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Western Michigan University

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

Finding the right college is crucial to making the most of your colllege experience. It's necessary to make a list of values and goals you hope to acheive in attending college. Compare those values and goals with the mission statements and programs that your desired colleges consist of. If your values and goals conflict with the mission statement and programs available at a college you're interested in, then the result of enrolling in that college could be detrimental to your dreams. The best thing you can do is to fully inform yourself of what you want out of college and compare that dream with the colleges that show true potential in helping you to accomplish that dream. When you are certain you have found that college, enroll and continue to apply for scholarhips regardless of how you feel your chances are of actually getting them. Involve yourself with as many activities, clubs, and volunteering experiences as you can. You not only meet life long friends this way, but you become very famliar with the campus and create a large network of fellow students who will share many classes with you. Lastly, promise yourself that you'll have fun!

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If I could talk to me the high school senior, I'd say APPLY FOR MORE SCHOLARSHIPS!!! Lol, seriously though. I would say don't settle for what's easy or comfortable when applying to schools or choosing a major. Push yourself to really explore options and expand possibilities. Now is the time to take some risks and grow your dreams! Research schools online...go on campus visits...join college facebook groups to see what's out there. It may feel like you're wandering around in the dark for awhile, but stay loose--you'll figure out your best fit. Once you choose your school start learning about the traditions, programs, organizations, and opportunities for freshmen. Keep a notebook with school info, there's a lot to remember. If possible, take a few road trips to campus so you can get familiar with the campus and community. Definitely attend the new student enrollment program and get to know your academic advisor. And anytime you get nervous, worried, confused, lonely, or overwhelmed about something, remember that literally EVERYONE around you has been there...and most people are happy to help you figure it out. Breathe. Savor. Soar.

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While some high school seniors are fortunate to know their college career plans, I was not one of those when I made the decision to attend Western Michigan University. Not sure which road to take, I took the advice of others stating I would make a great teacher since my passion for kids was always present. Four years later, I graduated from WMU with a Bachelors in Science, a major in Elementary Education, and a proud ego of my accomplishment to do so in four years. Unfortunately, because of rushing through the academic experience, I was not able to radar that elementary education was not for me, even after trying it for three scrutinizing years. Looking forward, as I head back to college for a career change, there is much I wished I would have known about pursuing a career. Perhaps if I could go back in time to deciding my future, I would have looked more into talking to and job shadowing professionals of vast career choices. Most importantly, however, I would tell myself to enjoy the process of learning, to slow down, and to enjoy the every day experiences that lead me to promises of the future.

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The advice I would give students about finding the right college is research, research, research. I know this may seem like a daunting task in the final moments of ones high school career, but this added leg-work will have considerable payoff if executed properly. After all, college is a privlage as well as an opportunity to explore the world through educational pursuits. Consider your financial situation, take this into account when deciding on a college and be an avid advocate of your own finances. Visit colleges you are considering, take organized tours, and maybe mingle with some of the current students on campus; pick their brains about what they think and feel about their own college. Lastly, when making the most of the college experience, try not to over-do the drinking. I know to some this may sound silly, but like i stated earlier, college is an opportunity and a chance you will want to remember. Socialize with others and find your niche; talk with your professors and get to know them, they could be your greatest asset some day. When finding the right college, research will go a long way.

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My college experience was funded by my highschool. It was a $3000 scholarship for classes that I had a lot of fun taking. I learned AutoCAD. I was taught how to "render" and do elevation details of not only houses I'd designed, but landscapes as well. The class size was smaller than my highschool classes, something I absolutely revelled in. Taking the Architecture & Landscape Design program solidified my desire to continue going to Front Range Community College. I talked with other professors and students, giving me a foot in the door. And, since I'm already enrolled, I don't have to worry about that now, something that my peers are stressed about. I also am already experienced with the website and how to enroll in classes. I figured out how college classes were different from highschool classes and was given a bit of a wake-up call as far as what was expected of me. Presenting my work also gave me more confidence when talking to people as well as figuring out the little fun things of powerpoints. I'm very happy to have been given the opprotunity by my schools to broaden my educational horizons.

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Your college career won't be as difficult as you think it is going to be as long as you establish a few goals for yourself. Don't make the goals impossible either, but make them little ones that you can accomplish week to week. I found it helpful to get my homework done before the weekend so I can enjoy my time away from school (unless there was a test to study for). Also, take some time to get to know what resources your campus has to offer, like the library, tutoring services, bookstore offers, writing centers, gym, and other student activities. All of these things are great ways to establish contacts and make friends at any university or college. Socially, I suggest you keep a few close friends so you can use each other for support throughout the school week and then enjoy other activities on the weekends. You can bring these friends with you when you get involved with campus activities as well as study groups at the library. In the end, take advantage of the utilities and opportunities that your college has to offer and you'll be sure to have a satistfied college experience.

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Knowing what I know now about college would inspire me to tell myself that it's going to be hard, it's going to be challenging, but it's worth it. The long nights of studying, the missed trips home for the holidays, the stress that turns into tears of exhaustion all have enormous payoff. The education and life experiences gained are invaluable. Be patient, be posititve, know that when you get handed that diploma - you will feel so proud and so prepared to embark upon the life you've dreamed of - and nothing can take that away from you. This experience teaches you so much about who you are as a person; your strength, your determination, your abilities to work under pressure. No other concentrated educational atmosphere can teach you what you learn at school - both about who you are academically and who you are personally. You will make life-long friends, you will lose friends, and you will learn so much along the way. You may have regrets, but they make you who you are. College is a wonderfully challenging trial of everything you thought you knew - prove yourself. Conquer the world.

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If the student does not know what he/she wants to do, parents and students should research together what the student's main interests are. Do some reasearch online and find out what career fields those interests might best place you into. Once you have a general area, you can find what colleges are known for the best education in that particular area. Once you have a few colleges narrowed down, it is very important to visit the colleges, and get a feel for your potential future four years. Ask lots of questions, not only from tour guides, but students and faculty as well. Once decided on the college, research jobs on campus. These are very flexible with your schedule, which makes for a great experience with less stress. Research the registered student organizations and get involved! No matter what, make sure your first year is spent in the dorms. This is where you meet new people who are in the same position as you and you grow up and experience life together. This makes it easier to find roommates for the future, study partners, and perhaps life long friends.

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A great way to find the right college for yourself will be to search according to your major, the size of the campus (if you like it small or big), the location of the college, or a college that is financially stable for your needs. Once you have established the search process for the right college, then you should find out all the information about that college before applying to make sure that you have made the right decision about starting your college life. Now that you've chosen a particular college of your own you probably want to make the best out of your college experience, Right? Well, College is a great place to meet people from all over the world and experiences that you've never had before. So the best way to enjoy college is to get out with an open mind and be involved with school activities, which could provide for you a great social network for life after college. If school activities can't fulfill your needs then join a club/Frat./Soror. that is to your interest, go out into the city to have fun like movies, dinner, shopping, or you can always travel.

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When looking for the right college to attend, one should consider every single memorable event that happened througout you high school experience, good and bad. One should also consider teachers, sporting events, community services, study areas, social attractions, restaurants, and other things a city might entail because when you select the college you want, it should include all of the above whether your a social bug or a quiet critter. Chances are your going to want a place to study with or without friends, or just to hang out and it would be a real bummer if the college you select doesnt offer the things that you would want. The transition would be very harsh, especially if you wanted to do the things you used to do and you couldnt. Not every student comprehends everything that is taught in the classroom so a good advising and tutoring lab should be well sought after as well. Keeping these things in mind, one should try to select a well balanced school so that when you begin your college life, life wont seem so stressful but rather free flowing and easy going.

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