California State University-San Marcos Top Questions

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

Kelsey

If I could go back in time to when I was a high school senior, I would tell myself to apply to the UC system. I feel that I should be challenging myself more, and wish I could have gone somewhere else in the state to where I didn't have to live at home. However, I am content with the school I attend now for the major I am studying. I only wish I could have learned how to live on my own sooner. I have considered myself a very independent person for the most part, but one can never really know until they are on their own. I hope to share an apartment with a friend next year to get out of my parents' hair and prove I can live on my own. My younger brother will be attending a UC next year and I would love to be able to help my family by paying my own way. I owe it to the two people who have influenced me the most, paid for extracurricular activities all of my life, and ultimately have been paying my expensive loans out of pocket.

Amanda

If I were to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I might suggest taking more AP courses so I could have a chance to graduate early. Other than that, I am happy where I am now and I am happy with the choices that I have made to get here.

Marjani

I would give myself the simple advice of not forgetting who you are. Although part of college consists of experimenting with new things and learning about different people its important that we take would we learn along side our current morals and values instead of taking on a lifestyle completely different from our own. Had I known that before I think my college experience so far would of been a lot smoother.

Stephanie

I would advise myself focus on academics and not people. Most of the people I have encountered at college do not take their education seriously. They are more interested in partying and the easy way out of any assignment. So, I would tell myself to give my all no matter what anyone else thinks or says. In the end, I will reap the rewards of my effort and dedication.

kylie

That everything will all be ok and work out the way it needs to. Dont stress over the little things and keep in contact with your high school friends.

Zac

I would meet with your high school counselor, and discuss your different concerns. They helped me a lot through this whole process.

Joshua

Let your kids know its not one big party.

Megan

I would say to look carefully into every college they are considering. Look at classroom size, population, cost, campus organizations, sports, housing, food, etc. Take the time to take tours of the campus and talk to different entities on the campus to see possible places to get involved. Once you do find the school that seems to fit your personality and interests, GET INVOLVED! I am only going into my second year, but am involved in the two main entities on Campus; Orientation Team through student life and leadership and ASI (Associated Students Incorporated). It has made all the differnce. ASI is involvement and a paid position so I can pay for needed things. And Orientation Team is all volunteer, but all worth it! If the finances work out I suggest to live on campus! It is a great way to meet new people and stay connected to the campus!

Lisa

The best piece of advice that I would give to parents and students who are in the process of find the right college would be to go to a community college for the first two years! Unless you are 110% certain on your major, then go to a community college. You will receive the exact same education there than you would at a four-year university because the first two years of classes at universities are all taught by teachers aides anyways. You will save a ton of money and the community college will assist you in finding the career that fits you best. Also, if you maintain good grades while you are at a community college, then when you go to apply to universites, your chances of getting accepted increases by more than 50%. Another piece of advice that I would give to the students is to get involved in your school! Whether it be sports, clubs, honors program, or whatever. Get involved! This will help you to meet new friends which will make the transition period from living at home to living on your own that much easier!

Karen

My advice is to be realistic with yourselves. Understand your own or your student's personality and strengths or weaknesses. Try to find a school who's personality is the best fit for you. Visit schools if possible, observe students on campus and speak with them. Ask questions about professors, advising, and class availability. Hearing from students can give you a realistic idea of how long it will take to graduate. If a school's personality does not fit yours don't force it, there are lots of schools out there and college is about learning about yourself as much as it is learning about a field. As a student it is important that the decision is one you are happy with and communication is key. Even if your parents are footing the bill, remember you will be the one doing the work so be honest with yourself and them. Trust your instincts but remember that college is as much a journey as a degree is a goal. It may not be an easy journey, but when you make the right decision for yourself and you reach your goal, there will be no regrets about where you took that journey.

Melani

Find a college that emphasises the field of study that you are looking for. Visit the college to get a feel for the campus and its surroundings. If possible look for a college that will not prove to be a huge financial burden on you or your family. Ensure that the college you choose allows you to be you.

Elba

I wiil advice students and parents not to be driven by how famous and prestigious a university is. I always wanted to attend a prestigious university but there students and faculty hardly ever talk, classes are saturated and you loose the whole family concept they try to picture in brochure. At a small well equipted campus I have find all I was looking for; and education, friends not only in classmates but in faculty as well. My academic life in small campuses is just right for you to learn and not be depressed. Find a school you will become a part of it not a school where you will only be a number and a significance in what you pay them.

Kirk

Find a college that will best suite your abilities and do not worry about the name or the prestige of the college. Just make sure it has what you want and it helps you become a better person in the end.

Matthew

Go to a unversity with a great college life and one that is not a communitor school, it is so important!

Phylip

Hmm, college its what my mo told it was going to be. Probably the most important transition i've made my whole life. For parents I would simplay begin with saying trust what you have bred. Your kid, child, young adult is smart and well reaised. Be confident and supportive for they know right from wrong and if they have they'r eyes set on a specific school you should be supportive in that they are reaching beyond their comfort zones to achieve both socially and academically. PLainly support their decisions. As for students manage your time wisely. College is another level of high academia, but there is room for play when you focus and work hard, as most times call for. Preperation is key, for class, for work, essays ect. Being prepared and managing your time will ensure your college success at least 80%. Moms and Dads out there just help your kid when he/she asks because they will and when they say they dont need help they do. Students furthur more HAVE FUN BE SAFE AND REMEBER YOUR IN COLLEGE TO LEARN, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL THE LEARNING YOU CAN.

Tiffany

First of all, I would advise all parents and/or students to visit the campuses they have applied to. You must be comfortable with the overall "feel" of the campus. Visit during school hours so you can really observe the students, the attitude, the cafeteria, the classrooms, the library and the admin staff. The admissions recruiters should be helpful and friendly and cater to all of your questions. If you feel as though you're not getting the attention you deserve as a prospective student DO NOT be afraid to look elsewhere. Also, don't be afraid to talk to students on campus during your visit, most of the time students are very forthcoming about the academic and student life at the schools. Once you decide on a school just remember that you are PAYING to be there. Have a good time, but be responsible and make the most of your tuition dollars. All it really takes to earn high grades is showing up to class and completing the work on time. There is plenty of time for fun and friends later, just use your college years to focus on yourself and expanding your education, you wont regret it.

Whitney

Starting off at a junior college is not always the most exciting or fulfilling experience, but it definitely allows young students to realize where their interests really lay. Transferring to Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) from a two-year community college gave me the focus and drive to do the best I can in my major coursework. And, although CSUSM was not my first choice of colleges, I have been able to connect with many other students and participate socially and academically more than I did in high school. The important thing is not to let your expectations weigh you down and sour a genuinely good and valuable experience.

David

For parents and students starting their search into the world of academia, selecting potential schools can be quite difficult. My experience has taught me, and I would recommend, choosing a school based on the strength of the department of interest. If the student is interested in business, the schools selected should all have strong business programs, and additionally, strong job placement programs. Many students graduate thinking a job will just appear for them after getting a degree and that is not the case. Students will need to make sure any potential school is cohesive to their lifestyle, social setting, and career goals. The last piece of advice I would offer to anyone starting a search for colleges is to choose a school that is withing their budget constraints. Schools are very willing to offer aid, but it comes at a price. Think realisitically about the affordability of any school and decide whether or not financial aid is worth the liability, although it can allow students to have excellent opportunities to study at top universities. GOOD LUCK!

cristina

College should be chosen based on the similarities of an individual. It shouldn't be chosen based on reputations, sports, or social life, rather, the educational experience one may encounter. College is the time to find yourself as an indivdual based on the information you learn at school. Although the extra curricular activities make life interesting, college should be looked at as a special gift, for some may never get to experience collge and all it has to offfer. Persoanally, i found collge rewarding because i was able to grown spirtitually and mentally, given the resources to become a better individual. College expands ones way of thinking and gives the value of appreciation, onves given if only able to see and be willing to work hard for.

Catherine

start your research early. never rely on your advisors word as the final option or the TRUTH. double and sometimes triple check what you hear. Seek out internships, develop relationships with professors. Keep all of the papers you write because sometimes they can be "recycled" pick the college location where you would eventually like to start your life that is because you go to the job fairs and have the massive job interviews near the campus you will be graduating from. engage in campus likfe early, those networks and connections will help you in the future.

Tony

Visit the campus first, while school is in session and also while class is not in session. Ask around about the campus, as students how they feel about the campus, talk to professors or administrators, research the location and the neighborhoods or surrounding areas.

Carmen

Focus on academic and collegiate experience goals. Choose the school with a strong academic and career-oriented program for your chosen major. Consider campus safety, environment, and services available. For freshmen, consider living in campus housing for a great experience!

Heather

Make sure you have contacts for a job before you leave campus. Make friends with the people graduating the year before you in your program, because they might have job contacts you need later.

Chelsea

Make sure to visit every college and find where you feel comfortable. I think it is really important to feel comfort as soon as you walk on the campus, considering college is one of the most exciting yet biggest change in anyone's life. Moving away from everything you have known your whole life is hard so a place where you feel like you belong is very important. Also involvement is key to any student going on to college. I have been on both sides of the involvement spectrum and being involved has changed my whole college experience, for the better. Being involved allows for moe opportunities that are key to success like, friends, networking, fun, support and encouragement and just memories! All the people who have fun stories from college were stories that they have because they were involved in something. It's the begining of the journey of finding yourself, put yourself out there and be confident in who you are and what you can do and you become very surprised at what you can accomplish.

Ashley

Choose what it is your interested in. Then find a school that can offer that. Whether it be living in a large city, small town, a commuter school close to home, inexpensive, small, big, sports teams, frats or sororities, on campus living, party, study, in and out in 4 years. What college experience do you want to have?...its all out there.

Brendan

visit the college first even if you think it is the right choice in the first place, the visit will either confirm your choise or change it for the the better

Giana

Visit the campus during a time when students are there, walk around the campus and talk to other students.

Dana

I would first of all advise students to not let friends influence their decision. Wanting to be close to friends and family could possibly get in the way of the student attending the college that will truly make them happy. Secondly, I would advise parents to not discourage a college a student is truly passionate about because that is where they will do best. As far as making the most of the college experience goes, I would advise students to not go home too often. From the first day, they should break down their barriers and begin meeting new people. The most important thing to remember is that no matter who you were in primary and secondary school, college is a chance to be a new you and erase any characteristics about yourself you wished to change in high school. Lastly, if something is calling a student, be it a place or a major, they should follow it because that is the only way they will ever be truly happy and successful.

Brian

Attend a J.C. for your GE requirements, then transfer. Work and go to school, makes you grow up faster and you are more grateful. Don't procrastinate to get your education. Manage your time and get your degree in what you want, not what everyone wants you to get it in. Repect each other and respect yourself!

Laurie

When you are in high school, you tend to not apply to schools because you think you won't get it, or because you don't want to pay the application fees. My advice would be to apply to all schools you are interested in and could see yourself at, even if you spend a few hundred dollars on application fees. School already costs thousands of dollars, but you can't get in to that school that will cost you thousands unless you apply. You never know if you will be chosen, if if you think you don't have a high enough GPA or enough community service. You can't get in to a university unless you apply. You want to be able to have all the possible choices available to you so you will make the right decision and be able to enjoy your college years learning and developing to get to where you want to be in life.

Tran

Take a tour of the campus before saying yes. Pictures are decieving.

Freddy

If you can do it, do it cheap.

brianna

Get involved with the school activites as much as possible, joining the track and field team has been a wonderful experience and has kept me focused

Cody

Do you research. College is a decision that changes your life. Know your school, the pros and cons, and be prepared to work toward your future.

Sean

Don't be afraid to step out of the box, try new things... and participate as much as possible. You will only get out what you put in. College is a once in a lifetime opportunity, have fun while you're there. Study, study, study!

Christa

Make sure that you visit the campus and get a look at the type of students that go there. You should be able to get a vibe just from the campus and students. Also, look to see what majors your school is strongest in and make sure yours is one of them. Looking at a list of clubs on campus will help you expand your social networks.

Lauren

Trust your childs intuition. They don't know what they are getting themselves into but that is the best part about growing up. And what better a place to discover yourself on your own then college. No matter what school they choose or plan on choosing the important thing is they are continuing their education and in the process grow into an adult.

Gabriel

Students should keep their options open and not just choose a college based on where their friends are going but rather where they can see themselves spending the next four years of their life and which college will fulfill their needs both socially and academically. Ultimately the choice of a college must lie with the student because the student can only make the most of their college experience if the student is willing to invest their time into the college both at the social and academic events. If a student does want to make the most of their college experience they must be willing to get involved with their unviersity and occasionally be willing to step out of their comfort zones because college is the one time in a person's life where they can try on different hats that they weren't able to do in high school. The keys to a good college experience is getting involved and staying organized.

Sarah

Visit the college more than once! Once on the weekend and once on the weekday. And go to some sort of campus event if you're looking for more of the active, involved campus lifestyle. Sporting games, rallys, anything. There will be flyers all around campus for activities. GO TO ONE.

Hannah

To parents: let your child pick the college that they want to go to. My father picked the college that I had to go to - I had no choice. This only made me have a negative feeling toward my college, but luckily it turns out that I like it. This case might not be the same for others. Let your children pick the college of their choice - it is their life after all. You can only guide them in so many aspects - let them choose!

Nicholas

I would advise to at least answer the following questions to yourself when starting college: Is the college you want to go to close to home? Is it financially affordable? Does it meet your academic needs? It is suitable for you in terms of off campus living (retail stores, etc.)? If there comes a time that you indeed are not happy at the college you first attend, re-evaluate your needs and how thing are progressing for you academically. Get involved with an on campus group, whether it be on a sports team or in a fraternity/sorority group. Making friends around you will definately make college life easier.

Saul

In order to find the right college and make the most of the college experience, it will take a great deal of effort from the student and an alert parent to allow for the student to make a wise choice of what institute to attend. I would advise for the student to be involved in the high school AVID program so that they can have the advantage of having the information about institutions requirements and atmospheric life. The student should start visiting institutions by junior year to get a feel for what location fits best for the students. The student needs to figure out what grades its going to take to attend the dream institution and which institution will be best choice for the choice of major to study. Parents can help by visiting with the student the institutions so that they can also have a picture of what and where their child will be pursuing their future studies. The parent and student should also make appointments with a counselor at the institutions to view a tangible road map of what the college experience is going to consist of.

Wesley

No advice. Go visit every campus in person during a weekday during school hours to see what it is like. Join clubs, get involved.

Christopher

The best advice that I can give is that almost nothing that you experienced in high school will prepare you for college. It is an entirely different experience altogether. Never be afraid to ask a question if you don't understand something. Chances are there are a few other people who have the same question as you. Keep up with the readings. Do the homework, even if it is not being graded. Make friends with people in the class; form study groups. Trust me; study groups will be your biggest friend. If you can get tutoring help on campus, take advantage of it. Your grades will increase. The second best piece of advice that I can give is to choose the school where you think you will be the most happy. I chose a school that was very prestigious, but I was not happy there. I ended up leaving that school for another, less prestigious school. It may not look quite as impressive on my resume, but I am happy and my grades reflect that.

Muenge

One advice I would give to parents and/or students about the right college is let the students pick the right college for themselves. If it's not the college they prefer then it will be hard for them to have most postive college exprience from it. The only thing a parents can do is to give them alternative choices of schools, but ultimately the student should decide which college to attend. The parents are there to guide their children/s to their choice of school to attend. ATTEND SCHOOL TOURS, parents and future students.

Jaime

Definately visit the college and stay there for a couple of days before making a final decision.

Tawni

have fun, meet as many people as possible, be very open minded

Nathaniel

Look for a school that is a fit for both the parents and the students. Be sure the academic environment is something you are willign to associate yourself with. Get involved as much as possible, soak it up and don't let anything pass you by.

Mark

College is an important step in shaping lives. The manor in which you go about college and how seriously you take it will follow throughout your life. It is therefore important to put as much effort into college as you expect to get out of life. This takes a great deal of motivation and the only way to stay motivated in college is to pick a major that you are interested in. Remember, whichever major you choose will mold you and give you skills for life and any future career. It really does go a long way to determining if you will be happy with your career, and therefore your working years after college. Once you have your degree, no one looks at how long it took, so take your time to pick a degree you enjoy and that is suited to you. Also, take your time to complete this degree with your best possible work. If this means taking more time and learning the material more thoroughly, that is important. College is your opportunity to give yourself the best chance to follow your dreams, so choose wisely.

Amy

College can be a tough transition. A good way to make it easier is joining clubs that you find interest in. There are many opportunities out there for students if they want it. I tried joining organizations such as Greek Life and Sports clubs (volleyball and wakeboarding). Still I learned more through my study abroad experience. I strongly advise students to look into a study abroad program. It opened my eyes to a new way of learning. I remember my first time in the Global Affairs Office, I had so many questions and the staff was friendly and knowledgeable on the steps I had to take. After I completed my year abroad I came back to my university and felt I had an advantage over others. I was able to take a glance at the world around me and apply it to research projects by bringing in outside ideas. Advice to parents is to always keep a supportive outlook. I have established a great relationship with my parents from being abroad. They understand me better because I know myself better, which is exactly what a good college education should accomplish.