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University of Maryland-Baltimore County

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

College life is just as the teachers tell you. Even though you may not believe them now, believe everything you hear. College is a whole lot more challenging than high school is. Even though your breezing through all your classes now, I really suggest you listen and pay close attention to everything thats being taught, especially your senior year. Studying, I know was never something you did or thought you needed, well listen here, that's probably the most important thing in college. And when the teachers tell you, you need to learn how to be responsible, their right. In college, everything is left up to you. They give you a syllabus on the first day and that's pretty much it. You may seem like the smartest in the bunch now, but when college rolls around everyone sitting around got accepted into the same college, and is just as smart as you. Just remember, college has no room for slacking off!!

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If I was able to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would advise myself to apply for as many scholarships as humanly possible. I spent the spring semester of my senior year taking classes at the local community college, doing just what I needed to do to get by with decent grades. After being accepted to colleges throughout the fall, I did not see any need to complete all of my school assignments - let alone, apply for scholarships. In the summer before college, I realized that it was necessary for me to take out a student loan to pay for school. My first semester of college has not been difficult, at least in an academic sense. However, financially, I cannot spend money while at school because I am saving to be able to attend the university next year. If I could go back in time, I would do everything in my power to ease myself from the burden of student loan debt.

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If I were to go back and tell myself that college was this stressful, I would have made a few changes in highschool. I made a lot of different new friends, that I now dont talk to anymore. As a freshman I was always worried about going to college, and I gave myself two choices. One was to become a cheerleader, become more independent, and become a member of several different clubs, (along with having an outstanding gpa) or be apart of a program for high academic students and dedicate my life to just simply school. It may seem important now to have friends, and be popular, but in the end choosing school and dedicating your life to it can help out in the end. I would tell myself to take that amazing opportunity and be apart of that higher academic program, and become a leader of a club. In doing this, it would help me control stress from school along with guiding others into my path.

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Ok, so you have been told a lot of things about the college experience and what is expected of you but, there is so much they did not tell you about college. They are right now telling you about how you should go to the best school in Maryland because a Hispanic student will look better attending one than a regular public university or a private institution; well I am here to tell you that they are wrong. It does not matter what university you attend or even what you decide to major in because it is not all about what they want, it is all about how you piece together your future and how you make of your time. Just because they say that Hispanics will make better money as doctors or lawyers, do not let that keep you from your dream of becoming who you want to be, an educator. Only you can decide if their vision of you is worth wasting in college instead of following your path in life.

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Finding the right college starts with the needs of the student. Define your actual needs in a college, not petty wants. If your unsure about your major, do research, shadow or ask a professor about the content of their work. Making the most of the college experience begins with putting academics first and a social life second. College is a place for learning a developing - not a place to learn how to bindge drink. It's also important to not neglect the fact that your peers are an valuable asset to learning. One way to make the most out of your experience is to find a group of friends with study habits most like your own. This way the group can study and hang out at the same time. Don't waste money on entertainment - get involved in campus activities and social groups on campus. Know what resources are avaliable through your college and use them whenever possible.

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Selecting a college is a life changing decision that can be hard for a highschool student to make by themselves. Whether teenagers dump the decision onto their parents or are forced to do their own research, there are a few things one should keep in mind when choosing a college. Size of the college, educational programs, extracurricular activities, housing, location, and most importantly price are a few factors students need to consider. The best advice I would give to a student trying to choose a location for higher education would be to visit as many colleges as possible and talk to the students on campus. The best way to choose a school is to attend the college or university and get a feel for the students attititudes towards the school. Choosing a school may be stressful but try to see the excitement in choosing your future destination.

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I have gotten a lot out of my short college experience thus far. As a freshmen, I have already been given my dream job on campus. I get to broadcast basketball and volleyball on the internet and Fox radio and even got to go to Connecticut to cover the conference tournament. Then of course there are the simple things to get out of it. It's a chance to live on your own and grow up a bit. At college your respnsible for yourself and in a way I got a lot out of that because it gave me a chance to do what I wanted and still be respnsible. I also have gotten plenty of new friends that I might've never met had I commuted or not gone to college at all. Some of these people could be friends for a lifetime and I'm grateful to have met them in only my freshmen year. I still have three years left of college and I'm excited at what's to come.

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The number one piece of advice I would give myself as a high school senior would be to take your time. There?s a pressure that?s put on students, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to finish college in four years. I think putting this time limit on students is unfair because some majors, such as chemistry, require more credits towards a degree than most. In addition, it is not at all helpful to pile on classes in an attempt to finish on time and then performing mediocre because you did not have enough time to dedicate to each class. Furthermore, college is one of the most enjoyable experiences of your life. It pays to make sure that you are utilizing every opportunity provided by your school and to take the time to relax and enjoy the experience since no matter what, you will only be in college for a limited amount of time.

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The main advice I would give parents and/or students would be to first thouroughly research the colleges by reading magazines or looking at the college websites. After that select the ones you are most interested in and go and spend a typical college day at these colleges and see if you feel comfortable within the campus and its environment, and while you are there talk to students to see how friendly they are and see what opinions they have of the college. Be sure to find students who are freshmen as well as upperclassmen to get different views. Basically searching for the right college is like shopping for a house in that you have to be able to picture yourself living there or spending most of your time there and the only way you can picture this is by actually going and spending a good amount of time on the college campus.

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To get the most out of your college experience you should be mentally prepared to put in the needed effort, be disciplined and determined enough to devote the necessary time to your studies, and be willing to devote your best efforts to achieving the goals that bring you to college. We don't come to socialize and party, but we come to college to improve ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually. Attending college is a privalege earned by our devotion to becoming an educated person. It is not just a meal-ticket to personal success, but a journey with an established goal that ends with the accomplishment of that goal. Education then continues throughout a person's life, first to further the original goals and/or to develop new goals and develop new skills to enrich our lives and the lives of people around us.

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