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University of Delaware

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

If I could go back in time and advice my high school self (Amira), having my knowledge and experience about college, I would make sure to sit Amira down, look straight into her eyes and give her the following advices that would highlight her university experiences for the good. These advices are: never be afraid to try something new or meet new people (they could be the people to help you in the future), never be afraid or embarrassed to seek help when you needed it, never wait until your grades are plummeting to get tutoring help, always attend ALL class, pay close attention and ask questions when you do not understand what you learned, because that might be the most studying you get before an exam, you should never be afraid to visit your professors and advisors during their office hours, never be afraid to try before you gives up, and also just because others are giving up doesn’t mean you should also. And most important of all, always strive to be different and take the path less traveled, because you might just learn something great about herself.

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I have learned that college is hard. It is one thing to get accepted - it is something different in its entirety to actually stay in college. To be able to pay for college is difficult- if you're not a whiz kid or offspring of wealthy/ high middle class parents, you are destined to sign up for shady loans and as for scholarships- well, first you have to qualify for the scholarship, then you have to actually answer all of the questions on and satisfy the terms of the application, and lastly your application has to stand out enough to win. Despite the constant stress of getting through college, with the not so good professors and the professors that actually give a damn, despite the bad food and the good food, college actually teaches you that there is a hurting world out there that is in desperate need of people who want to heal it- an increasingly ignorant/stupid/dumb America that is in need of an intellectual/smart/genius pick me up. College is a stage in life tht attempts to prepare me for the next stage- adulthood and im not sure if im ready for it.

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If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior I would have many things to say. The first, and biggest piece of advice I would give myself is to practice good study skills. It can be really difficult away from your parents to force yourself to practice good study habits. This leads to a lot of stress and sometimes, poor grades- which only add to your stress levels. The next piece of advice I would give myself would be to practice time management. This ties into good study skills. Having good time management skills is beneficial in college because it will increase the amount of time you have to study, so you will not feel rushed to study. Good time management will also prevent you from cramming too close to exam time. The final piece of advice I would give myself is probably the most important advice ever: have fun! College is a time to find yourself and to learn your limits and boundries. If you hole yourself up in your dorm room and don't get out and meet people and make friends college is going to be the worst experience of your life.

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In my college experience at Chaffey College, I have gotten many things that are not found at a university. Chaffey has success centers that focus on helping students with any of the subjects they need help with, primarily math and english. Class sizes are also smaller and therefore, professors are more apt to focus their attention on more students and their questions. Also, the times of classes at Chaffey are convenient enough for me to get a job while I'm in school. It has been valuable for me to attend this college because I am able to save money while still obtaining the same general education I would get at a 4 year university. Money is the primary reason why I was not able to attend a university last fall and I find that I am comfortable with this school setting. While attending, I also realized the career I want to pursue which is psychology. Last year, I thought that I wanted to be a nurse. However, after taking the psychology class and learning more about the subject of psychology, I knew that I wanted to become a clinical psychologist.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, the most important piece of advice relating to academics that I would give would be to earn as many Advanced Placement credits as I could. As a senior, I took AP courses but didn’t realize the value of taking the AP tests and earning the credits. I am majoring in elementary education and my program is very rigid. If I was able to fulfill more of my general education credits with AP classes, then I would be able to explore my interests by taking classes outside of the required curriculum. In addition, I would recommend appreciating time with my family and friends before I leave for school. While meeting new friends at college was exciting, it was also very hard to be apart from my family and old friends in the first few months at Delaware. As a high school senior, I think I took seeing my parents, siblings, and friends each day for granted. If I could go back in time, I would increase the amount and quality of time that I spent with the people who mean the most to me.

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I feel I applied to a good variety of colleges and universities. However, when I first decided to attend the University of Delaware, I don't think I really considered the financial aspect of my decision. One or two other schools I had gotten into had offered me a decent financial aid package, but neither of those schools were as appealing to me as UD was. Now, almost two full years into my collegiate career, and already thousands of dollars indebt, I worry about my future; will I be able to find a secure job in order to pay off my loans? Academically and socially, I certainly do not regret my decision of attending UD. Financial speaking however, I wish I would have weighed out my options better. I think it is crucial for students to realize the amount of debt they are getting themselves into when attending an undergraduate university. I hope by the time I graduate in 2012 that the economy will be more stimulated and I am able to find myself a decent job. Knowing what I know now, I wish I would have picked school which offered me more financial aid.

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I would definitely tell students and parents to make sure they visit prospective schools before even applying. I visited some schools to discover that I loved them on paper but in person they were blatantly not for me. Once you do apply, and even get in, go back and visit the school again. Sometimes you might end up loving the school the 2nd time even more, and others you may not like it anymore. Every time you visit a college you will catch a different view on it. You can talk to different students & find out how they feel about it and will get different tour guides who show you different aspects. The most important thing about making the most of the college experience is going to the school that is best for you. For students, don't let parents or friends influence you. The next 4 years of your life will be spent in one place & you want it to be amazing. I know that for me, when I visited Delaware I knew after 10 minutes thats where I wanted to go. Trust your instincts, because following your heart over your mind will ensure you to be truly happy.

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Finding the right college is probably the biggest decision of your teenage years. If a person doesn't find the right college they will end up doing bad and regretting their descision for the next four years. My advice to all parents and students is tour the college you are planning to go to. Attend one of the classes required for your major. Before signing up for a class look at the professor and research about him/her before attending his/her classes. Also, look into all the dorms at the university, sometimes they might show one of thier best dorms and give you one of the worst there. To make the best out of college is to make sure you don't get too caught up in school or partying. It's important to have a great balance in both of them. Most importantly, don't forget your old friends from back home, sometimes all you need is people who have been with you since you were babies. But it is also very important to meet new, different people who you have never seen or met before. College is just the beginning of your life, so make it right!

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The greatest piece of advice anyone could give to potential students (and the parents who want the best for them) is this: you get out what you put in. Yes it is a bit cliched, possibly trite, but it is one-hundred percent true and is especially well-suited to the college experience; regardless of which institution of higher learning in which one chooses to pursue a degree, the experience will only be as positive and as fulfilling as it is allowed to be. So even if you didn't get accepted to, or can't afford, your first choice, chances are an amazing and educationally-sound experience is waiting for you at one of your safeties so long as you are willing to give it your best. Try not to be too concerned with where your high school friends are going, and don't allow the specter of homesickness to keep you from venturing farther than you may be comfortable with right now, you will rise to the challenge and be better for it. When you do get to college try not to allow high school hang-ups to keep you from experiencing everything you can, do it all.

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The transition into college life is almost universally difficult. It is a different lifestyle than most young adults are used to. However, a well chosen college can help with this change. As far as picking a college is concerned, focus on the size and typical weather of the campus as well as which school is offering the best financial aid relative to their tuition. The bit about the weather is more important than many people realize. If it is always hot, or rains a lot, or snows too much for your taste, then even an otherwise ideal school might not be the one for you. When you do get there, get to know the people you're living with. Usually, they're going through the same thing you are, and it is a great way to make new friends. Then, find a club that does the sorts of things you're interested in. The people you meet their may turn out to be some of the best friends you ever make. Finally, go to class. One of the biggest and most common mistakes I've seen new students make is skipping classes. You'll regret it. Now, get to it!

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