I am a first generation Xicana pursuing double majors in Criminology & Justice Studies and Sociology with a concentration in Children, Youth, and Families at Cal State San Marcos. I remember being in your shoes not that long ago. It seemed stressful and frustrating because I was unsure of what schools to apply to. I was also unaware of what each college had to offer me. Even though it’s a long process, it is rewarding because you learn a lot about yourself.
The best advice I can give you is to apply to as many programs the school offers such as the Educational Opportunity Program, Student Support Services, College Assistance Migrant Program, ACE Scholars Services (support former foster youth), work study, and other amazing programs that will support you in your college journey. Every school offers different programs so make sure to contact the schools and ask.
In particular, I encourage first generation, low-income students to apply for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). The program offers services including admission counseling, academic advising, peer mentoring, student success workshops, financial assistance and much more. The CSUSM deadline is February 15, 2016. I am an EOP student myself and I have the great honor to be working for them now. I am a peer mentor who works with first-generation college students, alongside friendly and kind-hearted staff who want the best for students.
Since I became part of the EOP program I have grown as an individual and have become a profound scholar. Helen Keller once said, “When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” I strongly believe this since it applies to my journey. Make sure to always try your best, I know you can ALL DO IT.
My experience at San Diego State University has been nothing short of amazing. I transferred from a local community college, and all of the hard work and effort I put in was worth it. In my first year at SDSU, I participated in club meetings and school events and worked on campus.
I’m now in my senior year and recently started a club with other transfer students, and we just began hosting workshops to inform transfer students about scholarships, internships, mentorships and studying abroad. Overall, our goal is to engage with other transfer students to help them form immediate connections and to help them develop both academically and professionally.
I also work in my school’s admissions office. Working on campus is not only a great way to meet classmates and faculty members, but also to advance your professional experience. I have the additional bonus of getting to meet prospective students and telling them about all San Diego State has to offer so that they can apply to become an Aztec, too!
I could go on all day about my wonderful time here at SDSU, but you should look into it for yourself! Plan a trip and take a tour, this place is guaranteed to peak your interest.
My first year as a freshman, I wasn’t homesick at all; I felt independent and free. However, my second year as a biology major became more intense, and the reality of academic difficulty hit me. I had to create new study tools and habits because the classes were very different from my first year classes. I didn’t know what to do. I was overwhelmed with chemistry exams, biology labs, social life and a part- time job. My family was encouraging but we were unable to talk face to face.
Then my friend referred me to CAPS, my campus Counseling and Psychological Services. Many students are ashamed to take advantage of these services, although they provide extremely valuable resources. The counselors are so caring and encouraging, and are available to speak with you one on one. They also work with your schedule and your preferences for a counselor. Just think of them as advisors for the mind, body and spirit, guiding you on how to balance every aspect of your life.