California State University-Northridge Top Questions

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


The first thing I would tell myself is "Do not take a break between high school and college!" Fortunately, I've always done well in school, but by the time I was a senior, I was dying to be done with school altogether. I didn't even take my SATs, nor did I apply to any colleges. My plan was to take a break, go to community college for a little while, then transfer to CSUN. It took me 10 years to finally make that transfer to CSUN! Although my first piece of advice is extremely important, this next piece of advice beats it hands down. I would have told my younger self to not be afraid to fail at school. I would have told myself that it was ok to fail, and it happens to everyone at some poiint of another in life. I would have told myself that I would still be alive if I did fail, and that as long as I was still alive, I would have the chance to make it right, to fix it, to succeed.


Dont drop out.


If I could go back and give myself advice about college, I would narrow it down to two things. First, I would say to go in with an open mind and do not be afraid to try new things and become a new person. To break out of my shell and explore what college and life has to offer, and to not let fear hold me back. Second would be to get more involved with activities on campus and branch out to make more friends. Although my school was not my first pick, there are some great people who attend this school, so take the time to get to know them.


The best advice I can give myself if I went back in time was to volunteer more. In addition, to participating in extracurricular activities, sports, summer camps, college preparation clubs and organizations. Especially taking my senior year, English course with our principal instead of choosing another professor and have gotten a letter of recommendation. I would also encourage myself to asking for a letter of recommendation from our vice principal since I was her assistant during sixth period.


As I materialize from my time machine, which surprisingly will be an app on the iPhone 7, I approach my high school self who is head bopping to a Green Day CD on a yellow discman. The younger me glimpses the older me between head bops.YOUNGER ME: Whoa! What the…OLDER ME: Don’t freak out, I’m just you from the future and I need you to listen. I only get 200 words and I already used 78. First, you often think you should write down your thoughts in a journal but never do. Start doing that now! You’ll look back on your high school and college journal entries and appreciate the insightful, hilarious, painful, motivating, and priceless inner workings of your development. Second, have trust and confidence in your instincts. They haven’t failed you yet. The only thing that limits you from accomplishing grand ideas is your own belief that you can do them. Lastly, paddle hard with a fearless heart because the victory is in the effort not the results. Enjoy the ride. The unknown is the ride. The ride is life. Older me vanishes. Younger me immediately writes down what just happened.


I have proudly finished my first semester of my second year at a California State University. I am a full-fledged college student and not some wide-eyed and slightly terrified freshman anymore. As I have reached my second year into university life, I have two fitting pieces of advice for my high school senior self. Very useful pieces of advice numbers one and two: “Going to a college that may not have been your first or second choice is not the worst that could happen and learn to take your new college experience as an opportunity to leave toxic and unbeneficial relationships behind.” I had hopes of getting into a UC or private school, and I got into both, but circumstances come up in which other choices needed to be made. The other choices that I had made have challenged me every day since and I couldn’t be more grateful for them in the ways that they have made me grow into who I am becoming. It just so happens, that this process of growth includes combing through old and new bad-friendships which would be easier for you if you choose to leave the old ones behind.


Dear Sarah, Coming from a low income housesold, where both parents did not attend college, is pretty tough. While you watched all those other kids who had the means and tutors help, you slowly gave up to the idea, that attending college is not a big deal as ong as there is a degree. Having the knowledge that I have now, after attending college, I get mad at myself. You should have worked harder, put in that little extra effort because later on you are to find out that money is not an impossible challenge to overcome. There are so many scholarships out there that can help if you have the grades. While you do have good grades, you could have aimed higher so you would not be stuck on the edge of good and excellent. Research and knowledge are the most important things to obtain, whenever in doubt you should ask, instead of shrugging off the opportunities you could have had. Don't give up, Sarah, just because you have it harder than those kids who can afford college. Embrace the fact that you are smart and are able to achieve what all those other kids needed tutors for.


As a high school senior, there were a number of things I could have done differently. If I could go back in time and speak to my previous self, I would tell her to keep her mentality open to new ideas and people and to not be scared to do what she wants to do. I would also suggest that she waits a year before solidifying her major, mostly because it's hard to decide what to be for the rest of your life at the ages of 17-18. I would tell her to explore.


During senior year, I felt that I had made many mistkes during my previous years in high school. I did not think I had the chance to attend a 4 year university. If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would give myself hope. Hope thaat I could do anything I wanted to do. I would tell myself that it would not be an easy journey, but I know I could do it because of how determined I am. I would give myself the confidence that I could go to a 4 year university and make it. I would give myslf the strength to believe in myself and not be discouraged by what my high school is telling me that I cannot do. I would tell myself not to give up and not to feel like I cannot do anything.


If I had the chance to go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would truly change my ways in school and in life. Coming from Central American parents, I never had someone to motivate me and teach me ways of bieng a good student. As I entered college, I realized I was only blind in high school. I thought I would never reach my dreams and goals that I wanted to accomplish. The one advice I would give myself as a High school Senior is to work hard every second, every minute, every hour, because thier is not one dream and goal in this life that someone can stop you from reaching. I accomplished to finish high school and attend a 4 year university. If I had this state of mind in High school, I would of accomplished more things than what I am accomplishing now. Its better to work hard now, than suffer later.


I would tell my self to apply to every scholorship i can find and to focuse in school. i would also tell my self to be more confident in public speeking and to get used to classes that are packed and to ask more frequent questions. to get to know your teacher and have a plan and know what classes to start off with and what classes would follow. and to memorize the campuse


After living on my own for a year and even almost a whole summer I have matured greatly. I never realized how much free time I had in the past until now. When I was in high school I wasted a lot of that time, doing things I can't even reflect on and say I was being productive. I would go back to myself as a high school senior and tell myself to apply to as many scholarships as possible, and to not hesitate to apply to any of them. Too many times in the past have I told myself I would finish something, then end up not finishing that thing at all. There was so much avaliable for me as a high school senior. There were so many opportunities to get extra money for college that I threw away. I thank God for good people and organizations like this that make it possible for students to get financial aid. I would tell my past self about this and many scholarship competitions, essays and databases. The internet is endless and I am learning so much on my own than I did in high school.


I would give myself the advice to be open minded about everything because everyone has different opinions and beliefs.


I would say, "Charlotte, you are young. You are 16 and graduating from high school. Go to East Los Angeles College, Pasadena City College is too far right now, especially since you don't drive. I know the waterpolo coach promised he could get you classes; he can't. Go to ELAC and relax, you will grow to love it. Despite your thoughts now, you will get a quality education at ELAC. Take sign language with Dr. Garcia; you will fall in love with the language. Also, you are making the right decision getting your AA degrees and skills certificates there. It may take a few months longer than you expect, but it will be worth it. When you graduate from ELAC, don't sell yourself short. Explore your options. CSUN is highly impacted, and you are going to want to change schools. If you have to go out-of-state, do it. Don't let cost hold you back. The transition will be difficult, you will struggle, but you will not regret it. Stay motivated. Stay eager. Stay dedicated. Stay positive, and never be afraid to be yourself."


If I could go back in time to my highschool senior self, I'd tell myself to lose all the fear of making mistakes, of not being myself, of always being a quiet person. I have learned that if I want to be successful and to get the things I want I have to be persistent, I have to show that I am passionate for the things I want. I would tell myself to always apply for scholarships and never give up, to enjoy my senior year but to also do my best and become more involved in school activities. I think If I did these things I'd have a wider professional network for a job in my career and field of study. As well as not to spend so much time wasting it on social conventions that bring me no joy, and to cherish the time i have with my friends and family, because in the end they're what matter most.


The best advice I could give myself would be not to panic. Sure, obtaining a degree and finding your path in life is important, but constantly worrying about failure isn't worth it. Being in college is not just one of the most rewarding experiences you encounter in life, it's also one of the few moments you'll ever have to be you. I'm not saying to go crazy and forget about why you're continuing your education, but don't panic. A hard class is only as hard as you make it. A difficult professor is only as frustrating as you allow them to be. You're in college to figuring out how you'll change the world not to emerge anxious and overwhelmed with no more than a peice of paper. No, break free with knowledge and experience; with memories and an understanding that in avoiding panic you will not only do great things in life, but that you enjoyed the journey to greatness.


If I could go back to Senior year of High School and start college all over I would tell myself i need to work on time management. Freshman year of college for me was very difficult becuase I didn't know how to time manage. At the time I was working 2 jobs and living in the dorms where I had a number of friends that always wanted to hang out. Everyone is so excited about this new freedom that they just want to hang out and party, which was had for me to adjust to. Time management is very important because it helps you with prioritizing what is important and making sure you get stuff done before you go out and enjoy yourself.


I'd tell myself to not procrastinate and study hard for your test. Also to get involved on campus as much as possible and to not think of giving up because dreams do come true. Just taking one step forward makes a huge different in coming closer to your dreams. Also to not secound guess ourself, if it feels right give it a try because you never know what may happen and that it ok to take a little risk.




I would definitely tell myself that the critical thinking and cognitive skills you absorb in college will stay with you for a lifetime. I will also remind myself how having a college degree is all the time more important in the job market of this era and advise myself. Consequently, having a degree will open doors for the future, which will in turn open more doors and make me more marketable later ... and the cycle continues. In addition to the financial resources I’ll tell myself how I will have access through your higher income, as well as have resources in all kinds of unpredicted and imperceptible ways. Like my roommate from freshman year who is now an attorney, my friend from chemistry class who is now a physician, and the person I encountered at the alumni mixer who may offer me a job in the future are the kinds of benefits and resources that I would be so anxious to tell myself about and that can make all the difference in the world.


You need to take advantage of more opportunities. Reach out to the community more and offer to volunteer at places you may have never thought of. Community college courses are offered for free to high school students so take as many as you can. Every class you take will take a load off of your university curriculum and save you money as well. You also need to study harder. Every class in high school will count towards your chances of being accepted into college.


As a high school student, I was always very quiet, shy, and kept to myself. I didn’t have friends or anyone I could really talk to. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school when I finally made a friend. I never tried to put myself “out there” or go out of my comfort zone. I always wanted to show people who I was, share my thoughts and opinions, and make people laugh, but I always feared what people would think of me. The advice I would give to my high school senior self, is to just be yourself and don’t be afraid to show people who you are. It’s all about expressing yourself from the inside, out. People do care about you and are interested in getting to know you. Also, college students are more concerned about who you are rather than if you “fit in.” Lastly, make the choices that you want. Don’t let the opinions of others dissuade you from making the choices that you want or the choices that will take your life in the direction you want it to go.


I would tell myself to apply harder in school, become more involved in your classes, ask for help, and never stop trying. I know it is hard right now. You are busy with art, choir, friends, and your meaningless relationship but none of that will benifit you in the future. Those friends will eventually leave, your meaningless relationship is going to fail, choir is only temperary, and you will always have art in your heart. School is extremely important. It is the building blocks of your future. I recommend you to stay focused on your work more than play. It sucks being stuck in a community college, when there are thousands of universaties calling for you. I advise you to ask for help when needed. Don't be ashamed of asking.


I would have never waited until I was older. Life is busy with my cancer, my kids, and an aging parent!! I came to school now before I became even more expensive!!


The most important advice I could give my high school self would be to STUDY! I would tell myself that high school is a blessing, and it will never be this easy. Forget the trends, and the popular crowds, and focus on the school work because that is what truly matters in the end. I would also advice myself to confide more in the teachers and ask more questions when not understanding certain material. Math and Chemistry are super easy compared to college level, and English is your best friend. Most importantly, acquiring good study habits in high school will truly help when moving on to a higher education, and it will make an easier transition.


I would tell myself to work my butt off now and the reward later will be great. My favorite quote is from Dave Ramsey "You must live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later." If I would have put all my effort into being a successful student in high school I would have been automatically accepted into the university of my choice (the University of Texas at Austin) and I would not have had to go to a community college and have to wait to transfer into my dream school. Although this was not the "ideal" way for me to start my college career it has made me work my butt off to accomplish my life long goal of attending the University of Texas at Austin and become a life-time Longhorn!


Dear Gabriela, This is future Gaby. Im sitting in your best friend Dre's room with your new college friends. and Resident Advisor, these are the coolest people. I have some advice for you. Apply for scholarships, as much as possible! You have no idea how expensive college can be. The best advice I can give you is to NOT rush for a sorority!!!! That will be the best advice ever. Do NOT rush or pledge. Get involved with student government, TAKE 26 (new student orientation play), and community service club called Unified We Serve. This is the absolute best advice ever plus, dump Angel he ends up screwing up, do not let him influence you to go to CSULA instead of CSUN. You'll love CSUN so go!


The only advice I would give myself would be to be more outgoing. With this keyword, my college experience would have been more different so far. I mean to be outgoing in the sense of not being shy nor conscieous of my own beliefs or speaking my own mind or simply to be apart of a club. Being shy held me back not only in the social view, but in an educational sense as well. I was always afraid to speak to professors or even to peers in my own class. Fortunately, i have left that trait behind and try to be more open with charity to others.


Linda, don't listen to what others say about failing or not being able to succeed in any of your dreams. You will never know until you try. You can do what ever you put your mind to. You have to do what you want to do to make yourself happy. It is really important to take the first step , then keep focused on what you want to accomplish in life. There may be a few obsticals on the way but just keep trying. The only way you will fail is if you don't take the first step or if you quit before you accomplish your goal. So Linda, it's up to you. Follow your dreams! You can go anywhere or be anything you want if you try!


Study harder. Get your education before getting married and having a family; it's just easier that way. Do choose the medical field and at least get a bachelors degree. Work for a year or two , then persue a masters and specialize as a nurse practioner or physicians assistant. Go to college after high school, working full time and going to college is tough. Going right after high school , would be easier. Work study or a part time job. Enjoy college life, study. Make sure you have a job in your field on graduation and be further ahead financually after graduation. Money may not be everything, but you go to ollege to improve your prospects as well as improve the world.


The most important advice I would give myself is be involved. The mistake that I commited was not becoming super involved in organizations and clubs early on as a freshman. This extra activities really make the college experience worth wild and much more memorable. This also adds on to resume's which is something very important for grad school. Another Important advice I would give myself is to have an open mind. college is filled with diversity and new ideas that help shape us and it it important to be open to new ideas.


Transistioning from high school to College is not as scary as you think it is going to be. There are so many resources and friendly people that are there to help you complete the degree in the time you need. Stop worrying about what you are going to be in the future, you have a a semester or two to test the waters and enjoy yourself. The main thing to do those first years, enjoy your time. Pick classes that you want to learn about. You might just find out what you are most passionate about. Making friends is easy, once you are away from the drama of high school. Again, enjoy your time in college, find what makes you happy, and remember it is the pursuit of happiness that is the dream. One day you will look back on your college experience fondly. You should always push for education and higher learning, after all it will eventually become your life.


Making the transition into a college student can be difficult. Knowing what I know now about college life I would research more on scholarships and how I can manage my finiacial aid money. I would also have worked a part time job within the school. Going in to school I thought that I did not have time to work because I was a full time student. I would also get more involved with different organizations on campus and start to network with proffesors and other important staff members. Knowing them will come in handy when you need some type of educational references for a job that you are applying for.


If I were able to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself a few things. I would tell myself that when you first get into college, seeing that you are surrounded by a new environment and people, it can be a scary experience. Be prepared to learn how to live away from your parents, which at times can be hard because you start to miss them. Giving them a phone call every day can help with being homesick. Even visiting on the weekends can make things a lot better. When it comes to classes, make sure you ALWAYS attend them no matter what. Missing classes can cause a lot of missed information needed to pass the class. Try not to fail any classes because it sets you back a little from where you should be. Don't worry about trying to party all the time. Worry about finishing homework and party later because you'll always find time for that. Just do your best and don't stress too much and know that as you experience college, you'll learn to transition and do things different each year you progress.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior there are several pieces of advice I would give myself. First, I would advice myself to improve my study habits. Good study habits are extremely essential in being a successful college student, which I definitely had to learn the hard way during my undergraduate career. Second, I would advice myself to practice note taking skills. As a college student, note taking is essential during lectures so that you can prepare for any quizzes, exams, or finals. Finally, I would advice myself to explore different careers that are not very commonly known.


Making the transition to college life from high school is exciting. Getting information about the resources the school provides for student is key. Learning different ways how to better utilies my skills and applying them to my full advantage will create a path of success. Keeping open minded and participating in organization in school and building realtionships with other students is great networking. Being envolved in school activities and staying open for options can narrow my way to the right path I want to take for the career that will best fit me. Staying connected with my professors and applying my skills can take me far and appriciate my accomplishments.


Never get discouraged, always strive for the best and never settle for less or the bare minimum. Also, start saving for college way sooner.


There are two major pieces of advice I would have given myself. First is to start studying and understanding my major/ career choice on my own. During the school year and summer before college I had ample free time that I misused. If I would have taken at least an hour a day to study and research about my career in depth I believe I would have had a slight advantage in my studies at my college. Also along with studying I would have told myself to get in contact with students I knew at my college that would have helped me get ahead in my studies.My second advice to myself would have been to apply and complete more scholarships essays. Doing scholarship essay can be tedious and boring which is why I didn’t do any in high school. What I did not realize is it really helped with the things you don’t think of such as textbooks, school supplies, and transportation expenses. Even if I applied for ten small scholarships collectively they would have been a great help. I wish I had this advice in advance but the experience motivate me to chance myself.


Going back to the 2007 Brooke, I would tell myself to take my time and that education isn't supposed to be a rushed experience. Do what you need to do to figure out what your dreams and goals are before you dive into a 2/4 year degree path. After school you have the rest of your life to work and climb the corporate ladder. Utilize the classroom experiences and make all the mistakes in that environment because out in the real world people aren't as nurishing or open to professional industry feedback. Chase and catch your dreams!


As a high school senior, I was unaware of the challenge college was. I was not used to reading extensive articles about topics I did not understand and took little interest in. Reading, I realized now, is a big part of the college learning proccess. I would tell my high school senior self to be more open-minded and venture into topics not as appealing to me. College classrooms are on the other side of the spectrum compared to high school classrooms. Usually, in high school you see familiar faces every day and are used to the routine of going to class, lunch and go home. Now you have to be able to create your own schedule and balance your time between school without fully sacrificing your social life. Being independent is a big part of the transition between high school to college. The biggest piece of advice to give my high school senior self is to find yourself and learn to accept who you are. Independence is scary but practice makes perfect. The more you are used to and comfortable with being on your own the easier college life will be.


If I could go back in time and talk to my high school self, I would first tell her to stop panicking about the big decision she made in choosing CSUN. She will quickly find out that she made the right decision and will not regret it. Further, I would tell her that when she finally got to college to enjoy every minute, there were times in my freshman and sophomore years that I let the stress get to me and I would forget to enjoy the opportunities that were offered to me on campus; such as various ways to relieve stress or enjoy time with friends. Another big thing that I would tell my former self it to make connections both with professors and other students. I found that college was a great opportunity to make friends, but it took me a while to gain the confidence to just talk with people. The connections that you make early on in college are those that can stay with you throughout your college career and beyond. Also, it is just as important to connect with professors early and build relationships that can lead to research opportunities and references later on.


Don't sell yourself short! Know your capabilities and understand your weaknesses. Work hard to get better, and things will fall into place. Don't be afraid to be aggressive, but always be polite. Your professor now may be your advisor (or colleague!) in years to come, so always treat others with respect.


As a high school senior, I was the student who was had all the popularity and played all the sports. My head was more focused on sports, rather than school. If I had a problem with my academics, I would ignore the problem and ask for no assistance from the teacher or other classmates. If I could go back I time, I would tell my senior self that sports in not everything. It might get me a scholarship to go to school, but I still need to have good grades in order to participate on the team. I would also inform myself that the problems I have with my academics are not going to get fixed on their own. I must learn to talk to the teachers and ask for help because the teachers are not going to approach me on their own. In college, classmates can also act as a teacher, so I would tell myself that meeting people the first day of class, could help me in the long run.


If i could go back in time to give advice to my high school self I would tell myself to keep doing what im doing. Never give up and keep moving forward because in the end it will all be worth it. Every struggle, and every obstacle will only make you stronger tomorrow. Nothing in life is free, you must fight for what you want and no matter how hard it gets just remember that there is always a rainbow after the rain. Good things dont come to those who wait, good things come to those who work hard for it. I would tell myself dont give up because greatness is within eyesight. Keep succeeding academically and dont let anyone tell you that "you cant make it", because you can. College will be some of the greatest years of your life, so enjoy it. Live it up, socialize, make friends, participate and speak up, but most importantly always stay focused. Greatness can be yours, all you have to do is grab hold of it and dont let go.


I would tell myself to apply to all of the colleges that I could think of. Community college isn't the way to go. That sinking feeling of not knowing what you were going to do with your life that you felt in government, follows you everywhere because you can't get out of community college without 60 units, so you'll end up taking a bunch of pointless classes till you can get there. I would tell myself to concentrate more on my classes, and raise my GPA as much as possible. Enjoy the time with the people that you are friends with in your classes, because you barely speak to them after graduation. I would also tell myself to thank all of the teachers that made an impact on your time in high school, because not only will they appreciate it, but you will feel great about thanking them. Finally, i would tell myself that while there are a ton of people that may not like you, you'll move on, and they will never matter again, so enjoy the time you have.


Believe in youself. Do not let other people put you down and crush your dreams


If I could go back and impart knowledge on my senior-self, I would tell myself to look at more colleges than just one. I would tell myself to shop around more and look at multiple careers that interest me. I ended up switching what I wanted my major to be halfway through my senior year. I would tell myself to start applying early, work harder at my grades, and try to earn as much money as possible in order finance my education. I guess I would just tell myself over all to make everything count. You cannot go back and get a do over. You need to make the most of the time you are in to make it count for the future. College is about having a good education but it is also about finding yourself. I would tell myself to be open to opportunities that come my way.


As a 3rd year college student, I have learned a lot of things that I wish I'd known when I was still in high school. Most importantly, I would tell myself that it is extremely important to do well in high school. As a high school student, there were many resources available to help me get into any college that I wanted, but I was not focused enough on school. I would tell myself to learn and implement scheduling by whatever means necessary. Had I've been more organized when starting college, I might have gotten better grades and not had to repeat courses. I would also figure out what my learning style is, whether audio, visual, kinesthetic, etc., knowing how you learn is important in being successful in classes. I would also have communicated more with my professors. Now in my college career I need letters of recommendations and because I didn't get familiar with my professors, they have a hard time writing letters for me because they don't really know me. I feel that had I've known to do all of these things I would've had an even more successful college career.


If i could go back in time and talk to myself about making the transition from high school to college i would have advised myself to get a job during the summer. Attending college is very expensive especially since i live in the dorms. If i would have gotten a job for the summer i would have had money saved up and wouldnt have had to struggle with housing payments.


I would tell myself to work harder in high school and that I need to study more and pay attention more in my classes so that it would help with my college classes. I also would tell myself to save as much as I could because college is very expensive especially books and that college would be so much better if I was not always worried about money and about paying for books. The transition into college is not as hard as you think, the hard part is moving states away to go to college. If I would of known as a high school senior all the stuff I have learned about college life I would of prepared myself for college a little more.