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University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

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

Use your noodle and be resourceful by exploring outside of the books/lectures, utilizing hands-on experience, digging up old tests, papers, and projects, asking relatives, friends, or former teachers anything and everything to get ahead in your studies. Sometimes being ?smart? is simply being proactive. Be proud of your "B" even when your Plan A, was earning an "A." Fact: A well-earned "B" is superior to an easy "A." Extracurricular activities are marvelous student shaping tools, but obtain practical life experience! Research and get a job advantageous to your field of study! Communication is a beautiful thing! Talking with your professors/ advisors before the course starts or as soon as an issue or question arises, positions you ahead of your classmates. You will be remembered favorably this way! Write everything down! Edit it, improve it, and review it! Fake it (an interest) until you make it is a proven philosophy for conquering the mundane/challenging courses. Pace yourself and embrace a hiatus! Sometimes your mind and body need revitalizing; it's okay to take a breather from school! Magical criterion: Sleep and recharge daily! Expunge the "I can't." Be passionate about something! What will your story be?

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In order to find the right college; first, the prospective student must identify a career path. A Meyer-Briggs analysis may be useful in determining what type of personality you have. Once you determine a field of study an online search is applicable. Look for colleges that are accredited, respectable, and have good career outlooks. This is where a student will spend much of the next two to seven or more years, so the campus should be comfortable for the student. Assess the campus size, security, architecture, technology, and reports from magazines such as US News and World Reports. The college should have the same mission and values that you find important. Also, activities and affiliations are areas to consider. Once you visit the campus, trust your gut. Look in the buildings, classrooms, dorms, library, cafeteria, and anywhere else you will spend your time. Determine if there will be any accessibility issues for you individually. If disability services are necessary, now is a good time to meet them. Most importantly, talk to current students, faculty, and staff. This will be your network of peers and instructors for many years. If you mesh well, then congratulations on your new college.

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My college experience has provided me with experience that most students do not have coming out of college. Not only have I received the valuable in class theory and knowledge for my engineering major, but I have been able to alternate work and school semesters. In having this opportunity, I have been able to apply concepts and skills learned inside the classroom to a professional environment. Studying aerospace engineering and having the opportunity to intern at NASA and a private engineering company has provided me with opportunities and a skill set that I would not get at a 4 year program. Not only has the co-op program allowed me to grow both professionally and as an individual, but the various student activities provided at UC have been great as well. University of Cincinnati has provided me with great academic, professional and social opportunities that I wouldn't be able to get at many other universities for the same cost financially. The co-op experiential learning program has been the most valuable program at this school, making it much easier to market myself after graduation so I can achieve my dream of working in the growing private spaceflight industry.

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Be sure to visit any institution prior to acceptance. It is important to be sure that the interests and goals of the student can be met at the location desired. Some schools are quite small, and may lack additional extracurricular activities or even opportunities, such as research and Co-ops, to get real-world experience in the student's field of study. Small class sizes are available at bigger universities just as much as small colleges. Be prepared to study hard and engage in lots of reading. Reading textbooks and writing papers will be the most essential thing to succeeding in courses. However, never be afraid to approach a faculty member whenever there is uncertainty about an assignment or classroom procedure... always better to be safe than sorry. Almost all will be more than happy to arrange times to meet with you in instances where email correspondence is insufficient. Regardless, do not wear yourself out entirely with homework but make time to attend sporting events with friends. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, avoid on campus bookstores at all costs? or it will cost you! ABEbooks.com is a great place to make your necessary purchases. Good luck!

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Making the right decision on something so big can be boiled down to two foundations: research and intuition. The research satisfies that need for cognitive stimulation and factual support of a specific choice, and the intuition feeds that overall "vibe" one gets from being on-campus and immersing themselves in the college environment. Each method has a way of manifesting itself that is unique to the situation. If your future collegian has a chosen area of study (or atleast a good idea), then it is easy to start with the research. This means investigating national rankings, examining aspects of that focus that are most important to all parties (you, your collegian, and the college), or even looking at historical facts and who's been supporting that focus the longest. If your collegian to be is unaware or undecided on a future focus area, then the intuition comes in play. Start by making a focus area agnostic list of all things that are most important from a college environment. After available research is found and insights have been discovered, you can now narrow your list and visit the schools. This is the part where your gut says, "ah this is right!"

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Finding the right college requires that the student know what he or she is looking for, research a number of colleges thoroughly, and start the college search process early. Ideally, the student should determine by the beginning of junior year what is most important in a college, e.g., the academic subjects offered, geographic area and campus type, distance from home, and extracurricular activities offered. By spring of junior year, the student should visit several colleges that are on the ?serious contenders? list. My sister and I visited up to six colleges each with our family. For each of us, one college that seemed perfect on paper was eliminated after our visit. Complete essays and applications over the summer before senior year and submit them in September to make senior year easier for students and families alike. Also, apply to one safety school that the family can afford and that that informs students early of their acceptance. By submitting our applications early, we had our guidance counselor?s undivided attention, minimized stress at home, and by December, had been accepted to a college that we looked forward to attending.

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If I could go back into the past I would tell myself to first and foremost, stay focused. Do not let others become destractions because college is an important factor in growing to become a successfull and positive person. Don't get mad because you feel as if grown people want to control your life. Accept guidance from authority figures and not care about feelings of angry and disappointment. Quit trying to judge people and accept help. Engage in some of the programs offered by the college and appreciate them just as if you would your drivers license; listen and learn. Put your needs first in regards to getting the best education possible, and make choices that would benefit you and help you choose a school and major. You can browse around on the internet and read blogs about fun activities through out varies school. Some people post interactions on different websites where you can meet new college buddies through social events. You have the choice of accepting or decling an invitation from someone. You can meet focused individuals and still have fun, but in the end it's you and your determination that leads you to completing your destiny.

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The only advice I would have listened to would be to buy a clunker car. Going to an urban campus guarantees more than one?s fair share of fender benders, scratches, and hit-and-runs. However, if I were required to impart some wisdom to myself four years ago, it would be more mathematical than philosophical: Life is the quintessential math equation. You get out what you put in. Relatively elementary, this equation is the ultimate predictor of success or failure. Put the time into studying for your classes and you?ll retain the knowledge (retain being the operative word; cramming can only produce temporary success). Respect those around you and you will develop strong interpersonal relationships. Demonstrate ambition and boundless energy as a leader of a student group and your constituents will reflect your influence. In college, I began running marathons. Not only has it given me confidence and improved health, but also it teaches the same lesson. You can?t fake training. Your body knows if you?ve trained properly for a race. Running was the tool that taught me the value of preparation, a trait I will retain for the rest of my life.

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I would tell myself to avoid fighting in high school because it took me eleven years and three attempts before I could get into the Military. I would let the younger version of myself know that enlisting and receiving a military honorable discharge will give you a better chance of completing a two or four year degree. The Military G.I. Bill will pay you a college stipend, pay for your tuition, books and help connect you with many services that are gained through military service. I would advise myself to volunteer in the community. Volunteering in the community, and seeking memberships in any societies are beneficial in getting leadership skills, and that being a well-rounded student will give you a wider perspective of how to succeed as a leader. I would tell him that learning is crucial in getting any task done. The younger version of myself has to know that time does not stand still and that being in the real world demands skills that are gain through education. He has to know that his future co-workers, professors, students and society will have problems that need cognitive skills to solve that will demand a college education.

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Knowing what I know now about college, there are several things that I would like to go back in time and give myself. These things are, "Try to eat a breakfast every day" and "If you need help with any subject, stay after school for extra help and practice". The first piece of advice is the most important advice that I couldhave given myself because eating healthy helps you to be more alert, and willing to pay attention in class, especially during long lectures. Actually, according to Children's Nutrition Resource Center (CNRC) at Baylor College of Medicine, "eating breakfast can improve your memory, grades, school attendance and punctuality" (scholastic.com pg. 1). I would also give my "past self" the peice of advice about getting help and extra practice because when you ignore a subject that you don't know, especially high school english and math, you are already setting yourself up for faliure in college because the type of work that you did in high school is similar to the work that you do in the beginning of your freshman year. This is important to know because the more you understand, the more you will succeed in college.

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