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University of Alabama at Birmingham

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

I would tell myself to remember you can be whatever you want to be. You can change your mind. If you have wanted to be a dentist since you were 12 years old, it is okay to take a some English or Psychology classes just to make sure you will enjoy what you do. You will meet some amazing people and have some very life-changing experiences. No matter what, have fun and enjoy it, because it goes by way to fast. I would also tell myself not to be so shy when I started college. It is much easier to make friends if you talk to different people during the day. It is important to take advantage of everything the university offers you- counseling, advisors, tutors, escorts to parking lots at night, financial aid, & ect.. I wish I would have known about all of the different resouces UAB offers students when I was a freshman.

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Amber, Life isn't a gamble so think about what you really want to do in life. Take your general eds first because psychology isn't your dream major. Think about what truly interest you and don't be so eager to jump at opportunities that won't leave you satisfied. College is way more difficult than highschool, you can't just procrastinate your way through as usual. Make connections with your teachers because they wil help when you need recommendations. Strive for excellence and live like EVERYONE is looking at you so that you may not stumble. Reach for as many A's as possible and try not to repeat any courses because time is of the essence. You have to transfer by the end of Spring 2013 due to not being dilligent in two semesters, so if this conversation can prevent that from happening then follow my advice.

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Although I have not actually started classes after a 26 year absence, I know that the journey that I am about to embark on will be one that will allow me to realize my lifelong goal of finally earning my bachelor's degree. I have already taken advantage of special offerings by the University of Phoenix for returning learners such as myself to re-acclimate to collegiate life and I highly recommend it to anyone starting their college career in later life. As a returning adult learner, I am proving to myself and others that it’s never too late to return to earn your degree! It took facing a major crossroads in my life to motivate me to return to finish what I started in 1983 and I expect great things from myself. It just goes to show that like the old adage says, “you can teach an old dog new tricks!”

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Finding the right college includes actually going to visit and doing research on the school. Make sure that the college you choose is a top one for your major, or has many different choices for a major if you are undecided. Make sure that you are happy with the surrounding area including the college. Choose the one that feels right. The one when you walk on to the campus for a tour that you can picture yourself there. The one that will give you the experience of a lifetime. Pick the one that you know you will be happy with in two, three, and four years. Make the most of your college experience by getting involved in what interests you. Don't waste time joining things you know you will hate or will not have time for. Pick two or three organizations and get really involved in them. Find good friends.

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If I were allowed to rewind time, I would tell myself to stay in that wretched little town for just two more years. I would have been better off had I gone to the community college in my home town and completed the general studies core classes and then transferred to the four year university of my choice. I probably would have been able to attend the school of my choice and would not have settled for the school that I did. I also would've had enough time to figure out what I really wanted to pursue rather than picking something that was available at the school just to seek and achieve a degree. I have changed my major many times only to realize that what I really want to pursue is not even offered at the school that I attend. I am seriously considering transfering to another school.

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My advice for parents and students would be to apply to many different colleges and visit each a couple of times. By experiencing many different types of colleges prospective students can gain a clear idea of what type of atmosphere will be best for their success. Students may be interested in a professional atmosphere where complete focus is set on science education and applying to a professional school or a liberal arts atmosphere where they can increase knowledge and creativity while expressing themselves. The type of atmosphere appropriate for each student can only be determined by a taste of both environments. Almost every school carries similar degree programs but it is the way the school administers those programs that will determine a student?s success and happiness.

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Visit colleges and find the one that fits you. Do not go because your friends go or your parents went there. Also go to a school that specializes in your major. It may be a little hard to do the work but the degree will be well worth your hard work. Do not look at one thing from a school such as greek life or football teams and let that decide either.Also check the surrounding areas for attractions because no one wants to go to a school that is not entertaining. Talk to people on social networking sites that attend the school to gain a better understanding of what goes on there. Finally, remember this college is what you make it. If you go expecting it to be boring it will. Be active and make friends through social organizations but remember your main purpose is to graduate.

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I am the first in my family to attend college and college has opened up my mind to new ideas. I have learned so much about different subjects that i feel like a new person. I am from El Salvador and i came to the United States at age ten and what can i say? It was tough learning a new language and culture but i was able to overcome that and i know that college is a journey that only the dedicated and pasionate for learning will conquer. College is one of the most valuable things i have. I know that what I have learned no one can take it away. I want to make my parents proud but not just them, myself as well and i want to be seen as as successful minority student. I want to be an example for other students so they can see that everything is possible. There sky is the limit!

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I have learned to survive in the real world. I learned in my first 2 years of undergrad to appreciate the arts and how to write well structured papers as well as communicate effectively with people from all walks of life. I value the experience I had at UAB because as a working adult student, I gained an appreciation for what it means to obtain a college degree. The day of graduation was an emotional one for me & my family as I am the 1st of my mother's children to finish college. I can set examples for my peers as well as my siblings. Having graduated I feel of sense of urgency to promote higher education amongst high school students as well as minority groups. Social change is now my focus as I plan to pursue a PhD in public health beginning in 2011.

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I would let them know that they should consider what each college is known for when it comes to careers and majors. The size of of the campus is important too, because many people dont like big campuses and some dont like small campuses. Location is another important thing, whether the student wants to be close to home or not. Choosing a college should be the students decision because they will be the ones going there for 2-4 years or longer and they should enjoy being there and be able to have fun participating in activities on campus. College is not all about studying, while that is the most important thing, college students need to make friends and have fun doing extracurricular activities, or they will be miserable the whole time they are in college.

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