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I just have a lot to say about how this year went - I loved it!

Looking back on my freshman year at JMU, I could not be more pleased with how it went. I was apprehensive when I started last fall, nervous and unsure of what the new chapter ahead would bring, but in just a few short months I had so many incredible experiences, made lots of new friends and grew as both a student and a person. JMU locals refer to it as “The Everything School” - and for me, it is exactly that. 

From the school spirit, to the academics, the athletics, dining services, values placed on student health and well-being, to how pristine the campus is, the university does an amazing job providing the best possible college experience for its students. I had fabulous professors that I had great access to and I really loved my classes. As an art education major, there were many hands-on lessons that made it so engaging and interesting. 

I also found getting involved to be a key part of my first-year experience. There are so many clubs and organizations at JMU providing so many options for students to get involved. This year I was a member of the JMU Madison Dance Club, a member of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority and a student orientation volunteer, which all helped me expand my circle and thrive as a new student. I’m also pleased to say that I made Dean’s List my first semester and ended the year on The President’s List for academic excellence. I am so grateful to Pamela and Less College Stress for being such a valuable asset to my college application process and for helping me start my journey at this amazing institution! I am truly proud and so happy to be a JMU student - go Dukes!!!

Meredith, James Madison University, Class of 2027


My 2023 high school grads, home for the summer, are reporting back!

“My first year at the University of South Carolina surpassed all expectations. Coming into college, I was really nervous to be 12 hours from home. USC, however, made me feel so supported right away. A lot of the amazing things I experienced in my first year I attribute to going Greek. Going through Sorority Recruitment before classes even started was definitely stressful, but I believe it was one of the best decisions I ever made. My sorority immediately gave me friendly faces around campus and in classes, and it made a large school feel much smaller. I met some of my best friends through my (now) big sister, and I even traveled to California over Spring Break to see one of their hometowns. 

Something unique to South Carolina’s freshman year experience is our University 101 course, designed solely to help freshmen integrate to college. Because of the focus on friendship in this class, my peers and I got really close. Our Professor was also amazing, and invited us to her home for dinner with her family. Everywhere I went around campus I was so pleasantly surprised by the kindness and helpfulness of University staff. From peer leaders, to professors, to dining hall staff, and health center doctors, I got the sense that these people actually cared about me as a person. 

Southern hospitality is no joke. The University of South Carolina’s location also contributed to how much fun I had this past year. In Columbia, the state capital, there was always something to do - whether it was going out to dinner with friends, visiting our Saturday morning street market, going shopping in our little downtown “Five Points”, or watching a sporting event, I was never bored. 

Another amazing part of my freshman year was Gamecock Football. Coming from the North I had no idea what to expect with SEC Football. After a year of game days, I can safely say there is truly nothing like it. Families from all over the state pour into Columbia to cheer on our beloved Gamecocks. The energy of 80,000 people in Williams-Brice stadium is simply electric. Nothing brings our student body together quite like it. Although, I have to shout out our Women’s Basketball team for winning the national championship this year. And yes, I did jump in our school’s fountain to celebrate that. 

Overall, I could not have been happier or more grateful for my first year at college. I’ll be a lifelong Gamecock and I highly encourage others to do the same. Hayden, University of South Carolina, Class of 2027

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