Tag Archives: academic preparation

New School, New Surroundings: Now What?

Every year CSUN welcomes thousands of freshmen. These first time students come from various backgrounds and different communities. According to the College Atlas, nationwide, at least 30 percent of these first time college students drop out after their first year.

CSUN students are required to take a class called University 100, which is a course dedicated to the freshman journey and preparing new college students for success.

“No one knows if they need the class or not, so I think it benefits everybody [to take it],” University 100 professor Dinah Nucum said.

Other groups guiding freshmen at CSUN include the Educational Opportunity Program, and the Office of Student Involvement and Development. They work with first-year students and first generation students, not only academically but socially.

The Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) designs, administers and supports programs that deliver access and retention services to students. EOP provides services to low income first generation students such as mentoring, student engagement, and financial support if necessary. They also offer a bridge program for incoming freshmen to help with the transition to campus life. The bridge program consists of a six week period during which students take classes at the university over the summer, before their first fall semester.

“EOP itself is a student initiative program,” Glenn Omatsu, CSUN Professor and EOP Faculty Mentor Program Coordinator said. “Students fought for this program. Many of the practices that we do actually have been engineered by students themselves. Our population is first generation college students, and they realized that students need to transition.”

“They don’t know what to expect from the university,” Gabrielle Danis, Program Coordinator in Student Involvement and Development, said.  “They haven’t been briefed by their parents, by their loved ones, by their guardians, about what it is to be at an institution. That’s what both of our programs really aim to do, is to help students transition, and make it a more comfortable environment for them: one that they can navigate; one that they feel confident in continuing their academic, social, and cultural success.”

With the help that these programs provide, Omatsu and Danis said they hope students ultimately become aware of the resources provided for them at CSUN and how to use them.

“It’s interesting,” Omatsu said, “because the university is set up in such a way that it tells the students what the resources are, but we found that we have to take an additional step with first generation college students, which is actually show students how to use the resource. Our mentors actually help the students within our community with understanding not only what the resource is, but how to use it as well.”

“That’s the mission of the CSUN mentorship program,” Danis said, “to assist students, and to retain them from the first to second year, because that’s where we see most of our drop-off unfortunately. We want to make sure that those students are as supported as possible, and we think that a lot of it could be that they just do not know how to use the resources here, or they don’t know what type of support systems are available to them. And just like Professor Omatsu said, it is our responsibility to teach them that.”

Moderator: Lauren Turner Dunn

Producer: Haley Spellman

Anchor: Cammeron Parrish

Social Media Editors: Jacob Gonzalez and Heatherann Wagner

Reporters: Jacob Gonzalez, Katherine Molina, Cammeron Parrish, Haley Spellman, Lauren Turner Dunn and Heatherann Wagner

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