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University of Scranton

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

Ivy League schools are not the only school options. There are other prestigious schools out there and these might even be a better fit. The key is finding a school that will emphasize what you have to offer. Search for schools that offer internships and other opportunities to see what the working fields are really like. For instance, my school requires that students in the Nursing major perform Service Learning a set number of hours. Currently, I am volunteering at a Nursing Home and this practice will later help me in the hospital setting. I will gain experience on how to communicate with older people. Once you search for a college by looking up information online and attending Open House, the student should develop an overall feeling for the environment and realize which school would allow them to prosper. It is also not necessary to complete over ten different applications to schools because a person can not possibly have the time to personally visit each school to get the vibe for it. The schools that made a positive impression should be given full attention. Last but definitely not least, once being accepted into college work hard and enjoy it fully.

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One of the most important steps prospective students and their parents can take is to talk to as many current students as possible (from freshmen to seniors). It is important that you get a chance to talk to students on their own, so that you can be sure you're getting an honest answer. Admissions representatives are there to sell the school to you, so you need to reach beyond these initial contacts to see if the school will be a good fit for you. Ask each of the students you meet about their own personal experiences with classes, administration, professors (or TAs), exams and grading, career-counseling, financial aid, academic advising, social life, residence life, campus dining, parking, campus culture, study abroad feasability, after-college plans, and anything else you can think of. The more you ask, the better understanding you will have of how the school works and of whether or not you will be able to thrive in its environment. Also: try this question for students and teachers: "What is your favorite class (that you have taken or taught), and why?" The answers will vary, but you will know when it feels right.

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Picking a college is difficult. You have to make a decision about where to spend the next four years. When choosing which college, narrow it to a few and really look into those. Take into account how far from home you want to be, the size of the school, the quality of the major program you are interested in, costs and student life. Find out if the school has a club or activity related to what your interested. While your main focus of college is academics, you need extracurriculars to keep college interesting. To make the most of your college experience, you need to find the perfect balance between academics and outside the classroom life. College is a once in a lifetime experience and it is important to make sure you are satisfied with everything. Make sure you keep your grades up, but don't pass up something amazing to solely focus on your academics. College isn't meant to be spent in the library, but it isn't about partying 24/7 either. Learn to balance these two extremes and your college experience will be very successful. Be adventourous. Study Abroad or take a class you never considerered before.

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It's about finding what school can accommodate your needs. Going into my freshman year I was overweight packing on an extra 50lbs. I struggled but found a healthy balance between my school work, eating healthy, exercising and extra curricular. College is all about making the most of the opportunities you're given in my case a fresh start to a new me. When I look through pictures from high school I can barely recognize myself. Not only physically but in the way I carry myself. I've become a more self assured, organized person who welcomes the challenges that life throws at me. As a college student I know sacrificing an hour out of your day for exercise may seem impossible but alt tab out of Facebook and get your body moving. Get yourself on a schedule and stay away from that pizza tray in the cafeteria. You'll soon realize that these little decisions will make a big difference in the classroom and ultimately life after college. My college's resources provided me with the tools I needed to be successful. If you find that balance between school work and social life you can succeed at any college.

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Whether we?d like to admit it or not, many of us enjoy enduring our own mistakes on our own time. We may hear innumerable accounts of advice given by our parents, our friends or our colleagues; however, we usually disregard their counsels and prefer to experience life on our own. Little do we learn, but we all eventually begin to make those same mistakes and simultaneously we think back to the generous suggestions of our loved ones. Habitually, I too enjoy ?learning on my own? and like everything else I needed to undergo my own college experiences. If I could go back in time and convince myself otherwise, I would do it in a heartbeat. First, I would tell myself that unless I was dangerously contagious with a worldwide epidemic, to go to class. Missing a class in college is equivalent to missing a week in high school ? it?s nearly impossible to catch up. Next, I would suggest using the gym and the library as often as possible ? neither studying nor exercising can be accomplished in a dorm room! Lastly, I would advise myself to make every moment count because these are the best years of your life!

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Make the most of it the first time around. Going to college is an incredibly wonderful experience that will pay you back 10 fold once it's over. Selecting the right university, the right major, and the right activities in college can and in most cases, will have an impact on the rest of your life, and so it's important to be methodical with your decision. When selecting a school, don't always go to the most well-known school or the most prestigious one. Rather, go to the school that you will not only gain the most from educationally, but also where you will be able to maintain the right level of balance while studying for four+ years. Selecting your major is also tough, and so I would recommend taking classes in many fields that interest you and consulting with your professors and mentors--do not major in something because "it sounds cool!" Finally, college isn't all work all the time--join a few clubs, play some sports, and have fun meeting and interacting with your soon-to-be best friends for life. Careful preparation and prudent decision making will make you have a great four years!

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The most important part of searching for the perfect school is on-campus visits. From my own experience, the minute I walked onto campus, I knew the University of Scranton was the college I wanted to attend. In case you do not have that "A HA" moment, there are several steps you can take to ensure you are picking the right college. First, talk to students and ask them the real questions: what are the dorms like? how are the classes? are the students friendly? Students who are not under the pressure of a group tour will be more willing to give you the most honest answers. Second, talk to professors and academic counselors to make sure they have the program that best suits your needs. If the professors are helpful before you attend the school, it's a good indication they will continue to interact this way once you are admitted. Third, discuss your financial aid options. College is expensive and a great experience does not have to cost top dollar. Finally, trust your gut! You did the research, you asked the questions, now it's time to start listening to your heart and you're on your way!

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When you are visiting or touring a college, you know it is the right college for you at the moment you step onto campus. You will see a landmark, a building, or perhaps meet a person, any of which irrationally convinces you to make 'this place' your home for the next four, or more, years. The rational decisions to attend 'this college' may come later when you speak with an inspiring and motivational professor or staff member in your field of interest, or when you realize that 'this college' will support you as a pre-professional as well as a human being. There is no 'one way' to make the most of your college experience, because you will look back and realize you have learned so much from the mistakes you have made. Try to get involved in a diversity of campus activites and events, ones that broaden your horizens, make you happy, yet do not take away from your time to study. The true test of a superior education comes after graduation, when you will realize that you would have done everything differently-- meaning that you have grown and matured exponentially at 'this college.'

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I remeber being very nervous for college, but especially over small things like doing laundry, (since I've been blessed to have my Mom do it), getting up for class on time, talking to professors, etc. I realize now that these things can all be accomplished with enough confidence and perseverance, and that really, there is nothing to be afraid of. I would advice my high-school self, "everyone is going through similar things and has similar worries. They are all in the same boat as you!" To continue with the confidence boost, I would tell myself to "believe in yourself because you know yourself best. Asking for people's help and opinions is smart, but it is ultimately you in the end who has to make the decision. Go with your gut and don't stress out over small things. Believe in yourself!" It is true that many of these feelings I had then have not completely gone away, and I often need to remind myself of these things. But I believe this is what makes me human and most importantly MYSELF. I cannot overcome my fears overnight; I must condition them slowly and allow time.

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As a recent graduate and member of the working world , I have been able to reflect on my time as a student at the University of Scranton. I have a deeper appreciation more now than ever before for all that I learned in the classroom, but more so for what I learned of life, love, leadership, service, and most importantly, what I have learned about myself. If I could give any advice to parents and prospective college students about finding the right college and making the most of the college experience, it would be this: 1. Trust that you will be exactly where you are supposed to be for a reason. Opportunities are limitless and sometimes things do not go accordingly to plan, and that is okay. There are no right or wrong answers, and if you have faith in your child/self to realize that, you will find your way and be happier while you do. 2. There are thousands of excellent schools in this country that could offer you a wonderful education. Your experience is what you make of it by the people you meet, places you go, things you decide. Ultimately, it is up to you.

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