University of Northern Iowa Top Questions

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

Shannon

Visit every school you are interested in before making a decision. You might think you know exactly where you want to go but after visiting your second or third choice, you may feel more at home there. Also talk to the students who go there, not just the people who want you to apply like admissions and friends.

Wes

Don't just look at the school academically, look at social life, greek life, weekend scene, involvement, things of that nature. The more there is to do the more fun you will have at college.

Seth

Don't just sit around and let it pass you by. Get out and get involved with something you can be passionate about right away. Also, try to find a worthwhile part-time job that can get you some experience in your field of study instead of spending time working in food service or something that has nothing to do with what you want to do later. Also, live your life by at least one motto, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Get familiar with your professors and school administration; you never know who will be able to help you when it comes down to crunch time (aka: graduation). That being said, you still need to be competent and know what you are doing, so don't skip your classes and take the time to learn about your field of study.

Molly

It's very important to tour any college that you are considering, the feel on campus is the best indication you can have to knowing you've seleceted the right school.

Tyler

When it comes to selecting the right college for you the best way is to look at what you want. If are a person that gets involved in everything then going to a large university would be good for you becuase you have a large population and activities to get involved in. If you feel that you aren't as involved then a large school might not be as good. You have a large chance of getting lost in the fray. What is important is how you feel when you are visting that campus. Do all the students look depressed and lost or happy. Its just a feeling about schools which helped me make the right decsion.

Amanda

I looked at a lot of great colleges with great programs, but UNI was the place that felt most "like home." My greatest piece of advice when looking at colleges is look for a place where you feel comfortable. Search for a school that puts students first, that has opportunities for growth and development, and one that stresses the importance of building students into strong, influential leaders. When visiting on college visits, make it a point to talk to current students and get their perspective on college life. Ask questions on campus tours, meet with an admissions counselor, and eat in the dining center. As parents, it is important to look beyond the cost of an education and view it as an investment in your student's future. In my opinion, after three years at UNI as an out-of-state student, that there is no price you can place on a quality education. I am thankful that my parents allowed me to make the decision of where I wanted to go to college and remained supportive as I began my schooling there. Supportive parents made my transition from high school to college easy!

Kelly

Advice that I would give parents about finding the right college for their son/ daughter is to let them make their own decision. The child shouldn't have to feel pushed to go in a certain direction or they won't put their full potential into their school work. My advice for students is to pick a university that makes you feel comfortable and feel will give you the education you want. If you don't feel comfortable you won't get involved or participate which are key elements to growing and expanding who you are. Also, I would say push yourself to your full potential because it could determine how far you get in life and the choices you make now will reflect your future.

Amanda

Campus visits are the best way to get to know a college. Don't be afraid to talk to random students while you are there to get their opinions. I think that the best college is one that has a strong program of study in the area you are interested in, with high graduation and job placement statistics. Also, it is the one in which you feel most comfortable - with the area, the housing, the faculty, and the other students. The "college experience" is what you make it. It is important to find good friends and new experiences so that you can grow as a person. You should take advantage of whatever opportunities come your way because that is how you gain experience. Remember that your choices are your own, and how much you enjoy college, or learn from it, is up to you.

Spencer

Tour the campus, talk to professors, sit in on classes, and talk to the students. Every college is different and you have to find the right fit for you. When you're at the right institution, you'll learn more, you'll have more fun, you'll make better friends, and you'll get more out of your time there.

Jennifer

This school has great programs and the faculty is very helpful. The students and faculty are friendly. The campus is large but small enough that everything is in walking distance. There is always something to do on campus that is fun and interesting. I would recommend this school to anyone because it has made me less introverted and I have made friends for life.

Matthew

Look around, visit campuses, and be open.

Curt

Find a place that feels right when your on your visit.

Michelle

make sure you feel at home when you are on the college visit

Kenny

If you can talk to an aquaintence or friend that goes to the school when you visit. Make sure to take all the tour guides and faculty statements with a grain of salt. The last thing I would recommend is visit the campus on a weekend to see if its really as "alive" as all the recruiters say it is.

Jeff

I would say to make sure that you go out there and make friends. Don't be somebody who stays in their dorm room all the time. Make friends on your hall.

kelly

Don't be afraid to go and try various things. I have found that most people want to help so ask if you have any questions. Take some classes based on your extra-curriculars. I ended up changing my major to something I enjoy because of this. Don't rush you have at least 4 years. Start taking some major classes early in your education so you can see if it is for you.

Kate

The most basic and important advice I'd give to parents/students in search of the college that best fits their needs is to do your research. Don't simply read the brochures or check out the school's website. Find actual students (and NOT students who work for the school's "welcoming" or "touring" programs) to interview. They'll give you the most valuable, unbiased answers to your questions. When you are talking to students and faculty who's jobs ARE to recruit students for the school, don't be afraid to ask blunt, tough questions. It's your future and your money--- you have a right to know what you're getting yourself into. However, don't believe everything that the school's employees tell you--- they'll sugar-coat the truth. In regards to making the most out of your college experience, my advice is to take personal responsibility for all of your actions. Taking responsibility also involves invoking an open mind, and critical eye everyday of your college experience.

Nick

My best advice would be to do what you want for YOU. Don't choose a school because you're best friend goes there, or because the price is right. What you'll get out of school is much more important than that. You'll always have friends, and if you go to a school that's right for you, you can earn the money back that you spent on tuition. Look at all the options; not just the ones that are handed to you. Sometimes the best option is in the last place you look. After you do find the school that's right, don't be afraid to take risks. Talk to people you normally wouldn't, join a club that sounds half-way decent. Actually study. Once at college, the most important part is enjoying yourself while learning. If you're just learning, you're probably not having fun, but if you're just having fun, that means you're probably not learning, either. A combination of both will ensure the best college experience possible.

Mark

In order to pick the right college, you must make several college visits. Have your son or daughter sit in on classes, attend events, sleep in the dorms, visit fraternities/sororities, etc. Sometimes the college that seems to be the right fit actually isn't. One visit doesn't help because everyone puts on their best act and provides a one-sided sales pitch. Don't always utilize "official" campus visits. Get in touch with a friend, relative, or alumn from your child's school and see if they will provide you with a real tour. Education is the point of going to college, so make sure the atmosphere is best suited towards academics. It is very frustrating when a student isn't able to talk to their professor, get into the right classes, or receive proper instruction/aid. Therefore, ask around and see what the professors, library, and other academic centers are like. Check out princetonreview.com and see all the rankings that the institution received. Also, visit ratemyprofessor.com to see what the students think of their own college and its teachers. Never be satisfied with a school sponsored campus visit.

Ben

i would say if you child doesnt know what they want ot do send them to a community college, maybe they can find themself there at a minimal expense

Patrick

I would ask yourself what do you want. Do you want to learn, do you just want a degree, do you want to make friends, or are you just going to college because its what everyone is doing. I find in my experiance of college people are here for the last three but not to learn anything. If your one of those people I would suggest not going and getting an appartment off campus. It will save you a lot of money and time. But if your going to learn I would suggest you look at what classes you did well in highschool. Was it the small classes or the large classes. Was it the ones where you to apply knowledge or just memorize it. Then go and visit as many colleges you can to find the one that matches you. If you go to a college that doesnt your not going to have success. I would also suggest going out and being extrovertant. Let yourself shine.

Bart

GO WITH YOUR GUT!

Leah

I would say that the most imporant thing is to not forget who you are. College is a great place to express who yourself, but do not attempt to be someone you are not to fit in. Eventually people find you out. If you are worried about making friends - don't - because there is always at least 20 people just like you in each of your classes. Do not follow your friends to a place that you are not sure about. Follow your instincts. And always call your parents at least once a week. It is very easy to loose touch with the ones you love.

Melissa

I would tell them to always look far into their future and make sure that they will be happy in their school. Look at all aspects of life from money, living and social parts.

Kayla

The best thing to do when searching for a college is to visit and plan out your money situation beforehand. One of my only regrets is not knowing how many funds I had for the future and thinking that scholarships would come to me instead of going out and finding things to get my money before school started and I was stressed from working 30 hour weeks on top of full-time school. College is about learning about yourself--it will be one of the hardest and best times of your life. Enjoy it while you can! Take time to use the experiences it gives you.

Ben

Go to a college where you like the size of the school, its social envirnoment, and see how friendly the school is. Go to a college where yo know you'll fit right in with everyone else and be accepted. Go to a college where they have plenty of activites available, and get involved! That's how you will meet people the fastest. And just enjoy life!

Curt

Find a college that you feel confortable at when you visit. Your first instincts are probably right.

Ted

I think making the most of a college experience comes from looking at college for what it is, an investment. You don't want to pay $100,000 to get a degree in social work. When deciding on which school to attend, be sure to consider your life after the next four years.

Tim

Make sure you like the campus you are looking at in terms of size and style. You should also meet some of the professors in your major so that you know that you like them. It is never easy going through school with professors you do not like.

Shana

I would tell parents to try not to give their children too many preconceptions about what they should do after high school and to try to help them become aware of as many of the opportunities available to them as possible. Students shouldn't feel like there is a certain university that they will probably end up attending or a certain path they will probably end up taking in life. They shouldn't feel pressure to attend college at all. If college is their choice, I would tell students to take their time finding a college and deciding a major. College doesn't necessarily have to start immediately after high school. It's better to have a clear idea of what you want out of your college education before you dive in. You could end up spinning your wheels, wasting time and tuition money, because you didn't really know yourself and your goals before you started. Of course, once the decision has been made and you're at your chosen college working toward your chosen degree, remember that nothing is set in stone. If you're unhappy with the path you're on, you can always change it.

Elizabeth

As far as finding the right school for you, be sure to visit. You learn a lot more from visiting the campus than you do a website. Also, I learned most about my school from talking to current students and alumni (especially those in your intended major). They can provide you with the best information and tips about life at school. They've been through it afterall. To make the most of your experience make friends. Get outside of your comfort zone, meet new people, and try new things. Get involved on campus and, as cheesy as it sounds, you'll make memories that last a lifetime:)

Mitchell

Learn all you can about the college experience before you go so you can enjoy it when you're there.

Scott

Choosing a college is one of the most difficult decisions one will face. There are many factors to consider while making that big decision. The one bit of advice I would give to any student or parent is to go with what feels right. When I was choosing a college it was very difficult because I basically had one day to get a feel for the campus and environment. However, I feel i made the best decision. I took a visit to UNI and knew at the end of the day that is where I wanted to attend school, it just felt right. It is a very big adjustment, so go with what makes you feel like your at home, I feel there is no better feeling than that of being at home. Some of the factors one should consider while making this decision is their major, if known at the time, size of school, classroom atmosphere, is it more hands on or lecture learning, campus atmoshere, and facilities on campus. Those are just a few of many, however, they help with the process. The one piece of advice I would give is to go with what feels right!

Cassandra

Parents: Play a part in the decision of your childs future. Determine your relationship with your child, and location of school/cost. Student: Do not let parents decide where you HAVE to go, it is your decision too, but it also depends on who is paying for the tuition.

Brittany

Make sure to check what majors the college offers before you committ to going there. Think about all of your interests, and pick a college that offers majors related to your interests. I decided to change my major my second year of college and realized that my University didn't have the major I wanted, and it would have put me too far behind to transfer to another college, so now I'm majoring in something that I'm not sure if I really want to do. Location and size are extremely important too. The college I go to is a state university, so it's big, but it's not over populated. The city it's in is relatively small and very safe. Those two factors really boost a college's appeal.

Abigale

As cliche as it sounds, college is truly what you make of it. When searching for the perfect college, I was set on an ivy leauge school far away from home. Once I visited I realized, within the first ten minutes, that it would be the most awful place for me to attend school. Next I decided that I loved a secondary choice school, a priviate medium sized college seven hours away from home. My parents, who are helping me pay for college, decided that was not the place for me to go, not only because of cost, but also safety reasons. Finally, we agreed on a medium sized state school a few hours from home. I dreaded the prospect of attending this school because I knew it would be "too public-schoolish". After the first week I knew college would truly be exactly what I make it to be. I became involved in honors programs and club tennis. I made friends with people from all backgrounds and academic levels, and found out they all added fun dimensions to my life. This college has truly drawn me to a new place and helped me find me!

Josh

When coming to UNI, be prepared for a university that tries to keep students first, but it also can come up short. Never let the first impression make you make opinions on the school, because the school is better (and worse) then some people believe.

Kevin

Trust your instincts. Go to a college that makes you feel at home and at ease. When at school, involve yourself in as many activities as you find interesting, meet new people, and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Balance is also key to a succesful experience. Work hard, play hard. Bring out your full potential in everything you do and make it known to the world that you have arrived.

Ben

I would encourage students to look for a school where the professors teach the classes. I attended the University of Iowa as well and I was appalled when 2/3 of the class sessions were led by T.A.s and not professors. This makes professors seem less accessible and makes it harder to establish relationships with them.

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