To: Penny Garzon
From: Mirna Holguin
Date: October 14, 2014
Subject: CSUSB Information
Hello, Penny! Of course I remember Marguerite! After we graduated and she moved out of state we lost touch and we haven't been able to reconnect since. Nevertheless, send her my best. After reading your email, I was very impressed with how focused you are as a sophomore already looking at prospective colleges, and I would be more than happy to answer your questions about Cal State San Bernardino.
Well to start off, I want to let you know that the work really isn't that much harder than in high school, but rather its more about how well you apply yourself and the time you dedicate to it. So how it basically works is that unlike high school, you tailor your schedule to the days and times you want. You're used to the full eight hour five days a week routine, and here it's not like that at all. Each class requires a certain amount of lecture and study time. Let's say you only want to come to school twice a week, be it Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday. Well that means that each class you take is an hour and fifty minutes long for which you must set aside a recommended two hours of studying for each day you come to this lecture. This study time is all up to you because lectures aren't really mandatory and so it is entirely your responsibility how it is you choose to manage your time. You are treated as an adult here simply because it is your choice to be here. The work in itself isn't really hard and neither is the work load as long as you know how to spread it out and learn not to procrastinate. Lectures are meant to reiterate what you study at home and two hours of class time will never be enough to truly grasp a concept so don't let that trick you into thinking that just because you show up to class it will be enough to be successful in class. This brings me to the topic of units. Here our classes are structured as every class being valued a certain number of units. In order to be considered a full time student, you must take a total of twelve units which equals three classes of four units each. Now in high school we were accustomed to six classes a day and so you may think that only three classes is nothing in comparison, but you must take into account the extra two hours a day of study time per class you have to give. Don't underestimate the number and take that into consideration if you decide to work part time. I currently work part time as do most students here on campus, and I take a full sixteen-unit load. It is very doable but I always have to remind myself to manage my time wisely and be on top of my school work so that it doesn't accumulate.
To answer your question regarding professors, it is really a give and take relationship. The instructors here are very knowledgable and very helpful if you reach out to them. At the beginning of every quarter the professors provide you with all of their contact information including email address, phone number, and office hours. Office hours are basically extra time outside of class where you can personally go and talk to the instructor about any questions or concerns you may have about the course. This extra time is extremely valuable and you should definitely take advantage of it especially if you want more of a one-on-one experience with the professor. Classes here in the university consist of as many as two hundred students, and so its impossible for a professor to dedicate attention to each individual student during class time.
Their accessibility as you can see is completely dependent on whether or not you take advantage of the resources they provide for you, and although it may seem daunting, talking to them one-on-one will grant you access to their expertise on their subject matter. Like there are good professors however, there are also not so good ones. When you're getting ready to register for your classes it is always a good idea to check the professor's rating on ratemyprofessor.com. Here, past students from the university provide a grade on every professor and the course they taught based on certain criteria such as easiness, helpfulness, and clarity as well as a brief outline of their class to give you an idea of their quality as a professor based on fellow classmates' experience. It is a very handy tool to utilize if you want to make sure you will end up with a professor who meets your educational needs.
The social life here on campus is actually really calm in comparison to other campuses. This is mostly a commuter school so in order to truly get the most out of your college experience you really have to invest the time into joining clubs or perhaps a sorority. CSUSB has a wide array of both academic clubs as well as more social organizations such as fraternities and sororities. Even if you choose to not join either of those, you can still enjoy your college experience by taking advantage of the various events the university hold such as concerts, comedy shows, carnivals, and dances. There are tons of ways to have fun here on campus and a lot of the events are free, you just have to keep your eyes and ears open.
Lastly, CSUSB does have an excellent debate club known as the "Forensic Team" headed by "Coach" Shawnee Biggerstaff. If you have any further questions regarding the team in the near future you can contact her directly at email@example.com. As I mentioned before, CSUSB has various academic and social clubs that will keep your options open when you decide to join one. There is even a whole week dedicated to the clubs displaying themselves to prospective members where you can meet and greet with them till you find one that matches your interests.
I hope that this was as useful as possible and that I provided the insight you were hoping to receive. If you have any other questions please feel free to write to me again. I look forward to hearing from you again and hear which college you end up choosing. I wish you the best of luck in your educational pursuits and enjoy the time you have left in high school because it really does go flying by.