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Syracuse University

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

Dear High School Me, It may sound clich?, but time management is by far the greatest factor in determining the ease of your transition to college life. Of course, your number one priority should be studying and completing assignments on time; however, do not underestimate the importance of making friends, joining clubs, and participating in other extracurricular activities. Set aside time to get to know people in your classes and in your residence hall. These people will be experiencing many of the same things as you, so it will feel comforting to discuss your problems and successes with them. These friendships will also come in handy if you are struggling in a class and need tutoring. Leave time in your schedule for clubs, which provide a much needed break from schoolwork. Joining a club is also another great way to meet people with similar interests. Finally, do not forget to allot yourself time to just relax. It is not a crime to do something fun with the new friends that you have made, or to simply have alone time. Every night, take fifteen minutes or so to reflect on the previous day and plan the next. Sincerely, College Me

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I would tell myself to dive into college, head first, without reservation. One day, I know I will have a set routine; in the near future, my environment and I will be more contained. But now, while I am still young and relatively free, every small thing feels like mine. The steps to class, the conversations, and the thoughts are all integral parts of my personal experience. As a film student, college has been a process of education that has oriented me to technical, creative, and personal improvement. I would urge myself to get involved in campus activities as proactively as possible so as to better understand my interests in feminism, film production, and sexual violence prevention. The Syracuse Campus has a particularly vocal social climate which allows for the exploration of questions of fairness and equity. The best way to engage yourself in the university setting, is to find peers and mentors who are truly passionate about similar issues. At Syracuse University, there are many like-minded individuals, but finding a embracing community withing the college requires enthusiastic pursual of opportunities. There are amazing experiences waiting out there, but you must discover them.

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I personally would not have done anything differently. I am very happy with what I have accomplished at this school. I have made many new friends and have done very well academically. My internship in Dubai last summer confirmed this belief. In my opinion, the best program that my school has to offer (engineering-wise) is the internship in Dubai for civil engineers. Each year six students are selected to stay in Dubai for 5 weeks to work on construction sites that are in all stages of completion. I learned more in those 5 weeks than I did in almost all of college. The academic side of learning is extremely important, but practical experience is at least just as important. I feel that schools (at least my school until this program arose) do not provide enough real-world experience. With this in mind, I would encourage students to participate in programs that offer practical experience (no matter what their major may be). It is extremely important in terms of gaining knowledge, resume appearance, experiencing other cultures (abroad programs), and gaining real-world experience. Academics merely reinforce practical experience, they aren't a substitute.

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I would tell parents and their kids to research what kind of major they are interested in, what area they want to live in, how much money is available for school and living expenses, and what financial aid opportunities are available. The student should pick a school that they believe is right for them, and it shouldn't be the parents picking for them because the student will most likely grow to become disinterested in that school. Besides picking their own schools, students should prepare for college life by slowly becoming more independent by learning how to cook, do their own laundry, budget, wake up early by themselves, and have the necessary visas or licenses if they want to travel. College life is all about balance and students will be successful if they can manage their time wisely and optimize their study time. Students should get ready to meet people from different backgrounds, save up money for necessary spending, and they should buy the most recent high technology to be ready for classes. Students also need to start branching out on their own by becoming proactive and friendly so that they can make friends with teachers in order to succeed.

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ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT COLLEGE? T HINK about what you're passionate about. A SK parents and counselors for advice. K NOW your academic strengths and weaknesses. E XPLORE schools that have your area of study, fit your academic ability, and extra-curricular needs. T AKE virtual tours on-line and narrow the search. I NVEST time to visit the schools and get a feel for the campus. M AKE the most of the process and take care in filling out applications E XPECT success, expect to work hard, expect to experience some pain and conflict and expect and choose to be happy in spite of it. Remember, "No pain, No gain" in sports can be translated to "Pain brings Gain" in life. Don't be afraid to stretch yourself and move out of your comfort zone. Know that no matter what school you choose you can be successful and happy if you WORK HARD and WORK THROUGH any difficulty that may arise. Seek schools that have the academic, social, medical and emotional resources to provide you with any assistance you might need to insure that your college experience is rewarding and exciting.

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As a high school student, a lack of motivation and personal responsibility left me little choice when it came to college. I joined the United States Army immediately prior to the invasion of Iraq, and within months of completing basic training, deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The qualities that I was missing as a teenager quickly became strengths. Upon returning from deployment, I applied to Syracuse University and have striven for success in every aspect of my academic career. When reflecting on what advice I would give my high school self, the simplest answer is this: change nothing. Had I not been ignoring assignments and putting forth little effort, my options would have been considerably brighter. Perhaps I might have gotten into Syracuse years earlier. I know for sure I would have never joined the military, and in missing out on that experience I would have lost out on the greatest learning endeavor of all. The military taught me not only leadership and personal responsibility, but also taught me integrity in a way that no school could. Without that, I would have undoubtedly been lost in the swirl of college life.

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Being a part of the Scholars Program at Santa Monica College has been a very rewarding experience, in terms of academic advantages and school support. High school offered me so many gifts ( free books and classes, experienced educators and unlimited opportunities), but college is a privledge, not a right. I have to earn my place in the program, strive for excellent grades while trying to find money to pay for an experience I used to be given without any question of money or qualifications. Attending college has been an eye-opener, an introduction to a new world of hard work. I think this is a valuble lesson: Earn your place- nobody owes you anything, so give beyond your best. Though I miss the simplicity of a high school schedule, the soft atmosphere of mediocrity and government sponsored education, I believe the college experience will bring out my true potential. I do not need to be handed opportunity on a silver spoon; I would rather fight for it, demand my place amoung the college elite. If college has taught me anything, it has made me realize that the amount of work I put into a task is equivilent to my reward.

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The best advice that I would give to students and parents in finding the right college is to search early. In my case, although I had excellent scores in high school (4.0gpa), I felt bored in high school. I finished my senior year of high school by going through a summer program and skipped a grade. But I had not searched for any universities or scholarships and ended up at the University of Puerto Rico that very fall after explaining my situation to admissions and showing them my scores. I was not satisfied with the education there or at another university that I transferred to my second semester and ended up going to Syracuse University, my first choice. However, if I had searched at least a year in advance, I would have found much more scholarships and might have had everything paid including housing instead of just a partial scholarship. My advice is for students and parents to search at least a year in advance for the right colleges, visit them if possible, research student ratings of the universities, do scholarship searches in advance, and GET INVOLVED on campus in clubs and organizations to have a better college experience!

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I would encourage myself to get a better academic background. Work at least twice as hard, for college continuously raises the bar. What may seem good for high school level is average or bellow college performance. Even though college is expected to be different, I won?t grasp is totality till graduation. Many phases will take place during these years. College will provide opportunities for anyone to discover themselves. How well do you handle pressure, failure, success, difference?? What believes do you truly follow? What type of responsible and problem solving person you are? Embrace yourself for hard difficult times will always come and college is no exception, except for the fact that it?s the beginning of self reliance. Welcoming difference is not as easy as it seems. It is rewarding, but requires more than just an open mind. It?s my fourth year and I am still trying to get used to the snow among other things. Our plans changed a couple of times based on the experiences gained. The college I end up with is OK. I met people I now keep to my heart. You will be refined not only academically, but spiritually, overall no regrets.

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?You can?t depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.? This statement, made by Mark Twain, embodies a truth I wish I had known upon entering college. Coming from a small high school, where people seemed to fit into stereotypical categories such as jock, nerd, etc., I felt confident determining who would and would not be my friends when first meeting people at Elon University. If I could go back in time, I?d tell myself, ?People are too complex to fit into restraining stereotypes, and holding this view only leads to hasty, fallacious judgments of others. When you drop this mind-set, you?ll find your closest friends become those with whom friendship was least expected, and they will support you through your ?rollercoaster? of collegiate experiences, always keeping your best interest in mind.? As a wise author once noted, when you view the world through unfocused, or, in this case, judgmental eyes, it misconstrues your view of people and the world around you. Although I wish my pre-college self had realized this, it?s a lesson I had to learn on my own?and it changed my life when I finally did.

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