the community through community service. College has provided me with many beneficial and valuable experiences that will help me in me future career, nursing.

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Advice to high school Marissa from college Marissa: Set a goal for a 4.0 GPA. It’s ok to ask for help and take advantage of tutors’ assistance. Questions are meant to be asked so ask them. Categorize school materials/projects that could aid in the success for college. Listen to teachers’ lectures because beyond the material required to be taught are pieces of life advice woven in their words. Learn to balance work, grades and extra curriculars because all three grow maturity when achieved. Create a web of connections because it will grow into resources for the future. Allocate a percentage of paycheck for college expenses. Manage earned money well. Attend garage sales and ask family members for household items not in use that could be used to stock a college dorm. Explore future career interest by job shadowing or volunteering. Start a journal of college goals that will lead to a career. Play a role in your community by coaching, city cleanup, or writing an editorial. Spend time at the library and use its vast resources. Read more literature. Commit to using new vocabulary. Take care of yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually so as to be healthy.

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When choosing a school parents should let their children make the decision. Although going to college is about getting an education, the biggest part about surviving college is the environment you are in. When students choose a college they should choose one that they are most comfortable in or can see themselves growing accustomed to. If a person gets a long with people better in smaller groups then perhaps they should choose a smaller school. Most schools, especially universities contain the same level of teaching at each school along with the basic majors. The reason the community and environment is the most important is because if a person doesn't get along with their surroundings, they are less likely to do good on other things and if they end up just focusing on classes without social activity because they disagree with their surrounds, they are less likely to be able to handle the world around them after college. Also, when parents make the decision for their kids they are initially choosing their future for them. Students need to know how to make decisions in order to survive on their own in the future.

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To the parents and students that are trying to find the "perfect" college or the one best-suited to their desires/wants I would say consider the dream college(s) of your future college student and assess the colleges with an open mind. Do not be stunned with the attached price tag but consider what the "savings" are and what the price of your hard-earned and saved buck really get. The savings are the extracurricalurs available, if there's a sports team they could try out for, a much-desired program is offered, and the scholarships they can apply for. Also, be realistic about the location of the school. It may be too far away and may not allow easy retreats to home. Lastly, the college experience is typified in movies and books but it's what you make of it and do that makes it truly an experience. Yes, drinking is the typical/preferred method but those moments are never truly remembered with absolute fondness and those friends usually drift away. Get out there, live, try a dream (or many) and meet incredible people who will leave changes not only in your heart but your soul as well.

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To find the right college my first suggestion is tour and look around. Do not go where your significant other or older sibling attended you have to find the university that best fits you and your future plans. Be picky with what you like, this will be your home for at least four years. If money and location is an issue be sure to gather all the financial information fro each school so you can make fair and accurate choices. Once you start your university experience get and stay involved. It is proven that students who are active in their community are more likely to succeed and better enjoy their college experiece. Not only that but it creates a social network for you as well as builds your resume. Though studying is a large part of college you can make it fun but joining study groups and quizzing your friends. Locking yourself in your room for hours every day will not make you motivated to do your homework. Try different things and settle into a routine. Just be sure to allow this routine to flex as college iss about trying new things and defining who you will be for life.

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When looking for the right college, I would consider three major factors: cost, location, and majors offered. If the student knows what they want to study before they go to college that helps narrow down the college search. Cost is a big factor, especially with our economy in the downturn its currently in. If they can get a scholarship at a school but it doesn't have the exact major they want, I would still consider it because they could transfer to another school that has it for the last two years and possibly save money in the long run. I also say location because you never know how homesick you will get until it actually happens. I knew a girl from Las Vegas and she couldn't go home until Thanksgiving and Christmas because of the airfare costs but she ended up transferring out during second semester because she couldn't handle being so far away from home. Having a great college experience is keeping track of your syllabi and assignment deadlines, hanging out with friends and checking out everything campus has to offer for fun, people-meeting activities.

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Parents should be supportive of their children. I hear of too many parents with expectations that differ from their child's own wishes, and this doesn't help anyone in the long run. Once children are this age, a parent can still guide and advise, but should do so lovingly and not force a certain school or a four-year university in general upon their child. Students, go TO college don't just go THROUGH college. Make the most of your time there because heaven knows you are probably paying for every second of it. You can make the most of your time by meeting people. There are so many great people surrounding you at college, and everyone is looking for friends, so it's easy to make great friendships. The tricks to doing this include: live in the dorms and keep your door open while you are home, talk to the people sitting around you in class, and finally join clubs with purposes you are passionate about. By doing these things, you are certain to meet people in similar situations and with similar interests to yours, so you can easily become lifelong friends!

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If I could go back to a year ago when I was starting my second semester as a high school senior, I would do a plethora of things different. First of all, I would have worked harder in my Advanced Placement classes so I could have saved money by taking that class again. Another thing I would have done different would have been to fill out all of the scholarships I could possibly apply for and have them sent in before their due date. I would have scheduled more hours at work and been willing to stay later and come in earlier or not decide to have random days off to go hang out with my friends. It is hard to think about college when you are trying to think about the upcoming graduation necessities, studying for final semester exams, trying to fill out school applications and scholarships, and also going the extra mile to write essays that sound professional and deserving. The main piece of advice that I would tell myself if I could go back in time was to be sure I was financially prepared, study hard, and just be sure to not procrastinate until the last minute.

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Going to college pushes you to become more independent than you've ever been and that transition can be scary so here is some advice to help prepare you. Just because you can stay up as late as you want with your friends doing shenanigans doesn't mean you should. Sleep is crucial to help you stay focused throughout the day. Classes are not mandatory so it's easy to press the snooze button if you are too tired to wake up in the morning, causing you to miss your class. Don't skip because you never know if your professor will introduce something important that day. Keep your dorm door open and don't be afraid to say hello to a stranger walking by. Make new friends and put yourself out there! Call home at least once a week. This prevents you from becoming homesick and it reassures your parents you are okay. Trust me, they love it. Understand that it's okay to be undecided about your future. You are only 18; you have plenty of time to decide so don't stress yourself out. Enjoy the freedom but trust that you know your limits and study hard!

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While attending SDSU, the values of hard work and determination have definately been reinforced in everyday life. I have been challenged to do my best and succeed. I have had some tough classes but, with the help of my professors and acedemic advisor, and encouragement from family and friends, I have always found a way to make it through those obstacles. I know that the things I am learning now will stick with me for life and help me later on when I am completely out in the real world. Attending college at an institution like this has opened many doors for me and I know that when I leave here I will be ready to face whatever issues may come up. I have have met amazing people and learned many things that have helped mold me into the person I am now. It has been an great experience that I am very thankful to have and look forward to continuing it for the rest of my college career. I encourage everyone to continue on to college so that they can be exposed to all the wonderful things it has to offer and to make a difference in their lives.

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