I come from a family background than is not cognizant with attending college, making me a first generation college student within my immediate family. Being so, I received little preparement from family members, information-wise, as to what was to be expected. Now that I am here, I must learn primarily through trial-and-error. What I truly wish I knew prior to my attending UCF is the depth of self-reliance needed. This includes time management/scheduling, transportation, and most importantly, hefty decision making skills in regards to financial necessities. By far this is what i strive to conquer.
I did quite a bit of research before finally deciding to attend the University of Central Florida. It is my responsibility to attain the necessary information and that goes for other students as well. In addition to the extensive and detailed information available on the UCF website, there are advisors in each department that are more than willing to provide guidance to their students. So, in retrospect, I would have to say there isn't anything I "wished I known." Here at UCF, information is accessible and readily available, which in my experience, is one of UCF's greatest qualities.
I wish I would have known before coming to this school that joining organziations is such an important aspect of the college life. Not only does it create networking opportunites but it also helps create long-lasting friendships. In high school a lot of people are involved in organziations to get the attention of prospective universities. But when they come to college they are not as involved. UCF has tons of organizations available and it's incredibly important to be involved and active in school organziations. Its the best way to create opportunities in a competitve world.
I wish I had known more about financial aid before I came to this school. Financial aid counselors can be a huge help, but ultimately only you are responsible for financing your education. It is very easy to confuse scholarships, grants, and loans. Additionally, each one has their own special requirements you must meet each semester. It is imperative that you figure out what types of financial aid you are recieving, and how to continue to recieve that aid in future semesters. Sometimes there are many factors to account for such as GPA, credit hours, attendance, and etc.
Before I came to this school, I wish I would have known the amount of money that is required for me to attend this school leisurely. I did not realize that it costs a multitude amount of money starting with the entire admission process. I wish I would have known the countless amount of scholarships that were available before I attend this college, because at the moment, I am struggling to obtain money. Especially at the fact that I live with a single parent whose income reaches at a minumum of $36,000. I wish I would have thought ahead.
Before attending the University of Central Florida, I with I had known how large the campus truly is. Attempting to commute on foot from one end to the other is daunting and physically strenuous. I feel if I had prepared for that, I would have been able to prepare better to make it between classes with more time to spare. In the beginning I managed to arrive on time just catching the closing door and squeezing through before lectures began, but coming close to tardiness has never been taken lightly. It is important to always be on time.
Before attending the University of Central Florida I wish I had known just how difficult my financial issues would become. Due to unexpected financial difficulties, my first year has been riddled with frustrations. These difficulties have greatly affected my plans at UCF, both by preventing me from living on campus, to keeping me from registering for classes required for my major. I wish I had known how difficult finances would be, so I could have planned ahead and applied for more scholarships to help me through my year at UCF.
I wish I would have understood the pre-requirements for certain majors. As a transfer student from a community college I didn't take the correct courses to jump straight into my junior year at the University. While attending the community college I shuffled from elective to elective with no solid idea of what I wanted to major in. By the time I had choosen my major, I had finished all of my free electives at the community college. Now I am at the University having to take courses I was supposed to take at the Community College.
I wish I had known to take more Dual Enrollment classes in high school. Taking them early saves a lot of money and allows you to get a head start on your major, giving you more time even to decide your major. Also I wish I had applied for more scholarships. The more the better. Scholarships are offered for specific majors and for general students. And don't forget to get involved. Get connected to clubs and organizations. This will help you meet people and have a more enjoyable experience as well as build your resume.
The most important part of choosing a college is doing the research into the school and speaking to the students who currently attend to hear about it their experiences. I wish I would have had a better understanding of how tuition prices and fees worked. Florida residences have multiple public services that make college affordable so most of them do not have to worry about tuition fees. As an out of state student expenses are very high and I am forced to struggle with balancing a full time job and being a student full time.