Research, research, research. Attending college is an investment and you should treat it as one. Look at all the opportunities the school offers in your own individual perspective: academically, financially, socially and culturally. First, make sure that the academics offered at the school will open up the opportunity to repay the money you are paying to attend. Make sure that your major areas of interest are included in their curriculum and remember your mind may change, so do not limit yourself. Second, search within a reasonable price range for yourself because these loans will never leave you. Loans are good and fine, but do not go overboard. Third, you MUST visit the school that you are planning to attend. The feel of a school is very important. If you are not comfortable at a school, you will either one, not do well; or two, have a poor overall experience. Lastly, look into the school's social life and its cultural diversity. Does it offer the resources for you to thrive socially and culturally? If not, keep searching. This is one of the biggest decisions of your life. Now research thoroughly and invest wisely.
If I had the ability to talk to myself as senior, the first thing I would stress to myself is, relax. As a senior, nerves are running high with the anticipation of moving away from home, being away from all known friends and family, living with strangers, and being placed in an unfamiliar campus that at the time seemed enormous! Throughout high school, teachers warn "college is going to be much harder than this!" Well, although the warning may have been a bit intense and overwhelming at the time, they were exactly right. I would let myself know that, yes, college is much harder, but in a wonderful way. College is challenging; it is new and different, yet exciting and stimulating. It expands thinking and reasoning in a way that a high school student may not have thought was possible. Most importantly, I would like to let my high school senior self know, as tough as something may seem, there are hundreds of others who feel the same way. I would want myself to have known as long as I keep myself focused, prepared, and excited, I am going to be able to handle whatever is thrown my way.
Advice that I would give to future college students and their families is to make sure that you select a college that fits you, your character, your style, and your ambitions. Students should choose a college where they know where they will be happy--- not where mom or dad were happy during their college years. In terms of advice about making the most of college, it is a great rule to live by that you should only play hard once you've studied and worked hard. College is about learning and preparing for the future, so students' priorities should rest in their academic endeavors. Take classes that interest you, and also take classes that challenge what you think you already know. Grow and learn new things. After taking your classes seriously, then you get to play. It is important to make good friends and good memories during your college years. However, it's important to do this in the way that you want. Don't let other people tell you want to do to have fun. Join clubs, get involved, meet people, go out. Work hard and play hard. It's a good rule to live by.
There are many things I recieved and am still recieving here at Westminster College. I have made many friends and enjoy being around them daily, and have learned how to share a room with one of those friends. Sharing a room with my roommate has taught me how to better address problems I might have with something, since before I could just ignore the problem and let it slip to the back of my head. At Westminster College I have also learned what I need to do to maximize my education experience and to do the best that I possibly can at all things, courtesy of the accelerated learning program here. I have also gained job experience here at Westminster College. I learned that I will not always get to do exciting things at work, but that those things are necessary to succeed. Without Westminster college I would never have come out of my shell, and shown more people who I really am all of the time, instead of just during private times with close friends and family. I believe that everything I learn here at Westminster College are things that will help me the best me possible.
I would suggest applying to a combination of schools - maybe two schools you're sure you can get into and be happy at, and one or two reach schools - where you know you really want to be. The college application process is difficult, but you should always aim for your top pick school because you never know what might happen. Westminster was my dream school, but I knew that we could never afford the private liberal arts school tuition so I shoved it to the back of my mind and tried to avoid thinking about it. Thanks to the kind words of my mother I went ahead and applied to Westminster just to see what happens - and got in! I was so happy, but just knew that affording the school was out of the question - that is, it was until I worked with the financial aid department. They were so understanding and really took the time to sit down with my mother and I and work it all out. I am now a Junior at my top pick school and cannot wait to get the rest of my life started in grad school and beyond.
If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would give myself a metaphorical 'chill pill' and sing the song "Let It Be" by the Beatles. I was much too stuffy in high school, particular about the tiny details of every single matter, unforgiving, and constantly stressing myself worrying about grades, work, sports, and clubs. It took me only a semester of college to grow out of this negative spirit and to learn to be a positive, optimistic, caring person who can see the big picture of things and not just the tiny details, and I can finally appreciate my friends and family for the amazing people they are. I've learned how to keep a 4.0 at a competitive, liberal arts school while still making plenty of time for the clubs I really care about and being able to have a wonderful social life at the same time. My only wish is that I could've figured out how wonderful it is to be like this in high school and to have come into college with the joy I have now found.
I would tell myself to not be so anxious to leave home, i miss my family and friends from school. I would also tell myself to trust my family and to let my self have fun to not freak out as much about the future. That yes my grades my first semester will not be what i wanted, but, that they get better the next semester. To not be scared to ask for help. To not get into that fight with my best friend ( my biggest regret). Quite frankly, those were the worst two months fo my life. I needed her more than ever, i needed to tell her that i was scared that i would not have any friends and that i wouldnt like my suite mates. that i wanted her back in my life...no...i needed her back in my life. We did start talking again and we know now to not trust what certain people say about eachother. I know this went off subject but thats what i would have told myself in highschool my senoir year, to trust my best friend to not go two months over the summer without her.
I needed a lot of advice my senior year of high school. I am a worrier and a planner. Whenever I worry about something, I create a plan to solve whatever problem is worrying me. I worried a lot my senior year. I worried about what college to go to, how far away from home it should be, where would I get the best education, and how much I should pay for college. So I planned out how far I was willing to be away from home, what college would give me the best chance of getting a job after graduation, and I worked for scholarships pay for college. However, if I could go back to my senior year, I would tell myself to not worry so much. Everything worked out wonderfully even through the ups and downs of the decision process. I would still plan because good plans make good things happen, but I would relax and laugh more. I would tell myself, "You only get one senior year of high school in your life. Enjoy it. Relish it. It will end faster than you want it to."
The best way to find the right school is to jump right in and try things out. Sitting in on classes as a senior in high school helped me to understand what type of collge was the best for me. Variety is the spice of life, and we cannot know what we want if we have never experienced different things. Get out and visit campuses, talk to current students, or attend a social event. This will allow you to find the best school that suits your needs. Leave fear and anxiousness behind you and roll with the punches. Not everyone is meant for college, and there are many colleges that arent for everyone. There is no shame in transfers! Above all else, remember that college is what you make of it, and you do get out what you put in. If all you are looking for is a degree and a job, you will find it, but it is when you look deeper that you truly find the "college experience."
I would explain to myself the importance of taking initiative and listening to teachers. Because I have learned that whenever teachers back in high school would ask a rhetorical question to try and start making us as students ask those questions such as "why are we learning this?" So simple yet I never put it together that if I started asking myself those questions, that i would have a larger understanding of what we were trying to learn. I would tell myself to take initiative more because of all the opportunities that i missed out on because of me not taking initiative. From academic opportunities to cultural diversity to social opportunities. If I had taken the initiative back then I would have been able to start perpetually improving myself day by day not only increasing my own value, but also increasing others from everything that I have learned.