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University of Central Arkansas

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

The search for the perfect college should be more about the program of study the student is looking for than for one closest to home or cheapest. Different colleges offer different courses; for instance, it may be more advantageous to attend a technical school for electronics training than to attend a liberal arts college looking for something to interest you. Beyond that note, money should not be a factor to rule out a school. There are all different kinds of funding available, from scholarships to grants to loans, there is always a way to pay for college. To make the most of your college experience, get out there. Join a club, play a sport. I did none of these and sat in my room doing homework and surfing the web because I didn't want to get active. It helps curve the freshman-15 (15 pound average gain during freshman year) and will introduce you to new people which will, in turn, even enrich your own life. Spend enough time studying to be sure that you are ready for class, but beyond that get out and have fun. You're still a kid at this point, enjoy it!

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I was such a dummy back then. I didn’t pay close enough attention in class, understand the importantance of a good education, and I didn’t have the desire to finish college. In thinking back as to high school, here are a few words of advice about starting school and finishing. Pay close attention. The basics are what carry you through school. Dig deep down within yourself to find the want and desire to have an education behind you. Your education is the root system of your life; it provides the strength to overcome adversity. You are a true individual when you strive towards your goals and you are no longer just a follower. If I had only realized back then how much my education would have been helpful now, I would have had a much easier time of it now. Being blind to the possibilities that would have been available to me, I am now struggling to complete my goal. I now know if we set our mind to the mission at hand and press forward, we can do anything, and that includes finishing our education at a higher level. Thanks high school self for listening

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As an only child from a small town, coming to UCA was the best decision I ever made. My freshman year I lived in a dorm with girls of all different cultures and backgrounds. It was amazing to learn their about their lives and experiences. I do not believe I would have made it on my own fresh out of high school. My time in the dorms gave me a taste of being on my own while still having a strong support system. It taught me responsibility by easing me into the life of an adult. I have learned so much from my peers and professors. UCA is honestly a community of people devoted to education. Discussions bordering on debates are common in classes and I constantly feel like I am in the midst of some of today's most intelligent minds. My professors have numerous accomplishments and experiences that make me all the more eager to learn from them. They have a level of dedication to their subjects that never ceases to astound me. Somehow, UCA has made me want to learn. I truly want to discover what is out there. That is a priceless quality in any university.

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The best advice I would give myself is to listen to your mentors. The month I graduated from high school, I got a job in a hospital. My emergency department manager encouraged me to get on the waiting list for the nursing program. I was young and nieve and did not want anything to do with nursing, I wanted to become a paramedic. Not listening to her, I continued on and got my paramedic license. I've been a paramedic for 13 years and have not enjoyed one day of it. It was truly not the field for me. I just spent the last five years, going to school part-time trying to get pre-requisites for a nursing program. I completed everything this last spring and went and talked to the academic advisor, only to be disappointed that they changed the program requirements and I was told I would need to complete three more pre-requisites. Frustrated, I gave up. I was tired of the politics and competition trying to get a spot in the nursing program and changed my major. To this day, I wish I would have taken my mangers advice, and tried for nursing in 1994.

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Always visit the campus and talk to some of the students there before hand. I've heard a lot of people say that when they visited the campus of one of their choice colleges, their mind was made up. Plus college wouldn't be so great if you didn't get along with anyone there! Also make sure that they have a good program for the major you're thinking about, cause that's why you came to college, so make sure their academics are right for you. Making the most out of your college experience can be difficult. Make sure to put your studies first! I've seen so many people lose their scholarships their first year of college it's ridiculous. When you get used to your workload then feel free to have some fun on the weekends, and take advantage of the fun school sponsored events. Instead of studying alone, make a study group with friends. Thats another thing: make friends. There are thousands of people going to your school besides you, and one of the best ways to enjoy college is to is to enjoy it hanging out with your friends, so make lots of them!

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I would definately relate to my high school self that I need to apply for scholarships and financial aid. Also, I would tell myself to stop being so lazy and go get a job. When I was in high school I was always under the impression that my parents would pay for everything, and they did. They have taken care of my tuition thus far, however, now my younger sister will be going to college, and after her my brother. This means I cannot expect them to fully support me anymore. I am also transferring to UALR next year for my major, so I will be further from home and in a completely different environment. As a result, my transition to adulthood will be difficult. I am now into the spring semester of my sophmore year. I have made bad decisions and good ones concerning college. UCA was not my first pick. However, if I was to converse with my high school self I wouldn't change anything. UCA has made me realize what it takes to succeed. I just have to apply the tools the university has given me so I can support myself, and become fully self-sufficient.

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Don't rush the decision, but don't overthink it either. That's the first thing I would tell my senior self. There are hundreds of colleges and universities in the U.S. alone, and all of them are excellent institutions in their own ways. Find the one that really stands out to you, the one in which you immediately imagine already walking and living on that campus, knowing you truly belong and that it's meant to be. It's okay to be indecisive about the process, and it's okay to change your mind as soon as you arrive on campus, or even in the middle of your college career. The cool thing about colleges is that you never have to worry about finding a place for yourself. Colleges are so diverse and welcoming these days, that it's always possible to march to the own beat of your drum, and people will understand what you're about. When you go to college, it's like having a miniature version of the world at your disposal, in every fathomable way. Take advantage of this every single moment! I guarantee it will be an experience worth the money.

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"Jacob, you are going to absolutely love college when you get there. You are just a senior right now, but be ready for the best times of your life. " If I could talk to my high school senior self, that is what I would say. Then, I would proceed to tell him, "Now, the transition you make from high school to college is about as big as when the first big step was made on the moon. It is going to be more difficult and challenging to make As and Bs in college courses. So, do not set your standards to above and beyond one hundred percent (bonus) cause that is just not happening in college. " "Oh, and another thing about college, it is seriously expensive. You are going to be told on the night of your graduation that you received $40,000 to attend UCA, but in reality, that was just an estimate. You are really going to be only receiving $10,000 to attend UCA, so be warned. Other than that, college life is so amazing! The faculty you will have are great! The residents and friends are wonderful! You'll get used to it! Good luck!

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Visit the campus, and not on a 'campus' day. I mean, don't go when the univeristy has set aside a day just for prospective students. Find a day when you can go visit campus on a regular school day, and find a professor who teaches in your field of interest to talk to, just on a one-on-one basis, completely outside of the pull that universities tend to have on those 'campus' days. Everything will, of course, seem shinier and better if they're trying to get your attention (and attendance), so just...show up on a regular school day. See what campus is like. Pay attention to the students as they're walking to class, see what kind of moods they're in. Eat lunch in the cafeteria and read the mood there. If you can, go sit in on a class to see what the experience is like--I can't speak for other schools, but mine's pretty good about that. Once you're in college, I can't emphasize making friends enough. If you have friends, you'll enjoy class more, and you'll feel better about getting up each day. Socialise. Make friends.

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If I could go back into time and talk to myself as a senior I would give an amazing amount of advice to myself. First, I would make sure to tell my Senior self to take college Algebra and Comp I since it is college credit and I could get it out of the way before my freshman year which would save money and time. The second point of advice would to study for the ACT more so that I would make a higher score and have more possibilies for scholarships since I stress financially everyday now as a college student. My third point of advice would be to make sure to take all of the hard AP classes so that is would better prepare me for my college courses and experiences. Oh, how I wish I would have signed up for AP Chemistry and Biology because I could have deffinetly used that knowlegde now. Last but not least, would be to not spend so much money because in the near future I will be scraping for change to just pay for a caffeinated drink to keep me awake while studying. Knowing these points of advice would have helped tremendously.

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