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Western Oregon University

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

Study skills will be essential when you start attending college. Strong study skills will help you pass exams without anxiety, help you retain information you have learned, and even decrease the amount of time spent on homework. Become comfortable with public speaking as most classes will require some form of a presentation. Learn to enunciate and project your voice, and be able to present your ideas clearly. Good writing skills are crucial not only for passing the required English Composition courses, but for the inevitable term papers, research papers, and essays on scholarship applications. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and a wide vocabulary are very important. While study skills, writing skills, and public speaking will prepare you on an intellectual level, it is also important to be prepared on an emotional level. Believe in yourself and your ability to excel in college. Never, ever give up. Your college years are a time to have fun, but can also define your education and career path. Keep your grades and GPA as high as possible. Always aim for the "A" because you never know when that one "B" in a class will keep you from being selected for the program you desire to enter.

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Dear Students, First, congratualations are making it this far! Yes, studying and obtaining an education can be tedious, but I promise you that it will be well worth the perseverance required. I consider the years of that I have been in college to be my absolute favorite, and continually look forward to the coming terms and years that I have remaining. My advice to you, as you begin your college experience, is threefold: first, make sure that you actively participate in class and regularly attend; also, stay connected to your college and what is going on in the college life/atmosphere around you; lastly, take a lot of time to spend with good friends and develop relationships. All three of these tips lead you to a stronger support group and a better education. Class participation and attendance really allows the instructors to aid you in whatever way possible. Being connected to your college and the various campus activities brings a sense of security and makes the environment feel more friendly. Plus, the time that you share with your friends will truly impact who you are and where you head after college. Study hard, make memories, and have fun! Daniel Bowdoin

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I would really like to encourage that attending a smaller university provides a such a strong basis for students to aspire into whatever career path they decide to embark upon. As a past student of a larger university, I felt like I was just another face in the crowd, with lectures that had even as many as 300 students in them. The instructors at larger universities aren't able to provide a solid teacher-student relationship, because there are so many others that need advising. In a smaller classroom, there exists a motivation to voice your opinion, receive response, and interact with others who share your interests and instructors that have strong background in whatever field it is you wish to aspire towards. Before, I was so limited to my ability to interact with my instructors and other classmates, and I felt like when I began attending a smaller University that it was welcoming me with open arms. I cannot stress how a smaller university can provide such a livelihood that a large one virtually cannot; it gives students the opportunity to establish solid footing in which ever direction they choose to endeavor.

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Why is it that so many people are unable to cultivate their full potential? It is because people cannot see this one basic concept. People are like trees. Let me explain myself here. There are many kinds of trees and they all require different conditions to reach their full potential. No tree is better than another, they are just different. A farmer knows that he cannot plant a palm tree in the North West and expect it to thrive. It is too wet. But apple, maple, and fir trees grow wonderfully under the same conditions. People are in many ways the same as trees. What may be the right conditions for one person might be the worst conditions for another. So before choosing a college you should know what kind of tree you are. Do you learn better in a small classroom environment? Do you enjoy the city or the country? Are you an auditory learner or hands on? There are many aspects to consider. What may have worked for your parents, friends or siblings may or may not work for you. Choosing the right "growing" conditions are essential for reaching your fullest potential at college and throughout life.

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The advice I would give to students about finding the right college would be to look back on personal experiences and apply them to what they want from a school. Do you enjoy large groups of people or do you prefer a close knit smaller community? Keep experiences like this in mind when you are looking at the size of your potential schools. Also look for a school that offers multiple majors that interest you; you will most likely change your major so find a school with many options that interest you. College is your time; don?t let others make decisions for you. Enjoy the college experience. Get involved at your school whether it is involvement in residence life, a sport, or club. Meet many new people; learn their stories and keep an open mind. Take classes seriously you are paying for them now. However, realize early on that without a passion for what you are learning you will inevitably learn nothing. Also, realize that although you are paying for classes all of the experiences and interactions you have outside of the classroom are the things that will impact you and shape you most, so make good choices!

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Having spent a year in a two year community college and earning my Associates Degree quickly so that I can move on to a four year univrsity a year early has made me realize that several of my priorities as a high school student were off base and inmature. If even this short year later I could go back and shake some sense and wisdom into my high school self, I would have several important bits of advice to share. First, as important as everything seems in high school--friends, clubs, sports--nothing is as important as focusing on meeting educational goals and thinking ahead to paying for a college education. Had I focused more on qualifying for and applying for scholarships and less on friends and activities I would be in a much better place financially to pursue my degree. Secondly, I would remind myself that all of the nonsense and drama going on around me is temporary and does not need my attention or involvement. I spent far to much time focusing on other's issues and attempting to affect other's lives and not nearly enough on my own. Thankfully the college me is all the wiser.

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You’ve signed the forms, scheduled your classes, taken the tours, and read the brochures. Take a deep breath, work hard this summer, and get ready for a rollercoaster ride in the Fall. You probably think you know what to expect, and in many ways you do, but be ready to also be surprised with some turns and loops. College will surprise you. Your biggest challenge may not be that chemistry class you’ve worried about…it may be juggling your laundry, sleep, and studying schedule with your less than flexible new roommate! Remember that compromise truly means a “giving” on both sides and that eating the same thing two nights in a row is really ok. Schedule your time so that you feel in control of your life and know what’s coming up. Managing your time is key and not always as easy as it sounds. Stay connected with your family and friends at home. They’ve been with you a long time and often have just the advice you need. Remember that you’ve prepared for college as best as you can, and have the confidence and flexibility to make the “surprises” learning experiences and new adventures.

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The one thing I would advise students is to get involved with whatever college they choose to attend. Deciding which university to attend is stressful, but once you do, don't look back always wondering if you chose the right one. Find some way to get involved and let people know who you are. It's your chance to shine! Academics is a large part of the college experience, but so is life outside the classroom. Impacting the people you're around is just as important as being impacted by professors, staff, and fellow students. Coming from an RA's standpoint, I always encouraged my residents to find some way to connect with the school. It's a way to create your identity--whether it's through sports (varsity/intramural/club), clubs, elective classes, student government, community service, etc. You want the experience to be fun, memorable, and life-changing but it's up to you as the student to make it that way. This is your place to grow as an individual and realize who you are outside your home. And sometimes finding yourself means stretching yourself outside your comfort zone.

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There is so much advice I would've given myself if I knew what I know now. First of all I would've repeatedly told myself to get good grades in high school in order to be eligable for scholarships. Most scholarships require a minimum GPA of 3.0 or 3.5. I would have told myself to prepare for financial stress because it happens to everyone. I would have told myself to take schoolwork seriously and not procrastinate because college is different. I would have prepared myself to save more money incase of financial emergencies. And to people like me, I would have told myself to prepare for separation anxiety because I love to be near my family. I would have told myself to start learning how to manage time wisely in order to get all work done. I would have given myself this advice and much more because it's not only obvious problems that go on while in college, you also begin to notice how things have changed for the best. I would've especially advised myself to begin with 200% commitment because there is plenty competition out there for which ever field you're going in.

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Choosing the right college can be very difficult but choosing a school that fits your needs is very important. Find a school that fits your needs academically, socially, financially and a location that is perfect for you. Sometimes students tend to choose colleges that all their friends are going to but what is right for them does not mean it is the right school for you. Going to college is a great experience for the students to take that first step to being on their own. Yes, the parents will worry and be scared to let their young adult leave the nest, but giving them the wings to fly away, will give them the experience of what their new adventure into the college life and learning to be an adult really is. Most people often think that college is all about education, which is a big part of college, but it is also a place to make life long friends, get involved and to discover all the opportunities the world has waiting for you. Get involved, study, make friends, try something new and last but not least have FUN! You are going to have the best time of your life!

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