Stanford, CA

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

I became a very innovative hands-on executive with exemplary record of leading large manufacturing including design and development of high technology products, improving processes and procedures to drive revenue, efficiency, and market share. I became a results-oriented visionary and exemplified explified unique background in high volume manufacturing, new product introduction and commercialization, engineering project management in the Decommissioning, BioTechnology, PC-Server and TeleComputing industries. I have provided integrated and strategic solutions and change agent to key stakeholders by delivering real value-add resolution and sustainable solutions. I became versatile in eCommerce, engineering services, database, systems integration, merger and acquisition. I have developed strong strategic and long-range planning abilities; skilled in setting up services, products and technology strategies in B2C (business-to-customer) and B2B (business-to-business) environments. Diverse background in technical services, project management, engineering, design, development, database, maintenance, inspection, testing, risk management, fabrication, production, volume manufacturing, supply chain, user experience, network operations, quality assurance, compliance, customer support, marketing and sales functions.

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When it comes to choosing the right college, a first place ranking on the Forbes list is far less important than finding a college that best suits your interests and goals. College rankings change every year, and thus, it would be unwise to make a decision that will impact the rest of your life from information that is unreliable. A college ranked for the stellar research of its faculty may come at the price of poor lectures that do not engage your interest. An extremely high academic reputation may cultivate obsessive competitiveness among students, pressuring them not to actually learn, but to just obtain high marks in class, leading to plagiarism, depression, suicide, and a host of other negative effects. On the other hand, having a variety of academic resources including study space, tutoring and counseling services are greatly conducive to a rich learning experience. Some other important factors to consider are the college?s alumni relations and career counseling services. Apart from providing internship opportunities, these are good resources for planning your life after graduation, making your college experience more complete. Lastly, but equally important are the options your college provides for financing your education. Do not overlook this.

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My original major in college was Music. Music really enhanced my creativity. I took about twenty years off school in which I worked in Political Fundraising and Political Polling. I worked as a political fundraiser for the Republican Party of Texas and the Republican National Committee. I was the leading fundraiser in my division at both of those organizations. I have also worked as a pollster for Gallup Organization, where I was the leading pollster on the Tarrance and Associate poll, which emphasized the stregnths of Republican candidates and the weaknesses of their Democratic opponents. I returned to school about six years ago as a Political Science major. I have about a year's credit hours in Political Science. I'm classified as a college Junior. It is my ambition to complete my degree using UNLV and online classes. I would greatly appreciate you considering me as a scholarship candidate. Completing my degree has been an objective of mine for about thirty years. Sincerely yours, Michael R. Thompson

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Chris, I want you to refrain from being humble and remind yourself in the future: you genuinely deserve to be at Stanford. You are intellectually affluent. You are modest, compassionate, endearing, perspicacious, magnanimous, gregarious, aesthetically imaginative. You are composed of your mother’s tenacity, your father’s diligence, your grandmother's infinite affection, your younger brothers' naiveté and curiosity, your best friend's undeniable fidelity, your teachers' amaranthine encouragement. Oftentimes you deprive yourself of acquiring inner peace and experiencing true euphoria by incessantly comparing yourself to others. Don't morph your identity in order to impress your peers and don't associate yourself with those who force you to compromise your morals; you are the people you surround yourself by and your opinion of yourself preponderates all others. Don't define yourself by the goals you failed to accomplish or the obstacles you failed to surmount, but by the triumphs and the individuals that molded you into the eternally exuberant and persistently passionate human being you are today. And lastly, I want for you to live in such a way that if anyone should speak poorly of you, no one else would believe it.

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Within this first quarter of Stanford, I've acccrued the cliche college catch; a new, great circle of friends, a wider and more inquisitive and accepting view of the world, a humbling of my accomplishments, and volumes of knowledge and sharper, stronger problem solving skills. Beyond the generic college improvements, I've gone from an occasional runner to a dedicated athlete practicing four times a week for Stanford's ultimate frisbee team. This novel experience for me has renovated my health and clearly demonstrated the value of a strong, active body, a good diet, and a plentiful, daily dose of sleep. This sport has ultimately given me a strong body to augment and accelerate the growth of a strong mind. Moreover, the Stanford sports team community and mentality is a truly rewarding experience - a tightly knit family of intellectually hungry scholars who are dedicated to lively a holistically good life through a strong body and mind. In addition to the value of this community and a health body, Stanford's myriad of brilliant, hungry intellectuals has bombarded my mind with a plethora of inspiring ideas and accomplishments that has exponentiated my hunger for intellectual growth and improvement.

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“Don’t worry, there is a place for everyone to fit in at college!” Throughout my high school year I was anxious about the academic and more importantly social aspect of college. Now completing my first year, I would definitely recommend to think less of fitting in at college and more of enjoying the time you have with high school friends and preparing yourself financially for college. Members of the college’s student body come from various backgrounds, so finding one’s niche is easier than most perceive. Nurturing those high school friendships is most important, so that they have a chance of surviving the “friend-weaning” process known as college freshman year. The second important piece of advice is the need to search for outside scholarships and grants. Being a strong academic, I mistakenly thought that colleges would throw money my way because of my elite test scores and outstanding G.P.A. High school seniors need to focus their spare time away from school and friends looking for outside sources of money. Schools’ budgets are constantly becoming thinner and to ensure that you do receive the aid that you deserve, you need to diligently search for your money.

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When it comes to finding the right college, the best advice I can give students is to follow their hearts. It sounds cliche, but I truly believe the more honest students are throughout the application process, the more likely they are to find the right match. Finding a college is similar to finding a significant other - if you compromise love for reputation, there's a good chance the match won't work. In other words, I feel as though many students place too much emphasis on attending a prestigious university rather than the university that fits their individual needs. Certainly these schools have reputations for a reason, however, what may be a more important factor to consider is the environment in which the learning is taking place. How competitive are the students? How large is the university? What extracurricular activities are available? Students should should place more emphasis on matching their personalities with the schools personality than simply rely on prestige. By approaching college in this fashion, students will not only become more efficient in their learning, but will have a more memorable, comfortable, and fulfilling college experience.

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Though I had my hesitations and considered a smaller liberal arts college, in retrospect, no other place could have given provided a richer, more dynamic place to learn and grow into a young adult with strong values. I've gained lifelong friends, strong communications skills, deep connections not just on campus but also around the world, and and most of all, the courage to carve an alternative path as I continue my learning and growth beyond my undergraduate years. As a Chinese American passionate about Buddhist and interfaith chaplaincy, the hospice movement, feminist issues, and social justice, my interests often raise eyebrows. But this path feels just right for me, and I'm deeply indebted to the people I met at Stanford who encouraged me to find my true calling: from my partner of three years to some best friends I still keep in touch with to my honors thesis advisor--all continue to be avid, nonjudgmental champion and supporters in my unfolding journey--something I never experienced growing up. Through the academic, religious/spiritual, and social/emotional opporunties--and challenges--that Stanford offered, I am well-equipped for what lies ahead.

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I think there needs to be a balance between what the student wants and what the parents want. Parents can help with the college decision, but the ultimate descision must rest with the student. After all, the student will be living on campus for four years -- not the parents. Parents also need to stay active in the lives of their children long before college decisions come around. Parents should encourage their kids to participate in extra-curricular activities and should also be active at the schools that their child attends in order to foster the behavior that they want their child to exhibit. A successfull carer and the building of good habits early on will probably also shape the college experience that a student will have. Making the most of ones college experience lies in learning how to balance academics with social and athletic responsiblities. Students who are able to focus on classes and grow as individuals during their four years in college also tend to be the ones who come away with a overall positive outlook on life and their college. Do not neglect social interaction during college -- you will make some of the best friends of your life.

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College is a personal choice that is different for every applicant. Everybody wants something different out of their college experience. That's why it's really important to find out as much as possible about schools that might fit you, academically, socially, financially, and location-wise, among many factors. It's also important to consider a few dream schools too-- even if somewhere is out of your price range, applying for scholarships and financial aid might make it possible. However, the single most significant determining factor, once you've narrowed your choices down to schools that are financially feasible after April 1, is visiting colleges. There is no better way to get a feel for a school and realize you belong there (or don't belong there) than visiting schools with an open mind. Keep an eye out for programs or organizations that you'd be interested in. Once you've decided on a place, make the most of it. Get involved! Find things that get you excited about going to class or meeting new people and take advantage of them. College is a unique environment that allows for a really special kind of total involvement, and it's amazing.

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