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University of New Hampshire-Main Campus

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

My college experience has taught me hard work can get you anwhere. I have had the privilege of being able to pursue my athletics. I wrestle for the 13 time National championship team North Idaho College. I am the varsity wrestler at the 174lb weight class. One thing I have learned being a student athlete is that I have to work just as hard in the classroom as I do in the wrestling room. I am a first generation college student and I have had to learn alot by experience. When I first entered the campus of North Idaho College it was an intimidating experience. I truly beleive wrestling has taught me the hard work and discipline it takes to overcome any challenge. College has been valuable to attend becuase it has made me a more mature adult. My college experiences both on the wrestling mat and in the classroom have molded me into the man I am and the man I will become for the rest of my life. I want to thank you for this scholarship opportunity. Sincerely, Jesse Nielsen

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My college experience has exposed me to other cultures, and allowed me to realize their importance. I have been privelaged to have to the opportunity to learn Arabic, and learn not only about the rich and vibrant language, but the cultures and peoples that speak it. I have taken geography courses, which have exposed me to countless fascinating areas and groups of peoples. Also, I have been able to take a course in international affairs, which examined the relationships between different states, organizations, and groups of peoples. This course showed enlightened me to the fact that these relationships and awareness of other cultures is increasingly imporantant, due to globalization, and integration of all aspects of international affairs. Attending college has also been valuable in that it has given me firsthand exposure to people of other cultures. My roommate is of Iranian descent, and has given me much insight into his culture. I live across the hall from a South Korean student, who has also taught me much about their culture. Many of my professors, guest lecturers, and other friends are of different backgrounds, which has given me invaluable understanding about different cultures of the world, and their importance.

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My college experience so far has exposed me to the "real world." I had attended private, religious schools before college, so attending college showed me the diversity of beliefs and lifestyles present in the world. I adapted along with my peers from all walks of life. When students have the degree of independence that college provides, it brings out aspects of our personalities that may not have shown before as we make decisions. As I navigate through college life, I have to make decisions about every aspect of my day: when to get up, how to take advantage of my time between classes, how to balance studying and socializing, and when to sleep. These decisions help me shape my lifestyle; independent at last. And that's without considering classes. College contains so many chances to expand your understanding of the world through a specific field, and I'm working on getting as many viewpoints as possible. Professors know what they're talking about, and more often than not, they love talking with students outside classes. Through talking to a professor outside class, I gained a valuable internship experience. College is rife with such opportunities--we just have to stretch ourselves.

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When searching for the right college i would suggest that students and parents discuss the location, academic quality and social environment of the colleges of interest. The location can be particularly important because the costs of in and out of state universities can differ greatly. The cost can also be determined by the reputation or size of the university, so that should weigh moderately on your choices. The quality of education should be the greatest determining factor of your search criteria. You don't want to attend a college that is expensive but has more of a reputation for being a party school with low academic credentials. Lastly, you will absolutely want to attend a college that has a diverse and stimulating social environment. Not only can it privide comfort and enjoyment, it can supplement the academic environment through discussion, group work and activities. Once you attend a college of choice, it is best for you to become fully invested in the social and academic environment. Experiment with a variety of classes early on to find a more specified field of study and become involved in activities that interest you the most in order to grow academically and socially.

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College is not about the food in the dining hall, a luxury dormitory or the landscaping on campus. As a transfer student who experienced two drastically different college experiences, I can say that I was happier sharing a cold, uninviting room with 3 roommates than I was in a spacious apartment. It is the people you surround yourself with at school that will make all the difference, professors included. While it is important to feel comfortable on your college campus, search beyond the exterior to make your decision. Talk to professors, particularly those in the department you may be interested. Are they welcoming? Will they offer good advice and proper guidance? Choose a school where you feel comfortable talking to the faculty and where the class size feels right. Once enrolled, don't just sit back and enjoy the ride. Employers are looking for so much more than a GPA. While academics are of the utmost importance, never forget about extracurricular activities. Get involved. Volunteer. Find a professor with interests similar to you and DO RESEARCH. Study abroad. Diversify your resume. The four years will fly by- take every chance you get to prepare yourself for "the real world".

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Finding the right college and making the most of a college experience can be an overwhelming task. I would advise parents and/or students to research the vision and mission of the prospective college. Students should assess whether or not the vision and mission are aligned with their personal learning philopsophy. Additionally I would encourage them to spend time mulling about the campus and listening to the "language" of the college. In other words, much can be learned about the general milieu of a college from interacting with the ideas of the campus community and entering the converstations of the community. The student would then be able to determine if this a a community in which they could thrive. In respect to the physical location of the college I would encourage students to assess the proximity of the campus to extracurricula activites that the student may be passionate about. Students need an outlet to release stress and anxiety and often times this entails leaving the campus to pursue activities that are meaninful to them. Being able to access these venues is an important consideration when deciding where to invest both the students time and financial resources.

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Throughout my life, I have had a math learning disability. I was always in special classes for math, constantly falling behind, frustrated, yet desperately working hard to keep up with my fellow classmates. Going to a number of challening schools, I realized my passion for business and Hospitality Management very young. I knew that I wanted to own my own event planning company some day and lead a successful and fulfilling life. I knew that I needed to study business which involved an exponential amount of math and finance courses as well as Hospitality Management. At UNH, I found both! This past year has been filled with challenges and difficulties, however, has been one incredible ride. I have learned insurmountable amounts of important information that I know will be vital in my future career. Most importantly, I have learned to conquer my difficult math classes. With the amazing support offered at UNH, and the fantastic teachers I've had, I have been able to sustain a satisfying GPA as well as make the Deans List. Although I will continue to have struggles academically, I realize with hard work and support, I will overcome and not have my disability control me!

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I am working on a dual degree in zoology (B.S.) and French (B.A.). Through UNH programs, I studied abroad, completing 90 hours (one month) of intensive French courses at CIEL in Brest, France last summer, and I am studying at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France this spring semester. It has been an honor to receive two UNH Awards for Excellence in Second- and Third-year French. UNH granted me a fellowship as part of the Research Experience and Apprenticeship Program; I assisted a professor with the research for a published critical edition of Musset’s 19th century drama, Il ne faut jurer de rien. I was a teaching Assistant in the UNH Honors Biology Laboratory, and am currently a volunteer tutor for the Biological Sciences Honor Society. As a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society on campus, I contribute to community service efforts. I authored a poem that was selected to be published in Aegis, the UNH literary and art magazine. I am not sure that I would have been afforded these invaluable, life-changing opportunities at another university. I have gained some knowledge, great experiences and immense personal growth through my UNH education.

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In order to be successful in choosing a college and having the ultimate college experience, effort and time must be put into the whole process. Set aside a certain amount of time each week and explore the different colleges one is interested in. Start with viewing their websites and talking to students, professors, or alumni at that college to find out about their experiences. Decide what you want from your college experience. Consider all factors such as the location, size, academics, and extra-curricular activities. They all will become important once you start your college life. After visiting the campuses and viewing the area and people there, it becomes much easier in making a decision. I would advise students to take each day one at a time. Figure out what you'd like to accomplish, whether it be homework, studying, working out, finding a job, or just talking to somebody new. A sense of accomplishment at the end of the day certainly makes me feel better and more confident. All students should join clubs, try new things, and attend events that occur around campus. Have fun, study hard, and make a great beginning to the next stage of your life.

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As a California native, I went to college in New England to experience new and outside my comfort zone. I lived in the dorms, sang in an a cappella group, rowed for the Women's crew team and was the first to declare a dual major of Nursing and International Affairs. I had excellent guidance for study abroad in Africa, the Caribbean and Central America and unmatched support for creating a tailored curriculum. I would recommend the school to any student looking to marry nature with nurture, as my University of New Hampshire experience centered me in the peaceful surroundings of the New Hampshire coast which grounded me as a young adult and simultaneously thrust me into a competitive and academically challenging environment. I had the chance to grow as a young person and to become a confident woman with aspirations, goals and the resonating understanding that success is within my grasp. My college years are remembered fondly and with recognition of the hard emotional and physical work it is to grow up. My college experience provided the necessary support for that challenge and gave me a foundation to build upon in my personal and professional life.

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