What I would say is that you must first tour the campuses. Take a look around; break from the structured tour if you can. Ask students wandering around about the school; the tour guide's going to tell you what you want to hear. And to make the most out of your college experience, get out there! Try new things, be bold, be daring! Do what you like and get involved. Above all else, get involved.
The best advice I would give is: make sure you find a school that offers what you want to do. Then consider if the location and size are what you can leave with for the 4 or more years you would be there.
Go visit the campus during the semester before starting classes. Sit in an area where you can observe the students chating openly. Do they spend most of thier time talking about school assignments or just general conversations? Is the general atmosphere of the staff to students friendly or are they too busy spending time just servicing the one question each student presents to them? Does the library and computer room supply enough equipment and books for the amount of students who will be using them. If a new student needs help with getting started, does the staff give them a warm assistance or do they give the impression of being too busy when explaining how to do something? What is the average enrollment of students per teacher ratio? Are there classes being taught at night for people who work during the day? What degrees are available to complete entirely at the campus you sign up for? Will you be able to complete your Bachelor or Master Degree at that same campus? Will your course credits transfer to another college? Will someone be able to assist older, returning students in finding free money for school or are they on thier own?
My advice to students about finding a college is to look into all different school that may have the major that they are interested in studying. Once they find some that they are interested in they should tour the school and see where they will fit in the best. I know when I toured my school I felt completely at home immedately and knew this is the place I wanted to spend the next four years of my life. Students should look into extracurricular activities offered on campus. Students should not pick a school because of the sports (unless they plan on playing a sport). Choosing a school for the sports team does not really help you in the long run when it comes to job placement.
My advice to parents is to help their student research schools and to not be afraid to let their student experience something new. The student will be fine, after all he or she needs to learn what they can and cannot do without their parents.
Check out UT Martin its well worth it.
To the Parents: Make sure your child has most everything paid for even if it means they have to take out a loan (I did and I am still trying to figure out how to pay for it). Also make sure they don't have to worry about food. And finally let them know that they have to keep their grades up but without putting pressure on them, they are adults now .
To the Students: Try not to procrastinate to much, it may be fun but it does not pay off. If you want to do something not school related then please get all your work done for the next two days. And if its not due for a few weeks or something at least start on it to where you wonkt be stresses out to finnish or have to turn it in late for a worse grade. And work hard now, get good grades and graduate. You will have alot of time after that to party and "Live life to the fullest."
Students should mainly focus on their academics for the entire time that they are there. A student's first semester should be getting to know the campus, professors, and themselves. The next semester should be focused on academics and social activities. Each student is different and should find what works for them. I have found that totally focusing on academics and extracurricular activities boosted my GPA and self esteem. I also worked during this time to earn a few dollars to spend on my family.
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