The thing I wish I had known before coming to Western was how intense my degree program was. I was not accepted in the school of music for my first semester, but after a lot of hard work (and I mean a lot) I was accepted as a music major at my dream school. Throughout the process of admission to my major program, I have learned a lot about the value of committment and hard work. They really do pay off in the long run! As my band director here always says: " The greatest rewards come from the greatest commitments."
How the financial aid system works. I was really confused about how loans, grants, and cost of attendance worked together, and no one (including financial aid advisors at Western) was willing to really help me out. Last year, I was late to fill out my FAFSA due to my parent's late taxes- I lost out on a lot of money this way, and ended up having to take out a $10,000 private loan in order to pay for my first year I'm paying for my education, so I was pretty angry about this. C'est la vie!
I am the type of person that loves to look ahead and plan out my next steps. This is often a good quality but it put a lot of unneeded stress on my life in the months growing near to college. I wish I would have been more aware that if you just relax everything will work it's way out. After stressing myself out for months, I finally came here and realized that this is the place that I am meant to be. I wish I would have focused more on all the opportunities I have coming my way.
Before I had come to this school, I wish I had been more aware of the drinking scene (especially in the valley resident halls). This college has a large drinking population, and freshman year, many students may feel an extreme pressure to drink to make friends. I suggest, that if drinking is not a prospective student's idea of a "good time", then they choose one of the residents halls not found in the valley's (such as any in the Big Three or Big Four).
I wish I would have known how many reasources that our campus actually has, so I could use them more. The longer I've been attending Western Michigan University, the more I have learned about what it has to offer, and I've been doing better in school since I know more of the things I can use to help me. Tutors, Advisors, Office Hours, Study Groups, different computer labs, all the things the librarians can help you with, etc.
I wish I would have been better informed about what EXACTLY my chosen major was all about. I would recommend doing as much research about what your major is all about, what career paths are available when you graduate with that degree, and people you should talk to about your major. I guess what I am saying is I wish I had known everything about my degree before I decided to pursue it.
Before I came to Western Michigan University, I wish that I would have known more about how different the teaching methods are compared to high school. It is so different and the pace is a lot faster. Being in college, you definetely have to keep up. I would suggest studying during most of your free time. And please stay well rested because it will affect your learning.
One thing that I wish I would have known going into WMU is that their scholarships they award are very limited. I had great grades in high school and a decent ACT score, but the only financial aid I was awarded was government loans. They also don't have many extra scholarships available unless you are part of a minority group. It was a little frustrating!
Before I came to college, I wish that I already knew about how much time I really do have to put into my schoolwork. In high school, I got by easily and I thought that college would be the same. I was wrong. I learned that you have to work so much harder because this is when it truely counts and is so much more important.
I wish I would have known this school is mostly a party school and I felt like everyone who goes to Western that is their main focus. Also, there is only a 52 percent graduation rate and now I know the reason and wish I would of known before I came to this school because I will probaly end up transfering.