Valparaiso University Top Questions

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


If I could go back to senior year I think I would advise myself to take more AP classes. AP classes allow for you to get college credit and therefore test out of a lot of general education requirements in college which are what consume most of your first year or two. By taking these AP classes I could have earned college credit and maybe cut off a year of my college education and saved my family a lot of money that would really come in handy during these tough economic times. I didn?t understand the value of an AP course or how it effected you long term until I reached college and saw that many classmates were cutting off full years of school because they had enrolled in AP courses and tested out of general education requirements in college. I just wish I would have realized how much money I could have helped my family to save back in high school so that college could have been less stressful for them.


Make sure to fill out a lot of scholarship applications, make sure to do research on your major and the schols you want to attend so that you can get the best education.


Dive right in! Valpo's a great place, and the people are wonderful. Be sure you keep your priorities straight though; make enough time for homework AND sleep. Most of all, don't worry. No matter how difficult somethings may seem, or how much work it looks like you have to get done, you'll be able to do it. Try to keep your own stress on as low a level as possible. Also, just declare. You know you want to be a Social Work major... And have fun!


Go in with an open mind because it is a fresh start to reinvent yourself and let go of anything from your past that may be holding you down. Also participate and get involved with campus activities. Greek life is not what the media portrays it as and can be a big help when it comes to career connections .


I would advise anybody, including my future self, to seek out many financial options not only for the present situation , but also long term (such as for graduation and retirement).


When you get to college, remember this thing over anything else, you can talk to your professors, your parents, and your friends when you start to struggle with classes. Never think that college is a battle you have to fight on your own, this is a battle that is long, and it will require everyone you know and trust to help you succeed. You are never alone, and if aren't doing well in classes, you don't have a girlfriend, and you don't like your life, tomorrow will remind how good your life truly is. Finally trust in God, cause he will see you through any crisis, no matter the pain of the struggle, you can always overcome the barrier presented to you.


Don't be nervous, trust me when I say all the other freshmen are going to be just as nervous and self concious as you. Oh, and make sure to say hi to the Asian in the room next to you, she is going to be one of your new best freinds and introduce you to the other ones. But seriously, don't be afraid. You are going to a great school, and you are going to find people that will be a part of your family. Be yourself, and people are going to love you, and you are going to love them to peices. Unfortuantly, you are going to go through some rough times, but that's ok! It's not as scary as it sounds and your new friends are still going to love you, the real you. So, you got accepted to your top two choices for college, and they seem VERY similar. Being the person you are, you are going to pick your school by flipping a coin, and it's going to be completely right. We all love you on my end, can't wait for you to get here!


Although I didn't have too tough of a time transitioning from home life to college life, I would have actually told myself to pack less clothes. My roommate and I (we both roomed blind) packed our tiny dorm room full during our freshman year, which obviously wasn't the greatest living situation. I'd also tell myself to go out and make as many friends as possible...when I'm feeling homesick sometimes its nice to just play a board game with friends (note to senior self: bring board games) or cuddle up with blankets and watch a movie (another note: LOTS of DVDs) Pretty much just bring things that remind you of home; things that will, no questions asked, make you happy =]


If I could talk to my high-school self about college life, I would probably not be able to stop talking! First of all, I would tell myself to not be afraid to open up to people. My freshman year would have been so much better had I not been so shy. Making the transition between high school and college is hard enough in itself, but it is exponentially more difficult to do when you feel like you're alone. The majority of freshmen feel the same way in the first month or so of college--lost, stranded, and lonely. This unifying factor can be the foundation of friendships that last an entire lifetime! Secondly, I would encourage myself to think more critically about reading assignments and to participate in class discussions. It is amazing how much you can learn about yourself just by asking yourself questions about your values and convictions. Lastly, I would remind myself to eat. Mom isn't going to call you down for dinner!


My number one piece of advice for college searching is "Don't let money be the deciding factor in your college choice." Ninety-nine percent of college students are paying more than they can afford, so expect to be among this group. But don't worry, the bills will be paid and when you get a job doing what you love, the money spent will be well worth the education you received.. Nevertheless, don't waste this money. Make the most of your college experience. Try new things and say yes to more invitations than you normally would, otherwise you may miss out on incredible opportunities or invaluable friendships. However, never let anybody or anything drive you to act outside of your beliefs or values. Stick to that which defines you and be yourself. The people who love you for who you are WILL find you. Have fun, but don't let social engagements dampen your performance in school, i.e. don't forget why you're at school in the first place. Two final pieces of advice: don't play videogames for more than an hour, and call your mother every week to tell her that you love her.


Students should join some type of organization whether it be a sorority/ fraternity, varsity sport, a group involving thier major, or some other type of group. Also just be open about anything and not to sound like a cliche but just be yourself.


Searching for the right college is like the quest for the perfect pet. Your dream pet often looks amazing, knows how to serve you, and can grow with you, whether it is a Golden Retriever who greets you--tail wagging--at the door when you come home from a long day at work, or a gecko who wears a perpetual smile to brighten your day whenever you come into the room. Likewise, the perfect college often has a perfectly groomed campus, offers many unique opportunities, and can mature with you to prevent stagnation. When searching for the right college, it is imperative to find opportunities for not only freshman year, but ones that will help you mature into a well-educated, well-socialized member of society upon graduation. What kind of activities does the college offer? How well does the career center serve its students? Much like the perfect pet, the right college will value you as a student and person. You shouldn't have to sacrifice for a great experience, because the right college will fit your mold, not the other way around. After all, when was the last time Fido took your seat at the dinner table?


Talk to people and get involved. I found out about my dream school by talking with others from my church and community. Of course I would suggest doing an overnight visit and sitting in on some classes, but if that is not possible, call the admissions office and they can have a real student answer your questions and concerns. Every current college student will give you the real insight. As far as getting the most out of your college experience, look up all the free things to do your first few weeks of college. I was in a group called, "The Free Stuff Addicts". This was a small group of girls from my floor and we went to every free event, dinner, club meeting, and movie just to get to know people, and of course get free stuff! It was a great way for my small group to become close and also find out about the happenings on campus without having to go to a meeting by yourself. After the first few weeks, we all settled into our chosen clubs and established ourselves on campus. So in both cases, get involved and talk to people.


My own college search progress probably wouldn?t be of much help to you. Once I stayed the night at Valpo I knew it was where I wanted to go. I didn?t visit many colleges, nor did I find it necessary to apply to many. In that sense, I have little advice I can give you. All I can say is don?t take a college for its face value. I didn?t like Valpo at all after the campus tour. But its important to see how classes work on a campus. It is important to get a feel for the people you will be interacting with on campus, and how the social life is on a campus. Then again, I only had one overnight visit. If I had stayed over at another college, maybe I would have been torn between colleges. But I think it is important, to an extent, to believe that you will simply know where you are going to end up because it feels so right that you cannot imagine yourself anywhere else. After my overnight, I wanted to be back on campus. I wished I didn?t have to leave. Persevere, pray, and apply.


Let the student do the research and let the student go on a visit day and let the student make the decision. Before all of this starts, give them encouragement but let them make the decision. You (the parents) taught them well, now let them decide and let them spread their wings. For making the most out of a college experience, be respectful and have fun. It's scary that first month or so, but don't be afraid to step out of your box. There are people at you college choice that will welcome you with open arms. One word of advice: don't let it get to your head. You are an adult and must learn to stand on your own two feet and adapt and overcome whatever life throws at you. With the support of a loving family and friends in the back of your mind, you will do fine.


Visit as many places as possible and really sit down to figure out how much they can offer. Write down all of the important information to you and then weigh them all against each other. Take pictures of the campus; things you really like and dislike. It will make the student's decision so much easier when they have all of the information in front of them. They will choose a better fit for them and you will know how much money you will be spending.


Apply to more schools than you care about. No matter how sure you are that your first choice will accept you, apply to more schools than you think you should; I recommend at least 5. Apps are annoying, but worthwhile. As a sophomore considering transfer, it is better to have more options than you need, than not having enough if a top pick doesn't accept you. Take advantage of priority filing and apply like crazy. You'll be glad for it in the long run.


go with your gut


It's important to find the right fit. A student will call this place their home for the next 4 years. It's important to take into consideration desired major/career, extra-curriculars and campus involvement opportunities, and location. I wanted somewhere far from home for my own independence and have had a wonderful experience making friends and learning to travel on my own. For others, this might not be ideal, so it's important to remember your own preferences when making a decision. It's your future so make your own decision and don't be influenced by anyone else!


Finding the right college should revolve around nothing more than acedemics. It's not about where you're going to get the most playing time, or how the social life is. Those are things you can deal with after you make your decision. You pay thousands of dollars to an institution to receive the best education possible. The main thing you need to look at is the quality of the program you are interested in at that particular university. How does it stack up to others across the country? How does the curriculum compare to others? Do you feel that the classes offered give you the best chance to be prepared for and successful in life after college? Make sure that you meet as many professors and faculty members as you can on your visit as well. These are the people you are going to have to deal with for at least four years. It's crucial that you can relate and communicate with them. Don't worry about not meeting people. Unless you lock yourself up in a your room for four years, you will make friends who will impact your life forever. Above all, enjoy the experience!


The univeristy you choose should be one of the highest undergraduate school in your student's major. A strong emphasis in undergraduate studies is essential. Having a good undergraduate best will best prepare your student for future graduate work and job placement. Class size also is important to a good education. Smaller class sizes allow the professor to focus on the students. The university you choose should also be a growing university. If a university is not showing a trend of growth, then steer clear.


People go to college for an education, but the real college experience is in the people and how you develop as a person while you're there. Here at Valpo I'm fortunate enough to have plenty of both, but the most unhappy people here are the ones who only do homework and study. The happiest students are the ones who are active on campus and do more than just play games in their dorm. Go to a reputable college and get your good education, but never forget that the people you meet here, and the things you'll do here you will never be able to do anywhere else again. When you're in college, seize the day. The bottom line is to search for a college with lots of sports, activities, and an active Greek Life. A smaller campus is also better for creating closer friendships and is convenient for traveling. And make sure that you're far enough from home to live on campus, but not so far that your family can't visit.


For parents and/or students who are looking for the right college, I would encourage you to visit the school. A school can look really good on their website, but it may look and feel completely different when you make your college visit. Look for schools that offer the programs you may be interested in and make sure that if you have your mind set on a specific career choice that your school choice offers other programs you may be interested in. Until you get to college and begin taking classes, you might not know for sure if your chosen career path is the right fit for you, so having flexibility in your own school for changing majors is a great opportunity (and lessens the chance for a need to transfer). As for making the most of your college experience, my best suggestion is to find the clubs and activities that you love and participate! College offers so much to students and there is a lot to take advantage of. It is usually through these clubs and activities that you will find your friends for life and it is usually through these clubs that you'll have the most fun.


Check out the requirements for your major in the student catalog and plan out your college curriculum. It reduces a lot of frustration later on!


I would try to hang out with someone outside the orientation program of overnight stay at the college you vist. It would be best to hang out with someone you think you would get along best with and find out from them the diversity of the campus, academically,socially,etc.


Take your time, and explore as much as you can.


Selecting a college the perfect college was a grave test for me; I am not a confident decision maker, so I often worried I made the wrong choice. Students who find themselves unsatisfied with the University or other college they selected will not find themselves at the end of the world. They can always transfer to the school that fits their lifestlye, their financial situation, social aspiration, and career preparation. The first University I selected was my first choice, but it turned out I was unsatisfied and started looking for different options to attend the best school for my life choice. After I chose the school I wanted to complete my degree, I found that making the most out of a college experience, not only includes selecting the school best fitting to a student's lifestyle, but also stepping out of their shell, making friends, creating study groups, and achieving beyond their standards. No staff member, professor, or peer can make the most out of a college experience; only a student can!


When looking for the right college keep in mind the class sizes, honestly it makes all the difference. Also, keep in mind the reputation of the school. Even if you have a smart child, if they are going to a "party" school then they will be in a much different environment, and surrounded by a different type of student than if they chose to go to a more acedemic school.


My advice is to start early and stay dilegent. Start at the end of your junior year in high school, take the SAT and then take it again for a better score during the fall of your senior year. Apply early to the colleges of your choice this leads to early admission and more opportunities for scholarship from the college. Search for outside scholarship it will be better to have scholarships then loans, trust me getting loans are difficult. Have your parents do their taxes early and finish the FAFSA form. After you enroll in the college of your choice and get the finances all work out and are starting in the fall stay on top of your work. Space it out and complete what you can. Do not procastinate, if you have a week off for a school break that is a good time to finish those long papers. If you get caught up in work remember to take it easy every so often. Also to have a excellent college life join groups that you like and get involved, make friends in your dorm and if you want to rush for social fraternities, great to have on a resume.


Don't be afraid to look. People don't always realize that there are all these opportunities around them, and even when they do, they don't always appreciate it. Sometimes the most important things are learned outside the classroom, so make sure to find a school with a good environment for you as well as a good academic program.


Apply to everything, and don't let anyone pressure you to make a desicion. You may not find the right fit until the very end.


Please do not pick a school solely based on cost because a college student extracts more from experiences in the classroom and training field than from cookie cutter state schools which do not allow room or time for thought beyond the textbook. College is something that should be achieved early on,so find a school that will equip the student with knowledge in four years or less. Find a school that has a good reputation for excellent academic counseling. This is key to reducing stress on the student. Find a school that places priority upon incorporating good values and morals. College is a great experience that allows interaction and bonding with fellow classmates, and it is also an opportunity to grow as a person. Responsibilty is learned best by taking on a position in a club,sorority,fraternity,the cafeteria,bookstore,gym,lab, or an off-campus job. Find a school that allows the student to stay busy with studies,work, and friendships. Find a school that will accomodate to your needs financially. Finally, ask around and get a better idea of what reputation the school he or she may have in mind has out in the public.


I would advice parents and students to make the best choice financially when it comes to choosing a college. One should always explore every option possible. However, when it comes to making a final choice, money can make or break the college experience. Choosing a school that is too expensive can cause unneccesary stress down the road. When I first went off to college, I chose a school that my mother nor I could afford. I ended up not only registering late numberous semester because of holds on my student account, I also had to withdraw, which is prolonging my time to graduation. Scholarships are definitely a student's best friend. Remember, if a scholarship applies to you, apply for it!!!


One should devote much time and effort into researching for colleges. I recommend checking out the college's website, making a college visit, speaking with as many current students or alumni has possible, and seeking outside resources such as this one. Ultimately, you must find a location which offers three things; a sound academic environment, a social network which fits your interests and a price which matches your financial needs. Don't hesitate to apply to many different places. Even a private university whose price tag is high may surprise you with scholarship or work-study opportunities (as was the case for myself). Attending college is designed to open doors of opportunity and this certainly was the case for me at VU. I took advantage of a year long study abroad program in Germany, enjoyed being invovled in campus groups such as a drama troupe, and advanced my own education by taking on a 40 page research project on Genetically Modified Foods! I am fully satisfied with my college choice mainly due to my prior research. It was a joint decision between myself and my supportive parents where I would go, but then my own responsibility to give me all!


It's important to understand what you want your college experience to be, and then select the colleges that you think could fit that criteria and visit them. Don't ever go to a college you're not sure about, and you can't be exactly sure unless you do your research and visit the institutions.


Pick a school that feels right.


Make sure that you child makes the correct decision. Keep your children in your thoughts you might not think it matters but every bit of help from the outside helps.


The most important thing when choosing a college is actually visiting it, especially while school is still in session. The student needs to see whether the people who attend that school could be his or her friend. As far as making the most of the college experience? Learn how to put down a book, for all you nerds, and learn how to control your "I'm free now!" impulses.


It might sound corny, but follow your heart! If you step onto a campus and it feels right to you, it probably is. But even before you step onto a single campus to visit, think about yourself and who you are as an individual. Do you enjoy close relationships with your teachers and classmates, or do you prefer anonymity in a learning environment? Are you a city person or a country person? Do you mind extremely hot or extremely cold weather? Are you certain about your choice of a major, or do you need to find a school with a variety of majors so that you'll have a little "wiggle room"? No matter what school you decide upon, you have to also decide to make the best of your experience. No college is perfect, but if you make an immediate effort to get involved with activities and to meet a variety of people, you will be happy with whatever school you choose. Don't stress about your college decision; as long as you make an effort socially and academically, you're likely to be happy wherever you end up. Best of luck!


I think parents and students should listen to their heart and go to school where they feel at home. I also think that staying over night is one of the most important things you can do. It can help you figure if it is a place where you do feel at home. I also think that most of the decison should be the students only if the student is a serious student. I strongly encourage parents to not to force a school on thier kids because they like it. I have realized that this usually results in a bad situation for the student.


College visits are a great way to get a feel for what the school is like. Get involved in the campus community, it?s a great way to meet new people.


As much as the process of finding the "right" college is a family decision, ultimately, the student is the one who will spend nearly four years of his or her life at the school that is finally selected. When you really do soul searching, and compare schools, environments, educational value and other factors, you will know in your heart what the best choice for you will be. College is tough; to make the adjustment to college life easier, it is best to find a college that fits your personality and learning style. If you are not comfortable on your visit to a selected college, you probably won't be comfortable living there either. And remember, college is NOT like it appears on TV shows; many hours of class and hard work is what you are there for, not for hanging around drinking coffee, partying and sleeping late. The college experience can be a great one if you make your initial decision thoughtfully and carefully.