Dear Freshman

Education, Personal Development, Professional Development

Dear Freshman,

Congratulations on being accepted into your dream school! I am sure you heard all the wonderful statistics about the benefit of going to college. In 2011, it was reported that over a lifetime, college graduates who hold bachelor’s degree make 84% more than high school graduates.

Sounds amazing but they failed to mention the reality of many students.

For some, going to college is like buying a degree. Students pay more than some of their families make in a year to attend a well known school and are not even guaranteed a job. They are reminded of the debt that they are in each time they open a bill from Sallie Mae. After spending $160,000 in four years, they are disappointed that the diploma didn’t guarantee success like they thought.

Did their reality discourage you?

If it did then college may not be for you. Everyone is not meant to attend college. In many cases, people became successful without stepping foot into a college classroom. But that is them. What will be your story?

In a perfect world, money wouldn’t be an object. If we had the power to live happily without having to worry about buying anything, who would really go to college? My guess is only the ones who strive to be educated. The ones who have a genuine thirst for knowledge, who want to master their craft and follow their passion. Classrooms would be emptier but it would be obvious who really values their education, and those who only came to college to get a healthy paycheck in the next ten years.

College is more than just a diploma. Graduation is an important asset to the college experience but the journey before that is what makes a higher education so important. When you attend college, you are planting a seed for your future. Each day that you’re on campus, you harvest your crop, in hopes that it will someday grow to become a garden. Anything worth having is worth working for and you are your own investment.

Having a degree is not enough to last in this economic crisis, as seen through the bachelor degree holders who work as cashiers. You have to be educated as well and you have to have experience. College makes you knowledgeable. It makes you cultured and independent. College makes you confident and undefeatable. But you have to have the work ethic as well. Despite how tedious or miniscule they may be, every required course is beneficial to you. An educated person is informed about more than one field. An expert knows everything about something but we are not experts as college students, that is until we get into our major classes. Many of us are just now discovering who we are, finding our likes and dislikes. So there is no way that we can be experts. We need to know how to write, read, and swim. We need to know about our government, how different chemicals react, and hey, even a little math. As colligate pupils, it is our responsibility to be intellectual scholars interested in soaking up every bit of knowledge like a wet sponge.

Potential college student, I am trying to promote college attendance by simply being honest about college. After reading this letter, maybe you will decide if college is right for you. As previously mentioned, there are statistics to prove that college graduates make more money than high school graduates but there are just as many stats about unemployment. My honesty promotes college by allowing the public to decide if they want to cherish the experience for all that it offers, or waste thousands of dollars. We should instill the importance of receiving good grades throughout school at a young age so they will have a better chance of getting scholarships. But aside from honesty, we should inform the public on all of the opportunities available for potential college students like yourself. There are many college preparation programs, such as The Talent Search Program and For the Love of Children, that many families do not know about. There are hundreds of other programs like this that help students with college applications, essays, financial aid and more. You just have to conduct research, which goes back to my demand for being an educated individual. The resources are out there, but too many people fail to utilize what is available.

When I graduate from Howard University in May 2014, I am confident that I will be leaving prepared. Howard has tested my work ethic. Since I was a kid, I always earned impeccable grades. But Howard told me that straight A’s is not enough. “What internships have you done? What organizations are you apart of? How many volunteer hours have you completed?” Academics are definitely important, but there is so much more to college than a grade. Howard has taught me the importance of learning. Set aside my GPA and let the information that I am taught marinate in my brain. These are things that I could have only learned in college. The accomplishments of my peers and the legacy of my university inspire me to always reach for greater heights. Mediocrity is unacceptable here and I am positive that this mindset will help me become successful in the future.

Remember that riches will come with persistence but college is more than just currency. Education is the true wealth of college, not the money that one thinks a diploma will bring.

Wishing you the best,

A Proud Bison

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