As a high school senior, take advantage of the days allowed for college visits. Getting a personal feel for a college campus and its atmosphere will greatly influence your decision. Also, listen to the advice your high school teachers give you. They've been through the process and are really trying to help prepare you. As a senior, it's easy to become consumed with the idea of being on top of the world. But remember, you are simply completing one minor step in your staircase of life. Don't procrastinate filling out the million scholarship applications, even if you only receive one acceptance letter, it's 100 percent worth the extra effort to fill out as many as possible. Finally, set goals for YOURSELF. Take the time to sit down and figure out some personal goals. Write down all that interests you and what you could see yourself doing and then write out plans that will get you to that goal. This will help with advising appointments and getting yourself balanced and on track. Granted, things will not always go according to plan, but with the right preparations, you'll easily have a backup that works just as well!
Ideally, this response would include some trite wisdom about finding a school that feels like home with fellow students who make you feel like family. Unfortunately, the practical matter at hand is to be aware of the financial strain of rising tuition fees and housing costs. Try to find a desirable, affordable school. Today a bachelor's degree is nearly a given for a working adult; don't blow your savings on Harvard if you can be just as happy at a state school. There is something sweet and comforting about going to school close to home. You will have your whole life to explore the world; choosing a school that will help you transition into that world in the most comfortable way is the most important first step. Never be afraid to learn new things or meet new people. Never fear having an academic or social weakness. Everyone has a weakness; everyone has a strength. The key is finding someone who has a weakness where you have a strength and helping that person; and finding someone who has a strength where you have a weakness and asking that person for help. That is all part of the university community!
If I could go back and discuss college life with my high school senior self I would be sure to tell her not to be afraid. That friendships come and go, build up and wither away, family life changes, and your education gets more difficult, but that it all makes you stronger. That first awkward moment with you roommate is not so bad, leaving your parents is only hard if you make it to be, and if someone does not like you, you are doing something right, not wrong. You embarassed yourself? Laugh. Stressed? Work through it. You are stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. Take every opportunity you can because in a few years that speaker will not be free, that concert will not be available to you, that training program that could have helped you to develop your professional skills will have slipped through your fingers. Travel, get to know people who are different from you, learn to listen but also learn to speak wisely with a strong, enforced opinion. You will never again have the same opportunities, so take them. Love them. Embrace them. It all will change you, and definitely for the better.
I would tell myself to become involved in anything that interests me, form study groups whenever possible, and try to avoid common distractions like computer games and movies and the like. This way, I could be more productive and enjoy my experience a lot more because by becoming involved on campus, the desire to play computer games and watch movies shrinks until it is no longer noticeable because there are so many other better ways to spend my time. I would also warn myself about the possibility of trying to take on too much at a time because it is not worth it to burn out. I would tell myself to prepare for things as far ahead of time as possible because other things always come up and try to distract from what should be done. One of these would be researching companies well before the career fair. I would also tell myself to be open to spending money on little things because there will be plenty of time in the near future to make it all back. Lastly, I would tell myself to work really hard on remembering other peoples' names after getting to know them.
Taking time off before you enter college because your not sure of the path that you would like to go down isn't a bad thing. I learned many life lessons that can't be taught in school by taking time off. But if you are going to take time off, make sure that what you are doing is teaching you something. Even moving out on your own, paying bills on time and working at a job teaches you so many things that your peers might not learn for another few years. Even when your not enrolled in school, you can still learn about things that interest you through books or people around you, and once you have found something you are passionate about; run with it. While looking into schools and ways to go about funding your education, learn as much as possible about your subject and get as much experience in that field as you can. It is important to continuously set smaller markers within your goals so they don't overwhelm you and whats more important is that you make sure you reach those smaller markers. Make sure your work is something you love; follow your dreams.
It honestly all depends on what you want to do with your life and who you are. If you crave the prestigious college and want to pay for it then go for it do what makes you happy. If you want a good education believe it or not, a state schools offes it even if you have never heard of that school. I go to a school that few outside of the state of Wisconsin have heard of but I recently was offered an intership with John Deere and they interviewed as many if not more students form Wisconsin Platteville where I go then Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas A&M all top of the line engineering schools. A quality eduacation awaits anybody at almost any school it is just a matter of you applying yourself. You can go to college and party yes but you can also go to college and open yourself up for endless possibilties such as grad school, internships, study abroads, etc. by sacrafising some fun and working hard. Don't be afraid to change majors, join groups, talk to profs college is a opportunity that will be over almost as soon as it started.
When I graduated highschool I joined the U.S. Navy, I was in D.E.P training as early as a highschool Junior. I was medically discharged due to a back curavature about two months into training, but I met alot of great people and got an experience that has helped me in the real world. If I could go back to highschool I may have skipped this experience only because it offset my ability to recieve scholarships and through off my then life plan. I really wish I could have stayed in the military, but I would definitly recommend my past self to always focus on the future no matter what the outcome. After my discharge I went to community college, which I always recommend to graduating seniors, and now I am in my senior year of college. I would tell my past self the things I learned from basic, how financial aid is not available to me because of my parents income, and how important, regardless of price that an education is. I feel the past me was smart, I wish I knew the military was going to discharge me, but I never regret any of it.
I am looking at the twilight of my college career. The sun is slowly setting, and soon a new day will begin in my life journey. Having lived the college experience to the fullest potential, there is with out a doubt in my mind one thing that stands out as the key factor to succeeding in college, involvement. Having been involved with four different intramural sports, student government and various clubs I have met people who have become life long friends. I can specifically remember the day before I left for college, and my dad (an UW-Platteville alumni) saying, ?Andrew, make sure you take ad take advantage of every opportunity and get involved as much as your schedule will allow.? To this day, his words resonate as true as the day he said them. The advice that I would give to any parent or incoming student would not stray from those words that my father told me that day, get involved seize every opportunity you have to better yourself and don?t take anything for granted since college is only as good as you make it to be.
The first piece of advice I would have to myself would be to push myself through as many of the AP level classes to earn college credit. I explained before that this would have saved me a lot of time and effort by not having to take as many generals at college. In a bigger picture, it also would have saved me a lot of money by doing this. Even though I saved a descent amount of money while I was in highschool; my father being on unemployment made it hard to pay for my first semester. Not having any medical Insurance has forced me to buy it through the college, which will be an extra amount onto my tuition. All these factors have added to my tuition and made it very difficult to pay for. I now regret not having a job during the school year of my junior and senior year of highschool. I had only worked during the summer, because I played sports during the school year. In conclusion, I would have told myself to save more money during my senior year. This way I could have been prepared for my fathers current unemployment status.
Choosing a college was supposed to be a no brainer for me. I was supposed to go to Iowa State University; at least that was the plan. As I started looking at colleges though, I found that Iowa State was not the place for me. I would recommend first choosing a college for academic area of interest. Since this is the primary reason for attending college, it makes sense to make this the first step in choosing a college. I think the biggest mistake students make is choosing the cheapest college. The cheapest college is not always the best choice. Other factors I considered were size, distance from home, and the feel of the campus during a visited. The best things I did when transitioning to college my freshman year was to leave my room door open when I was home and to stay on campus on the weekends. I met so many people and developed many friendships simply by doing these two things. Lastly, make college the experience you want it to be. Take advantage of as many opportunities as possible and have the time of your life.