Focus more on your schoolwork than you do now, and start thinking about possible career paths. I know you think you have plenty of time to worry about that later, but trust me, the time flies and you want to have some sort of direction in your life come graduation time. Orginization and time-management skills are crucial to your success in college; you must learn how to balance school, sports, and social time equally in order to excel in all three. That said, don't get too stressed out over small things, take time to enjoy life and make plenty of friends. Never limit or doubt yourself academically or socially, always keep your mind open, enjoy the next four years of your life and good luck!
Throughout the four years that took me to complete my associates degree I had learn to appreciate the value of education. Money is not everything and what you learn nobody else can take it away. I have become knowledgeable on many subjects. I can communicate better, I improved my second language (English), and I made unbreakable relationships with my classmates and professors. I discovered new ways to see the world, and alternatives to be everyday more creative. Every professor contributed to this progress and looking back to my old art work and my actual one; I can see how the act of implementing all the principles learned in school has been shaping the way I create and see art.
Don't place too much emphasis on the tours of colleges; a lot of the guides have been trained to answer questions and may not give their own honest opinion of the school. If the college offers it, definitely try to stay over night with a student. This ensures that you will get an honest opinion and have a chance to form one of your own. As for making the most of your college experience, don't let the academics dominate your life. Colleges offer a lot of entertainment (lectures, movies, performances, etc) right on your campus, and you only have 4 years to take advantage of it. Be active on your campus; it's the best way to actually meet people and make friends.
If I had the chance to go back and talk to myself as a high school senior I would tell myself to give every assinment that I was given 150%. After completing my first semester in college I have realized that managing my work load would have been a lot easier if I had just developed a stronger work ethic in high school. The other important thing to remember is to always keep giving your best at any assignment given to you instead of just giving up. I know at times it can be tough and you might be tired but in the end it is truly worth it. If you build this strong work ethic now more opputunities will be presented to you in the future.
I would tell myself to prepare for exams and projects quite thoroughly even if they were easy, because then I would have been ready for the amount of studying I have to do at the University of Rochester. I also would have told myself to the the some classes I slacked off in more seriously, because the lessons from some of those classes could have made my learning experience in the college equivalent of those classes much easier. Other than the above though, I think I prepared myself fairly well for college, and believe that the best thing I did was to not completely take a break my senior year, just because I was graduating.
If you can, visit the school. You will find out more how you will interact with the students. If you can spend the night. If you feel a school is too far out of your reach, apply anyway and show why the school will benifit from your impact on campus. Do not let yourself get tied down as well. My own philosophy is to detach yourself a little from your family. College lets you explore your own personality, and do not pass that up. Finding the place to express yourself fully is tough, but the search is worth the reward. In the end just do what seems right for you, its your life no one else's.
Location, quality, and tuition are all very important, but when making your decision, go for the college that has the best facilities to enrich your career goals. For example, if you are interested in research, find a school that has access to good on and off campus labs and is known for undegrad research. Also, despite pricey tuition bills, if its the right school for you, go for it. There are options such as financial aid, and grants but if those don't work out don't quit on the school. Take out loans and defer till after graduation because it pays to invest in your education.
I would want the students to personally know what they want without opinions from their parents (which may override what they want to do, even though that didn't happen to me). I would hope that students and parents would be open and on the same page for what type of school to look for. Don't be concerned about getting in- go for it! Try it! Be concerned about truly representing who you are on the application they give you. They are giving you their focus, their time, and a wonderful opportunity. Remember- they aren't there you see you fail; they want to help you succeed!
I looked at over 30 colleges when applying; all of different rank, location and concentrations. Though not my first choice Rochester has been a perfect fit. It offered what classes I wanted to take. There is a good balance between class work, outside work, and social life. I remember the first time i walked onto campus it just felt right-might be corny to say-but you have to able to envision yourself there. Do an overnight trip and really get to know some of the other students, staff and faculty because they are the factors that make the difference, not the weather.
If I were able to go back in time and aware my past self of all the future obstacles I would have to face in college now it would be to apply myself harder on the scholarship search, not to give up. During my senior year in high school I didn't have the confidence in myself to apply to many scholarships and I wish that I did because I most likely wouldn't find myself in a financial difficulty where I am scared that I won't be able to afford the tuition at my school. Also, to keep some of my old books that could of helped me more with some of the college level work.