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University of North Carolina Wilmington

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

Check out many college websites! Dont be afraid to visit many college campuses multiple times! Go to campus tours and orientations! Get all the information about the college and area! Know of the majors and the majority of what careers students pursue there! Find out if the college has lots of INVOLVEMENT becuase that is great for new students. Campus life and activities is a big deal at my college so I am never bored! Learn about partying and alcohol/drug usage college students can do! Students and Parents BE INVOLVED. Never turn down an opportunity to make a difference, experience something new, and learn lots of different things. Study Abroad! Many colleges offer so many study abroad programs with financial help! Be willing to make new friends and do be scared to leave your parents. It will be hard definitely and you will miss them but always know you can make a whole new family at college! You have closed your high school chapter but college brings on a brand new chapter full of great new memories and friendships to treasure for a lifetime! Good Luck to the students and parents who are letting go!

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Advice for students: In choosing a colleg that best suits you, consider lifestyle and academic success as top priorities rather than social and lesiure activities. Although campus involvement is crucial in developing a true college experience, too often kids attend schools where their friends go, the environment in which they are (i.e. beach, mountains, city life, etc.), and what feels most like "home". To truely experience college, go somewhere new and different. Meet new people an dmake life long friends. Be involved in clubs and social community involvement opportunities. BUT never compromise your academics, for academics will always be your foothold in the door to future career success. Most students go into college with their mind set on career goal, which is great, but to truely find out your inner most passions and strengths, go with a clear mind and open arms. Embrace the different and take whatever obstacle put in front of you and give it your best shot. You never know where your life will take you, but college shapes you into the person you want to become and will always be a memory to cherish forever.

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Finding the right college for both the parent and student is a challenging and difficult decision. Most parents do not want their child to go far from home and are concerned about the education the college has to offer. Most students, on the other hand tend to choose colleges based on the distance from home and the extracurricular activities that are held both on- and off-campus. In my opinion a college needs to have a good education program and a good location. I chose my school because of its reputation and atmosphere. I fell in love with the city and campus when I visited the college; therefore, I strongly encourage students and parents to take a tour of any college in question. I toured several colleges which helped tremendously narrow my decision in the end and come to a conclusion. The decision should be mutual between the parent and student since it affects both of them. The student has to feel comfortable with the college and atmosphere in order to make the most of his/her college experience. Students should get involved and enjoy college because for most it is a once in a lifetime experience.

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When trying to find the right college, important issues to take into account are cost and location. If a college accepts you but the price seems far out of your range, check the availability of financial aid that will be rewarded or any other type of loans you are willing to take out before enrolling. Location should be decided moreso on the student's side, rather than the parents. The student should ask themselves how far awar they are willing to go from home, if they can handle a farther distance for a long period of time, and if they are truly willing to give that school a chance. (Parents should realize it is time to let their babies go when necessary.) The most important aspect of creating a healthy college experience would be to simply have a positive attitude. The student should go in believing that they are going to enhance their education, create the beginnings of a career, grow as an adult, make new, life-long friends, meet interesting people, experience new things, and prepare to enjoy themselves. College will be a fun, life-changing experience as long as the student is willing to make it that way.

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Visit! Visit! Visit! Unfortunately, I did very little visiting to college campuses before enrolling at UNCW. The majority of my visits came midway through my freshmen year when I went to see friends attending other colleges. There is a culture and experience you will never, ever, get from just touring a campus and attending orientations. Get hooked up with someone on campus and do your research. There are literally THOUSANDS of students at any given college that are willing to take an upcoming freshmen under their wing for a weekend, show them around campus, and take them out with friends. Parents, let the kids go! Let them walk into some random Friday classes they aren't enrolled in, let them stay the weekend and meet tons of strangers, and let them see what the town has to offer without your underlying opinions and worries! This may be the only time in their life when it is a safe thing to do! Students, be fearless! Put yourself out there, meet faculty, meet current students, and network! I fell head over heels in love with my college, but will always wonder what would have been if I went the extra mile(s).

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Make sure you look at all of your options. Pick an institution that fits you the best, not necessarily with where your friends go. Look at the programs offered and the necessary requirements for the majors offered. Most universities and colleges vary upon the courses and hours required for certain majors, so that can play into your choice. Ask around and visit different places. Campuses vary greatly in appearance and quality; therefore, visiting first is a great way to determine what you can handle and what your preferences are. Also, make sure that the class buildings are not too far apart. Running in between classes is never the best thing to do and it's not good to push your luck in terms of making it to class on time. Furthermore, determine whether or not you want to live close to home or sort of branch out on your own. Distance can play a major role in your education; some people do not do very well when far from home. Basically, an institution with good extra-curricular activities, courses, professors, and job assurances, as well as being based in a good community setting are major things to look for.

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I would tell myself not to worry about making friends. In the beginning I was worried but I had no trouble finding a group to have fun with during my freshman year. I would encourage myself to get more involved in academic clubs such as biology club and geology club. Clubs are a great way to meet more people that have the same interests. It is very important to get involved in clubs on campus and volunteer in the community. Also, I would advise myself not to overplan. It is very important to make a schedule, write down all assignments, club dates, work dates, and other important dates, however, over-planning can lead to more stress. We cannot plan for everything and if we try to schedule every second of our college days we are going to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Plans do not always workout, some plans are spontaneous, and things change so it is important to be flexible. Although it is important to designate time for studying and homework, it is also important to have time for fun. College really isn't all about the schoolwork. It is about having new experiences and making memories too.

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Choosing a college is one of the most important choices that a student will make. The process can be intimidating. Take a deep breath and think about a few basic questions about each school you are considering to help make up your mind: 1. Does this school offer every major you are considering? While you may think you know what you want to major in, a "just in case" plan is often helpful later on. 2. How do you feel about the school's size and location? Are you comfortable with large classes and a large campus, or do you want the comfort of a smaller school? How far away from home is the school, and is this good or bad? 3. Most importantly, does this school feel right? Go for a visit. Tour classrooms, libraries, dorms, and cafeterias. Spend the night on campus if possible. Follow your heart. While academics should be a priority, college is also very social. During the first few weeks, most schools offer many programs to introduce new students. Attend an involvement carnival if possible to learn about campus organizations and activities. Lastly, know that you are not alone! You can do it!

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Of any advice that I could give myself as a high school senior headed to college would be, first and most important, your GPA goes down very quickly but takes forever to pull back up. Goofing off your freshman year will cost you. You will fight for the next three years just to get your average back to something respectable. Secondly, at all the orientations the staff tells you to get involved. Get involved! Especially on larger campuses where things are spread out and you only see your classmates in class, it is important to find your niche. Thirdly, take as many advanced placement and higher level classes as you can. Take the AP tests. Sometimes you end up getting 6 college credits and do not have to take history in college. These classes also help you enormously in your freshman classes. The Biology book that you used in the AP class in high school could end up being the same one you use in Biology 101. Finally, your parents are not as dumb as you think they are, especially when they have "been there and done that". They are willing to do almost anything for you. Keep them close.

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I think the single-most important aspect about choosing a school and making the most of it is research. When finding the right college or university, visit the website. See what they have to offer in your chosen career field. Talk to upperclassmen with similar interests as you. They will tell you the real truth that admissions officers won?t. Because we all know the cafeteria food is never as good as they say! When you go to orientation, don?t just absorb the information, be actively involved. Ask questions. The more you know before arriving, the easier the transition will be. When it comes to making the most of your college experience, research is again key. Find organizations that interest you and visit all of them. You won?t have time to be a member of each one, so choose the one that fits you best. You?ll get to network with people and discover even more opportunities for your studies and social life. You can never take full advantage of your campus unless you know everything that?s available. So get on the web, pick up the phone and get to know your school! ;]

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