|New Students Ease Into
University Life With Help of CSUF's Freshman Programs
Programs provides support to help first-year
students make a successful transition, both academically and
socially, from high school to college.
November 10, 2005
By Robby Nisenfeld
New students have a new face to turn
to for help in settling into university life this semester.
Lia Gutierrez-Castillo is the new coordinator
Programs — a group of programs that provides support
to help first-year students make a successful transition,
both academically and socially, from high school to college.
“Freshman Programs has helped hundreds
of students understand higher education,” Gutierrez-Castillo
said. “Students are not only being supported in the
classroom but in the community too.”
A record number of nearly 4,000 first-time
freshmen enrolled on campus this semester and more than 400
chose to participate in one of the Freshmen Programs’
five communities — Fullerton
First Year, Freshmen
Future Teachers, COMPASS,
‘n’ Learn and Freshmen
Gutierrez-Castillo said all communities stress
three main goals — academic success, campus involvement
and civic engagement. They all offer University 100 classes
that emphasize time management, leadership, research and stress
management. All University 100 classes are overseen by three
individuals — a faculty person, student affairs professional
and peer mentor.
“We have three people there supporting
their needs in different ways,” Gutierrez-Castillo said.
“It brings a diversity of opinions to the classes.”
The largest of the communities is Fullerton
First Year Community, a two-semester program that addresses
traditional transitional issues. Freshmen
Future Teachers, also yearlong, is for students planning
to be teachers.
Community is a one-semester program designed for students
who have yet to select a major, while Live
‘n’ Learn is a one-semester program, open
to students who live in residence halls, that focuses on creating
a sense of community.
Success kicksoff during the summer prior to students’
first semester and allows participants who did not pass English
or math placement examinations to take remedial or developmental
Each program also incorporates service learning
experiences and academic field trips, as well as social events
such as fundraisers, banquets and a group gathering at Concert
Under the Stars, said Gutierrez-Castillo.
Studies have shown that Freshman Programs participants
produce a higher average GPA (2.87) than other first-time
freshman (2.55), and 55 percent of Freshman Program students
who complete a full-year program graduate in four years.
“The first year is such a critical year
for students,” Gutierrez-Castillo said. “The quality
of the first-year experience can really have an impact on
the rest of a student’s college career.”
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