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Southwestern Assemblies of God University

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

If I were to offer myself advice as a high school senior it would be in four separate themes. I would advise myself to be well diversified in experience and community service, I would stress the importance of keeping my grades at the top of my class, I would emphasize the importance of planning early for financial aid and college entrance applications, and I would stress the need to check periodically with a school academic counselor all options and opportunities presented with a designated college major. The diversification of experience in community service would ensure that I had the proper portfolio of experience when applying for future scholarships, colleges, and occupations. Staying in the top percentile in my class opens the doors to many scholarships and college entries. Numerous occupations also request information about previous academic standing. Applying early for financial aid and college entry removes the stress and chaos of last- minute submission and lost opportunities because of waiting lists. Finally, regular visits with the school academic counselor ensure that misunderstandings in regard to major expectations, time duration, and subsequent job applicability will not become a hindrance to the student. These four themes would encompass my advice to myself.

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Now I see that you want to get out of high school and move on to college as soon as possible. That's totally understandable. However, with more freedom comes more responsibilities, so I will give you the most important advice to understand during your college years. In my experience, the best way for you to start your higher education is to attend a local community college. Two reasons: 1. The courses are much more affordable, and fully accredited, meaning they will count as your first two years towards your Bachelor's degree 2. You can live in the place that you are familiar with, so you don't feel lost or alienated when you go to college and are trying to find your classes, where to live, where to find your groceries, all that stuff. Another vitally important thing you must do is that you need to be proactive in your education. Take your classes seriously, save your money for important things like books, and look around your school and become aware of opportunites and resources that are open and available to you. Believe me, if you do this, you will get the most out of your college education.

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There are many areas of importance to consider when in search for the perfect college for the future college attendee. Each student needs to know what they want out of their college experience and look into every aspect of it. In my experience I made sure to first take time to sit down and write out what I was looking for in a college. It is very important for each student to sit down and envision the college that will fit their personaily as well as their needs, dreams, and goals. Students need to make a list of qualities desired in a college and also ones that they want to stay far away from. This will get them thinking about what they are looking for. The next process is to look. Study up and read about different colleges. Find the best one for you. Next seek guidance from mutiples sources this can be from past college students, current college students, and most importantly God. The combination of all things help the student discover not only what college they are looking for, but also a little something about themselves. Lastly, go apply and trust that God will open the door.

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My first advice would be to start looking around the sophmore or junior year of high school. My advice would be to select the top ten colleges of their choice. I would have the student pick five that they would enjoy attending, and have the parent pick five that they would most like to see their student attend. After the choosing was done I would ask them to review every single aspect possible for each college and find the one that is suitable for the student. I would advise them to first think about a reasonable price range that would suit them well, and take out the schools that cost more than their price range. After that, I would encourage them to research the rest of the schools; find the best environment, find out what classes are offered, find out how far away from home it is, etc. I would tell them to eliminate the schools less suitable. When the elimination was brought down to the top three schools, I would encourage them to visit each school to get a feel for the most comfortable campus life for the student. Once the visitation is over, the school should be chosen.

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Be more motivated scholastically. Sports are something that won't last forever. The scholarships that are available to you with your academics will help you immensly. Carry that motivation on through your time in college, because if you can do that, the transition then to the real world will be much easier, having that discipline in place. Otherwise, you have to find that discipline, rekindle that fire to drive you through. When you get to college, befreind the kid across the hall as soon as you can. Otherwise, you'll spend the first few months alone and miserable, only to eventually find out that this kid is the greatest friend you'll ever have, and two years later is your roommate. Save yourself the two month trouble, and get right to it. Lastly, the dreaded freshman 15. Don't eat the banana puding ice cream everyday. Yea it is good, but you'll have to put in a lot of effort to get back into shape. Convince the kid to come to the gym with you, and before you know it, you both will find two wonderful ladies at the end of your second year , and going steady with them.

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First off, let me say that this is a great question! I ask myself this all the time. In high school all i cared about was playing baseball, and being the class clown. Those are my two favorite things to do in life. Play baseball, and be the one who brings laughter to those around me. If i could go back in time, i would tell myself to focus more on school. I did enough just to get by. I know i have it in me to be an outstanding student. I know what i am capable of, i just lost site of that. I would tell myself to focus harder on my studies, and to push myself harder and harder everyday to become the baseball player that i have dreamed of being since the age of four. I have absolute faith in myself that had i studied harder and worked harder to become a better baseball player that i could have been accepted into a huge big-time university. I couldn't be prouder to be attending Southwestern Assemblies of God University though. I get to work on my relationship with God while continuing my education and playing baseball.

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Knowing what I know now, after spending two and a half years in college, I would like to tell my former high school senior self to learn to study. College is not the same as high school. You do not always have someone reminding you to turn something in or make sure you get this done. Procrastination does not always work out so well when you have a big load. In the past few years of college, I have learned to rely on myself to plan on when to study and when assignments are due. I am working full time to pay for college so time management is extremely important. I would also tell myself to save as much money as possible for college. College is not free and in fact can be rather expensive. Apply for as many scholarships as possible. Even the small amounts add up and it's free money. Taking your basic classes at a junior college or community college can save you thousands of dollars before you transfer to a university. The last thing I would add is, stay focused on your education. Because it is not free, don't waste it!

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As a high school senior, I just knew that I wanted to follow the voice of the Lord. I didn't realize how challenging and rewarding college would be. If I could talk to my senior self, I would encourage myself to remember that I am never alone. I will not be the only person leaving everyone I have ever known. I will make new friends. I would make myself aware of the fact that I will change. My beliefs will become more of my own. I will be responsible for myself. I will make mistakes, but these mistakes will help me become a better person. I would encourage myself to seek the Lord because He is the only one who remains constant in such a changing world. I would encourage myself to never stop making friends and to be aware that my future husband could be anywhere. God will surprise me, and I should be ready to accept whatever gift He gives. Keep working hard because one day it will all be worth it. Education never ends, so don't dread it, but see it as a gift.

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Dear Mariana, How are you enjoying your Senior year? Lot's of time on your hands, and it's loads of fun I bet. Don't take this time foregranted though. I know you had a rough first three years of high school, but don't worry everything gets loads better! Once you leave for school you and mom will get better I promise. Just make sure you study hard this year, and have fun but don't forget that this is your last chance to show everything you've got! Choose your priorities wisely because you won't have Mom and Dad in Texas to tell you not to do something. Even though they are all the way in Pennsylvania it doesn't mean that they aren't there for you. College is an experience you will never forget, so make the most of it while you can. Nows the time in your life that you can actually be selfish and find out what you want for your future. Don't be afraid you can do this, and God is there to guide you. Love, Mariana in the future

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Always be careful of who you associate yourself with. Before people know you they will make assumptions about you, it may not be right but it is going to happen so by careful. The people that you meet in college are going to most likely be with you for a lifetime especially the ones that are going into the same line of business as you, do not make enemies. These people could show up later on in life and if you made enemies with them back in college then it will still stick with you in your forties. Make sure not to associate with the ones who everyone knows is bad news, these people are not meant to be in your life anyways. If those relationships are not helping you then there is no reason to keep it going. That may seem harsh and you do not want to make enemies but you also have to realize that this is the real world now. These are not petty high school relationships but they are life time relationships, choose them wisely.

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