Choosing a college can be overwhelming. It is important to know what you want in a school before beginning the search. Students: What interests you? Where do you want to go? How much do you want to spend? Rely on your guidance counselor to help you through the process. Parents: Stay on top of the college-search, and remind your students of deadlines for schools and scholarships. They may be almost high school graduates, but they can still be forgetful and busy. Most importantly, visit the schools you like. College students love giving tours, and there is nothing more valuable to the decision making process than talking with students and getting a feel for what the campus is like. When you get to school, GET INVOLVED! There is nothing worse than spending your freshman year missing home and holding yourself back from new experiences because you are scared. Break out of your shell. Join clubs that interest you; it is a great way to meet new people. The friends you make will get you through the tough times: laughing with you and teaching you new things. College can be the best four years of your life. Don?t have regrets.
The advice that I give to parents and students about finding the right college fit is to truly be sure to visit many different types of schools in different locations. Be sure to go on student given tours at schools, sit in on a few classes, shadow a student from your potential major, and be sure to stay the night in the area and walk around the town or the city. Really try to get a feel for how it would be to live, learn, and have fun at that school. Most often your first impression of the campus, the vibe you get even just stepping out of the car, is crucial in your decision making. Advice I give about making the most about college experience is to rely on time management. It is important to fit in activities around class schedules and to remember that school always comes first. Attending classes is crucial, you show your professors that you care about learning and that you respect them. Involvement in extracuricular activities is a great way to make friends and expand your knowledge. Taking leadership roles gives you confidence and great preparation for future work experience.
My advice would be to take your time, and figure-out exactly what each student will want from their collegate experience. There are so many different kinds of colleges and universities, but a variety does not mean better or worse. The difference is a necessity, and you need to find the one for you. Just because you hear of someone not succeeding at a school does not mean it's a poor school, just that it wasn't right for them. If you know you want to learn, but have trouble motivating yourself, choose a bigger school with difficult, structured classes. If you know that you have a passion for learning and like to make things happen for yourself, choose a school like mine, where the course load is managable, the resources avaliable on-campus are incredible, and the faculty are more than happy to meet outside of class to discuss material in their feild of expertise, but not necessarily course related; I am thus provided with both the time and tools to learn exactly what I want to. To discover what you need out of a school beforehand challenging, but it's worth the time and energy.
To think back on myself two years ago when I was entering college and wonder 'what was I not aware of?' is a difficult task. The excitement and nervousness about entering college was a great learning experience for me and I thrived in the environment I was brought into. However there are some words of advice I would give to myself that I could take as guidelines to make my transition into college easier and that is to maintain your focus. First semester of college can be overwhelming but also a lot of fun, especially meeting new people and making new friends. One aspect of this I learned quickly was that there are many distractions surrounding you at all times and the most important thing to do is maintain your priorities of: school, health, family, friends, and then socializing. Staying focused and staying on top of the priorities you set for yourself is not only the key to success but the key to making an easy transition into the college lifestyle. I believe every step in life is a learning experience and if I could go back that would be the only advice I would give myself.
The most important advice I would give myself would be to be myself. Resident advisors at college always warn about the "honeymoon" act students put on when first arriving at school. Roommates don't disagree about anything and issues are swept under the rug in an attempt to insure your roommate will like you. This only sets up for disaster a couple of weeks later, when all the pent up emotions can no longer be held back. I experienced this first hand when my roommate became upset and threw my things across the room because I had failed to pick up after myself again. For the first month of school my roommate didn't mention her annoyance with my lack of order because she didn't want me to dislike her. However, the whole situtation could have been avioded if she simply asked me to be neater sooner. Being myself would also help with making new friends. Being reserved and quiet in the corner will not allow people to see who you are as a person. Putting yourself out there and opening up to new people will allow you to make new friends and enjoy college even more.
If I could go back now, as a college student, to talk to myself as a high school senior there are many things I would want to tell myself. The first being, I should have taken more Project Running Start classes. My high school offered college level classes for $100. I took two my senior year, but could have definitely taken more. I came to college already having six college credits, but I could have definitely gotten more. Also, the other thing that I would want to tell myself is to pick a different major the first time. When I first came to UNE I was a Medical Biology/Pre PT major. I realized during first semester that I didn?t like medical biology, and that I was really interested in psychology. I switched majors halfway through first semester, and I currently love being a psychology major. The professors in the psychology department are amazing. I also have a new academic advisor who is willing to help me with whatever it is I need. I would also tell myself not to worry about living away from friends and family. I feel like UNE is my second home now.
If I had to give parents and students advice about finding the right college I would tell them to research and find the schools that offer what they want(make sure you are academically eligible.) The next step is to visit as many colleges as possible. This provides prospective students a first hand look at the school and what it offers. This is how I selected my University. As soon as I stepped on campus I knew that this was me school. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions to the tour guide and students passing by what they think about the school. This will help get a better feel for the school. In order to make most of your college experience, do not sit in your room when you get on campus, but rather go out and meet other students. Participate in the activites put on by the school because this will allow you to make friends. Keep in mind that this is college. It is not all fun and games, so getting your school work done is very important. My advice is get school work done between classes and do not procrastinate until the last minute.
I am originally from Buffalo, NY so going to school in Maine was definitely a big change and it took some adjusting. That being said, it was also one of the best decisions I've ever made. Moving away from home and living on my own has taught me so much about responsibility, being independent, and myself. I started and am continuing to figure out where my place is in the world, what I want to do, and who I want to be. I've also learned how to manage my time, be a leader, and take charge of my own life. College is about education and learning primarily, and that aspect has also been very valuable to me. Unlike high school, you can choose what you want to study and what classes you want to take. Taking classes that actually interest me has really helped nuture my love for learning. I find that I want to learn more, especially in my field. Overall between my learning experiences and my experiences on campus, college has helped me figure myself out. They say college is one of the best times of your life, and I'm experiencing that right now.
On your college visits, make sure you talk to real students, not just your tour guide! Look at how resources are divided between departments to see how the school really values each area of majors. Making the most of college is just that, something to be made, it doesn't happen on its own. It takes time to find your best friends, so keep a very open mind and try everything that comes your way. Keep your door open, get to know your neighbors, and talk to your classmates. Having a sense of humor will get you through any situation. Its ok to change your mind later, no matter what you said before. Spend your time and money wisely -- that is, this is your one chance to have a little fun! Be responsible. Know that you will change, probably a lot. So will everyone else. When in doubt, crisis, or confrontation, act confident and mature, even if all you want to do is hide under the covers with a cookie and a stuffed animal. Laugh. Persue your desires, no matter what others think. Don't let anyone stop you, this is your life.
You are young, smart and beautiful. Don?t set yourself up to meet expectations, set yourself up to exceed them. It doesn?t matter where your friends go, they won?t be there tomorrow. It doesn?t matter what your parents think because they support you no matter what. This is the time in your life when you learn and discover. Don?t miss any opportunity to show the world who you are. Don?t take life so seriously and laugh, laugh at everyone, everything and never stop laughing. Smile, be genuine and most of all be true to yourself. You are the only one who can?t let you down. I applied to only one school. My biggest regret is not taking a chance, to see what else was out there. I feel content, happy, and secure here. I am an easy going, fun, energetic person so I knew making friends in college would be no big deal. But sometimes I wish I would have gone to Chicago for school like I always wanted to or somewhere else away from home. If I could go back, I would motivate myself to take a risk and see what happens.