If you attend a California State University, you know that many people have misconceptions about what the schools are actually like. If you are thinking about attending one of these schools, don’t let these things stop you! Here is a list of ten biggest misconceptions people have about California State Universities that you should watch out for!
1. That There Is Only One!
Many people believe that California State University is one college in California. There are actually 23 different universities within the Cal State University system! They are located all throughout the state; some in Northern California, in the Bay Area, Central California, and a ton in Southern California! Each university is unique, with different sizes, locations, academics, mascots, and extracurriculars to choose from.
2. That They Are a Part of the University of California School System
When thinking of a university in California, most people’s minds go straight to UCLA or USC, two highly popular and well-known colleges in California. However, it is important to know that these schools are a part of the University of California system, rather than California State Universities. I know, it is a little confusing!
You can tell which system a school is a part of based on their acronym, a school like UCLA starts with the letters “UC”, and a school like Cal State Fullerton, or CSUF, starts with “CSU”. Also, some colleges in the CSU system have the word “state” in their name. For example, San Diego State University.
3. Tuition is Crazy Expensive
Compared to other universities, the majority of colleges within the California State University system have tuition on the lower side. They have earned accolades for offering students higher education at a reasonable price. The tuition cost per semester (either fall or spring) is around $6,000. This is actually relatively low!
The average cost of tuition in the United States is $10,000 for in-state students and up to $30,000 for out-of-state students. You can attend a CSU school without breaking the bank. Also, if you choose to attend a community college first, and then transfer to a California State University school, you would save even more money!
4. It Is Too Hard To Get Into The Universities
The majority of California State Universities have an acceptance rate of around fifty percent, giving you a great chance to get in, especially if you apply to several of them! Some schools are in fact harder to get into than others, such as San Diego State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Maintaining a GPA of around 3.0 or higher, and having extracurriculars will help you get into one of these schools. Also, being a California resident will give you an upper hand!
5. You Will Not Get An Actual College Experience
One thing to note about California State Universities is that the majority of them are large commuter schools. Meaning that many students do not live in on-campus housing. Due to this, many people think that if they commute to campus, they will not get the true college experience!
But Cal State Universities have a TON of activities for students. Sports teams, greek life, student government, clubs, you name it! There are so many different ways to get involved on campus, have fun, and meet new people even if you are not living on campus.
6. The Classes Are Jam-Packed
Yeah, some classes might be. And you may have trouble getting into certain classes because they are full. However, many of the universities keep their class sizes fairly small, at around 20-30 students each! This is one of my favorite aspects about my school, as someone who attends a California State University. Of course, you will probably find yourself in at least one big lecture class at some point in your college experience, but who knows, you may enjoy it!
7. Everybody Spends All Their Time At The Beach
Now, this is just a typical California stereotype. Only a few of the California State Universities have campuses that are next to the beach. A good majority of them are not even near the coast! Now, while a lot of students that attend these beachfront schools do in fact enjoy the ocean, it is merely an after-school activity for most. CSU Channel Islands even has a surf club for their students!
8. They Do Not Have That Many Majors To Choose From
If this is something you are worried about, you shouldn’t be! Colleges within the California State University system offer a huge selection of majors to choose from. All schools offer the more common majors, such as Business, Biology, Psychology, English, Communication, etc.
You can also find more specific and less common majors at certain colleges. For example, San Jose State offers an Interior Design major, Humboldt State has a Forestry major, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo offers a degree in Recreation Parks and Tourism Administration!
9. You Will Be Okay Taking an 8am Class
In my opinion, this is a misconception that can be said about every university. Take it from somebody who has taken several 8AM classes in college, do not do this. You may think that because you started your high school classes at 8AM every morning that it will be a piece of cake for you, but for some reason, this is not the case in college. Take my advice, and wait until at least 9am!
10. Commuting is a Nightmare
A lot of students who go to school at a California State University commute to campus. And to be honest, sometimes the drive and lack of parking make it a little stressful. But a lot of the schools have a ton of resources that help commuter students. There are special lounges on campus, a meal plan, and public transportation that is usually covered by the cost of your tuition!