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University of Delaware

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

Dear High School Senior Me, I want to start by saying live the next year of your life like the Bob Marley song " Don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be alright". Know that when you make a decision to attend a university there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, consider the quality of the education you are looking for, and know that no decision to attend a university is a cheap one so be mindful of costs. Second, think about the type of people you want to go to school with. Are you comfortable attending a school in which each face is a new one, or would you be more comfortable closer to home with many familar faces? The social setting you put yourself in will in many ways shape how you feel about your school. Lastly work your hardest and don't be afraid to try new things. For example if you get an email asking about trying out for the women's rowing team (which you will) go for it! Nothing bad can happen from you taking chances, you will either fail and learn from your mistakes or succeed.

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I found that being completely reliant on tours and information provided by the school is a very risky thing. It should be recognized that they are pitching you a sale. Students and parents should not only hear what the school has to say, but, if possible, they should find some way to speak to current students at the school in a completely candid environment. And when doing this dont be afraid to ask questions that are important to you as a student and a person. Questions that enquire about classes, jobs, research and the like are all good, but ask about the students' lives as well. How is the food? the social life? How do students spend their weeks and weekends? The fact is that this is going to be your home for the next 4 years. Moreover, your expensive home! if you're going to be spending all this time and money, make sure its a place you'd really like to be. There is a college out there for everyone who wants to attend, it just may take some thinking and prodding to make sure you find the right one. Good luck.

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In the words of the great English leader Winston Churchill, “Never, ever, ever give up.” A simple statement for sure, but absolutely profound. Of course on some level this truth has to be ingrained into every high school student or no one would ever obtain a high school diploma. However, once in college, the essence of this truth is heavily tested as growing responsibilities and added coursework press even the most talented of students. There are small choices to be made every day for sure. Yet, the battle is often won or lost in those intense moments of do or die. Those moments when you have decide whether to go to bed or stay up and study one more hour, those moments when you have to decide mid-test whether to give up or press on and salvage a grade, this is where the battle is won and lost. So in the end, I do not know that I would tell my high school self anything I did not already know, but I would ingrain what I do. Fight hard, never give up, win the battles, for today’s battles bring tomorrow’s victories. Kyle Nyce

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would, first, tell myself to relax. I was always stressed as a senior because I was afraid of the changes that college would bring, but I am proud to say that college has brought me nothing but happiness and prosperity. I thought the changes would ruin my life, but I was wrong. These changes help me grow both internally and externally every day. I would also tell myself to not be afraid of leaving home. Living two hours away from my family and friends has made my relationships with them so much stronger and meaningful. I, now, appreciate everyone so much more, and I value each relationship I have genuinely. I would tell myself that although I would lose some friends in the near future, I would also be making new ones. I would tell myself to never take anyone or anything for granted. Lastly, I would myself to take advantage of every second and opportunity I am offered in life because tomorrow is not promised, and I do not want to miss out on anything.

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I would first advise students to visit any schools they are interested in. Environment is important in college life and living somewhere you don't feel comfortable will ultimately hurt your college experience. Happier people will typically receive higher grades than unhappy people, so it is of the utmost importance to choose a school where you feel you can be happy. This also involves distance from home. It's important to be on your own in college, but if you're too far from home you may regret it. As far as once you are in college, my best advice would be to make as many friends as possible. Choosing only a small group of friends may put you in an awful position if you end up not liking them as much as you thought you would. Also plan your time and make sure you study. For parents, help your students find a school that is both fun and academic. After all, all work and no play makes for a dull student. College should be fun, exciting, and challenging. Look for these qualities when choosing which college is right for you.

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My Advice would be not to put all your eggs in one basket. Make sure you apply to more then just one school in order to leave your options open. Also going to visit the campus and taking a tour is a good way to figure out if the school is for you. If you know someone that attends the college that you are considering asking them to show you a typical day would be helpful. Once you have decided on a college I would suggest making yourself open to new experiences. Be friendly and introduce yourself to everyone in your dorm, and sign up for some programs that catch your interest. As for your courses it can be difficult to get used to having larger lecture classes. Try to make yourself known to the professor by sitting closer to the front and asking questions after class. This way when they are grading you they can put a face to your name. Also for your first semester try to not pick the most difficult course combinations. Give yourself this first semester to get used to your surroundings and this new transition.

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“Ring! Ring! Here’s your wake up call! This is where everything counts; this is what really matters. You’ve done pretty well in high school, but college is a whole different league. The classes will get A LOT harder, but you’ll be able to manage them. The thing that will hit you hard will be the social life. It’s oh so tempting to go out too often or to ‘relax’ the weekend before a test, but you MUST resist. College weekends start on Thursday, but lucky you has classes on Friday so suck it up and don’t go out! The key to thriving is balance; work hard during the week and enjoy yourself during the weekends. You must be smart and if you have a test coming up, ACTUALLY STUDY FOR IT and don’t go out that weekend! You have years ahead of you! You need both the academics and the fun, but you can’t let either one dominate your college career. Take advantage of all the opportunities, but don’t overload yourself. Keep adding activities until you are busy, but not stressed. Most of all, maximize your time at college!”

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I would say that the most important determinant in making the decision between colleges is feel. Choose a school that you feel fits your needs. If you like a lot of people, choose a city school. If you like your space, choose one out in the middle of nowhere. Also look at the demographic of students that are already attending the school. If you like diversity in the people that you know, choose a school that has diversity. Look at how the students interact on campus. Are they out in the middle of campus playing ultimate or other outdoor games or are they inside studying all the time? If you get hungry on campus, eat in the dining hall. It is not going to be Mom's home cooking, so make sure that the food is good enough and offers a variety of choices. Then go to the student union. Ask for a list of all the clubs the college offers and make sure you have a place to fit in. I cannot stress enough that the biggest issue is choosing a place where you fit in and one that feels right. Also, get involved on campus early.

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In order to find the best college, you must first determine who you are as a person. The college that you chose to attend should reflect your personality, your aspirations and the principles that you hold dear. For example, if you are a very independent person and look forward to operating in an environment with independent goals in mind, a larger school might be best, because a person who is a go-getter and individually inspired will be rewarded for their efforts. If you thrive off of comradery from peers and teachers, a smaller school, or a larger school with a more intimate setting for your major or an honors program, would fit your needs. If you are able to hone in on what your own value system is and the best setting for success for you, then you can use your own internal compass to guide you to the perfect college. It will be that college that you will be most happy at and will satisfy your needs the most. Then, you will be successful and, most importantly, happy; the perfect college comes from within you.

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When looking back upon my life since graduation from high school till now I would have to say an important piece of advice is to take your studies seriously. Do not goof off in the first two years of college because in the end, your grade point average does mean something, especially when you are trying to get into graduate school. Give everything you do, whether academic, professional, or personal, 110 percent. I didn’t learn this until my junior year of college and trying to bounce back from that choice was tough. The most important advice I would give to my 17 year old self is that no matter how much you plan life, things will not go accordingly. When this happens, do not sit around and do nothing, revise your plan and keep moving. I have encountered many forks in the road in life, some expected, and others not so much. Whether it was pursuing a different degree choice, not getting into a certain program, or getting into a tough graduate school program, take life one step at a time. It all works out in the end.

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