The College of New Jersey Top Questions

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


The advice that I would give myself as a high school senior knowing what I now know about college life and making the transition, is to dream big and forge lasting relationships with teachers, students, and students outside of the dorm and my comfort zone. It is important to form bonds with the exceptional professors provided, building a network of support that gives one inspiration and the thirst to dream big and accomplish your goals. It is important to make friends with students who will help you along your path and give you memories and experiences that only college can bring. Most of all it is vital that college is a place where higher thinking can transpire, participating in new activities as well as using the opportunities available to further development in an interest already realized. My advice is to be aware that as an individual and a community, great tasks can be accomplished. One should not settle for being mundane or ordinary, but strive to be extraordinary. College is a time to take charge of ones personal potential and recognize the need for hard work and passion to reach that potential.


Were I given the opportunity to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, my speech would be something to this effect: "First of all, relax. There are things you should stress over and things that aren?t within your power to change; know the difference, and don?t sweat the small things. Right now, you've already sent out applications, and you?ll hear back soon, this is when you have to start searching for scholarships; getting accepted to college is not the difficult part, it is paying for it. This summer will be a busy one with all the preparation and packing, enjoy it. Once you get to college, there will be a big transition, but I promise you will love it. The first week or so, you might want to call home every night, don?t. Go and meet people instead. The best things you can do are: smile, be friendly, and be open to new experiences. You?ll meet all sorts of people and form intense relationships with them. You?ll realize once you return home for Thanksgiving how much you?ve grown, and how much you miss your college family.


A seed from a brawny oak tree quietly descends through the air until it gently strokes the moist warm earth arriving at its final destination. So small and precious this one seed has so much untapped potential just as I had in high school. Even though I graduated in the top twenty percent of my high school class in 2007, I left feeling that I had settled and never truly pushed myself to the best of my abilities. I had never taken an advanced placement course and now wondered if that was a mistake. Would have I excelled? Would more rigorous courses have helped to build my confidence and thus become more involved in clubs, sports, and other activities the school offered? My advice would be to break out of the shell that I had created for unnecessary barrier. As I enter the spring semester I plan to join a student club called DREAMS in which I will be afforded the opportunity to tutor underprivileged children in nearby Trenton, New Jersey. The DREAMS club will allow me to inspire elementary school children to meet their full potential...even when they themselves may not recognize it exists.


If I could give my high school senior-self any advice about the transition to college, I would be sure to emphasize the necessity to get out there, and be involved on campus. One of my hardest transitions was not knowing any of my classmates, and feeling like I didn't make friends right away. If I had just been more involved - gone to programs, attended concerts, or joined a group - I think I would have enjoyed my first year a lot more than I did. I realize now how important it is to just get out there, even if you think the event isn't quite your style. You never know who you'll meet, what connections you'll make, and the resources you could build by just broadening your horizons around campus.


I would not have made such a huge deal about going to community college. It saved a lot of money and gave me time to decide what I wanted to pursue. I would tell myself to not get my hopes on going to a 4-year school right away, to not be so pushy about going to pick out classes and getting my hopes up in the end. Having an associate's degree from a community college also makes the transferring process a lot easier. I also would tell myself to embrace community college more; try to make friends instead of just going through the motions. These are the years to make lasting relationships, not after it's all over. These three years have gone by much more quickly than I could of ever imagined and without memories, a degree is just a degree.


The one thing that strikes me about the transition into college life is that it is only as hard as you want it to be. Just relax and see what life is going to be like. D o not worry, everyone is nervous, but everyone is going through the same thing. The one thing you should not do is try to keep the exact same life you have had. That is how you will become depressed and lost, trying to to find a life that does not exist in college. Embrace life, of course still be yourself and stand by your decisions, but keep and open mind and let yourself adapt. As long as you are willing to accept a new life it is not as drastic of a change. Just let life happen for a little while and be yourself, do not worry about anything, everything will work out somehow.


Getting settled in college has been a real challenge for me. It was a really stressful process. Among all the things I learned in college, the most important is decision making. During my first semester in college, I learned to be responsible and more mature; I learned to take my own decisions. Most importantly, I managed so far to make the right decisions. Whether it?s as simple as to wake up and go to class, to take the time to exercise and eat healthy, to be active and social, to avoid drugs and alcohol, to make the right friends or even to manage time for studding and doing school work, one has to be able to decide by its own what is best for him and others. When parents are not by our sides to guide us in every step just like before, it?s a necessary skill that every college student should develop. It will help in college if earlier people took the time to start taking care of themselves and making their own decisions, if people started to act as responsible adults. After all this is how everyone is treated as in college.


The transition into college life is also the transition into adulthood, which brings unique personal challenges that no one is immune from. I would advise my high school self to treasure the friends who will aid her in difficult times, and to always remember to give back the same love and support in return. College is a time to be selfish as she focuses on her personal and intellectual growth, but it is also a time to build communities and forge friendships that will last a lifetime. More often than not, the emotional workload of college life far exceeds the academic workload. I would tell her to study hard, while still remembering to look up from the books at the new world around her from time to time, which is full of future friends who are eager to lend a hand. Those connections will form the foundation of who she will become.


Don't be shy; try to meet as many people in the beginning as you can. Once people form their groups it's a lot harder to make new friends, but in the beginning it's much easier. Savor freshman year because there will never be anything like it again. It's very unique from the rest of college. As the work gets harder and real life sets in you will never fell the same freedom and carefreeness again. Most of all relax because college is the best four years of your life and no matter where you end up you will like it if you keep an open mind!


I would give myself the same advice my parents gave me: always be myself. I did not need to change anything about myself to make new friends at college, or join a club or a sport. Knowing that I applied ot eight schools and that I did not really have a first choice, it was difficult for me to choose a college. However, my mother told me to pick whatever felt right. Although finances played a large role in my decision, I would perhaps emphasize that money should not be the most important factor in choosing a school. Taking out a loan is not the end of the world, and attending a school with good job placement can help alleviate that worry. In short, choose the school with the academic program that best fits your needs and make that your number one priority in choosing a school.


I would tell myself to get out and try as many new things as possible. I stayed in a lot my freshman year, and I wish I had joined more clubs earlier. By the time I was a senior, I was very involved in activities, and I wish I had an extra year of being involved.


Take as many AP classes as possible. Graduating on time is hard enough without worry about general education classes if you get them done in high school it will really help you out in college.


I would tell myself to be confident in my choice at The College of New Jersey. There are many great people here and many people that will eventually be your friends for life. You will create many close friendships and have a great time at school.


join clubs your first semester


I would advise myself to clearly research where I would like to go to school and what I would like to study. I would also advise myself to think of my future career so that I may pick a field that I will enjoy, while still being stimulating. I would also advise myself to make my own decision, and not one that my parents would want, because ultimately, it will affect me more than anyone else.


If I could go back in time and give my high school self some advice about college, I would warn her that things very rarely work out exactly as she wants them to. However, even if I don't get my first choice, I can always make the best of what I have and succeed no matter the circumstances I'm presented with. I would remind myself that I am a capable young woman that is talented and intelligent: I shouldn't allow small setbacks to discourage me and prevent me from achieving my goals. Most importantly, I would make it clear that there is no substitute for hard-work and organizations; not even the smartest student in the world can succeed if he or she takes these skills for granted. Lastly, I would make it clear that happiness is more important than all the A's in the world.


I would tell myself first off to take all the AP and honors classes that I can, because the professors at college expect you to know everything they are talking about. Next, I would decide whether I wanted a small more intimate school or a large school. Then I would consider where the school's located in terms of the kinds of people who would be attending the college. Then there's what you want to study of course. If you want to study say Business, you may want to look at schools that are more focused on Business then say Biology, and if you're not sure what you want to study you should choose a school that has all the possible majors out there, so when you do decide you can stay at the school of your choice and study what you want. I would also look at the tuition and fees that have to be paid, so I can compare costs with the other schools I want to attend. The tuition depends on where you live at certain colleges and universities. Lastly, I would look at all the extracurricular activities, like sports and clubs.


Time has rewound, possibly by some act of God, and I find myself as a high school senior. Knowing all about the ups and downs and twists and turns of college life, I would give myself some useful advice. First, I would assure myself that I am not alone in my initial feelings of isolation because all first-year students transition to college with uneasy feelings of whether or not they will fit in. It takes some time and patience but, soon enough you will develop you niche of friends. If these friends are true, then they will be with you no matter what, even if they join a sorority separate from yours or a varsity sport unlike the one you play. The second piece of advice would be to get involved. Join as many clubs as you can and be proactive within these clubs. Offer to volunteer for the soup kitchen and the like. Don't back down from the "diry work." Lastly, I would advise myself to stay on top of school work. Teachers are no longer required to check your progress on a paper that is due in a week. You must be the motivation for success.


If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to remember to stay true to myself. Transitioning into college wasn't all I expected it to be. I tried to be friends with my roommate and other girls on my floor that wanted to do different kinds of activities that I really wasn't comfortable doing. I let myself stay in this uncomfortable position for the first two months of college, and all the while I was worried that people on my floor had already pre-judged me based on these girls' actions. I was worried that it would be too difficult for me to try and find different people to hang out with so late in the year, so I kept on pretending I liked these girls. I didn't like the person I was becoming, and I eventually became friends with another group of girls, who I love. I would have wanted to tell myself that it's okay to be true to who I am, and not to change just to fit in with a certain group of girls. If I had known this sooner, I probably would have had a better first year experience.


Don't go for a school just because of it's name. Really focus it academically and socially fits you.


vist school, get involved , join a sport or fraternity or sority


The first thing parents and students should be thinking of when it comes to deciding which college to enroll in is affordability. It's very tough for a student who absolutely falls in love with a certain college and has their heart broken because they cannot make it financially. You must also weigh the possibility of scholarships and grants as well. Second on your list of priorities is the program list. Narrow your list of colleges down and find which ones offer the programs that best suit your interests. Make sure they offer degrees in whatever you wish to pursue, and also check to see if they have those certain extracurriculars that you may be interested in. Third on your list should be campus appeal. Determine which campus you could see yourself in for the next four years and make your decision. I fell in love with my college campus the moment I closed the car door in the parking lot. Happy hunting!


I would give parents and students a word of advice each. For parents, I would say, "let your children take a risk." While parental input into choosing a school is important, parents must realize that it should be their child's choice. If your child is in a position to get into college, then it's clear that you have already done a good job raising your child and they should be prepared to make an informed, educated decision. For students, I would say, "go for it." Try everything you can while at school (within reason of course). Don't let others or more importantly yourself, get in the way of new experiences. Remember, not everything is meant to be and some of your failures will inevitably help build character and make you a stronger individual. Alumni typically come back and always tell stories about how their regrets were not the things that they did, but it was the things they wish they had done. Four years seems like forever, but, to quote Ferris Bueller's Day Off, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."


An important factor in choosing a college is the size of the school you would like to attend. Do not just choose a largeschool because all of your friends are going to it. Similarly do not choose a small private school because it is the best one you got into. You want to choose a school that will make you happy, because this is where you you will be making your life long friends in the next four years. Of course you should not downgrade the quality of the education you would be getting just for your social well being, but make sure you visit the school and sense the aura of the students. Then think to yourself "Is this the type of people I want to associate with for the next four years?" Once you figure out the best size school to go to, go ahead choose that prestigious reach school that you liked, or that state school that is less then half an hour from home. Just make sure your choice is the one that will keep you happy.


Don't ever let the work load get you down. It's extremely important to say optimistic and treasure each day and challange put forth in front of you.


go on a campus tour before you make a decision. Get to know the college.


I would encourage EVERYONE to do campus visits. For me, the first steps into the college will make or break your opinion of it. The moment I saw TCNJ's campus, I knew that it was the right choice for me. Seeing pictures won't really do justice, so keep that in mind! As far as making the most of the college experience, it's really important to know how to meet people. You're going to have a miserable time if you're not willing to go out and start talking! Once you do make friends, everything goes up from there. It's also important to know how to manage your time. It's a little bit cliche, but I found that a lot of students became swamped with work because they have been doing extracurriculars more than doing sitting in the library! After figuring out the balance, it's hard to become bored on campus!


When looking for the right college, it is important to consider all options in depth. Take the time needed to visit many campuses, reach out to current students, and even try to spend a night. It is not easy to decide what kind of environment is the one you want to spend the next few years living in. But besides the actual campus, learn what services the college offers to their students. Since college is all about learning, make sure the academics are up to the standard you woant. Know what kind of help is given to students looking for jobs. See what kind of alumni resources the university has, as well as what kinds of companies recruit on the campus. Also know that college is more than academic. It is important to become involved in many organizations that are of interest to you. Clubs can help you grow as a person, but can also help you network with others. Networking is a key concept throughout the college years, and one thing I would stress to others.


I would say parents, give your children some independancy in the beginning of the application process. Guide them to narrow down there school selection, but really allow them to feel they are making a choice for themselves. It was good to know that my parents supported my decisions, while also knowing that they would guide me in the right direction, if I was about to make a really bad decision or one that wouldn't get me to achieve my FULL potential. As for students, don't limit yourself, see what they world has to offer. Try something new, and really think about the places you want to go, becuase wherever you go, know that it will be the vehicle that takes you to your destiny.


Parents and students need to come together to make this very important decision in a student's life. I found success in visiting all of the schools that I applied to. You should get an overall feel for the schools that you may attend. Remember that you may be living at this institution for the next four years of your life, so don't take the decision too lightly. When thinking about the overall feel, don't just get a sense for it's environment, but get in touch with the faculty and administration. You should see that the faculties overall goals match with yours. The students on campus give a great deal of answers to the many questions that you have boiling up in your head; ask them. See how they feel about their decision to go to that specific school. As a transfer student, I realized my decision may have been overthought, and tried again with this strategy. This was the best decision of my life. Don't be afraid to visit your schools and to ask questions. It will pay off in the long run.


It is always better to have an idea of what you expect yourself to as you enter the working force. From there, utilize siblings, relatives, or friends already in college, in addition to the accessible internet, to search and know more about schools. It is also important to know certain preferences: where you will live, available transportation, average class size (some big universities hold more students per classroom that affects teacher-student interactions), etc. Visiting schools is a must too because pictures you see flashed across a webpage may be different from what the place actually is. Once your there, you have to use your socializing and communication skills (important traits to have as you enter college since it is vital in getting to know people and finding your way to BIO 101!) to talk to students about their college experiences. Take college in a stride socially, but with full focus and intent academically. College is not an extension of high school or an excuse to not finding a job. Post-secondary education is for the goal of improving ourselves as individuals and responsible citizens serving this country.


Advice is hard to give. It is truly absurd to ask kids at the high school level to make informed decisions about the rest of their life and expect the "correct" choices to be made. I happened to get lucky and fell into an educational career that I actually enjoy, although I certainly cannot say the same for many of my peers. All I would say is not to place all of your focus on one college/major/career path at once. If things aren't working out- change them until they do. Learn from the experiences you come across, and realize that for the first time in your life you are in complete control of it.


While visiting a school, pay attention to the type of students in attendance. The school I decided to go to was not the best school as far as academics that I could have gotten into, but it was my top choice because of the feeling of campus and the group of people that I saw around campus. Look for groups that remind you of you and your friends or what you would like to be a part of. The social climate of the school is the first step you need to consider to hope to succeed academically.


Students should not go into debt over the right college, they should make a reasonable decisison. Given financial considerations, students should get into the best academic school that they can. Social considerations should also be taken into account, if the student has the luxury of choosing between several good schools.


First off, I would just say don't panic. Majority of college students find some way of fitting in and making college work no matter they are. An easy way to avoid such problems is that you need time to think and reflect. If you are not sure about living far from home, then don't. If you want to go to a school with a big sports program, then do it. College is only four years long and it goes faster than you would think. There is no way of knowing 100% whether a college will be right for a person, but by using all available resources (campus tours, current/past students, internet) you can make the most educated decisions. And as far as parents are concerned, you need to remember that college is about your child(ren) and not you. As long as you know it's a reputable school, other factors should not matter. If your child is not happy wherever he/she is, then they certainly will not be productive there. Have fun and wherever you land, do what you want to do and make the entire experience yours.


nothing in particular


To Parents: Look around for colleges; start searching early on in your child's junior year of high school. You want your child to be as comfortable as possible at their college and how will they know if they are comfortable there if they have never been there before? Also, don't be hesitant on letting your children live at a college/university of their choice. Now is the time for them to grow up and experience life like they never have before. To Students: Going to college is sometimes a scary thought but it is normal to be anxious. When visiting colleges, ask as many questions as you want, the people giving the tour usually know everything about everything and are happy to answer your questions. Try and visit as many colleges as you think you would be interested in. Once in college, joining groups is a great way to meet people, so look around. Greek life can also be a lot of fun, so go out to recruitment! Fraternities and sororities aren't as bad as they are played out to be in movies. Remember, college is your time to live, so live it well.


If your visiting a college campus, talk to students who you feel might have the same personality as you or the same interests. Your tour guide might not be able to answer all your questions that will convice you that the college is a good choice for you. Ask about doing an overnight and in that way you will know if the college is a good match for you.


When you are looking at colleges, the right one will feel like home. The nature and tranquility of its fit will put a smile on your face. It is difficult to judge what kind of people you may meet or how the classes are, but as long as you feel like you can wake up every morning for the next four years and not be sick of it, it is a good match. Picking a college is like entering a long-term relationship. Stick to your standards, be open-minded, and you'll find the one for you.


One of the most important things about colleges is the size, because both large and small schools have good and bad aspects to them. Large schools will offer more activities and most likely be interesting on the weekends, however the classes will probably be very large lectures and you will not be an individual. Small schools offer small, hands-on classes where you are identified as an individual, however these schools will not offer as many social activities. It is important to choose a school which offers a lot of what you are interested in, because you will be there for at least 4 years and want to have the experience be as great as possible.


Find a college that has the major you want or are thinking about studying so you can find out if it is really what you want to do with your life. Once you get to college you will probably change your mind a few times but it is okay as long as you take classes that count for something such as liberal learning or general education. Find a college where the students seem happy with their daily lives and enjoy going to their classes. Once you get to school going to meetings, joining clubs and getting involved is a great way to meet people and make friends. Once you find your group of friends, it will be a great time.


Check out the colleges before committing to them! Talk to real students; not the orientation guides because random students will give you the low-down of what really takes place. Sometimes just because a college costs a lot does not mean you're getting a good education; I received a great education at my community college and I do not feel that I received the same quality here and this college costs five times what my community college did!


I would recommend that students actually go and visit different types of schools (i.e. large & small; rural, suburban, & urban; public & private; etc.) and see what type of environment would truly be most comfortable for the next 4+ years. It is more important to find a school that is a good fit to your own personality than it is to find one that others might think is best for you. To make the most of the college experience, be open minded and don't shut off the possibility of getting involved with something you might not previously have thought would be for you. Don't be afraid to be outgoing; the only real possibilities are to meet someone new or to discover who to avoid in the future, which are really both good things. Don't overload yourself with activities and overly-difficult classes just to beef-up a resume; the truth is, going out on a limb socially and interacting with many different types of people will in the long-run be a much more valuable experience.


I think the most important aspect of picking a college is to find a place where you feel comfortable. As soon as I set foot on TCNJ, I felt like I belonged here. Your college has to be a place where you want to be or else your time there will not be worth your while. Make sure that the college has activities and organizations that you want to participate in because college is not all about papers and reading (granted we do a lot of that). College is about discoering yourself and finding friends who accept that person. All of these things help make college become a place that is comfortable. There comes a point when it stops feeling like school and starts to feel like home.


Finding the right college can be difficult, but the best advice I ever got was to visit the campuses. By visiting the school, you get a feel for the campus and what it would be like to be a student there. If it feels comfortable, and it feels "right," then apply, otherwise keep looking. Look at as many schools as possible that have the program in which you are interested, and get a feel for each campus. While at school try activities once, if it looks interesting, go for it, regardless of what you think someone else may be thinking. Be yourself, make your own decisions, study hard, and have fun.


Talk to as many students and alumni as possible about prospective schools, ask them about academics, campus life, and social life. Make sure that academics is you number one priority in selecting a school, check out the national rating of the specific major you want to pursue at prospective schools. Perhaps an underratted statistic in college searches is RETENTION RATE OF STUDENTS. I doubt that it is coincidental that our school has an extremly high retention rate, I believe over 95% of freshman stay to graduate but I could be off on the exact percentage. If you do minimal research when picking a college, as I did, you probably can't go very wrong with getting into the best academic school that you can get into that has a good retention rate.


I would advise students to dorm at their college/university of choice because it is such a great experience. You usually find a group a friends in the first month, who will turn out to be your best friends for life. Although it my be expensive, it is definitely worth the experience and the long-life friendships you will develop.


First, find a college that fits your academic needs. The rest will fall into place.


Students and parents should really try and go with their gut; your intuition is much more powerful than you would imagine. The way to make the most of your college experience is to constantly remember that it is short and could end at any time! You need to really follow your heart in college when it comes to academics, extra curricular activities, and your social life.


Find out where you can actually SEE yourself before you select a school. Do not let your parents choose for you, and go for the expensive schools too in case they throw you some money. Overall, try to keep your head and be yourself in all stages of the operation.