Hartford, CT


46 Ratings

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Trinity College

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

College life is one of leisure, relaxation, hard work, and complex thinking. Common things such as reading the newspaper, learning about the stock market, and even doing assigned reading can make all the difference in college. This is the advice I would give myself if I could look back on things. It is essential to gain an appreciation for the business world and global politics, even more vital that you are an active member of the community at an early age. Getting into the habit of thinking under pressure, understanding mature subjects, and valuing education is something that every student, especially a high school student, can improve upon. Many college hopefuls believe that grades, standardized tests, and teacher recommendations will result in a successful transition to the university, but this is simply not true. Extracurricular activities, community service, and internships can never be undervalued. The true difference makers are those who are committed to understanding the tough issues and genuinely looking to impact the world around them. Grades will not save the world, but rather the thinkers and scholars who help others, teach others, and conquer the real issues of the 21st century. This is what makes a true student!

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I planned on transferring from Trinity before I even stepped on campus. I felt like a failure next to my classmates headed to Harvard and Williams, and I was embarrassed whenever schools came up in conversation. Trinity definitely has a reputation, and between Hartford and "Camp Trin Trin" I arrived my freshman year as a less-than-happy camper. But sitting at convocation and looking at the resplendent campus with my eager and intelligent classmates, I immediately felt at home, and that feeling increased every minute I spent on campus. Within a week I joined an acappella group, a choir, and snagged a part in the fall musical. Everyone I met was so welcoming, interesting, and fun. Trinity gave me the opportunity to try everything; the course book was a candy store. Able to take anything from Anthropology to Neuroscience, I took risks in my coursework and I fell in love with subjects I'd never encountered before. Trinity allowed me to take risks and push myself in a caring community-- a truly invaluable experience on all counts. And yes, maybe we do deserve the "party" reputation, but I just like to think of it as great at time management.

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Relax. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be extremely successful at almost any school you might have the choice to attend. If you want to go to graduate school, it matters even less where you go to undergrad, since employers will mainly care about where you went to finish your education, and graduate schools will mainly care about your GPA and relative standing in your school. Instead of prestige, focus on challenging yourself and going somewhere that will offer as many opportunities as possible. Move in as soon as possible and get started immediately, bite off more than you can chew. Do things that make you uncomfortable, things that you've always wanted to do, things that you've never done before. Study abroad! Take Tai Chi! Read! Write! Perform Experiments! Play sports! Compete! Join clubs! Start your own club! Make money! Make a difference! As Mark Twain once said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

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Start off by making a geographic decision -- how far away from home am I willing to go? Then decide on what you want to pursue as a major -- if you are undecided, consider liberal arts schools! Your next decision is to choose between a large or small school (size DOES matter -- if you hated / enjoyed high school based on its size, consider those feelings when choosing a college). Apply to as many schools that interest you, BUT if there is one school that is your number one choice, you should absolutely apply early action / decision. There is usually a higher percentage accepted for this applicant pool, so it is will only help you increase your chances of getting in. VISIT the schools you are most interested in and always do an interview if you can. Be sure to follow up visits with thank you cards -- the more interaction you have with a school's admissions team, the better (it shows the school how enthusiastic you are about applying)! Be yourself, do not lie, choose your letters of reccomendation wisely, and spell check everything you submit. Get started as early as you can and try not to let things overwhelm you!

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Visit schools, sit in on classes, and stay in a dorm. By seeing a campus you know if you'll be happy there. Sitting in on classes gives you a feel for the class size, interactions between faculty and students, and the quality of the education. In dorms, see if people are friendly with neighbors and if dorms are kept in good condition. See if the weekend night life it is compatible with your own interests. Join activities, be friendly, and utilize resources. Clubs and activities help you meet people with similar interests, and allows you to make a variety of groups of friends. There is no ?popular? group so being friends with a diverse group of people is easy and beneficial. It?ll broaden your experiences by meeting people from all walks of life. Freshmen year tough on everyone, no one has any best friends yet so never be afraid to introduce yourself. Meet with professors, they?re one of your greatest resources. They offer advice and help you with school work. It?s good to have a close relationship with a professor so you have someone to write letters of recommendation for jobs or graduate school.

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After weeding through college choices on paper, the best way to know what school is best for you is to visit the schools in person to see the school itself and also the people that study and work there. By seeing students and faculty interacting in a variety of social settings, it becomes easy to decide if a school will be the right fit . You should pay attention to what the campus and the surrounding area has to offer in terms of student organizations, internships, and community engagement. These facets of the school are as integral to a college education as classroom learning. The academic and social compatability of a school are equally important because if the school fits you socially, you are more likely to get involved in a meaningful way in and outside of the classroom. You should remain focused on getting an equally good education in and outside of the classroom. Get involved in a student organization, volunteer program or internship. College is a time to be assertive and responsible for your own experience by reaching out and engaging in your school and community in a way tht is meaningful to you.

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There are a variety of important factors involved in choosing the right school (i.e., geographic location, cost, quality of academic programs, etc.). Yet the best advice I ever received regarding my college decision was this: "Your college is not just the place where you learn, it is the place where you live." It can seem appealing to attend a top-notch academic program or a school that is particularly inexpensive, but the decision should ultimately be based on more subtle, personal factors. So when you tour the campus, keep in mind that in addition to gathering facts about the school, you should also stop and ask yourself, "Can I really see myself living here for the next four years?" While this question may seem obvious, it is too often overshadowed by more concrete, logistical concerns. Receiving the above advice from my brother caused me to change my choice of schools on the day before the acceptance deadline - it was the best decision I could have made. Remember, a college degree is a college degree, no matter where you are. So trust your intuition and find the place where you truly belong.

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In today's fast-paced world, college admissions is an extremely competitive process and even great students sometimes get left in the cold. I was a straight-A high school student with tons of extra-curriculars and awards. I wasn't sure where I wanted to go to school, so I applied to fourteen top schools in America. Unfortunately, only one accepted me. Trinity College gave me a full-tuition scholarship, which lessened the blow, but it still severely impacted the course of my education and future career. I knew nothing about Trinity and applied at the suggestion of my college counselor; when I arrived, I found the social atmosphere intolerable, but because of the scholarship, transferring wasn't an option. So, my advice to future students is to start early, research colleges extensively, choose a few that appeal to you personally - not just because they're big names - and keep your options open. Don't forget a saftey school, and don't be discouraged if your top choice doesn't accept you. At college, try to have fun even if you wish you were somewhere else. Above all, stay in school.

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As a high school senior, my ideals and dreams led me on a much different path than one I would choose for myself today. As a current transfer sophomore, though my personal interests have not been revolutionized by any means, my ability to recognize and prioritize these interests has improved considerably. Although in the grand scheme of things two years is not an extraordinary amount of time, I feel as though the perception I have of myself and of the world around me has changed dramatically. If I knew in my last months of high school that choosing a college is important, but not the most important decision of my lifetime, the burden of the choice would not have hindered my ability to enjoy myself during my last year. In order to truly be happy at the institution of your choice, you need to first come to terms with who you are, not only as a student but as a person. Being confident is the only solution to your pre-college nerves. Without understanding that you can in fact live on your own and adjust to the college lifestyle, you never will. Enjoy your time now and always!

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Students must take in mind not only the academic excellence of the college, but also the social environment. Of course, academics should take precedence, but especially if you will be living on campus in a new town, the people you will be spending four years with will be very important. I wish that I would have taken this into greater consideration when I was applying to schools. One tip I have to make the most of the college experience is to not be afraid to ask questions and to get help from professors. If they are good at their job, they will be more than happy to help you, even if you are not doing well in their class. It is in their best interest for you to pass their class. Don't waste your money (or your parents' money) by skipping classes or not putting your all into assignments. You might as well get as much out of your classes as you can. One piece of advice to incoming freshman: join as many extra-curricular clubs and activities as you can! You can always drop them later, but this will help you find friends in those crucial first weeks.

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