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First Year Programs

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.
  • Academic Recovery Curriculum - Our innovative academic recovery courses are designed to provide students in transition with additional academic support and personal growth opportunities that focus on fostering campus connections, hope-building, and self-efficacy.
  • 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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