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The University of Alabama

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

Dear high school senior, After graduation, there will be a huge transition in your life. College is nothing like high school. You are going to feel vulnerable, yet independent. When you attend Northwest Shoals Community College, you will be satisfied with the atmosphere because the classes will be an average size and the majority of students will have a similar background. You will get to live at home, yet you are going to manage your own time. It will be a difficult transition from high school, however, because teachers will not be telling you what tasks to fulfill or to follow a certain schedule. Your success will completely depend on your motivation. When you attend the University of Alabama, you will have an even more difficult transition. The University is about twenty times bigger than the community college you attended and the social scene will be much different than you grew up around. You are from a small town and Tuscaloosa, Alabama is a very diverse city. You will be exposed to differnt cultures, religions, and backgrounds. You will, also, be living in your own apartment. It will be a frightening experience, but don't give up. Achieve your goals.

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Future college students need to apply to every school that strikes an interest in them. Often application time for high school seniors is overwhelming with so many options and not enough time. This might cause biased or clouded judgement when it comes to selecting a school. Applying early to a wide variety of schools will allow time for pondering and accomodation of any changes in needs and interests that may arise. Making college visits and having interactions with the student body is also vital to finding the right college. Parents need to ease the students anxieties and encourage them to have an open mind about future education possibilities. The college experience is made of the people you meet and the things you learn. One's character and beliefs are greatly shaped during the college years, and this always needs to remembered. Students should find time for solitude and personal reflection in the midst of chaotic times. Furthermore, the chaotic times should be appreciated just as much as the peaceful and happy times. Lastly, students should seek to befriend unique individuals and dig deeper into the studies they enjoy because these aspects of the college experience make a person grow.

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The first step in finding the right college is to ask yourself what exactly it is you want in a college (i.e. atmosphere, demographics, rankings, extracurricular activities, location, etc.). The next step is to make a list of the potential colleges you are interested in and then research each of them to see if they meet your academic, financial, and social expectations. It is very important to research the financial aid availability because some schools have early deadlines for their finacial aid and scholarship applications. Deadlines are important to keep notice of when applying to college as well. Every year, a student should do their best to stay actively involved on campus by joining clubs, attending sporting events, volunteering, and even joining a social group (such as a greek fraternity/sorority). These activities not only are fun but are also good for networking amongst student peers and alumni. Networking is of major importance when looking for a job after college. Making the most of a college experience is easy as long as you stay involved in activities that are healthy and keep you happy and academically focused. College is the most memorable experience so make it a happy one.

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High school students often have trouble making decisions with their lives. I am currently in my second year attending the University of Alabama and have come to realize that college is nothing like eighteen year old kids graduating high school think it will be. Much advice can be offered to these kids graduating high school, as I know I myself had no idea what to expect upon arrival at the University of Alabama. The main thing I would attempt to portray to myself if I could go back and offer advice would be time management. The University of Alabama offers so many tools to succeed and so many students do not use these tools because of poor time management skills. These extended resources include free tutoring, libraries open 24 hours a day, dedicated academic advisors, professors devoted to their students' success, multiple peer study groups, etc. I would go back and warn myself about how important it is to balance your studies with your social life and how important it is to place an emphasis on academics before anything else. Kids coming out of high school need some guidance to learn to balance their new freedom with their school obligations.

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Would the Real Lauren Phelps Please Step Forward: I know she's in there somewhere, but where. That's the answer to the ten million dollar question. Is she the girl at the frat party drinking an alcololic beverage and playing beer pong, the one with the short dress and heels at a club doing who knows what kind of a dance with a stranger she just met when he bought her a drink or the one falling asleep in class from staying out partying all night. Maybe she's the one watching everyone else drink, dance and be merry . Maybe she's the one who only stays up late at night to study for an exam so she can make the dean's list when the grades are posted. I know you were raised to be confident with yourself and the choices you make in life. You have good instincts and are a very responsible young woman who has good morals. Your character sets you apart from others and makes you the wonderful person you are. Remember to be confident in that person and you will make the right choices.

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As a very sheltered child growing up in a small town, I would inform myself of all the new found freedoms in store for me on one of the largest campuses in the state. It is important to note that in high school an above average GPA is not comparable to a college GPA in terms of the amount of studying needed. In order to excel in college you need to study at least five hours a week outside of class and if necessary seek help from instructors. One of the most important things is to keep the values that you hold close a priority, but also be open to new ideals. Due to the extremely competitive nature for careers one has to be the ultimate candidate when seeking employment after graduation. Leadership skills accompanied with volunteering, academic success, extracurricular activities and community involvement are the essential makeup of a quality applicant in postgraduate studies or employment. You should begin as early as freshman year because all of these components are now somewhat standard and research experience in your field of choice or an internship may be needed to be set apart from your peers, which is the main goal.

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Any student who has decided to attend college should evaluate his/her options thoroughly and in depth before making any kind of decision. Any stuent looking at colleges should know that the process of deciding on a college can and will be overwelming at times. However, making a list of both qualities one wants and does not want in a university, I believe, is the first step---deciding whethere one wants a big or small campus, rural or urban environment, public or private, and deciding in what geographical area the student would like to study in. After that comes investigating individual, specific, universities--it's especially important to have "visit days" at universities, beacuse it gives one the chance to sit in on classes, talk to students, and really get a "glimpse" at what life at a particular college would be like. During the application process, it is also very important to not only apply to the schools one is more interested in, but to also apply to a few "backup school" in case one does not get accepted to the schools of his/her choice. Overall, stay calm, focused, open, and never afraid to ask questions!

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Finding the college that best suits a person's expectations can be a difficult task. The best way to approach this decision is to pick your favorite five. Then, compare each college. Consider the size of the campus, the student-to-faculty ratio, the diversity, and the extra-curricular activities available. These are only a few of the examples to compare. Safety is also a contributing factor. When you know what you're looking for, take the opportunity to actually visit the campuses you're most interested in. Try to meet some new friends while you're there. They can give you the best perspective on the college life. Meet a few teachers in your field. When you choose your college, check out all the activities they have to offer. Being involved gives you a better chance of finishing college. However, don't sign up for every organization and spread yourself too thin. Just pick a few, and dedicate your time to those. That will make the best impression in a future job interview. But most importantly, just have fun. College years are the most important of your life. Those are most times where you find you life-time friends.

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If I could go back in time, I would have a important conference with myself and explain the essential facts of being organized, focused, productive and successful in any college of my choice. Always avoid mishaps and anything that can be of a distraction to you; therefore, my high-school form could keep a focused mentality that would not lure him to a bad start in college. I would further understand and recognize it when time passes, thus being successful. Organization is key in college. A steady schedule and calendar does wonders for organization, not to mention keeping up with e-mails from professors, organizations, scholarships and important phone calls. Staying productive leads a healthy balance in your life. It enables me to treat college as a full-time job to take care of business in the classroom as well as in my community. A full busy day is a hard earned day with success to come. Always do your best and give your full effort in every class you attend. Have a strong support group! Also, prayer and a positive attitude goes a long way. Work diligently and your results will be of satisfactory. Good Luck!!

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No matter how much you prepare for college, no matter how many testimonies you hear, the transition into college from high school will be like nothing you would ever expect. The best advice to give a graduating senior in high school would be to think about the way that your high school was run, the teachers that forced you to do your work, the coaches that punished you if you were late, and just forget about it--because in college, you are truly on your own (only with hundreds or thousands of other freshman in your same position). You must get yourself to class, keep up with work, definately keep the partying to a minimum, and above all else stay focused. Aside from time management, another issue that many freshman face is financial balancing. Most students have an allowance of some sort. My suggestion is to save your money! Do not go out to eat every night or waste your money other ways. Make use of your meal plan or free things around campus that are mostly offered to freshman. Most significantly, college is the first time away from parents, so prove to them that this investment is worth it.

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