Yale University Top Questions

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


You should be open-minded: try new cuisines, meet new people, explore more opportunities. You will learn that the things you were good at in high school may not be the things you are truly talented at in life. You will have many ups and downs as you struggle to find what you are passionate about when it comes to academics or your career. But it is important to remember that you are not defined by your grades or sorority. College will eventually end, and you will have to leave campus someday to take on the world. You will be defined by what you choose to take away from your college experience and to bring out into the world. In final words, take care of yourself--college will eventually end, but you and your life continues. Remember that through all the tough assignments or pressures to drink, and you will do just fine.


As a high school senior, there's an inherent "us-vs-them" mentality that surfaces when you regard the adults in your life. Your teachers are assigning meaningless work; they're holding you back and wasting your time. Your parents don't understand; you're a responsible adult and they're treating you like a child. This frustration is at the forefront of your thoughts. At an age when you are, in fact, very mature and you're thirsting to live on your own, I would advise my high school self to take a step back and get acquainted with the adults in her life as people instead of imposing authority figures. If you open your heart to your teachers, family members, and mentors, you'll find that while they grew up in a very different time, they truly are empathetic to the restlessness and confusion you're feeling. Adults in these roles chose to work with students and children because they were eager to provide support and share they're life experiences. Listen to them.


Before I go into advice, I need to say that I am very happy with the choice that I made to come to Yale. I am very happy that I came to a place where I had academic freedom and could learn a lot from my professors and my peers. I love living in a place that has so much history associated with it. And now onto advice to my high school self. I would tell myself not to stress out too much. I would also tell myself not to be too excited to live away from home because you will miss it for sure. I thought that I would not be homesick, but the first few weeks (and even now) I experienced homesickness. I would tell myself to soak up as much experiences I could in high school because it will be missed. Also, I would tell myself to be so excited for what is going to come in the future.


Give yourself time to investigate the school you are interested in, and choose the school that is your gut decision. Do not choose a school only for the name, or your friends.


Definitely do a preorientation program! It's a great way to get a feel for the school and your classmates before you are thrown into the craziness that is the first couple of weeks of school. You'll make friends that will last a lifetime and make memories that will last even longer than that. It's also great to be able to come to campus already knowing a group of people. You feel less lost. Also, make sure you explore when you first start picking classes. Take a variety of courses in different departments and see what really sticks. Even if you don't become an art history major, knowing about Renaissance art is a wonderful skill to have! Also, make sure to interact with professors outside of class! Professors love to meet students for coffee - don't be scared that you are a freshman! Most of all, enjoy the time you have with your classmates. 4 years go by before you know it!


Hey! Continue to work on your relationship with God. Make sure to listen and understand other people's experiences of God and learn from their traditions and rituals. Make sure to imprint in your mind the gospel words, "don't be afraid." Fear will cause stagnation and you will waste time denying you are afraid but actually avoiding the insecurities and uncomfortable feelings the “unknown” brings. Embrace your sexuality, give it up wisely, and enjoy the feeling of being in love, the people who offer it emotionally and physically, and ignore the guilt other people will force upon you. But, most importantly, be compassionate with yourself. Continue with your academic goals but remember to enjoy your journey. This means don't trying to control people, events in your life, and deny yourself to take the time to improve your physical appearance, maintain your health, and buy yourself something nice. Make sure to go to games, parties, date a lot of people, and travel. Hey! Don’t seek anyone’s approval or acceptance of who you are! You are God’s creation and it’s the only justification you need. Knowing you, you will yes me to death.


Captain of two Varsity teams, Homecoming Princess, and Class President. You must be so proud of yourself. So far, you’ve had the high school career people dream of, a career that dozens of teen movies perpetually mirror to chronicle the “Popular Girl”. But you’re unhappy. You're unsatisfied. You feel something is missing, but you don’t know what. You’re right. Between all of those afterschool meetings and basketball practices, you missed out on you. You did what was expected of you, not what you necessarily wanted to do. Be different this year. Take every idea or interest you’ve ever had and attack it. Try everything until you’ve found something you love. In college, you'll meet people with hobbies they adore and sincere memories to tell. They’ll be more in love with their talents than you’ll ever be with a basketball, all because it was their choice. They did what made them happy, unaffected by others. Senior year, live like them. Don’t act out another teen movie. Write a new script that pleases you and don’t worry. You can erase, cross out, and add as much as you want.


If I could impart one piece of wisdom to incoming college freshman it would be this: far more important than your achievements in school and in life, is learning to welcome failure. Failure means you’ve taken a risk. Failure means you’ve stepped outside you’re comfort zone. If you’re open to its lessons, failure means you are learning, growing, and transforming. College is the perfect opportunity to learn to leap into the unknown. Don’t settle. Refuse to make excuses for yourself. Join the clubs that you have no business being a part of. Take that class with the teacher you’ve heard amazing things about, but that you’re sure you’ll do badly in. Make friends with the person who seems to have least in common with you. Go on the adventure. Don’t just take the French class, find the closest French restaurant and go speak to the chef. Pushing your self-imposed boundaries is the key to self-realization. It’s not something to be taken lightly, or to be put off for when it’s convenient. Fail now. Fail harder. If you do, chances are the rest will take care of itself.


Crisol, you’re going to college, right? Check this out, here are a few pointers in addition to applying for colleges. First, make sure to get involved and ask questions in your high school’s career center. As well as providing information for future careers, the career center also offers scholarship opportunities, helps with college applications, internship opportunities and answers any other questions you may have. Second, I know you need the financial help and there are many different types of scholarships available to help pay for your tuition, books, supplies and living expenses. Next, always ask questions. Asking questions is an amazing way to gain knowledge of your surroundings, activities that are offered on campus and great way to network. Questions open doors to answers. And the faculty and staff who work on campus are happy to help a college student, if you’re kind and polite. Finally, believe in yourself. This is the most important advice I can give you because when you believe in yourself you surpass limits and overcome challenges far more better than you could imagine.


I would tell myself to take advantage of all of the resources that the school has to give. Although it is important to keep up with others, I need to focus on myself and my well-being. Choose activities that you love to do--time is scarce so if you don't love the activity then there is no reason for you to be doing it.


I would give myself the advice of choosing the right major right away. I changed my major and I wish I would've started out with what I really wanted and would be succesful at because my first semester hurt my GPA which hurts me still today. I would also tell myself to apply for many scholarships in order to not be in massive debt.


Dear High School Self: Life gets a whole lot better once you leave DHS. After you graduate, you're going to learn more about yourself than you ever imagined. There will be some bumps in the road, but you'll grow stronger and wiser because of them. The people who you thought you couldn't live without will become strangers, and you'll be better off without them. Your college plans will change drastically, but you will recognize that you ended up where you needed to be, and you'll find happiness in unexpected places. Your writing talent will be appreciated and encouraged, and from this, you'll find your calling. As you take courses that interest you, you'll recognize education's power to change your life, and this will motivate you in your pursuit of a degree. Most importantly, as you make your way through your collegiate experience you'll realize that high school was irrelevant. It won't matter who you are right now as you read this, because the future version of yourself is refined - smarter, more mature, and more comfortable with herself. Just wait until you throw off your cap - things are going to change.


To really buckle down in school and make the grades,not to allow nothing or no one to come in the way of your education.


I would read more.


I would have to say that the best advice I could have given myself would have been to not be so worried about firguring out what I wanted to do with my life. Although it has taken me several years after leaving my education to decide what direction I really wanted to go (nursing) I feel that I am more mature and ready now than I was back then. So, I would like to tell myself not to rush and to let things happen because it will all work out if you put in the time, the effort and the dedication. An additional piece of advice would have been to take things more seriously. While you are in college, you don't really know what the real world is all about and after you have been out of school for a few years and in a full time work environment, a college education/degree takes on a whole new meaning and importance.


Yale has shown me who I am as a student, a community member, and a person. It has introduced me to radically new and different ways of viewing the world, while still allowing for my individual beliefs and practices. Yale is a school where I genuinely love my classes, adore my dorm room, and have an enriching extra curricular life. More than the degree, what I am getting from Yale is the experiences I need to be a valuable member of society and to be happy and passionate about my future career.


It has given me an amazing education with faculty who have really invested their time and energy into my education. I have had a lot of fun, while still focusing on getting the best education I possibly can. The faculty really want you to succeed and make a difference in the world and that is reflected in the way they teach in their classrooms. I wouldn't have picked a different university.


College, beyond the tests and review sessions, has set me on a path toward self-discovery. Spending time in an environment where no one knows who I am or what I am capable of was scary at first, but it allowed me to analyze how I act and respond to different people and ideas. I'm still very much in the midst of the journey, but I look forward to the destination: a calm, centered, powerful self.


So far, I have learned that I can make a difference if I really apply myself! I have been trying to please everyone else in my life, except for myself and my eight month old daughter, Lily. I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with my life before. Recently, I discovered that I can make a true difference in other people's lives by becoming the best nurse I can . This in turn, will help me love myself and Lily more. It will give me a purpose in life and teach my daughter about commitment, reaching one's goals, and determination. I would love to be given a chance to further my education with this award money. My Mother works hard ; but cannotspare this kind of money needed. I need to prove it to myself and others that I will succeed with this goal-getting a Nursing degree! Thank You for your time! Sincerely, Lynn Hoffman


My college experience has allowed me to grow in ways I never thought I would. I come from a rural town--and when I say rural, I mean truly past the middle of nowhere where everyone knows everyone but no one knows much about the huge world and everythign that's out there. By coming to Yale, I've been exposed to students from all over the world, from Indonesia to New Zealand, with a roommate from Tanzania and friends from Columbia, Brazil and South Africa. The broadening of my horizons, and ultimately, my own perspective of the world has taught me a lot about myself and what the world has to offer. On top of that, I'm receiving educational instruction from some of the best professors in their fields, top scholars, nobel prize winners and the like. And yet, every single one of them are willing to sit down and have a meal with me, or discuss something that I'm confused about--regardless of how busy they are. I appreciate being valued as an individual and a student, and having an environment that is so conducive to learning and self-exploration.


College is not a breeze. For the entire second half of high school, most students spend their time counting the days until "I can leave this miserable place!? Senioritis engulfs them. Daydreams about imminent independence distract them. And their focus falters, until it becomes too late. This story describes countless students every year who fail to realize that college is about stretching boundaries, growing potential, extirpating personal vice, and seeking challenge. I commenced college complacent: I was a national Presidential Scholar; I scored a 2400 on the SAT; I was accepted at Yale. I could not be more accomplished, or less worried about my future. But how fatuous I was! My grades suffered and my ambition collapsed. What I would recommend to any incoming college freshmen, therefore, is that they arrive with the robust understanding that they will have to continue to work to earn their admittance. They must discipline themselves to ignore the rich web of stimuli bombarding their impressionable minds. And they must learn to balance work with play, while continuing to play after every storm: brooding over past mistakes will only deepen malaise. Becoming aware of these ideas is the first step to a successful college experience!


If I were given the opportunity to go back in time and advise myself during my senior year, there is one word that would be repeated over and over: Relax. As understanding and simple as the college application and decision process has become since the dawn of The Internet, email, and websites like Commonapp and Fastweb, there is a certain level of stress that followed me as I was weighing my options, to a point becoming borderline unhealthy. This stress stemmed from a belief that my future's outcome and ultimate direction would be determined by where I spent the next two or four years of my life. Although I still acknowledge that the choices I make affect my future in a very real way, what I have also now chosen to acknowledge is that in the future, I will be just as able to make choices as I am presently able. Sure, every school is different and the "perfect" school might not be the one which I ended up choosing, but I would tell myself to take a moment and simply relax. Life will go on no matter what college I choose and that is a very good thing.


I would advise myself to relax and not let it all go by too fast. I would try to convince myself that being accepted into social circles is not the most important aspect of being a freshman in college. I would tell myself that this knowledge that is heading my way will be of great importance to me in the not so distant future, and to make sure to cherish it and realize that it leads to my future. If I only knew what I know now then!


I would tell myself not to worry about what was to come. I worried constantly up until move-in day about how I would start all over in a new place, keep up my grades, and continue my favorite activites such as dancing. As it turns out, making new friends came easily, I did well thanks to the resources provided to me and the study skills I perfected in high school, and I was able to join a dance team. I was well prepared for the transition into college life, but extra advice could never hurt. As a senior, I would tell myself to stay focused and far away from the laziness more commonly known as senioritis. I would tell myself to make a habit of eating breakfast, getting a decent amount of sleep, exercising, going to the library, and getting to know my teachers. I would tell myself to get used to keeping a planner and actually using it so I know when to say no to any of the many things always happening on campus. Above all, I would tell myself to smile, and plan on having the best four years of my life.


You've spent your whole life trying to get out of your comfort zone because you thought it would make you braver, stronger and ambitious. Now, you are faced with the decision to continue down that path or to change directions. My advice in your choice is this: don't be afraid to spend the next four years at a college that doesn't challenge you to try something you don't love. That just means you know what kind of a person you are and what kind of subjects interests you. And that knowledge of yourself is the first step to learning how to do what you love. And that is the point of college.


If I was able to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, there are many things I would tell myself. I think the main thing I would say is to not take yourself too serious, as everyone you meet in the first few weeks of college is making the same transition as you are, and are as nervous as you are as well. Additionally, I would tell myself to beke sure to be invooved in as many different college activities as possible, in order to get a fuller college experience from the get-go. The overall lesson I would want myself to get would be to have fun, and to not be afraid to put myself out there and meet new people and try new things.


Let?s not waste time- while in our prime- to give ourself advice. College is coming, our brain is humming and you must ready the dice! The dice for what, you?d like to know? The dice of life, of course! Used correctly (with chance and skill) you?ll have no remorse! Take a chance- roll the dice- no hesitating to try! Combined with thought and common sense few things will go awry. The years behind you were great- family and friends all around, but college is new- as is the place- in which you will soon be found. So many classes to choose from, professors and friends to meet, and ready or not, here it comes- a ton of work to complete! But these aren?t the only things heading your way; the city and campus are, too. Thousands of people, places to go, buildings both old and new! It may be hectic and frightful not knowing what?s to come, but remember yourself and who you are and the beat to your very own drum. College means you own schedule, college means tons of time. So face what you must and you can trust- college will be sublime!


Tina, I know it's intimidating. You're about to go to Yale University, where everybody is supposedly smarter than you and very capable of doing important things with their lives. But here's one thing you HAVE to keep in mind from the very start: DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF. Yes, they are all motivated, world-traveled, multi-instrumentalists who have huge accomplishments under their belts, but you need to focus on learning from and with them instead of focusing on your inadequacy. Here's a secret-- everyone tends to think they're inadequate here. But everyone's incredible. Including you. Also, be involved in many different activities, try them out. But DON'T fall in to the typical Yalie trap of overcommitting yourself and then complaining about it. Never feel bad about not being too busy. Value that free time in your schedule, treasure it. Use those hours to go to masters' teas, movie screenings, potluck dinners; don't give in to that pressure to be in charge of everything. Sleep a full eight hours a night, or stay up late with friends. Don't always stay up late with homework. This is a unique place. Live it up.


I would advise myself to not be so hard on myself during the somewhat difficult transition to college life. I would warn myself that I will meet (and be forced to live with) people with very different values than myself, and urge myself to take it in stride. I would tell myself to put myself out there and try to find my niche during the time in which everyone is looking to make new friends and simultaneously making the huge leap into the unknown. I would also tell myself to select my classes carefully, so that I still have time for extracurricular activities and hanging out with my new classmates and friends. I would also remind myself that Yale University is the goal toward which I had been working for years and that I was about to acheive everything I had ever hoped for. I would tell myself to take a step back and appreciate the satisfied feeling of fulfilling a dream.


The last years of high school are so laden with concern over standardized tests and GPA, it is easy to forget that the four that lie ahead should be the finest days of your life. They are the days you'll return to in your mind--pleased with the passions you voiced and the challenges you accepted. The only parlous cloud lurking in your sunny horizon is coming down with a case of Expectitis. Expectitis is a spectrum disorder which can result in a mere annoying rash or can, in its most extreme form, be fatal to a college experience. Expect great things from yourself, but not if those expectations are so unreasonable that they keep you locked in a library, away from the diversity of humankind and human thought that brought you to college. You are not your GPA. It is no coincidence that when Presidents and uber-succeeders are asked to recount their happiest moments, they focus on college days which preceded their "success." So, remain interesting, open and inquisitive. Do not hide in the carrels in search of only the holy "A." Let joy and discovery be your expectation during this, the greatest adventure of your life.


College goes so much faster than you will ever imagine possible. When you get there, don't waste a second second-guessing yourself. Take a ton of extra-curriculars and load up on activities - you can always drop the ones you don't enjoy, and you will probably find a new passion or two along the way. Take classes that have nothing to do with your major - you're in college to learn about life and everything that interests you, because you'll never have this opportunity again. Go to extra lectures, talks, panels, and focus groups - use every hour in the day to the fullest of your ability, because a college campus is one of the few places in the world where an incredible number of fascinating, influential people come together within a small area. Try everything - use the energy you'll have (you're young, after all!) to pack your days full, stopping before it's affecting your grades, health, or happiness adversely, of course. It's fabulous, and even if you get homesick sometimes, you will love it. Trust me.


?This is a year of transition,? said my college Dean in his opening remarks to the college freshmen. Those words comprised the greatest advice I received upon arriving at Yale. In the span of the Dean?s speech, I found an entirely different perspective on freshman year. Rather than making it a year to simply work ahead as a prospective Music and International Studies major, freshman year became a time to explore fields and experiences I had never encountered--both within and without the classroom. How else would I have discovered the fascinating philosophical debate about film versus digital recordings? Or that New Haven perfect for hawk watching? A transition is careful exploration; it is testing the waters. Today I understand that one semester is just the beginning of lifelong learning beyond the fields most familiar to me. So, high school self, my advice is that you be willing to ?take it slow? and seek education beyond your usual interests, because the college transition is not only one of settling in, but branching out. Be adventurous and don?t restrict yourself. You are here to learn, and you will find that learning happens in the most unexpected places.


I would tell myself to do more work. I would say stop floating on your intellect alone and invest time in research and studying. Read more! Experience what you love outside of the classroom. I'd tell myself not to shy away from excellence.


In all honesty, college life at Yale is easier and more fun than high school! I spent all of my time in high school dividing myself between schoolwork to keep that 4.0 and rehearsals/extracurriculars. At Yale, I've had the chance to travel to South America (for free!) with a 150 year-old choir, listen to Tony Blair speak, design hair and make-up for undergraduate shows, perform in a professional opera, and live in an ivy-covered dorm. High school is a stepping stone, but it's not the end all. Neither is college. Just enjoy what you have when you have it and look at the future objectively and work toward your goals with small baby-steps. it's really worth it!


In some ways, I was more of a stereotypical Yale student when I was a high school senior. I was career-oriented, academically competitive, ambitious in every aspect of life, and, of course, perpetually stressed out. Maybe (and maybe not) it was coming to Yale and seeing the poverty of those who pack their schedules with resume-ready activities that they do not enjoy, as well as the richness of those who work their passions and enjoy the moment that made me come to terms with who I am. On the surface, I am still a typical Yalie with my 7 classes, 2 jobs, and 3 volunteer spots; inside, however, I have learned that life is so much more about being content with B+'s and knowing that I am not defined by my APs. If I could talk to my old self, I would tell her: "CHILL OUT. You are in Yale. Now drop those 7 extra APs."


To achieve success at any level, one must have a goal. Without a final destination, or a desired idea, one lacks the drive to acquire that treasure, and without an obstacle one cannot realize what's important. Sure, a banal existence suffices for some; however, creativity arises from facing challenges, and happiness comes from suffering. Life is all about setting goals -- it is necessary for living. Why do we live? To achieve something. Why do we study? To enlighten ourselves. Why do we discuss? To discover the innovations. We cannot stumble upon invention purely through intricate calculations, or with a ready-made formula. There are different processes to coming about the end result; what you'll realize is that you need to know that you must come with some kind of answer in the end, but you must most venture the different ways to get there. From your experiences, you branch out to new opportunities.


Dear James, Stop stressing out about which colleges you'll get into. Though you may not believe it right now, everything that happens happens for a reason. In particular, don't worry about "making a difference" with your life, whatever that means. Just be disciplined and put your heart into what you love and enjoy--the rest will necessarily follow. Don't be afraid to drop personal aspirations if you feel a higher calling, but make sure you're not just making excuses. Finally, respect and love your friends and family with all you've got. You may take them for granted now, but give yourself a couple months in college, in a new environment and around new people, and you'll realize that they've made you who you are today. Sincerely, Yourself P.S. Yale is flippin sweet. Just saying.


When I was a high school senior, I was studying in Beijing, China through a program called School Year Abroad. Given the chance to go back, I would reassure myself that it had been the right choice and show how adapting to a new culture, family, and educational environment prepared me to make the transition to college. At the same time, I would encourage myself to throw myself more fully into every unique opportunity that came up, both in China and in college. Since attending college, some of my most amazing experiences have come from the moments where I ignored my doubts about a situation or myself and decided just to try something new, unusual, or challenging.


Remember this: loneliness ends. And you will be lonely, leaving behind everything you knew for something that turns out not to be what you imagined. You will be lonely when you discover how strange it is on the other side of the country, with strange weather and strange fashions and stranger people. You will be lonely because there is no place like college, where buildings are crowded with people supposed to be just like you, to find out how alone you really are. But it ends. When you sit alone in the dining hall, staring at your mystery meat, remember that soon you will have friends to join you. When you tiptoe nervously into the back of your first classes, remember that by the end of the semester they will be your classmates, not simply a sea of colored swatches, eyeglasses glinting. Remember that it ends, and remember this: you can make it end. Pick up your tray, and sit down with someone else who is also eating alone. Start a study group. Everyone else is or has been as bewildered as you are, and everyone else has also been lonely. So go ahead ? end loneliness.


Be sure to try new things early on, and make as many friends as possible. Finding your footing socially is much more important the first semester than finding your footing academically. Also, take EmergenC everyday.


I would tell myself to brace himself and get ready to get down and work - have fun, but we're here to work. Indeed, to have fun while fulfilling requirements. To not procrastinate. To plan ahead. To keep a planner. To set goals for what is desired in the future, and to chart a specific course to arrive successfully at those goals - but be flexible enough for a change of plans if necessary. To remain spiritually active and not get discouraged. To seek out help when it is needed, and to not carry the world on his shoulders when others are willing to lend aid. To be happy, and by choice. To remember my parents' sacrifices in sending me there. To remember that I am accountable for what I do. To take advantage of every opportunity that can possibly be taken. To learn.


Find something that your child is really passionate about, and explore that to its fullest. The best schools, like Yale, are interested in students who are not only intelligent, but can contribute something more, something interesting, to the rest of their class.


Finding the right college is simply about persuing what one truly wants out of life. Visit as many colleges as possible and to make your decision from that. The college you choose should have the academic program that you are truly interested in, not one that you think will make you the most money. If you want to make the best of his/her time in college he/she must pursue something that they have a passion for. I learned this the hard way my first year in college. There is so much material to cover in the classes you take that if you do not have a legitimate desire to learn the information, you won't, and that is both an unenjoyalbe experience and a waste of your time and money. On a personal note, I come from a very low income family that can barely manage to make ends meet and I decided to persue theater studies. Not because I thought it would make me rich, but becuase it is what I truly have a passion for. Money exists to serve you, you do not exist to serve it. Do what you love and the rest will follow.


Pick a college that seems right for you. Sometimes the best college is that one that can offer you more, not by what ranking it has in the country or how renown the professors are. College years are the years that can make or break the rest of your life. Choose well, and remember to enjoy yourself. Work hard and study diligently. But never forget that it's your life, so pick what you think would get you the most out of your experience. Take extracurricular activities that peak your interests, even if they have nothing to do with your course of study. But know when you've overloaded yourself with work and activities. Every now and then, take a chill break, make way for some "me" time. We can't always be working at 200 percent capacity. Even superheroes need some downtime every now and then. College is supposed to an fun learning experience. MAKE it one.


I would suggest, first and foremost, to visit any and every college you are considering. Look at the architecture, have lunch there--little things like these might not seem terribly important during the searching process, but you'll be spending four years in this place and these things become a large part of your life. It also helps you get a feel for the campus culture (strictly studying, hard partying, or somewhere in between). But whether or not you can visit, don't hesitate to contact students or even professors if you have questions; usually they'll be happy to help you. In addition, don't get caught up in rankings or prestige: Choose what feels right for you. Once you're there, don't be afraid to try new things, both in and out of the classroom. Explore! That's what college is about! You'll have opportunities there that you won't have ever again. Take advantage of them. Learn Zulu, take paleontology, go out for the IM rugby team! Have fun! But not too much fun ;-) (College is also about learning time-management. ) These next four years will be some of the best of your life.


Before you apply, research colleges on their own website and not just from college books such as Fisk. Find something unique about the school that really draws you in. Once you are deciding on what college to choose, talk to students. Speaking from experience, people who love their school will talk to any high schooler about their experience and answer any of your questions. Fall in love with your school before you go and visit if at all possible. It is a good idea to go in with an idea of what you want to study in mind, but don't be afraid to take random other classes and switch your major. Joining activities is the best advice. It ges you involved in your school, gives you a place to make good friends, and upper classmen in your activity will be there to offer their own advice. If you get overwhelmed, take a study break and do something fun. College should be fun and it is what you make it.


Don't be afraid to reach higher than you think you might be able to get. There's very little harm in trying. You're already filling out other applications, so you might as well put in a little bit more effort to fill out the one to your dream school, and you never know when that application might turn out spectacularly well. Try to visit the schools you apply to to make sure that you're going to fit in well. Take your time on all your applications, and make sure you represent yourself as the person you are, not the person you think the admissions committee wants to see. Chances are they'll see through that. It doesn't matter where you go to college in the end. College is what you make of it. Have fun, but don't forget to learn. But most of all, don't let anything about college get to you. As long as you stay upbeat and keep a positive attitude about the whole experience, there's very little that can derail you on your road to graduation and life with a degree.


To some extent, shooting for the #1 school based on US News and World Report is a good goal. You are sure to get a good education, and meet interesting people. However, I truly believe that finding the right school is not as easy as looking at a ranking. Make a pros and cons list with categories ranging from study resources to social life and everything in between. Visit the campus. Stay with a friend/family member/athlete/anyone. But most of all, choose a school that will push you academically. College IS a time to have fun, and it IS a time to socialize, but after graduation, your education will lead you the next 60 years of your life--not fast you can chug a beer.


Find a school that you can see yourself being happy at. For me, I knew right after visiting the school that I eventually attended that I wanted to go there. Don't try to overthink your college decision because you'll psych yourself out, just go by what you feel.


Always remember that there is not just ONE perfect fit for you. Don't become obsessed with one school and think that if you do not get accepted you won't be happy anywhere else. Once in school, don't feel pressure to decide a major immediately, and don't feel as if your major needs to be directly tied to your career interests. More importantly don't feel tied to a certain career upon entrance. Always look to try new things (classes, social opportunities, foods) and always look to meet new people. Most of all, always be yourself. There are no more straight up "popular cliques" in college, so the desire to be popular will fade. Always know that no matter what college you pick, you will be able to find a good group of friends. This isn't high school, so instead of thinking of a class' worth based merely on a grade, think about the value of a class in terms of its ability to provoke intellectual discussion.

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