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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?

The harder you work in high school, the more enjoyable your experience WILL be in college. By studying hard for those good grades in high school you may become eligible for numerious scholarships that will not only make college more affordable, but also open possibilities of where you can go. Make use of any resources your high schools may have such as counselors, career centers, etc. They will help you greatly and give you practice with working with these kinds of people. Because you will be working with these same kinds of resources very frequently in college too. I'd also tell myself to to make use of PSEO/AP/etc. programs. There are many freshman here at St. Thomas who got to register earlier because they had more credits than me. This allowed them to get the classes they wanted at the time they preferred them, leaving me with what was "left over". And besides, they saved hundreds of dollars! Lastly, be a good person and meet new people especially the staff at your school. When it comes to letters of recommendations, you're gonna love yourself for being a kind person.

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Going back in time and talking to myself as a senior in high school, I would tell myself to start looking for scholarships to college in the early fall rather than waiting until the spring when I will be stressing over graduation. I would, however, congratulate myself on choosing to do early decision in applying for my choice of schools. This was a smart move since I knew whether or not I was accepted to certain schools by October or November, and I would have had the rest of the fall to look for scholarships if I had not procrastinated it until the spring. I would tell myself to relax and not worry about not making friends or fitting in, because I knew then and now that the atmosphere at the University of St. Thomas is extremely friendly and welcoming. Finally I would tell myself to remember to be sure I got seven to eight hours of sleep every night. This would mean working out my time between friends, classes, and studying. Overall, I would say to enjoy the final days of being in high school and to look forward to recieving a great education and having tons of fun.

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Attending the University of St. Thomas has provided me with a world-class education thus far -- and I'm only just beginning my journey into my major-related courses. I can't express the value of having small classes and the many opportunities it has granted me; as a sophomore, I have a potential research position this summer with a biology professor! This is just one of the many doors that have been opened for me, along with valuable study abroad and local opportunities in the Twin Cities. I think it is invaluable to gain a more worldly view by studying in a non-traditional sense with hands-on experiences that immerse the student in the culture, and UST strives to facilitate all students who desire to do so! The most valuable thing I have learned though is that it is up to me, the student, to take responsibility for my educational aspirations and make the most out of the education I'm receiving! I believe that this is enhanced by my financial responsibility for my own education, so I have immense motivation to make (and take!) the most out of my education as possible.

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Recollections of my senior year are comprised by anxiously awaiting acceptance letters, competing against myself for the best possible GPA, while biting my fingernails trying to figure out how to pay for college. I went to a college preparatory school, founded on academic excellence and C.L.A.S.S. I recall getting annoyed after I got asked for the hundredth time, ?Where are you going to college, and what will you major in?? I did not come from a well off background. I had to work for everything I have, and money was a huge issue when deciding where to attend school. If I could talk to myself during the bitter sweet year of lasts, I would say, "prioritize; write out a list of YOUR needs and desires, nothing is permenant, you don't know what time will bring you." I would remind myself that I have slaved over my education, therefore I already ensured the money. Also I would say, "There will be times in your college freshman year, when you will want to give up, you will feel like you won't make it, but perservering will shape you into the best person you can possibly be."

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I would tell parents and students to go and experience the college on your own and attend a class. Look around during a typical weekday and see if you can picture yourself as the students you see around you. Eat at the dining halls, read in the library, play frisbee outside. Do what a normal college student would do and ask yourself if you feel comfortable doing those things there. Also, find out everything there is to know about each college you're applying for. Make sure you have some sort of checklist of everything you want in a college and each college matches that as much as possible. As for making the most out of your college experience, step out of your comfort zone! You are not in high school anymore. Your friends are not wherever you are. You have to go out and do things on your own. If you do that, you will learn who you truly are and be more comfortable making decisions about your future. Just be confident and make sure what you get involved with is a good portrayal of you, because college is where people set the foundation for who they will be.

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I would recommend that both students and parents visit a prospective school at least once before making a final decision if that school is the right college. By visiting the school, the student is able to get a feel for what campus life and classes are like. In addition, students can inquire about the programs and activities offered and whether the school offers the student's intended field of study. Third, when visiting a school, the student can also check out the dormitories provided to students and get information about alternative living arrangements if desired. In order to make the most of the college experience, it is important to get involved in clubs and activities that are interesting and fun. Also, some residence halls hold monthly get-togethers for the entire hall or particular floors which can be great times to meet other students that live in the same dormitory. By balancing both school work and a social life, a student can make the most of his or her college experience. So my advice is to get involved and stay active throughout your college career.

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If I could go back to my old self as a high school senior, I would give myself lots of advice. However, one very important piece of advice I would give myself is to take my studies seriously and actually sit down and take the time to know the information. My first year of college was very difficult because in high school, probably like most students, I never studied. I got away with no studying, but I think my GPA would have been much higher in high school if I did actually study. Now, here in college I have learned a lot about myself and I have learned my own personal study habits that I never had in high school. My time so far in college has been a time of self-discovery and I have learned that taking my studies seriously here in school is key to achieving success. So, to summarize, I would have to say that studying and really attempting to know the class material backwards, forwards, and upside down is extremely important to attaining success and going places in this world. Students taking their studies seriously will help them to unlock the secrets of this world.

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I have learned many lessons in trust, human dignity, and responsibility here, as St. Thomas. My first semester, I lived on campus in a dorm suite with three other roommates. There soon was conflict with these close living quarters. I learned some hard lessons about trust and caution through that experience. My social work major teaches us the definitions of human dignity but my time at UST has taught me more than a textbook ever could. It is the most diverse place I have ever been (I know, I sound sheltered) and it has taught me that everyone really does have something to offer. All of the people I have crossed paths with here are great, they are intelligent and lively. Their stories about their lives and backgrounds never cease to amaze me. "Never judge a book by its cover" really has meaning in my life now. Responsibility is another great quality I have improved at UST. I have learned to manage my time and think about my words and actions every single day. All of these are skills I will be able to carry with me for the rest of my life and I wouldn't change a thing.

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Coming from a public high school where sterotypes and kids with a lack of determination unlike myself, are present all around me, I was eager to step away from that and St. Thomas seemed to be the best fit. My college experience here has been so worthwhile; every day I'm meeting someone new, learning something different and engaging in new opportunities. The oppotunities presented to you in college are unlike any other. I've gotten to try so many new and exciting things here. am in a group called PULSE; we break sterotypes by dancing. I am a student leader; I mentor freshmen students who don't live on campus. I work with an organization called Up till Dawn, who works in part with St. Jude Hospital, rasing money to find a cure for cancer. My chances and opportunities here are endless and I will be able to carry them all with me after college and throughout life. I would never tell anyone that college isn't valuable or worth your time; I've learned so much about myself and I still have two more years of my college experience. I will tell you, it is worth every day.

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Dear High School Senior, Although you feel mature and experienced, you have yet to discover the vast opportunities and experiences that lie outside of your bubble. College is going to open your eyes to so many opportunites, you may feel a little overwhelmed! Just realize that it is alright to take your time and figure out what it is you want to do, you do not have to figure it all out right now. You are at the beginnning of something great and you CAN do whatever it is your heart desires, the sky is truly the limit, please remember that. Please go out and make friends your freshman year, you will meet a lot of very different and unique individuals from whom you may learn a little more about yourself. Stay focused on your goals and keep up with your school work, but make sure you reward yourself with some time off the books and out with friends discovering new things together. You are going to learn a lot about the person you want to be and a lot about life. Enjoy your independence and amongst your schoolwork always make time for family and friends, they're worth it.

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