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University of Wisconsin-Madison

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

I would advide students seeking a college experience not to limit themselves to the comfort of going somewhere near to home and or friends. I decided to go out of state for school because of what the school and city had to offer me and my own interests. In doing so I have been stretched in ways I had not foreseen and have become a better and stronger person in the process. My best advice would be to follow your dreams. What makes you excited about life? Follow that passsion and find the best road/school/city that will enable you to spread your wings and really learn and develop your particular skill or passion. The rest will unfold naturally, just be brave enough to take the first step! Lastly, don't let money issues get in the way of going where you want to go for school. Paying out of state tuition hasn't been easy, but I know the things I have learned along the way have been worth every penny. So follow your heart and do what you love, because if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life!

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I was an excellent student in high school. I stayed out of the bad crowd and chose instead to focus on my studies. I was accepted to the school of my choice, but when it came time for funding my post-secondary education, I hit an obstacle. My parents and I thought that straight A's all through high school would be plenty sufficient for being awarded scholarships. Unfortunately, most of the scholarships that I came across required involvement in extracurricular sports, leadership positions, and hours of volunteer work. Focused on schoolwork in high school and maintaining a part-time job, I didn't find these important. Because of that misconception, I was only rewarded with one small scholarship. I wish more than anything that I could go back to high school and make sure to get volunteer hours in, as well as participate in a sport of some sort. Even though I might have had to sacrifice some of my A's for B's, I probably would have ended up being eligible for more scholarships because I would appear more "well-rounded."

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First of all, forget about high school. That is all behind you now; in front of you is your future in college. Go to a college where you don't know anyone, where you can be whoever you are. It is your time to grow into the person you are. Second, don't listen to them. Everyone will tell you to go to college. Don't go to college for someone else's reasons. Go because you want to learn more, and go for what you want to learn. Its your time to explore. Thirdly, don't worry quite so much about the classes you have to take to get a diploma; instead, look at the giant list of diverse classes like a menue at a resturant. Use your first semester or year to take all the classes that sound interesting to you. Everyone changes their majors; use the first year to figure out what you like. Lastly, college is not all about the acedemics. Its about growing as a person in every aspect of life, includeing your social life. Meet new and different people who will challenge your view of the world. Now is your time explore.

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If I could talk to my high school self, I would tell her college is as awesome as I thought it would be. College is a time to reinvent yourself because no one has known you your entire life. You are free to take what ever classes you want because they were created to help you discover yourself. And definitely do not worry about making friends. It is cliche, but everyone is in the same boat as you, looking for someone awesome to hang out with. During those awkward ice breakers, be the girl who goes first and has confidence. Do not limit yourself to what you were in high school because you will definitely be missing out on new experiences. When you are in the dorm, keep your door open, you never know what will happen. Someone could ask if you want to go lake jump at 2 am or take the city bus (gasp!) to a free concert on the otherside of town. Live life with no regrets. Also, forget all the cute shows and make sure to pack some comfortable ones. When you rely on your feet for transportation, fashion no longer matters.

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The first thing I would advise is to actually visit all the schools you're interested in. Once you see the the school and talk to the students, it will tell you a lot and give you a feeling of whether the school fits you or not. To make the most of your college experience, you need to slowly settle in. Don't take on too much or you'll get overwhelmed in your first semester. Maybe join a couple clubs that interest you and take classes that appeal to you. The most important thing to remember is to work hard. Don't skip classes just because you can, because it can become a habit. Keep on schedule with your reading assignments as well. If you slack off you will definitely regret it, because it will be hard to bring up your gpa. Another important part of the college experience is the social scene. Be friendly and don't be intimidated because they are as nervous and new to this as you are. Take the initiative and talk to people on your floor. It's easy to make friends and they make your college years that much more fun.

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There are all types of students that go to this school from all over the world, so there are many different kinds of people represented on this campus. Personally, I was a student from the US who did well in High School without really trying. However, my GPA here does not reflect the one I had in High School. I only say this because, if you go here, you need to know that work ethic and time management are the keys to doing well, not knowledge by itself. What students on this campus are known for is working hard and playing even harder, and that is why I believe that this is one of the best colleges to go to. There are Ivy league schools where students are notoriously known for studying all the time and not having any fun. Obviously, I wouldn't know because I go here, but my point is that the education here is just as good (I've had professors that came from Stanford and Yale) while the social scene is on a level higher than most "party schools." In sum, Wisconsin is the best of both worlds all in one place.

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Making a college decision can be very tough for many different reasons. Personally, I took a risk choosing Madison because of my financial situation. It turned out that money, while not physically in front of you, is always there for education. If you really want to attend a school that is out of your price range, don't throw your dream away. Instead, start looking for scholarships that can aid you in your college experience. Never choose a school based solely on finances. Also, Take tours of all the colleges you are interested in, and even some of the colleges you aren't. Taking tours of both types will help you to decide what aspects you like about each campus and what you don't find appealing about a school. Keeping a log of your thoughts about different colleges while you tour will prove useful when thinking back on which school would fit you best. After you have toured what you feel is enough schools, sit down for a couple days and really think about it, don't expect the answer to be right in front of you.

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Gazing across the blue waters of Lake Mendota, the wind stirs the silence, and I recall how frightened I was as a new student, standing on the same cliff. How could I know then, what I know now? If I could go back to my senior year of high school, I would whisper into my ear and provide advice to ease the transition from high school to college. I would tell myself to take a deep breath and remain confident. Confidence would push me to join study groups, clubs and other campus organizations that promulgate social interaction. Becoming engaged with campus groups would connect me to other new students who share my thirst for new friendships. I would also advise myself to keep my values and study hard. Sustaining my moral standards and work ethics would frame my judgment and tell me when to party and when to go the library to study. ?Stay true to yourself,? I would whisper. Today, I am a confident freshman with a 4.00 GPA and many new friends. I am following my own advice with both passion and purpose.

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Firstly, I would give a background introduction of each college and university I am interested in attending. Then, I would give a detailed explanation on the university's academic education and the various undergraduate majors offered, and how the programs can be used as a stepping stone in the future working environment or in graduate studies. Besides the academic aspect, I could also talk about campus life, including the people, culture, living residences, food, sports, transportation, costs and virtually everything else that will affect me. If the university is in a different city from that of my high school, I could give a general perspective on living in the city, and even introduce myself to new and interesting places of interest that I could visit, as well as what I could enjoy and what needs to be avoided. These advice will definitely help a newcomer, like my high school senior self, to integrate seamlessly into the college and city community, easing the pressure of adapting to the new environment.

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I would advise myself not to be so worried about making friends, academic performance, and the overall transition. I would tell myself to just act naturally and find the people that I can connect with and have similar interests. Finding clubs and activities are a great way to meet people with somethings in common and look great for future applications. Also, I would inform myself that college is much more intense than high school when it comes to classes. You don't have to be the best or get the highest grade all the time, but it's still important to do your best work. The standard for doing well is much high and it will take more time and concentration to do well, but that doesn't mean that impossible to do well. One bad grade isn't the end of the world. Lastly, I would inform myself that the transition will take time and things will feel tough or uneasy at first. However, about halfway throught the first semester, you will find your niche, discover what works for you, and feel like an actual college student.

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