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Wheelock College

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

The best advice I have for parents and students researching colleges is to consider schools that are not the most popular picks and to appreciate the admissions process. If the applicant can separate the emotional aspects of acceptance and rejection, he or she will recognize that the process is truly about finding the best placement. While it is glamorous to wave an acceptance letter from an Ivy League school, that is no assurance of happiness or success at that institution. Admission to a lesser-known college may provide opportunity for growth and individual recognition. A checklist for parents typically considers tuition and distance from home. Prospective students, however, have a longer list of issues to consider. What are the school's academic strengths? Will the distance from home be an asset or a deficit? Consider extracurricular and social activities on campus as well as opportunities for field placements and area offerings.Once enrolled, the student should make new friends, join clubs and make ample time to study. It will be in a student?s best interest to establish a reputation as a leader on-campus and or in the surrounding community

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If I could give one piece of advice to my high school self, it would be to GET INVOLVED in extra-curricular activities on campus. In college, I joined a co-ed a cappella group, and it defined my collegiate experience. We rehearsed twice a week and performed frequently on campus and all over the city of Boston.Being in an a cappella group taught me about dedication, commitment, accountability, and time management. Each week, I had twelve people counting on me to show up, and although we were all incredibly busy with school and social activities, we knew how important it was for us to get together each week and make music. Singing with an a cappella group also made me more a confident person and played a significant role in my feelings of community engagement in college. When I reflect on my college years, I don’t remember the hours spent writing papers in the library. I remember working hard with a group of talented, motivated, dedicated young men and women. I remember hours and hours of rehearsal, I remember laughter and tears, and I remember the formation of friendships that I’m confident will be long- lasting.

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Finding the right college involves an intense look at yourself. It is easy to apply to the same or similar school as your friends, but it takes some real soul searching to determine what kind of school would be right for you. There are so many aspects of yourself that are important to consider when choosing the right school. Would you like a big or small school? What's your learning style and what environment will best support that? Is student diversity important to you? There are just a few of the many questions a student needs to ask himself. You also need to look past the name of the school. It is tempting to apply to big name universities and ignore the lesser known schools out there, but sometimes that unknown school is the perfect fit. Important to remember is that if you are unhappy at a school, you should take the time to transfer to another school. It may feel like failure in some way, but finding the school where you can be happy and successful is most important, and making sure you find that school is not failure. Basically, just be true to yourself in your choice!

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There are several things that I would tell myself if I could go back in time. First, I would probably tell myself to look into cheaper options, such as attending a community college at first, and then transferring to a larger school. Also, I would tell myself to try to apply for more financial aid while in high school, look at cheaper colleges, and to get an extra job while in high school to start saving. Another thing I would tell myself is to make friends quickly! Even though its not my typcial personality to be extremely outgoing and put myself out there, I tried to do so at orientation and the first few weeks of school. This really paid off because I made several friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life. I can honestly say that I have made those "bridesmaid" friends, or the girls who I know will be my bridesmaids in my wedding! Another piece of advice I would share with myself is to stay true to yourself. There is so much pressure at college to be someone who you really arent, but I've remained myself all through this time.

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If I were a Senior in High School knowing what I know now about college I would advise myself to start working on time management skills earlier. It is really challenging to manage your time in college, because there is not the structure I had supporting me in high school. I would have practiced ho to manage time better because classes are at different times everyday and even though it looks like you have tons of time the reality is that you do not. That time that I thought I had free to do homework filled up with clubs, school activities, and friends. I wish I had challenged myself to schedule more so I could have gotten use to being organized like I am now.Also, I would advise "past me" that it would be hard being away from family for a long time. I would advise myself to stay at school as long as I could because if you go home too soon it can be harder to come back. I stayed a month before going home and should have stayed longer. I would remind myself that it also gets better and isn’t supposed to be easy.

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Challenge yourself more. The only rock in the road is yourself. There are people who want to see you fail, but there is a larger population of people who want to help you and see you succeed. It is only a matter of trying and reaching out for help when you need it. There are opportunities out there and you need to find them and grasp them. Anything is possible if you really want it. Reach for the moon if you want, for if you cannot reach it, there are thousands of stars that would be in your reach anyways. You have to push yourself because no one else will. Everyone goes to college with a purpose in mind, so be careful who you become acquainted with. Make sure they have the same focus and desire for education for influences can effect you and help you if you chose the right ones. And finally, network! Now is the time to find people who can help you down the line in your career and you can help in return. Build your web of resources to help you reach your goals and just give everything 110% and never give up.

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I had a unique situation in college. I did not apply for any colleges in the Boston area, but my fiance got into Emerson college. I chose to follow her to Boston so she did not have to go to Hofstra, where we were both accepted. Without even being acepted to any schools I moved there, and went to Bunker Hill Community College for a semester while applying for schools. This was a huge hassel, and wasted some time and money. If I was to know how my college situation had turned out as a high school senior, I would have made it a point to apply for schools in Boston only. This would have been a much easier transition, because my apartment is far from Wheelock College where I am attending starting January 20, 2010, and I would know to claim myself on my taxes much sooner, so that the FAFSA would show how much money I really do not have. It is a real struggle to pay for my apartment and now for a school that is much too expensive for me. If I had known all of this earlier my transition would have been much easier.

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I would tell my high school senior self that I would need to maintain a higher work ethic than I had in school I would also have told my self to work on time managment skills at the end of high school. That would have reduced the stress of having to complete so many assinments in such a short time. I also feel that had I worked harder on my writing in high school i would have had less to learn in college. The idea of coming to college always stressed me out because it would be a change in the surroundings that I would not be looking forward to. I do however feel that if I had been told that college was no difficult just different time management, I would not have belived them. I also feel that the college experience is different for every person and I knew that in high school, so I do not know if I would have belived anything about college. I may have been stressed about college, but I do enjoy creating my own experiences and interactions. I have also made friends with many different students at the college.

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Dear Anna*, Don't put too much pressure on yourself at first. There will be so many opportunities, classes, and new people to meet, that it's easy to get overwhelmed and try everything at once. If you attempt to do them all you won't be able to appreciate a single one. Pick two or three that you really think you'll like and stick to them. Branch out later in the year, if there's still more you want to do. But don't be afraid to go activities sponsered by other clubs you aren't a member of. You didn't pay a student activity fee for nothing! Take risks! Those first days of classes and friendships will begin to define who you are as a person and as a student. The worst you can do is embarass yourself and you can just laugh that off. Do the crazy exercise in front of the whole class that your professor wants one volunteer for. He'll respect you for the rest of the semester. Just remember to still be kind and know when to keep your head down. People will love you for that too! Love, Anna*

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My biggest piece of advice to myself would be that it is OKAY to be afraid. I felt so much pressure as senior in high school to know exactly what I wanted in life. I made my initial decision about school (I am a second year transfer student) based on insecurity. The only solid I had was that I wanted to study education. Choosing schools is a terrifying experience; it is also one that I think is nearly impossible for a 17-year old to make. I had no idea what I wanted for the next four years of my life. It is a huge, overwhelming decision. A year into my time at school in Maine, I realized that I just didn't belong. So, I took a leap of faith and applied to an education school in Massachusetts. After I was accepted, again, I was scared. I was moving to a foreign city. But I trusted my instincts and soon learned that sometimes it is the raw, unnerving sensation of fear that leads us to our truest potential. My fear led me to my first year of college and then ultimately drove me to pursuing my dream.

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