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University of Alabama at Birmingham

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

When I was in high school no one even talked to me about my options for college and I really had no idea about colleges outside of my state of Florida. Looking back now, I would have explored my options more because I never should have settled for one college. High school seniors should apply everywhere they possibly can! In retrospect, I would have spent more time asking my guidance counselor questions about colleges and methods of paying for college. I also came from a very low-income family and I never thought I could go to the school of my choice. I had no idea about the resources that could help me pay for school. There are so many scholarships available, one just has to take the time to complete the application or essays. Also I would also tell myself that it doesn't matter if you are not completely sure what your career choice is when you first enter college. Do not let that be the reason you do not start college after high school. I changed my major twice when I first started. Finally, don't be afraid of failure or success!

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Fill out scholarships! Money does not grow on trees and getting an eduaction cost a lot of money. Take your ACT again for a higher score because one point higher can be worth thousands. Get a job whenever you can because books alone can make you spend your whole graduation money and birthday money. Have fun in highschool but also think about whatever you want to do later in life. It is ok if you do not know what you want to major in. Spend as much time as you can with your friends and family your senior year because soon everyone will be moving. College classes are like taking all AP classes and your teachers in college will not babysit you and they do not care if you skip class that just hurts you. Stop worring about relationships in high school and sex because really it is over rated and you spent way too long worring about boys then working on class work. Retake any AP tests if you can because it can be worth money the $100 or college credit. Just take a breathe and stop trying to rush into college and growing up. Take it slow.

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You will always find a place in a university. At this school you will meet very kind and intelligent individuals. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, make them early in the game and be the first one to own up for them. Be aware you are going to make many mistakes, but it's okay because it is a part of transitioning into independence. You go one day from showing up at the dinner table with your mom's cooking waiting, and then struggling to buy a can of soup nearly overnight. These struggles will only help you grow, and give some fun stories to share with your friends. In addition, try the things you are afraid of immediately. You will be surprised to learn that the things you feared most happened to be the very first things you fall in love with. Calculus being the main example. And also remember that unfortunately you have not figured out life's meaning yet, I'm sure that must be disappointing. However, don't worry, you'll grow to be happy with the realization that you know nothing. The journey becomes more interesting then.

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My life has changed so much in the past year, although for the better. As a high school senior, I grew up in a very sheltered home and town. Everyone knew everyone in the small town that I grew up in, and would do anything for anyone. It is Alabamas "Mayberry"! I learned through my childhood to depend on others for everything, and I was not aware of everything the world offered. Throughout my life, I have been a dreamer and a go-getter. College has been my dream since I was a small child, but I was not accepting about stepping out of my comfort zone. It took me many hours of praying and analyzing my choices before I embarked upon my college choice. I decided to move two hours away from home, and make it own my own. This choice was difficult to make, but it was the best one I have ever made. I would love to look back upon my senior year and tell myself that everything will be allright, and to spend more time with loved ones than obsessing over "how far away you will be". My decision would have been much simpler that way.

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If I could give college advice to the high school senior version of myself, I would definitely tell the younger me to carefully consider the whole college application process. I rushed through things the first time around, and put no real thought into the schools to which I applied; I chose colleges that I would love to attend, instead of colleges with strong programs in what I wanted to study. I also chose colleges that would be way out of my price range were I to be accepted. I would tell myself to listen to everything that Dad told me, instead of just tuning out his nagging and thinking that I knew what I was doing. I did not. I made silly, uneducated decisions that ultimately turned out to be wrong. And now I am stuck at a college that I hate simply because I did not put enough thought into my college applications to apply to schools which would be viable options. I would tell the younger me to take this seriously, and not just make assumptions about how ?awesome? I am. Maybe that way I would be happier now.

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Hey there I know graduation is coming up and life is speeding like a freight train, but let's not rush it. Take time to plan for each semester financially. Saving excess money is of the essence. I know that new pair of heels would look killer with that outfit for this weekend but dough in your savings can help out with unexpected car expenses you may have. Sound like dad? But hey this info will help out and you'll thank him. By the way procrastination ...um leave it here in high school because doing things last minute can be costly. Remember that academic scholarship application that you picked up two weeks ago? Go ahead and fill it out turn it in. Let loans be your last resort. I know more money looks better but what if you don't get your dream job right out of college? A little planning now can keep your loan debt low later. Alright enough with all the lectures. Lastly, go to school have fun and make new friends. They are waiting to meet you but they will never know you if you never open your mouth. Ok Love ya, ttyl

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First of all, students should choose a school that they feel comfortable at. If the atmosphere isn't right, they won't feel at home there. Secondly, they should pick a school well known for their intended major or interests. Don't just settle for the school that's closest to home or that has your favorite football team- pick one that you know you'd get a great education at. Pick a well known school that can help "get your foot in the door" for finding a job post- college. Make the most of college in a way that YOU feel works for you. Don't feel pressured to join a Greek organization or sports team if that's not what you want to do. There are many activites outside of classes and everyone is sure to find something they'll enjoy. Don't join in just because you're friends want you to- do what's right for YOU! Lastly, don't forget that college is about your education. Be smart with you decisions and think about your future before you decide to go out partying and make mistakes. Don't forget to have fun, though!

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My advice to parents, would be to allow your child the right to pick his or her on school. These are times in their lifes that they want to be grown; and better yet they are times in which your child will become an adult. The decisions they make now in there life will last them forever; the main thing is that they are going to college. As for my advice for the students; students should base their decsion on three factors. First, they should most importantly base their decsion on which school to attended based on the availablity of the degree programs that they wish to pursue. Secondly, the decion should not be based on who has the best football team, or which college has the best party life. Thirdly, their decsion should be based on weather they want to live at home, or step out on their own and go away for school. However, the most important thing to remeber for both the parents and the students is that, you do attend school and make an effort to better your life for yourself and the rest of your society.

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Parents and/or students should gather as much information about schools and scholarships as possible. In my experience, I depended heavily on others for information and even with a 4.0 GPA out of high school, I did not receive an undergraduate scholarship. Being one of the first in my family to attend a four year college, I didn't know my role in applying for scholarships. Do your own research and don't assume. If you don't know, ask. Explore all options in relation to the schools you are interested in and how they can help you to achieve your career goals. What they have to offer? What are their credentials? The success of their alumni? All of those things are important. Then, decide what's important to you: social life vs. studying; large vs. small classes; day vs. night classes; etc. Don't get discouraged. Although the process can be overwhelming, take time to visit campuses, visit their websites, talk to current students, and ask questions to be sure that you're making the best decision for your future.

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My college experience has taught me how to be an independent adult who makes educated opinions about the world around me. Before I came to college, I always depended on my parents or other role models to tell me what decisions I should make. However, being in college has taught me how to form my own opinions and decisions based solely off my own judgement. I have also discovered my passion for my career in college. I have always planned on going into medicince, but at college I had the opportunity to shadow and discover how I truly want to make a difference in the healthcare world. College has forced me to overcome my shyness and break out of the shell I had always lived in before. The college experience has been so valuable for me, because I finally found my place in the world. I now live passionately every day, because I love being in college and am surrounded by people who are working for the same goals that I am. The college experience has been priceless in my life, because it has formed my future.

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