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University of Washington-Seattle Campus

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

Put your faith and personhood first to benefit perspective and relationships. Consider skills and gifts. Regard adversity as an opportunity to learn, grow, and give kindness. Demonstrate empathy and compassion, and participate with loved ones. Confide burdens to credible people. Socialize with people whom you admire to improve. Accept necessary endings, and move forward. Put a process and timeline to indecision, and respect yourself enough to forgive and move on from people who mistreat you. Value sustainable self-care. Say no to that which opposes instinct or character, but adventure beyond comfort zones and transcend group boundaries to connect, network, and achieve. Talk less about yourself, write, inquire, and listen more. Encourage others. Regarding love, be honest even if you feel scared or might lose all: Tell them how you feel, ask for what you want, and ask what they need. Let them choose. Share your life. Ask for help, and contemplate and reflect in solitude. Place yourself in community spaces, volunteer, and scale life beyond you. Laugh, play, and do fun things. Give thanks. Manage your time wisely with an ear to the ground for your future, which inevitably means leaving your world better off for those you love.

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Many factors need to be considered before students and parents make the crucial decision regarding college. The college application process is a confusing whirlwind. It seems like the student just started senior year when the time to submit the intent to enroll arrives. Each college offers unique perspectives and experiences; consequently, not each university is the right choice for each student. During this period, the student and family are bombarded with opinions surrounding college choice. However, the student needs to look at all the characteristics of the college as well as carefully examining her aspirations and personality. The most important thing is for the student to thoroughly research the school: the intended department, social activities, and quality of guest lectures, location, and general environment. This advice may sound trite or generic but looking back on my college experience the process of self-examination and cautious appraisal of the school is crucial. The college years should be exciting ones full of discovery and growth, but to be so, students need to chose the right school for them. Once there, students need to reach beyond their comfort zones and experience all the school has to offer.

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When choosing a college, major considerations are the size of the college, its location, and its academic focus. Assuming colleges of equal academic rigor, these should be primary deciding factors. Larger colleges will have more programs, more activities, greater funding, and more opportunities. Colleges located in or near large cities will have more activities and an involvement in the metropolitan area. Most schools that are located a large distance from cities will have a much higher drinking and drug use rate and far more parties, as there are fewer extracurricular opportunities. Students who live in small towns or rural areas may enjoy the change of pace that a large city gives, while being able to go home to get away from it all. Likewise, city-based students might enjoy the quiet change of pace provided by an isolated school. Lastly, the focus of the school -- on academics or on research -- is a major question for students who require extra attention from their professors. Research brings additional funding and attracts those professors interested in advancing their field, but many professors are too pressured by their research to make teaching the priority it should be.

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My college experience has been marked by engaging professors, new friends, interesting subject matter and a pronounced need to learn focus. The number of opportunities available is staggering and if one doesn't prioritize, it becomes difficult to stay afloat in classes. It's actually a pretty good thing because its forced me to learn pragmatism and make critical choices about how to balance my responsibilities to schoolwork and responsibilites to myself. A remarkably useful skill to possess. It's also been a really useful experience in that I really respect my professors and consider many of them to be authorities in their respective fields, so when I learn things I feel rather confident about them and their usefulness outside of the world of academia. I genuinely feel electrified by the environment... like it's crackling with new knowledge, information and innovation. My classmates are friendly and sociable and the faculty are keen to provide a good service, which is nice. It's also empowering to actually feel prepared to find and work a complicated job. I'm excited about my future and having a degree from the University of Washington-Seattle is a very big part of that.

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I feel that the college search experience starts earlier on in high school. I would start as earlier as sophomore year to research difference campus?s. If money is available visit the campuses in person and take a tour. Students who don?t know their major, since area of interest plays a role in the selection, should take advantage of non profit programs for high school students. Often you will find a program that allow students to sample the college experience. For example i am a counselor for Accounting Career Awareness Program. Participants experience the dormitories by living on campus for the week. They attend informational courses in an college classroom setting where corporate executives and school officials educates the students about different business fields, college admission process, financial aid and scholarship information, time management, etc. Students should not left money effect which institution they wish to attend. Financial aid is there to help you. You never know till you apply. In addition there are thousand of scholarships available. Search for scholarship in your community not just online because the audience is small and your chances are greater.

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As a freshman student enrolled in Pre-Health Sciences at the University of Washington-Seattle Campus, renowned for its medical school being the best in primary care education and medical research in the country, I feel that the campus community and environment has so strongly encouraged me to pursue my ambition to attend medical school, and that I've learned much about the values and opportunities of building a career in the medical field. Greatly contributing to this goal are my life experiences as a world traveler. I grew up traveling around the world, experiencing life and culture of the rich and poor, in countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, China, India, etc. Experiencing the difficulty and harshness of poverty and the luxury and ease of wealth, I've gained valuable knowledge and insight on the precious values of life and the importance of education. I intend on making the most out of life by making every move in life count toward a brighter future. To reach this goal, I'm determined to perform at my academic best as an undergraduate student, then intend on furthering my education by attending medical school, moving another step closer to reaching my goal.

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Each student is unique and there certainly isn't a universal formula for choosing a college. However, the primary advice I would offer a prospective college applicant is to keep options open, stay motivated, and gather as much information as possible. Develop a set of criteria that you value and research how each institution measures up to your expectations. These can be as general as the desire for an urban setting or as specific as the availability of a particular dual-major program. From my own experience, it is essential to take advantage of campus visitation programs. You are choosing your living environment for the next four years and, compared to that, the time and effort of attending such functions is miniscule. You will be suprised how much you can tell about your preference and comfort level for a school merely by walking through its campus and facilities. You'll gain an invaluable, tangible feel for the site and travel costs will quickly pale in comparison to the investment that you will ultimately be making. Try to remember that the effort you put in today will pay off throughout your academic career and you won't look back with regret.

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For many reasons I absolutely dispised my high school years. The school I attended lacked racial acceptance completely. If a minority student refused to conform to the "white" ways of thinking and behaving he was ostrasized, pushed aside and labeled a "lost cause." Because of this, I found myself doing only the bare minimum to be considered successful. I followed their rules and did what they said in the classroom, but I lacked any interest in actually absorbing what they were trying to teach. Unfortunately, I became the Native girl that the school made successful. I had to let them take pride in something they did not do, but it only supported their refusal to acknowlege the racial tensions they promoted. This entire experience reinforced a hatred I had already developed about the dominant culture and instead of trying to change anything I just wanted to get out as fast as I could with as little conflict as possible. This was a huge mistake. I missed out on ample opportunities to bridge the gap between conflicting races and promote an ideal community where everyone could live as equals regardless of identity. If only I would have slowed down...

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Of everything I've learned college, I most value the leadership skills I've gained through student-run organizations. At this point, in my senior year, my classes feel largely irrelevant to my education. My involvement with a mentorship program that supports local high schools students from disadvantaged backgrounds through the college application process has given me great opportunities for student leadership. I also started my own advocacy project, and am an officer in three student organizations. These social learning opportunities are primary to my education compared to the classwork and studying I do. By attending a large school, I have learned how to interact with a bureaucracy successfully. I've also learned how to not take no for an answer, but persist and find other people to talk to about what I need. When I wanted to fundraise and coordinate a Homeschoolers at UW Scholarship, it took 4 1/2 months of working with staff members to set up the account. I had to learn how to persist and follow up with people to accomplish what I wanted. This school has given me great opportunities to gain skills that will be useful in my future.

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As a child on family hikes, I loved to follow rabbit trails off the main path. Usually, they dead-ended with blackberry bushes, but sometimes I made jaw-dropping discoveries, like a giant, abandoned tree house. By high school, I had forgotten how to follow rabbit trails. I was on an honors track, involved in Wind Ensemble, and church activities. I assumed once I began college, I would be a real adult who knew exactly where she was going. Actually, college is much more about accepting that you will always be a person in progress. It's about goals and exploration, ambition and flexibility. College broke down many assumptions about myself, the order of things, and what success should look like. I switched my career path from music to social work to English. Writing a poem abroad at the coliseum and helping children make paper machete balloons were my unexpected tree house moments. These moments have led me to where I am now in pursuing Elementary teaching. Now, I would say: high school self, don't be afraid of rabbit trails. You will never have everything figured out. Embrace the messiness of an unknown journey. Enjoy the person you become.

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