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Tennessee State University

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

College is something in life that can either make you or break you. You have to be a certain kind of individual to withstand the financial, educational, and overall life pressure that comes with college. I began attending college as a wide eyes freshmen, with no clue about what was ahead. Quickly I learned that nothing is owed to you and nothing is freely given to you. You have to have serious work ethic, drive, focus and determination to push forward no matter what lay ahead until you receive that degree. Networking is your best friend, you just may come across someone that could be your potential employer, or a great reference to a great job. College has taught me that self-relization is the only motivation that I need to achieve anything. You have to forsee and believe in your goals youself, before you can begin working towards them. Succeeding in college has been of value to me because I have broken the cycle in my family of letting circumstances and a lack of motivation hinder educational advancements. Attending college has given me the skills to not only succeed in my career, but in life as well.

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Knowing what I know now about college, the advice that I would give myself would be to get involved, take advantage of every educational opportunity given to you, if you can not find it, ask someone about it, practice on improving your study habits, do all work in advance, and to get to know your professors and people in office. Being involved will help you to network amongst your peers and develop communication skills. Taking advantage of educational opportunities such as honor societies, chances to get extra credit points, and styudying abroad. With this, you never know what positive things you would come across in the process, you probably will meet someone whi can help you succeed in the field that you are trying to go in. Studying can be the hard part in school especially if you have poor habits. Start early on with studying material because when the time comes for a test, it will be a breeze. Also, pay attention in every class you take, even if you feel it has nothing to do with your major because you never know if it may come up again in the future or what you will benefit from it.

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The advice I would give to prospective parents and students about finding the right college would be to go where your career focus is best served. The social life, campus life, and activities are all great reasons to choose a school, however, once you graduate those these will no longer matter. Job placement is the most important part of college as it prepares you for the real world ahead. Getting a good job after college insures that you will have a successful career and financial situation. I personally chose a school that was socially great but not so great as far as my own acedemic major choice, which was art and graphic design. Do to the lack of job placement help that I recieved as an undergrad has left me with no job 6 months after graduation and a slew of loans to pay back. I desire to attend grad school but cannot due to my tuition debt. If I had to choose colleges over again I would have went to an art school or somewhere where my field received the most emphasis from professors, scholarships and finacial aid awarded, and state of the art equipment provided.

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Dear 18-year-old-self, Congratulations! You are about to graduate and head off to college! Not so fast, you didn't actually get enough money to go to the schools you applied for so don't pay that $500 deposit. You'll be attending community college for the next year. I know you are really unhappy about this and disapointed, but its not all bad! Your classes will be easy as long as you actually go to class (GO TO CLASS!), and the classes are a lot smaller than your friends attending their dream school, so make sure you get some rec letters from your professors. You will have the oppertunity to get ahead a year by taking more than 15 credits a semester because the classes are so easy, DO IT! You will also have the oppertunity to participate in the Disney College Program. Enjoy every long tiring minute of it because you will miss everything about it as soon as you leave. Make sure you have fun during your last year of high school, becuase it will be they last year with no responsiblities. Make sure to be selfish while you can! Love, 20-year-old BrokeCollegeStudent

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As a senior in high school, I always anticipated what it would be like to attend college. The things I found myself having concerns over were questions like, What if they don't accept me? Am I going to make any friends? How will I pay for college? Questions and concerns such as these and more, I believe, cross the minds of any, and many, graduating senior in high school. The most important question could've possibly been how am I going to fund my education? The money factor seems to scare everyone who has to go to school, especially for out of state students, and especially with this economy. If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would make sure that my performance in school, extracurricular activities, and community service were at the top of my game. I would tell myself to fill out more scholarships and retrieve as much information as I can to be able to fund my education. College transition was fine for me, but I'm still learning new and more things everyday. What's important is what one can get out of the college experience.

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College is one of the most exciting part in one's life. It's only as good as one puts into it. When considering the perferct or right college for oneself, or child one needs to remember to choose it for the campus size, high graduating rate, and the opportunity to give your child or self the best well-rounded person they can be. The campus size is important, because it determines the classroom size, the the ratio of student to falcuty. Some students seem to be fine with a classroom of 300 students, while others enjoy the classroom size of 30. Either or is fine, but that's what one needs to take into consideration when trying to learn. Also, one will not want to attend a university with a low graduating rate, because it shows that there is a lack of teaching, learning, or supplies(libraries, lab, tutor) on campus. Either the school is not using the money for the school, or picking the unmotivated people to attend their univerisity. Lastly, to be able to be a well rounded person. A company doesn't want just a nerd or athlete, but someone in the middle.

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To prospective students and/or parents who are currently trying to find the right college for them, I would reccomend that they, as I did, make a list of the available colleges they are interested in, and sit down to review the positives and negatives of each school. This will help them narrow down their choices and see visually which school would be condusive for their educational and social needs. Also, I would reccomend that the student and parent choose a school that is not like their current living area. I chose to attend a school that would ultimately land me in a place that I'm not used to. It was two states away in an area different to that of mine. Albeit I was very nervous upon my time of acceptance, being in a new area that I was not used to has been very benificial to me throughout my matriculation. A way to make the most of anyone's college experience is to get involved in your school activities. You are paying for an experience and that such experience includes all activities that your campus has to offer. Don't just sit in your room.

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There are many things I would say to my high school senior self. Some of the main things I would say are to never limit yourself just because someone on the faculty implies that you cannot handle it. I would say “go ahead and take a chance at learning an upper level math class. Just because you are in your senior year and already have the minimum requirements for graduation, you should take the class; it will help prepare you for college.” The second thing I would say is that “sure you were pigeon holed through the years in school, just look at it as wasted potential, but what you did get out of it is something called hard work.” The third thing I would say is that “people may use pretty words for the meaning of the word ‘dumb’, never believe them, you are just an average person like everyone else. Everyone has the ability to learn anything; it just takes a different learning approach or learning style.” The last thing I would say is that “never be afraid of failure, as long as you work hard towards your goal, you’ll reach it eventually.”

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My advice to anyone about finding the right college is not to let your financial situation dictate your choice of college. Even if you think you cannot afford it look into as many ways you can find money to go. Do not be afraid to take out a student loan, it is not the worst thing in the world. I can also tell people that if you are accepted to the college of your choice, do not let little factors hinder your decision from what you really want and what you will settle for. Another thing would be not to change your major to many times. Once you decide on a major stick with it. Changing your major will only defer you from graduating on time. If you feel out of place at your college there is no problem with transfering to another school. Just make sure that you are not transfering to party, but also for acadmics as well. Everybody who goes to college is not there to learn. Some people treat it as though it is something to do in between partying. Choose who want to be surrounded by with people who have the same interests as you.

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If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior I would tell myself, "Chelsea, you have so much more potential than you know. Do not get discouraged everytime something small comes your way. Life is filled with trials and tribulations, but they will all make you a stronger and better person. Hurtful and shameful words that others say about you do not determine who you are. Don't let others make you feel like you cannot succeed because you can. Let the negative things that people say be your motivation. In the words of Eleanor Rooselvelt, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." College is the most important time of your life. This is where you set the foundation for your career. Not only are you setting the stones for your career, but you are discovering who you truly are. Keep your priorities in the right order so that you don't lose sight of your goals and what is truly important in life. Do not give in to the influence of those around you. Be your own person and stay true to yourself."

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