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Southern Wesleyan University

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

Next quarter marks the half-way point of my university experience: I will graduate from the community college and set foot into the four-year institution which will present me with a bachelor?s degree. Such an occasion not only is the source of my extreme joy and enthusiasm, but is a sign of accomplishment for me personally. After experiencing a delay in my education upon marriage and the birth of my children, I found myself dissatisfied that I had not made the most of my talents, academically speaking. I graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA and excelled in a foreign language, so you can imagine how important school was for me. As the love for my family grew, so did the desire to continue my education to become a positive example for my children. Going to college has been an invaluable experience which confirms my belief that there exists no obstacle that I cannot overcome. The challenge of maintaining exceptional grades while raising a family has forced me to become a stronger woman, a superior wife, and a more capable mother. Words cannot express the innumerable ways which college has enhanced my life and my character.

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My advice to parents and students: Start early, have lots of options, and VISIT the campuses. One should really start looking at colleges the summer before the senior year high school. Make your campus visits in the fall, since that's when most colleges are busiest, and apply early. Most scholarship deadines are in February, and financial aid is awarded as early as March. As for finding the right school for you or your kid, my best advice is to look at aspects of schools like size, proximity to mom and dad, etc. And remember, there could be more than one school that's right for you. To make the most of your college experience- make college as different from high school as possible. If you stay close to home, LIVE ON CAMPUS!! So many students miss out on the college life after classes by commuting from home. To me, this a shame because they miss out on the experrience of living with people from all walks of life, and learning to adapt to that. Again, start the search early, keep your options open, and visit often. Once you get there, really commit. Get involved, stay on campus, and enjoy!

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If I could go back and give some advice to my senior self, I would tell her to definitely apply to more scholarships. Although I looked around online a little bit, I mostly just applied to the ones that were handed to me. I would advise my younger self to really search scholarships out, because suddenly seeing the bill that you owe is pretty eye-opening and a little... shall we say, sickening? I also made the mistake of waiting a semester before going to school. Though I did have some health problems that I was attempting to deal with, I would definitely advise myself to go to school anyway. Waiting a semester might work for some people, but it surely didn't work for me, and I do regret the decision. I definitely felt judged by everone wondering "why is she still around?" and I will probably be taking summer classes if I can in an attempt to "catch up". Lastly, I would tell my younger self to keep close to friends and family. You don't know how much you take these people for granted until you're 18 hours away, or at least I didn't.

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Dear Keonna, Please know sometimes life isn't what you planned it to be. As you have learned in high school, people have the opportunity to either make or break their post-graduation plans. You chose to go to college and make something even better out of yourself; despite your circumstances. Please remember that you can't plan EVERYTHING. Yes, you may plan what you need to do (as a task leader), but you sometimes need to roll with the flow. For example, you wouldn't want to plan your first kiss...that's really awkward, huh? Just know things happen for a reason....and everything will turn out better than what you expect. On another note....stop being so stuck in your ways. Branch out! Meet new people, socialize, get into some fun trouble. Do something other than schoolwork. Trust me, you have a long time to work, but little time to play. Love yourself, love others, and teach others to do the same! If you don't treat your time wisely, you will miss out on opportunities you would never imagine. I love you!

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If I could go back and talk to my high school self I would tell myself to really think about my major choice and put some really good thought into it. I have switched my major several times since I started college and it has made my process a little slower than others. Even if a professor says, "You only have to show up for class for tests", show up for every class! I was thrilled with the independence given to me upon the start of my first year at college. Stay organized and keep up with school work. It was much easier to turn in late work in high school because your teacher knew you on a more intimate level. In college a deadline is a deadline and that’s that! I would go back and tell myself to stay smart, keep a good head on my shoulders, and strive for the best. Doing well in college can only open doors and lead to a fulfilling adult life-with the job of my dreams. Above all-enjoy college for all it's worth, after all, these are supposed to be the best years of your life.

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Dear High School Senior Me, RELAX. You worked so hard to keep up all your grades in High School and that was the smartest thing you ever did. While most of your friends decided to slacked off their last year, you kept chugging along and what did that get you? Automatic acception to your number 1 school! Oh Yeah! And just wait until you get here and experience the freedom and fun of college! You will meet some of the best friends you will ever have and learn so much about yourself that you never knew. Now don't think that just because your done with High School means that college will be all fun and games, cause it won't. But you were the smart one who took all the right Advanced Placement and college-prep classes, so you are more than prepared for the next 4 years of your life. So keep up the good work this last year! Peace Out! College Freshman Me P.S. - don't tell anyone, but you get the highest grade in Biology your first semester in college!!! :-)

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Before coming to this school i was acually at a community college back in New York, my home state. Me ending up here is quiet a long story and i have learned much about myself that i can honestly say i didnt know prior to coming to this campus. I never thought that i would ever even go away to school because my financial situation isn't a good one. I thank God that i was given some money to come to this school and play softball, but next year i really want to focus on my studies so i have to find money elsewhere. I have met so many poeple here that i have changed my life for the better and i feel much support from my peers and from my Professors. I also met my boyfriend here and am i just so grateful that i was blessed with the opportunity to come to this college, even though i miss my family each and every day knowing how far i am from them. With that being said it has shown me that i can survive on my own and be an independent individual.

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As the years pass by, we all tend to look back and want to change certain things. I am currently 24 years old. I graduated with a bachelor's in criminal justice in 2012. I was so excited, and just wanted to rush and graduate. I graduated with a low GPA not allowing me to really be considered for a Master's program. My fault was to rush and graduate without really focusing on my grades. If i could go back to high school, i would have stuck with my gut instincts and followed the harder academic path. Time is going to pass by anyways, no one should rush. I look back now being 24, and i wish i could have followed Forensic Sciences rather than Criminal Justice and took my time focusing on my grades. We all look back on our mistakes and think what if, but at the same time you learn from every experience. I now am trying to do a second bachelor's in what i originally wanted. It is never to late to fix your mistakes.

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To find the right college for you, it is vital that you find out all the right ingredients that you need that make up the perfect college for you. To find this out, you need to just think of what kind of person you are. Do you like alot of extra-cirriculars? Do you like large classes or small classes? Do you like cities or small towns? And the most important-how studious are you (because if you are not focused on getting the grades and passing the classes, then college is not for you)? These are just some of the questions that you would need to ask yourself. Also, write down all the answers on a sheet of paper. Many put so much emphasis on what the college ranking is, but in reality, the rankings do not really matter all that much. What matters most is for you to be submerged in an environment that you will excel in. What really matters is getting that degree.

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Your process needs in choosing a college needs to start early. The earlier you start, the slower the process will be and that way you are not completely stressed 2 months before you graduate high school. In deciding where to go, I would strongly encourage to visit each campus of the colleges you apply to. Because the program may sound awesome, but as for your social life, it may not click at all. And when you do decide what college to go to, in order to get the best experience, I would encourage you to get out there and make friends! The friends you make at college last a lifetime. I know that because I have already been in one wedding, and will be in another in Jan. 2009. Get involved in the school's activities and have fun! These 4 or so years will help you define or rediscover who you really are.

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