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GEL 101

GEL 101: The Student, The University, The Community

Enroll in GEL 101: A transformative general education course for first-year students. A course that will help you sharpen your skills, deepen your self-understanding, and accelerate your success!

  • Strengthen your purpose
  • Learn to succeed
  • Build bridges

Students who complete gel 101 are more likely to graduate!

graduate with cap that reads I did it

The GEL 101 Mission 

As a first-year student, you are just beginning your journey through the world of higher education. This journey will require you to take a fresh look at your skills, who you are and where you are going. The primary mission of our GEL 101 course is to help students make a successful transition from high school to the world of higher education and academic life at Cal State San Marcos.

What students do in GEL 101

Your GEL instructor, along with library faculty and career advisors, will challenge you with a set of activities and assignments designed to strengthen self-understanding and motivation to be in college. Honoring your success in high school, the GEL curriculum will challenge you to 1) upgrade your success strategies to meet the demands of a college level workload, 2) engage in campus life outside the classroom.

You will work on: 

  • Understanding and developing your personal strengths and learning styles
  • Strengthening your time management, study skills, and test taking strategies
  • Developing information literacy and skills for doing college level research
  • Developing your personal academic plan
  • Clarifying your career goals, researching career options and resume writing
  • Assessing personal wellness, values, and ethical decision making
  • Understanding and utilizing campus resources
  • Understanding campus life at CSUSM and exploring opportunities to become an active member of our diverse campus community outside the classroom

Who should take GEL 101

GEL 101 is open only to first-year students. It fulfills the lower-division general education requirement in Area E, "Life Long Learning & Information Literacy." Over 85% of our first-year students complete GEL 101 by the end of their first year of college. Cal State San Marcos has been offering GEL 101 since 1995 and the course has a strong track record.  Students who complete GEL 101 are more likely to stay in college!

If you have any questions about GEL 101, feel free to contact the department of First-Year Programs at