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Southern New Hampshire University

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

My college experience, which is based on attending evening courses while maintaining a full-time job, without a doubt endowed me with a stronger sense of worth. Although it took me seven years to earn my degree, college afforded me with the opportunity to broaden not only my academic knowledge, but to also strengthen the job skills I already possessed making me the more accomplished, career-minded woman I am today. I always stress the value of attending college to anyone who wonders why I decided to go, being over the age of 30 and already possessing ten years of professional experience. My typical response is that no matter what one?s background is or how long it has been since one has attended school, it is never too late nor a waste of time to experience the personal satisfaction of knowing you have earned a college degree. The knowledge I gained at college made me a more enlightened individual and a stronger, more self-confident person. I enjoyed my college experience and the value of attending college gave me the self-assurance and composure I now need to begin a doctoral program as an adult, non-traditional student.

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Finding the right fit for the parent as well as the student has many factors. For the student the right school/college must have the curriculum, the social life, the size of classes, the security, the faculty support and participation, dorm life, variety in meal plans, career support, and an environment that is familiar and comfortable. An outstanding college experience depends on how involved, supportive, attentive, organized a student is. The more they participate in organizations and classes the happier the experience will be. Another aspect that must be considered is the financial cost of the college, a decision must be made to what the student can handle after graduation. For the parent the right fit is what the student decides. The student has to be happy and needs to make the decision. The financial aid process is not easy, can be deceiving and difficult if you are an average middle class family, with two average incomes, average grade student, not an athlete, not a minority. As a parent support the student, give the student wings so she can fly and make a future that will make you proud!

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My advice to any college-bound student would be to step out of your comfort zone. Lots of times a student will research a college or university that is ten minutes from their house, or one that their best friend is attending, just so that they have some familiarity during the college experience. However, I would strongly encourage students to take a risk and explore places they never would have normally. Personally, I chose the aforementioned path of going to a school close to home along with all of my friends, but looking back now I truly wish I would have looked into other schools. Secondly, once students get to school I would recommend that they join at least one club, group, or team that way they are immediately broadening their group of friends and acquaintances. By being in a group with someone, you automatically share a common bond and interest and that sets you apart from anyone else. As for parents, I would tell them to let go. Although it is hard at first, a students college experience will reach its fullest potential by making decisions on their own, even if they are not the right ones.

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Dear little Kristen, I know you are worried that you may not have the skills you need to make it in your chosen career. I know you are scared that you will not fit in at college. Let me reassure you my friend. You have chosen the PERFECT school for you. You are about to enter the "land of the go-getters." It will be intimidating at first but darling NEVER FEAR YOUR PASSION. STRIVE. Here will be all the resources you need and all the connections you want to ensure your future. You will have the chance to create your own club with whatever interests you have. The people here are all wonderfully different and you will meet fabulously diverse people that you will connect with. Remember that fear you had about not meeting any friends outside your major? THROW that out the window. You have all of your general education classes with people from ALL majors and get the chance to meet AMAZING people. However, a word of caution, you are entering a private university which means there will be money to pay. Lots of it. Save up my dear. (their financial aid helps) Sincerely, The older you

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I am a unique applicant, since I returning to school after receiving my Bachelors almost 20 years ago. Having a lot of life experience under my belt, if I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high-school senior, I would encourage "me" to be more balanced. I have always been an over-achiever. One might say a "nerd". I don't think I appreciated the social aspect of college and that it is truly a "once in a lifetime" experience. I would encourage the high-school Dena to study and do well (of course, I am a nerd to the core), but also to get involved in college activities. The transition will be a lot smoother if you have people to share it with and you can take the journey together. I would also remind myself to take advantage of any opportunities for work study and meeting professionals in my career field. College life is the beginning of the networking experience and you can establish key relationships that will allow you to be successful in the future. Overall, I would remind myself to have fun and be appreciative of the chance to go to college!

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Dear Audrey, Remember your senior year of high school when you were the stage manager? Remember how much you loved being able to use your creative talents, leadership abilities, and outgoing personality to affect that cast and crew? Remember how you told yourself, that's it! I want to go into Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations because I love working with people, being organized and planning events? I'm here to remind you to not let other's sway your opinion. You're going to get told all the time what people think you should do, or what you would be good at. Don't let them influence you in a negative way. Stick to what you're good at, and follow through. Don't give up. The road won't be easy, but it will be fufilling. Have confidence in who you are and the talents you are given. Stand up for your goals, dreams, and aspirations, and don't stop until you've acheived them. Advice for college: study, study, study, and don't let people make fun of you for being that over achiever. That's something you should be proud of! Good Luck Audrey!

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I would tell myself to learn how to manage time wisely. For me, it has been very important to manage my time is such a way that Iallows me to do well in my classes while also continuing to volunteer at my church, high school, and other areas of the community. I would also tell myself that it is important to not only do well in high school classes, but also to pay attention and learn the material. Taking high school seriously allows students to be prepared for the material that college professors present. The material that students learn in high school is a valueable knowledge base for college so the more students know, so the better off they will be. I would also tell myself to continue learning good study habits. Some college classes are harder than others and they will requre a little more work, especially if the student is not particularly gifted in the subject. It is crucial to know how to work through these kinds of classes in order to gain every possible advantage. These things would have helped my tremendously during my senior year of high school.

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Stop getting sick over one point. Everything in college is graded on a letter system: you get four whole points for free! Plus, you?re going to go to your first lecture and sit down with people who can hardly read, but who will graduate because they have the money while you?ll have to quit because you don?t. Grades are unimportant. Sleeping is the most important thing you can do: really. Start sleeping. Your mind will clear, and you?ll control your temper and your tongue much more effectively. Exercise will help you sleep, so take that up too. Learn to be at peace. Your instincts about that are very good, so trust them. Don?t try to reinvent yourself. You?ll fail miserably, and be ashamed for the rest of your life. Show some respect for yourself, even though you don?t feel it. I give you my word that the rewards for being the best are quite small, so enjoy the process of learning, simply because it brings you pleasure and that?s a big part of who you are. Learn fortitude, learn patience, and learn to forgive yourself. You really are going to be okay.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself I would have told my past self to stay in school and finish that degree. Although I had a good job that allowed me to get into the IT industry without finishing school the lack of a degree would become a hurdle in the future - where a university degree is required for employment. University is not anything like high school and although it seems like the same boring classes in high school, they are structured to enhance one's critical thinking skills and expose a person to different fields of science or art. I would tell myself to not give up or great frustrated - situations are only temporary and life continues regardless of what happens. I would also offer the following advice, keep your eye on the goal of finishing school. Grades usually do not make a person, but how one applies the knowledge they have learned to the job at hand and life means more than any grade that one can achieve in school. Finally, I would also tell myself to follow my dreams and not the dreams of other people, including parents.

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College is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had so far. The advice that I would give to parents and students about finding the right college is to visit as many schools as they possibly can. They should visit the schools they are interested in while they are in session so they will be able to get a feel of the atmosphere there. This will allow them to narrow down their decisions and options. Also ask questions about your schools, no matter what the question is because the more knowledgeable about your school you are the better choice you will make. To make most of the college experience, the advice I would give would be to get involved and try to meet as many people as possible, whether it is through a campus job, club, or just people in your dorm, the more connections you make early on the better. Also take advantage of opportunities offered to you during your college experience. These opportunities may include study abroad, internships, and volunteer activities and so on. The more involved you are in your school the happier you will be.

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