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Office of First-Year Programs

The Office of First-Year Programs designs, implements and supports programs to help first-year students achieve academic excellence in the classroom and develop a deeper understanding of, and commitment to long-term academic and career goals. We are dedicated to helping students make a successful transition from the high school classroom to the academic world of higher education.  We are grounded in a strengths-based approach that helps first-year students and their instructors identify and build upon their interests, talents, and strengths with the goal of helping students become more engaged members of our campus community.

First-Year Programs offers:

  • GEL 101 (The Student, The University, The Community)- Our award winning GEL 101 Program is a comprehensive college success course that assists first-year students with developing skills, motivation and self-understanding necessary to meet the demands of our rigorous undergraduate curriculum.
  • Summer Programs- For incoming first-year students who are required to complete a CSU certified Early Start experience, the summer versions of our GEL course (i.e. ESM 11 and ESW 120) assist students with achieving the university proficiency requirements in Mathematics and English.  More information on ESM 111, ESW 120 and Early Start options.
  • Professional Development- First-Year Programs offers a range of professional development opportunities for instructors teaching first-year students.

Our Program Goals 

We want first-year students to be eligible to continue their studies at Cal State San Marcos beyond the first year, and we want them to choose to do so. To that end, First-Year Programs actively maintains a wide range of campus partnerships and collaborations.  In particular, we have designed a first-year seminar course that helps to ensure all first year students accomplish the following:

  • Develop the foundational college-level academic skills necessary to thrive in the Cal State San Marcos undergraduate curriculum
  • Understand all graduation requirements and take full advantage of campus resources to develop an academic plan
  • Develop enhanced self-understanding that leads to full commitment to a major and career path
  • Develop greater participation in the campus community and an increased sense of connection to fellow first-year students and faculty

Office of First Year Programs Promoting Academic Success for First-Year Students!


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