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Western Kentucky University

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

In 2007, my husband left me with two children to raise alone. I had no money, and nothing but a high-school diploma. I worked a few jobs here and there to get by, and then one day I had an epiphany?this wasn't what I wanted for myself, or my children. So I gave up everything and started college. I was scared, and didn't know what to expect, but now it?s 2010, and I have 59 hours under my belt and a 3.5 GPA. From the two years I've spent in college, I've learned there is nothing more valuable than an education. I?ve faced reality, it?s not pretty and in today?s times without a college education, you'll go nowhere. College has given me a second chance to start my life over?for myself, and my children. This opportunity has given me so much to hope for, and look forward to. It has inspired me in ways I never thought possible, and has made me so appreciative of this opportunity I?ve been given to start my life over?with a college education.

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The best advice that I would give myself would be to pick a school based solely for me, and not for anyone else. My family and friends played a big role while I was deciding what college I wanted to attend. If my friends and family would have not been there to sway my decision, I could've gone several other places for college. If I went to a different school, I might have liked it better or worse, or even wanted to come to Western Kentucky University! I would also tell my younger self to join in a school organzation right when I first came to school, and not a year later. Belonging to a group really helps to ease the transition of coming to college and I believe that it would've helped me to settle in better and become more comfortable. I am so happy with the way things have turned out and what school I decided to attend. With all the advice in the world, I would never want to change how things have panned out here at my school!

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Find out what kind of grants, scholarships and finincial aid you can recieve from the schools you are applying to. Get organized and plan out what you want to do, what classes you want to take and how long it will take you to accomplish your goals. Ask questions because you will not always get information handed to you. Live on campus, it is a great experience and good practice for adulthood, you gain much more responsibility and maturity this way. Also, by being involved on campus you make more friends, college is about developing who you are-- your identity as well as your career. Don't get overwhelemed, you can only do as much as you capable of, so try not to stress. However, this does not mean that you shouldn't care, not go to class and party all the time. After all your main goal in college is to get an education. Remember all of these things and you will be fine and your college experience will be beneficial.

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I would have conveyed that I needed to really study hard and stay focused on my grades. Also visiting my professors during the semester is very beneficial to your grade and It would be helpful if I were to be confused. I would have also made sure that I knew how to balance my time between social life and school time. This is the key to college life, learning how to budget time wisely between all the activities that college offers. That being said I would also encourage myself to get involved in a club or organization because you will make friends for the rest of your life in those organizations. My last bit of advice would be to have fun because it doesn't get much better than this. Life is short and as much as college is meant to prepare you for a career it is also a time to be enjoyed with your friends. So remember study hard, visit your professors and get to know them, budget your time wisely, and most of all have fun.

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Attending any college is beneficial and valuable to any and everyone. Here, at Western Kentcuky University, everyone will help you with any thing you could possibly need. I have sat down with professors, for hours, who have taught me one on one to help me understand what I was having trouble with. Besides the academic aspect, I am a competitive diver for this school. I have been here merely 4 months, and I have already competed all around the United States. I have a fantastic team that won our Conference last year. The only reason I can get through three classes and two practices each and every day is because of the great support system at this school. Anyone and everyone can get free tutoring in any course they desire, there is unlimited resources, and many of the teachers are very helpful and put your best interest first. All-in-all I know I made the right choice to come here and experience this wonderful opportunity!

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The biggest advice I can give to students trying to pick a college is: do not follow your friends to school. It is important to understand that you will meet tons of new people in college, people that may become your new best friends for life. High school friends may not be your friends for life and going to a college just because they are is not a way to find out who you are and is not the best way to enjoy your college experience. I would completely recommend picking an atmosphere that is comfortable to you and matches your educational wantings. The University a student attends will be there home for about 8 months out of the year- pick somewhere that makes you feel at home, safe, comfortable, and most of all will bring out the best in you and your education. Parents, my advice is do not make your child pick a college close to home. They need to step out into the world and make something of themself on their own.

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As a high schooler, you hear a lot of scary myths about college. Such things as, "College professors don't care whether or not you show up" or "Don't expect college to be anything like high school, you have to work hard." Okay, so maybe those aren't exactly myths, but they may be hyped up just a bit. In high school, I knew to take harder than normal classes, not only to challenge me, but to prepare me for what lies ahead in college. These harder classes taught me how to study and how to prepare for tests, an issue most college students struggle with. So, the transition from high school to college was not as hard as I expected it to be. The one thing that I did not do so well with was attendance. In high school, it was so easy to skip out on class and not worry about what you missed. In college, that's not such a wise idea. But, I have learned my lesson and now know what I need to work on in my college career.

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I believe that choosing the right college is based upon how well educated your professors are in your own field, as well as being in a safe learning environment. You want your professors to know what is best for you, and to challenge you as much as possible throughout your time in college. I think it is also important to be in a safe learning environment because this past semester our university went through a "gun scare" and we thought shots were fired on campus. It turns out that nothing happened, (which was a relief) but I felt assured that my university took care of the situation the best way possible to keep our commmunity safe. I believe it is also important to be involved in campus activities and to make great friends you will have for a lifetime. It makes the college experience so much more rewarding and memorable when you have great friends that are always there to experience it with you.

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When I was in my senior year of high school I took everything so easy and in some ways I slacked off. I let my grades slip and GPA drop. I also did not take things such as the ACT very serious. I became a person that only wanted to sit at home instead of going out to games. I knew that I would be leaving my family soon and I dreaded it. When I arrived at school I had severe homesickness my first month of school that began to make me physically sick. If I were to go back in time and talk to myself as a senior in high school I would tell myself to enjoy the time I still had in high school before it's over. I would also tell myself to be serious! Not to slack off and think that everything is going to always be handed to me. I have learned that even thought it might be rough it is all worth. I would prove to myself that collge will be wonderful and that I will do great, as long as I keep up the hard work.

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The college years are very important as far as making connections and finding out what you want to do with the rest of your life, so don't settle! Make sure the school you decide on has the right kinds of programs, the right size campus and the right number of students. There are certain aspects where you will have to compromise, but don't bend too far. If you feel you want to go to a big school, but the small school is cheaper and still has the programs you need you will be tempted, but having the right number of people on campus is much more important than it seems at first. If you are the kind of person who likes to connect to a lot of unique individuals, a large student body is really important. Some small colleges can have diversity, but there are also many that really lack a diverse student body. College is a time to make connections and start networking, don't limit your options!

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