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Southern Oregon University

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

Most high school students don't know what they want to do in life on the day they need to begin applying for college. So, don't worry. The feelings of axiety are normal. The most important thing is to choose a place where you will feel most comfortable pursuing academic and life goals over the next four years. That place should be one in which you will find support, encouragement and assistance that meets your needs. The learning experience should be one in which you will be nurtured and empowered to reach your own potential. And, of course, you should choose an environment in which you will feel most comfortable having fun, meeting new friends for life and opening new doors of opportunity. This special place ought to be considered based upon its merits, not merely the opinions of your friends. Follow your personal passion. Choose a place that is best set up to help you succeed. Whether it is a small campus in a small town or a large campus with myriad options. Tailor your choice in schools to what's best for you and you will have the best opportunity to succeed.

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Graduating from high school can be incredibly freeing, so freeing it can be intoxicating. That is awesome! Let this be the wonderful, expansive time that it is! Many people move out of their homes for the first time when they graduate high school. The temptation is great to party and carouse and be social, to stay up late - all stuff you should be doing. While you are young with few commitments is a perfect time to explore the world. But be honest with yourself - would you prefer to be working or traveling rather than going to college? If the answer is yes then possibly a year off before university would be a good idea. College is expensive and there is no point in attending if you are just going to party and not go to class. If you do feel ready for college, there is no reason you cannot be a successful student while enjoying the new freedoms of being away from home. Create study time daily rather than just the night before an exam. Studying frequently will ensure that you will always have time to take a break to hang out with friends.

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My advice is to find a college that has classes that interest the student and, depending on the student and parents' preference, close to or far from home. You should also pay attention to the type of community the student will be living in. To make the most of your college experience I would recommend making friends, and one way to do this is to join a club or other extracuricular activity. Also be sure to register for classes and apply for jobs as early as possible. When in class you are here to learn, keep an open mind but do not agree with EVERYTHING the professor says. If you do not understand the professor or do not agree with him or her talk about it with the professor after class. If you are in disagreement, be sure to be clear why and allow him or her to speak so you might both learn something from your conversation. Study hard and make sure you get plenty of sleep. Last but not least, keep a positive attitude. It is not always easy, but it is a skill you need to learn along with everything else in college.

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Finding the right college is one of the most important things you can do. I was not able to have someone give me advice and would have only been so lucky. I have attended four colleges since I graduated from high school. Looking back at my experience, I know it would have been nice to have someone to talk to about how to find the correct fit in a college. My first piece of advice, know what you truely want. It may change through out the course of your education, but if you are true to your self then it is easier to find what you want. My second piece of advice is do not fall short of your goals. If you are waitlisted for the college of your dreams, do not throw your dreams away, it can still happen. To make the most of your college experience, is what I have learned most of all during my transitions. The most important thing to learn, no matter how long it takes, is believe in yourself and do what is true to you. You should also have faith that no matter what is going on, some day it will be okay.

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To me, finding the right college is like buying a new pair of shoes. First, they need to be comfortable. Secondly, you need to be able to wear them with many different outfits and most of all; those shoes need to make you feel important. When deciding on a college, you first need to make sure it has your desired career and if you are undecided make sure they have many career paths that you may be interested in. Then, you need to make sure you are comfortable being that far away or close to home. Finally, you need to feel at home when you are touring the different colleges. If you choose a college that is a complete 360 from where you grew up, you may have difficulty adapting to college life after the excitement of moving out and being on your own wears off. All in all, you need to make sure the college you choose fits you like your favorite pair of shoes. That way, you will have the confidence to make new friends and become a successful college student, making you parents, the proudest parents of all.

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If I had only one major vice in my senior year of high school, it would have been my fear. I was afraid of change, mostly, but also of unacceptance. What if I worked my very hardest on that essay, only for my teacher to tell me it was terrible? Even though I love my new friends, I shouldn't hang out with them often because they might not like me. I worried too much about what other people thought about me that I didn't pay any attention to what I thought about me! This severely hindered me in college applications and throughout my first term. If the Michelle of that not-so-distant past were to read this, I would tell her to unleash that adventurous spirit buried deep inside. It will not get you into as much trouble as you think. And do not even CONDSIDER putting off applying for scholarships! They really make all the difference for one as frugal as you. While time travel may be impossible at the moment, I am glad that I learned these things late than not at all.

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Don't just pick a college that your friends are going to, find somewhere that fits all of your needs. Make sure to take a campus tour and tour the city if you have never been there to see where you can get food, where a bank is, and gas sations. Ask questions, even if you think they are silly, they aren't! When you do find the right college, explore it. Make sure you know when buildings close and when food stops being served. Try to go to as many sporting events as you can, they are great places to meet people! It's ok if you and your roommate don't get along, your just roommates, not best friends! Go to class! Don't sit in the back row of class because its very easy to be disctracted. Go see the professor if you need help, they don't mind talking more about their favorite subject! If you dont pick a major until your deadline, dont worry, hardly anyone ever sticks with their first major! Call home and stay in touch with friends at outher schools! Have fun, its a time to explore!

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Stop, drop, and roll! You're about to be in college. Stop, take a look around the campus and spend a day exploring the city, you should see yourself enjoying your time here as a student, otherswise stop. Drop, by your "uncle's friends" house or any other distant relative or family friend who has a child at this university. Take them out to coffee or lunch and pick their brains, parents makes sure to give the students some alone time, you don't need to know everything! Other good resources might be the internet as, if you don't like what you hear you need to drop. Roll, out the welcome mat, start by keeping a list of all the comforts of home you plan on bringing with you, the last thing you ever want is to be stuck far away from home without your favorite creature comforts. Your transition away from home will be much smoother if you take the time to plan out first year. So remember, Stop, Drop, and Roll, before you end up feeling all burned out from your first year at school.

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My college experience has had its ups and downs, as all experiences do. The beginning was rough, and I had no idea where to look for what I wanted to do and more importantly who I want to be as a person. I fell in with a crowd that did not fit my interests and became a follower, drowning in my own life because I was so involved in other peoples chaos. I found the Women's Studies and Women's Resource Center shortly after my arrival at Southern Oregon University and fell in love with some of the teachers and opportunities for classes. I am now well on my way to finishing my Women's Studies minor, which is very valuable to me because it is the thing I am most passionate about. Aside from my scholastic college experience, I have really come into the person that I feel like I want to be. Of course I will learn a great deal more in my lifetime, but I have become more clear in the path I want to take, the people I want to surround myself with, and the person I am so happy to be.

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Researching a university is extremely important. I strongly recommend a campus visit before deciding which university is best. Once the student has chosen a school, I suggest living on-campus. The department of Residential Life is dedicated to providing educational and fun programs to further enrich the college experience. I also believe that students should get involved in any extra-curricular clubs he/she finds interesting. In addition to aforementioned suggestions, I must promote studying abroad. I have participated in a summer study abroad program to Germany, and will be going to South Korea with a similar program this summer. Finally, before a final decision is made, know the cost of the school. So many students arrive at college and do not know anything about financial aid. Parents, educate your students about the cost, and students, seek out on-campus resources that are designed to assist with financial aid. College is expensive, get the most out of it.

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