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St. Thomas Aquinas College

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

I know right now you hate school. You despise everything about it; the teachers, the classes, the rules, the people, the work, everything. From as long as you could remember, you concluded that, “school is just not for me”. The thought of going to college and being in school for another four years is tormenting. The only thing that’s giving you motivation to continue on with school is knowing you will need higher education to obtain a successful career. After all, throughout high school you were told it would be near impossible to get a job in the future with this economy. That thought terrifies you, but it also gives you that little spark of motivation. Here’s my advice to you: do not worry, forget about the torment you went through in high school. College is different, you will finally get the perseverance to succeed. It’s nothing like the torture and conformity you endured in high school. You get to be yourself and make decisions based on what you want. College isn't just schooling, it’s a completely different atmosphere where you will learn more about yourself and grow to become the great person you are.

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Knowing what I know now, I would have a few helpful hints for myself at seventeen. I would remind myself that once college is over, there are only a few things that matter. You should go to a place that not only will make you feel at home, but will prepare you for everything that awaits a college graduate. This includes not only academic preparation, but career-oriented planning as well as preparating for the financial challenges that await you-- especially in my case, as I have had to take out many loans in order to continue my education. I would remind myself of what college really is about, and that is life after graduation. It is so vital to treat college as a preparatory tool-- for character, career, and future financial independence and success. College is, in a sense, adult life with training wheels. I would tell myself that while I still have the support of my family and a school system, that I should practice as much independence as possible to ready myself for a time when those supports will no longer be available. Keeping these things in mind is collegiate success.

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I would say: Emily, the transition from senior year to College should be like those stories in the books you inhale as if necessary for survival. However, like those stories, there are unexpected plot twists that will make your toes curl. Those you trust are going to disappoint you, classes are not going to give you the perfect 4.0 you deserve, and people will not understand the actions of an introverted small-town girl that has no fire in her personality. But do not take your failures as losses; bring them to your advantage-study your weaknesses, including taking the time to try to understand people, and how your interactions with them affect your world. This is the best I can give you: be true to yourself, but with the upmost importance, stand up for yourself in college as you never dared in high school. Emily, you are not a doormat to be stepped on by those with agendas. Never allow the feelings of your roommates or that friend you idolize lessen your self-importance. Your strength is greater than you imagine, it is your time to conquer your world.

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If i could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior I would tell myself to work hard, get involved, and apply for as many scholarships as possible. Working hard will give you as many options and opportunities as you want, in cases of transfering money, and job choices. Getting involved in extracurricular activities at school provides an easy way to make new friends that share a common interest and also can be incentive for people to hand you alot of money in scholarships. Going to college I just figured that my schooling would be paid for with no problems ... i was very wrong. Applying for scholarships early has to be the most worth while work that you can do. You can be handed hundreds and thousands of dollars by simply writing an essay or two, entering a scholarship sweepstake, or even being left-handed. If I could, I would go back and force myself to sit down and spend hours applying for scholarships.

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Theres much advice to give parents and students about finding the right college for them. First off, students need to know where they would be most comfortable at, a large school, or a small school. Researching a schools demographics can best explain whether the school is large or small. With that being said, dont always believe what you read because schools will write anything to make their school seem like the best one. Second, students should go to a school that has his or her intended major for the future. Even if you declare yourself undecided have some what of an idea what you could get into and apply for a school who has that particular major. If students are dead set on a school, the best way to come up with a final answer is simply just talk to the students in the cafeteria. The students' are the ones who will give you an honest answer if the school is good for you.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself about the knowledge I have about college now, I believe my decisions would have greatly changed. I would inform my college bound self that it's not all about the "look" of college life but also how you're going to afford the school. When I was applying for colleges, I went with schools that appealed to me no matter the cost. Now I'm attending a great school that I can no longer afford. If I could go back I would tell myself to not just look into majors and student life, but also grants, scholarships and the tuition cost as a whole. I would tell myself to be more analytical with my decision and possibly go for a school that I can afford even with loans and federal aid. I believe if I knew then what I know now, I would be in financial bliss instead of financial turmoil.

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Look for the college that fits your needs, no one else's. Don't let your parents do all the work. Answer any surveys honestly. Work hard, but have a social life. Ask about class sizes, dorm conditions, weekend life, what people do for fun, availability of psychological services, academic services (tutoring, extra help), and career services. Ask about financial aid and scholarships. Talk to your professors, even if you don't have problems. Be mature and responsible about sex, drugs and alcohol. BE brave and talk to new people, especially if you have friends coming into the school. Ask someone who goes to the school if they like the food on campus. School first, fun later.

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No matter where you go, college will be life changing. Make an intelligent decision that is based more on emotions and first impressions than it is on the overall cost. I find that being an hour away from home is the perfect distance because it enables students to be within reach of a strong support system while still having independence. Finally, choose a college that has a friendly and helpful faculty because they can help smoothe out any problems that arise.

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Students should not take the college process lightly. It is in their best interest to visit as many schools as possible and to keep their options open. They should not rush into a decision but wait until they find a school that best fits them, in all areas. If a student is thinking of playing a sport, they should look into everything, sports play a huge role in academic success in college, you have to learn to balance your time efficiently.

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I can honestly say that for me clloge has transformed me as a person. I have learned so much is just one year as a college student, and i feel confident that i will recieve a highly quality education. Before i can to St. Thomas i had a really hard time managing my time while in high school. Now that i am on campus and i have a lot of responsiblity i have learned to manage my time more efficently.

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