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Student Life Cycle

The Path of a College Student

This Office of Success Coaching is committed to excellence and ensuring that all first-year students can thrive at CSU San Marcos. Supporting students at every phase of their academic career is important. The Office of Success Coaching is a critical part of the student life cycle because we assist newly admitted students early-on with pathways guidance. This pathway is known as the Student Life Cycle. All students enter a life cycle at the beginning of their academic career and continue until post-graduation.  

What is the Student Life Cycle?

The Student Life Cycle is the process that students take from pre-enrollment through retention and student engagement and then on to graduation and post-baccalaureate achievement. Understanding the Student Life Cycle helps those charged with creating a sense of belonging and student support service, while creating optimum learning environments. In fact, effectively managing that life cycle is the key to great learning outcomes.

The Student Life Cycle is a conceptual framework and represents a journey for our students. It is a ‘living framework’ that can be refined and updated to reflect changing demands of each new student group, innovative approaches to learning and teaching, holistic student support service offerings, and other student engagement efforts.

The Student Life Cycle framework is used by educational leaders to help with support service analysis, prediction and planning, and can also be used to help design new and creative ways to improve first-year retention and student success. In closing, mastering an understanding of the Student Life Cycle process will afford educational leaders the ability to design and develop comprehensive student engagement experiences, with the understanding that a variety of factors will inform and affect a student’s persistence and achievement which will play influential role in helping them to becoming comfortable as newly admitted students and to find a sense of belonging.

The Eight stages of the Student Life Cycle

The Student Life Cycle offers three broad stages and eight steps:

  • Attract: Attracting potential students to the University;
  • Transform and Empower: Covering a student’s time at the University; and
  • Advance: Launching students’ careers and engagement as alumni.

Within the three stages are eight steps to of the Student Life Cycle:

  1. Engagement: Activity with potential, current, and past students and occurs throughout the entire student experience.
  2. Recruitment: Active recruitment of students to CSU San Marcos.
  3. Application/Admission: Time when a student has decided to apply to CSU San Marcos. During this step a student is also notified of the outcome of their application.
  4. Orientation/Enrollment: This step includes the administrative, academic, and extra-curricular activities in which a student is involved during their first year of college.
  5. Studentship: Student engagement activities that ‘transform’ the student intellectually and personally and allow them to emerge as engaged ‘citizen scholars’.
    • Academic: Academic programming in and outside the classroom, such as lectures, tutorials, study, and other elements to enhance the intellectual experience of the students.
    • Student Life: Activities and experiences involved on the social and logistical side of being a student. These include both co-curricular activities and on-campus student life.
    • Civic engagement: Covers activities that enhance the student’s standing as a citizen at both CSU San Marcos and in the broader community.
  6. Graduation: The ceremonial highpoint in university life at CSU San Marcos.
  7. Career Preparation: Takes place throughout all three stages of the life cycle and includes the activities that engage students in thinking about, gaining experience in, and preparing for their post-study careers.
  8. Alumni: Involvement in activities that build loyalty to CSU San Marcos while in college and post-study activities as alumni.

NOTE: These steps are not necessarily experienced linearly, and many span multiple stages of the life cycle.