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University of St Thomas-Saint Paul

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

There are many similarities and differences between high school and college life. It is extremely important that high school students are given practical guidance for making intelligent and ethical decisions throughout their future college years. Having been a college student for several years I have a large reservoir of advice that would give to myself as a high school senior if I had the opportunity. One piece of advice I would give is to focus on meeting new people on campus. Any experience one might have is always enhanced by the presence of friends. Making connections with students and the faculty will be an important step in securing a prosperous future. Furthermore, one should keep an open mind about new ideas and beliefs. Universities expose students to new realms of intellectual endeavor. It is important that one must not block novel concepts encountered in the classroom. Thinking for oneself is essential for a flourishing and fully functional intellectual. Proper assistance allows for a smooth transition between these two crucial phases of a young adult's life. It is the responsibility of those who have had these experiences to help others create a substantial future for themselves and their peers.

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In accordance with the purpose of pursuing a secondary education, I have gained much knowledge of the scholarly nature. Although I value this aspect of my academic career greatly, I also believe the social and interpersonal skills one learns while attending college is equally as valuable. As all college graduates know, potential empolyers are not merely looking for a student who has fulfilled the minimum academic requirements and earned a diploma. They are looking for applicants who display a keen interest for learning and are driven to perform at the best of their abilitiy, but also have demonstrated their versatility through communication and practical abilities. This is why I value my education so dearly. In college, you are completely immeresed in an entirely foreign environment surrounded by every type of individual imaginable. At first, this is scary. However, as you learn to adapt to this unfamiliar place, you gain a whole new perspective on life. Being uncomfortable can be beneficial at times. It is my belief that the situation college presents students with is extremely unique and trying, but when one can overcome its obstacles, they leave with a whole arsenal of talents both in and out of the classroom.

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It is fundamental that you identify what you are passionate about and where you want to see yourself in the future. From there, determine what academic field it would be and take as many classes as you can in that field. Learn as much as you can. If possible, try taking advance placement tests to receive college credit. In addition to grades and test scores, extracurricular activities are taken into account when applying for colleges. Though they are good for demonstrating a student?s outside commitments and interests, be wary not to participate in more than you can manage. Decide what kind of school you want to attend. Think about location, size, academics and offered extracurricular activities. After researching prospective colleges, take campus tours. This is a valuable tool to experience firsthand the character and atmosphere of the campus. Imagine yourself as a student on each tour and get a feel for what suits you. Know the application deadlines of any school that interests you. If teacher recommendations are required, be sure to request them well in advance. Completing a college application is a production and you should keep track of all information during the application process.

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In the world we live in today, simply having a high school diploma is not sufficient to maximize one’s contribution to society. Attending college is important to me because I will be the first child out of five children and the second person in my family to hold an undergraduate degree. This will bring a lot of pride and joy to my family, and ultimately, great joy to me. Additionally, an undergraduate degree is essential to the achievement of my career goal to become a medical doctor. My education at the University of St. Thomas has equipped me with the tools, skills, and knowledge I need to excel in medical school and beyond as a primary care physician. Along with focusing on academics, over the course of the past three years at the University of St. Thomas, I have had the opportunity to serve as a student leader and participate in many clubs and organizations, such as the Pre-Health Professions Club and the Undergraduate Student Government. I have gained exceptional leadership and team-building skills that have greatly prepared me to efficiently carry out my duties as a health professional with integrity, authority, dignity, respect, and compassion.

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In high school I was always told that college would be some of the best times of my life. As a college sophomore I can see the truth in that statement. I have met many people of different backgrounds, interests, nationalities, and opinions. In my first semester of college I was placed into overflow housing because of the lack of space. Overflow housing was a study lounge converted into living space for six young women. What seemed like a recipe for disaster was a blessing in disguise. I started college with five awesome friends who were all amazing and unique. Our dorm room was a fabulous mix of African American, Chinese, German, Indian, Irish, and Japanese heritage. We had interests ranging from calculus to history and from Russian to chemistry. We could not have been more different, but it also could not have been more perfect. A year later we still celebrate each others’ birthdays and spend holidays together. College has taught me that you can take vastly different people and instead of creating a reality show you can create beautiful friendships. College is the perfect training ground for young adults. It's real life, but more learning friendly.

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Through the value of growth, you will realize how important it is to make decisions, even when difficult, in order to do what is right for you, others, and your community. When you follow what you believe, you will achieve growth and success. You will begin to see these changes in many ways, some internal and some more concrete. First, you will be a better person when you make decisions that solidify your beliefs. This can be challenging when it means going against what others or society say in contradication. Through the process you will find confidence in yourself and your decsisions. Next, others will see the confidence you have, and they will come to you so that they can grow along side you and make a change in the world. Confidence is contageous. Finally, when you chose to serve your community and address a need, you may have to sacrifice self-serving desires but you will find fulfillment and this will benefit everyone involved, including yourself. Find out what you are passioante about, establish values, and live by them. Now, conluding 2014, you have achieved so much, and it has created a lens to see more opportunities to flourish.

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If I could go back in time and speak to myself as a high-school senior regarding the transition into college there would be a lot of insightful advice that I could give myself. The most helpful advice that I could give myself is to explain the importance of a balanced lifestyle in college. In order to succeed in college there are many needs that have to be balanced, all of which are vital to living a successful, happy, and healthy life on your own. This ranges from coursework, on-campus involvement, social life, sleep, exercise, nutrition, creativity, and an occupation. College life is a balancing act that can become lopsided if not intently focused on. In order to perform well in school, the mind and body need to be healthy and well rested to reach your full potential. College is a new and exciting experience where a student begins the adventure of complete independence for the first time in their life. This newly acquired independence comes with new responsibilities and challenges. Every experience in college is a learning experience inside and outside of the classroom that helps each individual learn to balance each component of life.

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Rather than worrying about the wishes and needs of the parents, both parents and students should base their college decisions on the concerns of the student. A good, successful college experience is dependent upon how happy and comfortable the student feels on campus, in class, and among his or her peers and faculty on campus. Another great concern when choosing a college is the availability and quality of potential degrees and fields of interest as well as extracurricular activities that the student may potential be interested in joining. Class sizes at the college or university of interest should also be a major concern; some students excel only in small classrooms, where the professor can put more time into assisting his or her students, where as many other students do just fine or better when in big classrooms. Once the student is attending their college of choice I highly recommend that within the first few days of classes he or she gets the contact information of fellow students and arranges study groups for each class. Study groups are a great way to meet people who share one's same interests and they also help students excel.

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As a 'mature' student, I was pleasantly surprised by the welcome I received from all ages of students and instructors. I attended COD, taking three semesters of Writer's Colony where original works were read and critiqued by the professor as well as fellow students. College after high school was not something I could swing back then, but I'm determined to achieve a degree, even at this late date. I was double blessed that I could attend school with my 21 year old son who is doing some basic courses before identifying and choosing a permanent study course. I would love to think that we may be able to attend another learning facility together. Now that the hurdle of returning to school is behind me, I am hoping to enroll at a university for further study in Liberal Arts and espeically in writing. Regardless of your age or situation, I believe school is the greaterst gift to bestow on yourself, whether earning your first degree or moving onto graduate and master course studies, or even jusat following subjects of interest. The challenge from educators and the competition to excel gets your blood miving and your brain cells firing.

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I have three phrases of wisdom: don't worry, be confident, and stay focused. The first few weeks will pass in a blur - between classes, meeting new people, getting to know your roommate and floormates, working out when to use your meal plan, and arranging and rearranging your room, you won't have time to be homesick or even keep in steady communication with your friends from back home. Everyone is nervous about meeting new people, and, at the same time, first impressions make a world of difference when everyone is new to each other. Stand up straight, smile, and introduce yourself. You are embarking on your new life - now isn't the time to be shy. Finally (and this is the most important), stay focused. While you have full permission to go out and have fun, remember that you are there, paying thousands of dollars, for your education. Don't dissapoint your teachers, parents, friends, and - most importantly - yourself by making poor decisions. Trust your gut, and stick to it. Always remember that you have talents, a bright future, and people who love you. Your opportunity to expand your horizons and build your future starts now.

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