University of the Cumberlands Top Questions

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


If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to relax and look forward to the college experience. I imagine that the speech would sound something like this: “College is not easy. College is not for everyone. But it is for you. You will meet your best friends there. You will come into your own there. You will find yourself. I know right now it seems like you’re giving up your whole life. And you are, in a way. You are giving up everything you know. But guess what? You’re going to be fine. You’re going to love college more than you can possible imagine. The best advice I can give you is to be friendly. Meet someone new every day. The more at home you feel on campus, the more you’ll enjoy it. So, don’t worry about what you’re missing at home. Think about what’s going on here. This is your home, at least for the next four years. Enjoy your time here. It’s going to be over before you know it. Enjoy every second.”


Transitioning from high school to college is a huge step in a student’s life. Being the only one in my immediate family to go to college, I had no clue as to what to expect. I was coasting by and surviving one day to the next during the summer while working as a cashier at my local Rite Aid. Reality didn’t set in until after my first day as a college student. Knowing what I know now, I would advise myself to prepare for college by making sure I was saving money, by searching for scholarships to reduce my tuition, and by living on campus instead of commuting. Because tuition is very expensive, there is no doubt I have to work through college. I would advise myself to save money while I'm in high school because I found myself working to make payments to cover what my student loans didn’t. I would also tell myself to search for scholarships because I now know there is help out there. Lastly, I would advise myself to live on campus because now, I know I missed out on getting to know people and going to campus events.


I have only been here for about a year, but I have already learned so much. College has helped me learn how to manage my time because you have to be able to do your homework, go to class, have a social life, and sleep. Also, since my home is in Michigan, being away has helped me to grow as a person and to learn how to take care of myself so that I will be able to raise my family some day. I think it has/is going to be one of the most valuable experiences of my life. I have already learned so many things and being at college is so beneficial and helpful to my growth as a person.


If I could go back in time and give myself advice about college. I would tell myself not to let my parents influence my college and degree decision. I would tell myself that I need to go where I want to go and do what I want to do. That if I do not my college experience will not be everything it should. Also I would tell myself to make sure I study and not get caught up in hanging out with friends. Also that for a person who is more shy and likes there own space. Dorm life is not for them. That dorm like has its advantages and joys, but for some it just is not for them, and that I am one of those people.


I would have given myself the confidence that college is not quite as hard as people make it out to be. While it is difficult and I do have to do my homework, it is not something to stress. I would have probably also advised myself to work harder to make more money. College is expensive and I didn't quite realize quite how expensive college was, especially since I wanted to go to a private college.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself this: Katie, high school came easy to you. You didn't have to study much, and you're grades were great. Your senior year was your time to have fun, or so you thought. But college, it's a whole different ball game. What you thought was easy as a senior, will seem so hard to achieve as a freshman in college. Practice your study skills, you will definitely need them. You know the saying "you make your true friends in college"? Well that's the truth. You'll meet some of the most amazing people here at college. Enjoy the time you have, and quit wishing it away--because it goes by so fast. Study hard, have fun, and do great.


I would tell myself not to play away my senior year, to be more serious about my classes. Talk to the advisors that are available at my school. Listen to any advice people offered.


You know when you walk on campus, which campus you belong to. Go with your gut feeling


Get involved in everything that you can because you are only here once. Have fun but make sure that you still stay up on all of your school work.


The college experience is all about people -- other students, professors, even the non-teaching staff. To make the most of it, and to find the right school, you need to look around until you discover a place that's visually appealing, that has a student body as diverse/friendly/homogeneous as you prefer, and generally makes you feel at home. Of course, this needs to be balanced with your academic desires and goals, so the school needs to offer several programs of interest (since you will more than likely change your major) as well as achieving a certain level of academic rigor.


The advice that I would give to parents and students would be to go out and visit the colleges that you are looking into and take time to sit in on classes and to spend the night or nights in a dorm with residents, maybe even take a day to shadow one student in order to get a feel for how the average college day goes. When you do find that right college take classes that match your type of personality. For example if you are a night person try to take classes that are later in the afternoon or at night in order to do your best in each class.


Take into account the school's financial aid above everything, and also know their affiliations and how safe the campus is. Make sure that you have opportunities to get involved with community services and programs that interest you. Don't just go somewhere because you think it will be fun and the social life will be great, and also don't just go somewhere so that you can study yourself to death. Find a place where you fit and make sure that you tour the campuses and ask questions when you visit. Pray about it, talk about it with your family, be prepared.


Go with the college that you share the same views and beliefs. It is very important to be somewhere were you will feel safe. Go with the school that will give you the best degree but will make you happy at the same time.


Ask the students who go there what it is like. Don't trust the school to tell you it's dark secrets. Look for places you feel comfortable and where you know that you will not be treated unfairly and discriminated against for your beliefs or sexual orientation. Once you find a place, get involved. Go out and explore. Meet new people, try new ideas, be safe, but don't throw away opportunities to understand the world from another's perspective.


Finding the right college is important, because from my past experience I learned that finding a place away from home needs to be a place that feels like home. Parents and students need to search schools that have the fields that the students want to pursue. Also, look up the school find pictures of what might be expected or contact someone from that school and ask a few questions. I am sure that the person will not mind. The most certain thing about finding a niche far away from home is finding all the information you can get. Look up the sports or clubs that might seem interesting. The cost of the school is priceless in comparison to the values the student will acknowlegde. Making the most of college experience is experiencing the right college for you. A college where you will meet your life time friends. Join clubs or a sport that you enjoy. An important advice I have been told is pick a major that will give you a career that you will be fond of for the rest of your life. Also, most importantly, have fun but do your homework.


I would give them the advice to make a list of what you want in a college and use that to be guidelines for which schools to look into. Then, once you find that school, visit it a couple of times, spend the night with a resident, and sit in on several classes, that way when you get here for the semester, you can get to know how some of the profeesors teach and what to expect as a student there on campus. Apply to multiple colleges that way, when financial aide comes in for each school, you can compare which school will give you more money in scholarships, etc, and which one fulfils your guidelines you set up at the very beginning.


Visit the campuses, the brochures are nice, but don't always accurately portray the campus from a students' perspective. Sit in on a lecture so you know how the classes operate and know your own limitations. If you are going to stay academically focused and will easily be distracted by a"party" school, keep that in mind. Get the opinions of the students attending the school.


Be sure to focus on what is going to make you happy in the bigger picture of life- not just whats going to make you happy now. Focus on what you're interested in, and when visting campuses, figure out where you feel most comfortable. These are the things that are going to matter in the end.