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Texas Christian University

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

Finding the right college requires a deep understanding of yourself. If you are outgoing and love to socialize, attend a college that promotes that, for instance a large state university. If you are a quiet soul, like me, then you need a more intimate setting with smaller student/teacher ratio, like a private university. Don't discount a college based on the cost, yes it may be more expensive, but if it suites the students personality and goals, the cost is worth it. Ultimately, let the student determine the college. Oftentimes the parents drive their child into attending their academic dream university instead of listening to the person who will be attending the school. When the student is making the decision where to attend, and the parents support that decision, in my opinion, they are more likely to stay focused and graduate. Finally, get connected. Join an organization, volunteer, or find other ways to meet people and make friends. In high school we think our friendships will last forever, and sometimes that is true. More often, our lifelong friendships begin at college. These friendships are lasting and endure because they understand the struggles of college life.

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TCU is a school like no other. It was my dream school since the beginning, and it continues to be. First, the campus is breathtakingly beautiful, and a joy to walk around. Then, the professors and staff are sincerely passionate about their work and the school. I've been guaranteed individual care since the start. I am close with my professors and have their cell numbers for extra help on weekends. It's been a precious support to have their guidance toward success. TCU holds a warm and generous community that extends to the city of Fort Worth. I love experiencing the school spirit (we bleed purple!) that goes along our amazing, nationally famous football team (now Rose Bowl champions!). I'm actively involved with my favorite organizations to forge my personal leadership, but also to have fun. I appreciate the resources the campus offers, whether it's our giant library, Career Services for job search, or countless inspirational speakers. The academic level is intellectually stimulating. Now, I will be graduating in a year and I feel completely ready to launch my career with great assurance that I have the knowledge, confidence, and social skills to accomplish anything I desire.

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Dear you, These past four years have definitely been a journey, and the path will continue after you cross the stage. Congratulations on your achievement, scholarships, and recognitions. However, this is just the beginning! As you prepare for college, understand that reaching for your dreams, and working towards success doesn't just stop because you've made it to college. It begins once you enter! College will be the most fulfilling opportunity of your life, not just because of the higher education that you will gain, but for the friends, experiences, interests, and passions you will receive on the way. The transition going into college will be different from anything you've experienced before because college is different from anything you've experienced before. You'll learn new things, what career interests and makes you happy, and most of all: you will discover your true self! Promise that you will allow yourself to experience all of it. It will be so worth it! Stay focused, be persistent and bold, laugh a lot, be open, make connections that will last a lifetime, and spend every second making the value of this educational experience priceless! -The Future

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A societal issue that is of significant personal importance to me and that you must be sure to avoid is the uncontrollable need to conform to the stereotypical assumptions with which you are identified. Although some conformity is a necessity in order to preserve unity, diversity should abound in order to provide a segue that allows individuals to break free from the stereotypes that they have been subjected to throughout their lives so that they can become successful in society. Society incessantly suggests that individuals should enter into a constant struggle of conforming to the expectations that society imposes on them. This decision to concede to the perception of society is detrimental to an individual?s integrity and demonstrates a nature that is treacherous and self-rejecting. Being the editor-in-chief of the high school newspaper, diversity is important so that the ideas and talents of different individuals can be acknowledged, represented, and expressed. Each member is encouraged to embrace their unique strengths and operate to their full potential, so that the possibilities are not left undiscovered but are utilized to their full extent.

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Attending any univeristy is a liberating privilege. I didn't understand this until I completed my first semester at TCU. I grew up in a small private school from when I was three until graduation day; being admitted to top of the line universities is expected, in fact, TCU was one of the lowest ranked attending universities out of all my fellow graduates. That's how I thought of TCU on the first day of classes, but I would soon discover I was definitely mistaken. I believe that every penny spent on tuition to this university goes toward the quality of professors (although some may argue the recent tuition influx is due to the building of a new football stadium). Determination is the easiest quality to sense in the classroom. Not only do the professors want to teach important lessons to their students, but they strive for complete understanding of the material as opposed to basic short-term memorized facts. Through their determination I understand now why a college education is required in almost every aspect of the workforce. College has proven valuable to attend because it has placed an intangible value on something I had previously considered superfluous.

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From the moment you step on a campus, you should feel three main things: The first feelings you should have are feelings of safety and comfort. You should be able to trust in all aspects of the institution, from crime rates to housing options to meal plans. Choose a campus based on safety and comfort just like you would your permanent home, as you will spend four important years of your life in those surroundings. The second feeling you should get is trust in your ability to succeed at the specific campus. You should be able to picture yourself being able to fully adapt to the college's policies, principles and procedures so that you will become an expert in your field of study and succeed later in life. You should be compatible with the class size, the professors' teaching patterns, class choices, and the availability of career help. The third feeling is almost indescribable. When you step your foot on a campus you are going to attend, it should just "feel right." Everything should click; from comfort in those surroundings to excitement about your adventure, when your feet are on the right campus for you, you will "just know."

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When it comes to picking a school, look around and get a sense for the variety of options you have. Apply everywhere (your chances of getting in increase exponentially when you turn in the application)! Pay close attention to the things that most matter to you. Studious? Look at the teacher:student ratio, look at the classrooms, or check out the library. Athletic? Check into intermurals, look at the gym, and find out more about sports on campus. Social? Look into networking opportunities, look at extracurriculars. Career minded? Look at internship programs, job fairs, and look at the alumni involvement. Most of all... LOOK AT THE STUDENTS!! Pay attention! Do these look like people you could be friends with, live with, share 4 (+) years of your life with? Finally, when you've made the decision, gotten the acceptance letter, then GET INVOLVED. Finding a niche is the best way to have a great college experience. However, you should always remember... college may not be the "best time of your life" like everyone else seems to tell you it is. There's oportunities to make it great, but take it for what it is - a step toward a bigger goal.

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If I could hold a single conversation with myself as a High School senior it would not be peppered with the remnants of past mistakes or steeped in a negative tone; I would beseech myself to think before leaping. I would ensure I became fully aware of the resonance that my educational decisions would have on my future life. I would attempt to map out the possibility and wonder of a well rounded education and the seemingly endless opportunities that could be provided if I was only able to see past the moments that appeared to shape and define my college experience. I would highlight the importance of positive decisions and time management skills, because these traits are threaded and weaved throughout our adult lives; their presence never fades. I would ensure that I understood that my newly found freedom could be both liberating and crippling if not harnessed for the right reasons; reasons that would become clear in time. Most of all I would show myself that education is never a right; it is a privilege that must be treated with respect. We are only afforded one life and seconds chances become less probable as we age.

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Pick your top three colleges and look at every aspect of them. If possible, visit the campuses and observe students. Talk to faculty members, Financial Aid advisors, talk to students. Observe how the students react to others around them, and how they interact with such people as physical plant workers or housekeepers. Watch how the people on campus treat the campus (do they throw trash away, for example?). Check out alumni involvement in the school, and the career center to see if there are useful networks or help to find jobs following graduation. Compare financial aid packages between schools, and look into any tuition hikes recently, or any improvements being done on campus that could lead to a tuition hike. Look at the distance you will have to travel to get to school, how close family is, and how you might be able to be involved in your favorite activities. Check out everything that you might be interested in doing in college, and don't decide on a major until after your first year, and take classes in any area you are interested in until you decide a major. And don't be araid to change your major. Have fun.

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To future empty nest parents- College is a wonderful experience! It is one that has changed my life for the better! I believe it is essential for a student to pick a university that suits him or her in their unique ways. Once at the college the student will be bombarded with clubs, greek organizations, honor societies, and church groups. Your student must use these groups to his advantage! In each group he can meet multiple people and make connections and friends that will last a lifetime. Of course you expect your son or daughter to stay home and study weeknights, weekends however are a time for fun and socialization amoung peers. Not all college parties are bad. College students remember what their parents told them about drinking and drug use. Believe it or not, we actually believe that you are right. We, as college students, have grown up and are adopting principles and standards of our own. We set very high standards for ourselves. So parents give your student a little wiggle room to test out the waters of the university. And remember we never forget about you, and we will always come home for money and food!

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