The best advice to give a first year student is introduce yourself to every person you come across... Out of all the people you meet in the first few weeks make friends. These friends will be your new family.
When choosing a college one needs to really evaluate and reevaluate what they are looking to gain. Look at the academic programs, not just what you THINK you may want to major in, but a variety of programs that fit all your interests because majors ALWAYS change. Also, look at the extracirricular activities, not just sports or clubs, but WHAT students there do with their spare time. Most importantly, look at the students around you. Are they the kind of people that you want to be influencing and influenced by for the next for years. All these things need to be considered. College is a learning experience, but also a living experience. The name or ranking should, of course, play in a little bit, but do what's right for you in your heart. Don't go to a school because the people there are what you want to be, go to a school where the people there will help you flourish as you are.
Usually, wherever someone winds up in terms of college, they end up loving it. Being at any school, around the social scene and sporting events, serving the community, exploring the surrounding area, will mist likely make you fall in love with your school. That being said you will most likely be happy with whatever school you choose. There are however some obvious considerations:
-academics (will it be too challenging? too easy? a good fit for your extracurriculars?)
-socially (will you find people you have things in common with? people you can hang out with? things you like to do?)
-campus (do you enjoy being at the school when you visit? do you like the atmosphere of the school?>>>VERY IMPORTANT)
-spiritually (can your meaning, purpose, and significance in life be fulfilled at this school and the surrounding community)
If you choose a college that is a good financial, academic, and social fit for you as an individual, most likely the rest will fall into place. So be confident in your choice and don't worry: You will love wherever you choose to attend.
Visiting different university campuses and getting a feel for the environment that each school offers is essential. Stay with a current student and see what living in the dorms and going to classes is like. You can get a much better feel for the school by staying with a student than by simply taking an admissions tour. Once you've been accepted, make an effort to get involved!
I would suggest an earnest and realistic assesment of their statistical chances for certain schools. Then, after haveing an idea about where you have a competitive chance for admission, determining by visiting school what sort of environment you would prefer and using those preferences determine where you ought to apply. If there is somewhere you have your heart set on but do not have a good chance of admission for, it is important (if its what you really want) not to give up and to work very hard. Trasfering is always a (admittidly difficult) option. In terms pf the experience- go out, try new things, meet new people, party, study, socialize, don't ever miss class if you can help it, argue with people, be right, be wrong (admit it when you are) and most importantly, be open minded. You are 18 years old. Its alright for you not to know much. College is an adventure. Treat it that way.
Just do alot of reseach over your schools of choice. I spent doing alot of research and ended out picking the right school. Just do you and you'll be fine
I would say that you have to experience the college first hand. Go there, take a tour, sit in on classes, and talk to the students who go there. You're only going to be able to get a feel for what college is best for you if you look closely at the people there. Also, ask them what they like about the college, everybody's going to have different reasons but hearing from a variety of people will help you see where you fit.
In order to find the right college experience, it is important not to judge your decision simply on stereotypes or the opinions of a view friends. Instead, I highly recommend taking the time to visit each college of interest both in many different settings. By getting started in your college search early you will first be able to take a guided tour of the campus. This will give you a feel for the layout of the campus as well as some background information about the university. Then you should sit in on some higher level classes to see how the students and teachers interact with one another. After that if your interest remains high, consider spending some time there on a weekend to decide if the social setting is right for you. By not simply writing a school off because of a supposed "reputation" you will be able to personally experience a college and correctly see if it's the best bit for you.
Parents should let their children make the choice themselves. After visiting campuses, researching academics, and everything else done in the college search process, students should have a fairly good idea of which schools will meet their practical needs. The final decision shouldn't be based on which school is most practical out of those, but on where the student feels they would be the most comfortable. Usually during the search process students grow to favor one school for inexplicable reasons, then tend to attempt to rationalize their decision rather than simply accept that school is right for them, which can cause problems when another school seems to be a better fit. In the end though, the student will be much happier at the school of their choice, and that outweighs any other considerations.
The advice I would give is that while it is important to find the school that is the best fit, it is more important to have a positive attitude no matter where you go. Every school has its benefits and drawbacks, but you will fit in and be comfortable if you try. You will make great friends and learn new things as long as you are willing to be opportunistic.
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