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University of Nebraska at Omaha

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

When it comes to college, you get out of it what you put into it. Since I put my best effort into each assignment, my college education has been particularly valuable to me. It has provided me with a foundation of valuable skills and habits that have proven useful in all aspects of my life. For example, through my higher education, I have acquired effective note-taking and studying methods. In addition, I have advanced greatly in my skills in public speaking as a result of the practice and constructive criticism I have recieved in various classes. Futhermore, I have continued to sharpen my skills in writing concise and well-thought-out essays. Often, I draw the information presented in these papers from extensive research. Therefore, I have devoted a great deal of time and effort to such research, and I have learned how to investigate a topic effectively and document the sources correctly. Finally, since I am naturally an introspective person, the intrapersonal skills that I have aquired have proven invaluable. Through group assignments and class discussions, my school has forced me to come out of my shell and prepared me to build and maintain peaceful and cooperative relationships.

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Students, examine your options carefully. Different people choose their colleges for various reasons. Some make their decisions based on where their friends are going, while others simply look for the least expensive school. The wise student, however, closely examines all aspects of their options. To do this, consider what best suits YOU. Would you be more comfortable in a large or small school? Which schools have programs that match your potential career aspirations, as well as your extracurricular interests? There is a good chance that if you do your research, you will find a school that can suit most, if not all, of your needs. Once you have chosen a school, make the most of your college experience by not only applying yourself in the classroom, but also taking time to make new friends and get involved on your campus! Parents, your child needs your support as they go through the decision-making process and adjustment to college life. This can be a stressful time as they enter into a new way of life, oftentimes away from home. However, if they have your help and support, the transition to college life can be smooth and exciting for everyone!

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College life is one experience that differs among every college student, whether it’s studying for an exam or partying until the hours of the morning. My experience, although fun, was one of those experiences I want to prevent my past from indulging in, for it cost me grades, self-esteem, and my parents' trust. The first year is probably the toughest due because it’s almost like starting a new life – new people, surroundings, teachers, and finally…choices. In high school, life was simple because of the simplicity of class choices. But with college, the spectrum increases, meaning that career choices are entirely up to the student. Besides the opportunities that are provided through classes, there are other things that should be made known. Drugs and alcohol are present on almost every campus, so it’s pretty easy to lose one’s self quickly. However, refrain from these as much as possible, because they won’t only affect you socially, they’ll negatively affect you academically and personally. That’s the reason I present this warning. I’ve experienced it first-hand, and I wish no one else, especially my past self, to experiences what I’ve had to.

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There are many times in a persons life when they wonder if he/she has made the right decision. This could include a job, trip, friend, etc. One of the big choices a person has is the college he/she attends. Knowing what I know now I would not go back and change my decision. I have loved my college experience at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I have created lasting friendships, reconnected with some family, and recived a great education. However, the things I would change are my invovlement on campus and how I approached college. I never really gave much thought to applying for scholarships. This is the biggest regreat I have. I would definately tell myself as a high-school senior to apply for any and all scholarships I/you can find. Any little bit of money helps out when in college. I did not get involved my freshmen year of college after being super involved in high-school, thinking this would help with the transition. I was wrong. Being involved helps you find a support system, friends, etc. This involvement helps with both social and academics. This is the knowlege I have aquired throughout collge.

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The most important part of picking out a college is just knowing yourself and what you want out of your college experience. Sure, you will grow and learn things about yourself in those few years, but your core personality will stay the same throughout your life. With that in mind, think about what your long-term goals are for college. Do you want to stay focused, get a high GPA, and go on to grad school? Or, do you want to put aside the grades and have four years of parties, friends, and stick with your bachelor's degree? Maybe you want a compromise of the two? If you are satisfied with your study and social habits now, chances are they won't change. Pick a college that is convenient and comfortable for YOUR lifestyle. That means you may have to take into consideration things like commute, parking, distance from your hometown, space on campus, class size, dormitory vs. off-campus living, availability/interest in the activities on campus, scholarship availability, and even how much you may have to work to pay for tuition and books. Pick the college that works at your pace and keeps your stress levels low!

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Finding the right college is best done by asking someone who's been there. These people know the inside scoop - not just what the college wants to tell you! Websites like campusdiscovery.com that survey the students over the internet are the way to go. College isn't just about the classes you take. These are useful, but in college you really have to start to figure out what you want to do with your life and then make proactive attempts to get there. In elementary, middle school, and high school we were spoon fed information and expected to simply retain it. Fortunately, classes in college sometimes break out of that, but sometimes not. Once I got to college I realized it's a lot like high school, but with more advanced material. Realizing this, however, is what allows me to make college so much more productive. No longer do I have to wait for 'something more' out of my education. I realize I have to educate myself and use the resources available. Extra-curricular activities and clubs are one way to do this, as long as they pertain to what you want to get out of life.

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I have received much from my college education at University of Nebraska at Omaha. With the help of UNO I have been able to attend several courses and lectures from notable business men and women. Beyond the academic aspects, the University of Nebraska at Omaha has helped me experience many new cultures. Through the university I have made friends from around the world, broadening my horizons beyond the limits of my country. Attending UNO and experiencing the diversity the university has to offer helped me decide on my major of International Business. Before deciding on my major I was able to speak with several different advisors from the different departments, each advisor helping me with my decision. The teachers and consultants at UNO have also been invaluable, as they have helped support me in my class work and finding scholarships to study abroad. Several of my teachers have taken a personal interest in my future, writing numerous recommendations for my scholarships and grants. These experiences at UNO have made my college education exceptional.

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Make sure you find a place that is friendly. Not just friendly students, but also friendly teachers. It is hard to learn from a teacher that you think hates you. And it is hard to relax when when you can't make any friends. To make the most of your college experience: don't just party every night, save it for the weekend and make sure that classes and studies come first. Partying for 4 years and not getting a degree will only destroy the rest of the years of your life. Stay focused, but don't over work yourself. Work hard at the beginning of each semester, that way you wont stress yourself out during finals. The people that try hard at the start have 2 major advantages: they learn the material (which makes the rest of the semester easier) , and they have a higher grade to start with (which means they wont have to try extra hard to pass). Don't skip classes, knowing you are not "required" to go to class sometimes makes it hard to go.. but it is worth it. Parents: make your students be accountable, make them pay for some stuff at least.

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My college experience, so far, has opened my eyes to opinions, ideas and worlds I wasn't aware existed beyond my own carefully shelted, glass like world. I have lived in one town my whole life. There is a certain manner that comes in time with staying in one place and not reaching to take that "next" step in life, I believe I had some of it. Attending college has expanded my horizon and shattered some of my previous views, and I honestly couldn't be more thankful. If we aren't living and learning that self-assured manner just expandes into arrogance. In reality, It is valuable to attend college because no matter who you are, where you are or how old you are people are always evolving and so we can never stop learning. Going to college opens doors for better things in life; since going I have seen these "doors" open and see the opportunites waiting on the other side. I want to be able to follow my passion and help others! Before I do any of that I know I must help myself by finishing my degree, thats why it is so valuable to attend.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would have told myself to take appyling for scholarships for college more seriously because I have to constanly worry about how I am going to pay for school year after year. Even though I applied for some scholarships as a high school senior, I did not apply for enough to avoid a financial burden that I am dealing with now. I ended up getting 4 out of the 14 that I applied for, however I still had to take out a loan which was my worst fear. That is the most important thing I would advise myself because I realized that federal loans are temporary financial aid, that will have to eventually be paid back once you graduate college. It gets even more difficult to search for financial aid once you are in college so applying for as much as you can while in high school is very imperative. Another piece of advice I would give myself is to develop the best study method that works because it will come in handy when studying for exams. I found notecards to be very helpful.

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