University of Northern Iowa Top Questions

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

Kristen

I would tell myself, you can do this. I know classes, other activites, and your social life can and will be hard. Buck up, push through it! You're a Meyers! You can do anything! This is the perfect place and time for you. Learn new things, don't be afraid. If something goes wrong do everything in your power to fix it! Keep making friends and applying for jobs. Get to know your teachers one on one, they are here to help you, if they don't know who you are, then what's the point! You can have your cake and eat it to, you just have to stay focused and work!

Erin

Decide earlier to go to college. i decided half way through my senior year and it was hard. i ended up choosing a school I didn't like very much and then transfering here the next year.

Melissa

Don't stop with your Bachelors. Get your Masters while you are in still in school. Once you get out and get a job it will be difficult to go back.

Brittany

The best advice I can give about choosing a college is to make sure you feel safe on compus. Safety is very important and I know that at UNI I always feel safe.. Also when visiting a college make sure it is afforable for you and that they have a finacial aid staff that will help you with managing your money and/or student loans. Making the most out of your college experience does not mean finding a school where you can go out every weekend; the best advice for making the most of your college experience is to try new things. There is sucha variety of activites that you can be a part of when you get to college and take advantage of it. Having fun in college is very important but never forget that you are there for school first and to get a degree that will later get you into the career you have been wanting.

Ryan

for parents i would tell them not to worry. college is a scary concept for many but it is a vital and wounderful learning experince for all involved. parents, just keep in contact with your children but know that they have choosen a woundefull school that will make them feel like home and in a family. as for students, dont be nervis, college is also scary thought for freshmen, but try to talk to as many people as you can and try to take many diffrent classes so you will be well rounded. let the college experince take hold and dont be afraid to make new friends, these will be peopel that will be life long freinds and peers in your career feild. the college experince is one of the most impotant lessions of your life and it is vital that you learn from it.

Emma

The advice that I would give is to find the college that most feels like home to you. When I walked through the campus of Northen Iowa for the first time I knew right away that, that was where I would be going to school because it felt the most like home and there were so many nice and genuine people there. All that I would have to say is to follow your heart and most of the time it usually takes you in the right direction.

Ashley

Go to lots of college visits and compare as much information as you can between the schools. Make sure you are completely sure of where you want to go. You don't want to have to transfer schools. Stay overnight in the dorms on visits if possible. You will make friends that night and will then see familiar faces when you come back in the fall. Find out about all the different clubs and activities on the campus and choose some to get involved in. Join different kinds of groups so you will then have different groups of friends which is great. Ask about the financial aid offered by school because it is a huge part of college. Don't let the money get in the way of a school you really want to attend because there are plenty of companies you can take loans out of if you need to. Enjoy your college years and don't let little things get in the way of you getting the most out of college.

Mary

The most important aspects of finding the "right" college is choosing one that feels comfortable and that offers programs that you are interested in. To make the most of the college experience, get involved! Colleges offer extracurriculars for everyone, and if you can't seem to find a club that fits your needs, you can start a brand new one for your school! Getting involved is the best way of meeting life-long friends and figuring out where your interests lay. Always give a college a chance for at least a full semester before transferring to really get the full effect of the university before making a big decision. Wherever you end up, take advantage of your school's tutoring programs. My school offers free tutoring for the liberal arts core classes! Attending tutoring does not mean that you are not intelligent, it is just another opportunity to interact with new people while really understanding the material.

Jordan

Take a lot of campus visits!

Alicia

Try to visit the campus before applying. Listen to your gut and to what feels right; I picked UNI because I felt it was right for me and made the decision on my own and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Make the most of your college experience by getting involved. I have made so many friends by being more social and involved in activities. Remember that college is a place where almost no one knows who you are or where you came from, you can be whoever you want to be, you don't have to be the same person you were in high school. Have fun and relax but don't forget about your studies because your parents, the state or yourself is spending money so you can get a higher education.

Heidi

go where will feel you fit in the best!

Charlie

First of all make sure the college not only offers what the student thinks they want to do, make sure there are several good programs incase they do need to do a change in major. Second, talk to the students when you get a chance, ask them how they feel about campus life and the school in gerneral, it should be fairly positive! Thirdly make sure that the teachers are their TO TEACH not to do reasearch and teach becuase they have to. You want teachers who are there FOR YOU! Finally make sure the campus life is safe, friendly, and that you will have the oppertunity to build community and make friends. While college is about higher learning it is also about so much more, like how you conduct yourself when you are on your own for the first time and it all helps shape who you are so much. You learn much from college than just textbook factual information!

Tiffany

Definitely visit the campus. If you have an idea of a field you want to go into, look at a college that is known for that. I chose my college based on their business school's reputation and the fact that it is a beautiful campus, not too big & not too small - I knew it was were I wanted to go. To make the most of your college experience definitely get involved & meet new people - especially people that are different than you, you'll learn new things! I suggest living on-campus at least the first year if not more. Its a great way to meet new people. Use the facilities and resources provided to you such as the fitness center, library, and especially professors. Don't forget to take time to have fun too, believe it or not that's pretty important!

Elyse

Find a place that gives the feeling you belong there. A place that you know you can adjust to and reach your academic goals is the right choice.

Kelsey

Research lots of colleges and do lots of college visits; they seem like a pain at the time, but it really helps. Do not choose a college based on where your classmates and friends are going. If you college offers a "springboard" or an all-first year living experience, do it. You make lots of friends, and you are more accquainted with your campus and your residence hall staff. Make friends with your RAs, don't make them your enemies. Take advantage of on-campus jobs, and take advantage of on-campus tutoring, its free and very helpful. Go to class, but if you need a personal day, take it. Make as many friends as you can, and get involved right away.

Melinda

I would tell parents and/or students to take college tours and look into the academic programs the college offers. Also, go to a college that has the major you want to study. If a school is well known for a major program the student wants to pursue, then most likely the school is a good school and the student will get a good education. Parents and students should also feel comfortable with the activites and help the college offers. I think one of the most important thing about choosing a college to attend is making sure one is comfortable with the school's atmosphere and the surrounding area. Students should also particpate in activities offered by the college. This way, the student can meet new people and have fun. Even though some classes may be hard, one should keep going and go for their goal.

Elizabeth

Go wherever you feel you have the best chance at being successful not only academically, but socially/personally. Once you are there get involved early its not hard and it builds up your resume and build stronger ties to the university and all it has to offer.

Lee

I advise you to find what you love to do and find a program to match it. Look for faculty that are well-known in their field and have a good reputation as instructors. Look for a college that will bring you just enough out of your comfort zone to grow!

Troy

Don't limit yourself -- discover as many colleges as possible before making your choice. You may find that the college that's right for you wasn't one that you thought you'd ever be interested in. Once in college, it's so important to get involved in campus activities. The easiest way to do this is to talk to a current student leader and ask them how you can become more involved. It sounds cliche, but it's very true. Getting involved in campus activities is the best way to meet new people, develop as a leader and become more connected to the campus.

Eric

im having a great college experience but make dam sure that you study and not fail out. i have a lot of friends who have

Heather

Make sure they have the exact program you are interested in and make you are comfortable with the surroundings.

April

Check pricing, of course. If living on campus, find out if the building stays open for breaks. Know parking and travel distances to groceries, activities, etc. Know size of classes, maybe sit in on a few that you are interested in. Visit ratemyprofessor.com !! before signing up for a class, it's very useful for selecting a professor and knowing whether you should purchase the textbook for the class, often textbooks are not used in the class, just the professors notes.

Rachel

Find a college that you will feel most comfortable at and that offer the facilities that you will need to get a great education in your field. Look at the variety of programs, extra activities, types of classes, size, and everything into perspective.

Jordan

Talk to students that have or are atteding college. Look over all your choices before deciding what college to attend. Also keep in mind that a 2 year degree might fit in with your long term goals also. It may allow you time to take the basics and also prepare yourself for a college or university after you have completed those studies.

Abby

Selecting a college can be hard. There are so many things a potential student looks at. When I was thinking about whats important in selecting a college, three things stood out in my mind. The first thing being make sure it is a college that shares the same values as the student. Don't attend a private or religious college if those values aren't important to you. Another thing to consider when picking a college is to make sure it is a place where the student can feel comfortable. This is their first step into the real world on their own. It should be a comfortable atmosphere where safety is not among the many stressors of college. The last piece of advice I could give to prospective college students is to select a college that provides great potential for your future indevours. Make sure the school of choice is one that can assist you in every way to achieve dreams and top goals in life.

Melanie

My advice to anyone seeking their perfect college would be to talk to regular students rather than school officials or administrators. Students will have a greater tendency to tell you what campus life is really like. Likewise, students are much less likely to sugar-coat their descriptions of classes and curriculum. The other piece of advice I would offer would be to visit those colleges and stay overnight in the town where the college is located (on campus if possible.) Seeing and experiencing the campus allows the student to picture himself or herself attending that school. To make the most of the college experience, my advice to the student would be to become as involved as possible without over-loading themself. Finding the appropriate balance of extra-curricular activities and academia can provide the student with a positive form of stimulation while still allowing the student the ability to succeed. In addition, these extra-curricular activities can enrich the student's education and provide life long friends.

Allison

Visit the college or university you would like to attend before your freshman year begins, but visit during a time of the year were the campus is busiest. This will give you a better idea of what goes on at the campus and how you would fit into the atmosphere there.

Callie

Well, finding the right college is very hard for anyone graduating from high-school. I would say make a decision after you attend orientation. Make sure the college has good courses in the major field you want, and good a good teaching staff. I would also tell students to get involved with campus activities. Being involved helps build your social life, and also opens up opportunities that you wouldn't have known before. Also, make sure your social life off campus doesn't control your studies at school. You can have fun, but know your priorites. Remember, college is the best years of your life, make friends, have fun, and do good in school.

Victoria

I would tell them to look at look at the degree wanted, size of the college, affordability and location of the college. The most important thing is finding a college with a program you like in the degree you want because your education is the reason you're going to college. Next you should look at the size of the college. Big colleges provide many oppurtunities but you can easily be lost in the crowd. Small colleges allow one-on-one interaction with professors but, generally, not as many oppurtuinites. Thirdly, look at the affordability of the college. You must make sure the price you are paying is worth the education and experience you will recieve. Lastly, look at location. If you get homesick really easily do not choose a far away college. If you want complete independence choose a location far away. Also, if you can not stand cold weather do not choose a college with harsh winters. Keeping all of these things in mind will help you choose the right college for you and make your college experience a fantastic one.

Jill

I say to make sure you look around and go on campus visits because those can really make a difference for you. Also, go somewhere that is going to make you happy and not others because this is your future and not anybodies elses and your future counts on it. Also, if you know what your going into look at how strong the department is in your field of study at that particular college because some colleges lack in certain departments. You want to make sure that you are getting the best education that you can because it will only benefit you in the future when looking for jobs. Also, while in college make sure to have fun but make sure your studies always come first because that is so important.

Amber

If it feels right, then choose it, if you walk onto a campus and get a weird feeling, don't push it, just try a different campus. Each college can be better or worse for a specific college, do not go somewhere because your father did, or your greatgrandfather founded it, although it might be good financial aid. Find a place that specializes in what you would like to do, or has a broad program, like UNI. I love UNI because the theater teachers are well known, teach in multiple different countries and we have experiences that have changed my life and given me oppertunites I only wished for. Get involved, the more involved you are, the more fun college will be, if you sit in your dorm all day, of course you won't make friends, go out, meet new people, and try new things. You will be suprised where life will take you, like me, if I didn't come here, I would have never met my fiance. So go out and visit, and go with your gut, because you never know what you will find!

Cassandra

I would say the most important thing that I have learned from my college experience is to pick the right school the first time. Figure out what is most important to you in a school and follow your instincts. Do not let others sway you in to picking a school because you likely will not be happy there. Ultimately you are the person who has to go to the school that is chosen. Your parents or coaches opinion of it it just that, an opinion. It is very important to find out what the students there are like and how their interests will interact with yours. I can say this with authority because I was not happy at the University of Northern Iowa and so am now transferring to Wichita State University. Schools are less likely to give scholarships to transfer students and it takes longer for a transfer student to graduate. I wish I had done more work to find out what students here are like before choosing this place.

Lacie

Visit the colleges you are thinking about, and ask students what they think about their experience.

Hannah

My advice to students would be to pick a school based on your interests and not based on where you friends are going. You will have many opportunities to make new friends at college. I also would advise students to live on campus for atleast their first year. Living on campus makes adjusting to college life much easier. I also would tell new students to go to class even if there isn't an attendence grade. To make the most out of your learning at college, you need to be in class. My last advice to students would be to watch out for student loans. Loans are available much easier than most expect, which can be a bad thing. Think about whether you need the money or if you just want the money. You will have to pay those loans back after school, so remember that when thinking about cashing that refund check. Overall, enjoy college while it lasts! It will be the best time of your life!

Kristine

If you don't know what you want to go into, go somewhere with broad choices and good programs.

Megan

In order to find the right college, you need to know what you want. If you aren't sure, it's good to start out with a school that isn't too big or small, and has a nice balance of "practical" majors and artisitic pursuits, like UNI.

Damon

Find a college that is the right size for you.

Melissa

Just remember that if you do get overwhelmed (and you will!!) that you can take a break. Taking that break can help you refocus on a problem that you may have been unable to see the solution to before. Sometimes remembering to take that break can be the difference in your stress levels and better grades!

Katelyn

An important foundation to keep in mind when selecting the right school for you is, both pursuing academic/professional training, and a satisfying environment that caters to your needs and interests. Selecting a school should focus on an area of personal or academic interest while equipping you in a challenging and enjoyable vocation. In addition, access to multiple diverse opportunities with both activities and fellow students envelops a substantial amount of your college career. The college experience is often coined as, 'the best years of your life,' so an experience focused solely on either academic pursuits or social experience will not meet that expectation. Concisely, when looking for a college, find one that offers practical professional training for your future and a wide variety of social contexts that fit you.

Abby

Visit all the schools you are looking at

Erin

I'd have to say to know what you are getting yourself into. If you are an out-of-state studen know the tuition and fees cost. Also precalculate your cost of living to that to make sure that if loans become unavailable you can still get by. Talk with the department of residence and know the procedure to becoming a resident so you can become an in-state student. Talk with the financial aid department and make sure they are helpful. Talk with them also about available loans, grants, and scholarships available. They may be able to help you apply for some. College can be a financial hardship on you and you need to know what is available out there to alleviate some of the stress. Always account for what would happen if a change of major occurs. You need to know how much a change in major will set you back financially and if you will still be able to recieve loans and aid if you extend your stay at the university. Check out the off campus and on campus liviing. Make sure the off-campus living is something you would like and can afford.

Colleen

Find a college that you feel comfortable at and choose it because you want to go there, not because someone you know is going there or because your family went there. Explore you options and be smart about your class load. Meet with your advisor so you know which classes to take to graduate on time. Make a plan and apply for a lot of scholarships.

Cindy

Get in there and try new things. I met my best friends in marching band. We are still friends, and I know we will be friends for the rest of our lives. The college I am at now was not my first choice, but this was the perfect fit. Sometimes the college you think is right for you, may not be. Talk to those who are close to you and ask for their opinion before making your final selection. You won't regret it!!! Good luck to you in your college search. It is a hard one, but it is most rewarding when you graduate!

Brooke

Start saving for college from the moment you are born, it can really break you. Money management is probably one of the most important things anyone could ever learn. However, just because a college you want to go to is too expensive don't rule it out. If that college would fit you best as far as location, your major and atmosphere, then there is nothing left to do but apply. Make sure you apply to atleast three colleges, you'll need back-ups. I applied to only two but got accepted into both. Once you start high school focus on your schooling because you're grade point average is very important. Once you've selected a college you have to stay focused because it's very easy to fail a class and become suspended. Colleges want to make sure you're there for the right reasons because there are plenty of people on the waiting list who want to be there. So try your best, attend class and do you're reading assignments for tests.

Andrew

To the parents, understand that your child has to make this choice. It is not yours to decide, but theirs. If your child chooses a college in another state, let them. It's their choice, it's their future. To the students, find a campus that's easy to navigate. A small campus is better than an extremely large campus. Attend a college that offers classes that mostly have class sizes being about 30 students. Make sure the financial aid program is readily available and that they explain everything to you. Take a tour before you decide to attend the college you think you want to go to. Most importantly, don't choose a college your friends are going to. Choose a college that has your desires at interest, the one with the best program to help you work towards your future career.

Cheryl

Ask around and learn about other peoples experiences. Take the time to go on college tours to see which is best for you!

Randyl

Do your research! Find out what majors you think you might be interested in and find schools that offer well known programs in those areas. Ask a lot of questions. Take advantage of the many services universities offer, from financial aid and academic advising to campus police and research committees.

Ognjen

The most important part of choosing the right college is deciding what you want to study before you actually start college. A lot of students start going to college and just wander aimlessly for a few years and then randomly pick a major because they can't stay undecided anymore. In the end, they waste a lot of valuable time and money on taking unnecessary classes and their overall GPA and college experience suffers as a result. However, if you start college with a concrete goal in mind then it is a lot easier to stay focused and get involved in campus activities, which greatly contribute to the overall college experience. College isn't all about classes and grades, it's about the people you meet and the way these people affect you. Every year spent in college is a huge step towards becoming self-sufficient, and the people around you are the ones that have the greatest influence on who and what you become after college. Therefore, chose your path wisely and involve yourself only with those that you want to be associated with. The rest will take care of itself, as life usually tends to unfold that way.

Angela

Visit multiple colleges and talk to students about the pros and cons of each school. Make sure you don't just talk to people who hate or love the school, get a variety. Also no matter where you go get involved! Getting involved will help make college feel like home and it will help you love the college you attend like I do!

Sarah

do lots and lots of research. Visit as many colleges as possible, and try to talk to alumni who have gone through the program in your major. When you finally decide on that college, be confident. Make the most of your experience, get involved!

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