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Everything a CSUN Freshman Needs to Know Before They Start

Celebrations are in order! Congrats, new Matador! Welcome! Want to be super-ultra prepared for your freshman year at CSUN? Then, you are in luck! Keep reading for everything a CSUN freshman needs to know before they start!

1. Send your OFFICIAL transcripts in. NOW!

While you can submit a request for your high school to send transcripts to CSUN by mail, it takes a few weeks. Instead, swing by your high school and get a sealed copy that you can personally take to Admissions and Records (Bonus! This is much quicker and CSUN doesn’t have to threaten your ability to register–which they will *totally* do.) I may or may not know from experience…

2. Make sure your CSUN email account is set up.

We use Gmail in this neck of the woods, so take the summer to get yourself acquainted with the interfacing. Enjoy the relaxing feeling of a clean and organized inbox…because it won’t last.

3. Schedule your Academic Advisement!

Here at CSUN, we want to make sure you’re fully aware of what classes are required for your freshman year. So, we push you into a room of 10-20 kids to get the lowdown on class registration (where for one of the only times, besides senior year, you will have first *priority* for classes)!


To schedule your appointment, you may contact the Student Services Center/EOP in the College of your major to schedule an advising appointment beginning March 28, 2016. If your major is Undecided or Undeclared, schedule an appointment with the Advising Resource Center/EOPHere you can ask all the burning questions you have about everything from Housing to Financial Aid (because you’re about to join the ranks of broke college student!)


Don’t forget to…

Don’t forget to… bring copies of any AP scores and/or unofficial community college transcripts to your appointment. Your advisor needs to know if you have college credits that may transfer to CSUN and satisfy degree requirements (the more you have, the less stress there is)!

4. Plan for NSO (New Student Orientation).

The CSUN site says you have to sign up–but, in reality, your advisor or department will let you know what day your college is doing orientation. If you cannot make it to your assigned day, LET YOUR ADVISOR KNOW. Sooner rather than later. That way they have time to re-schedule and put you in another group for the day. They try to group you by major or, at least, department! This way you have the opportunity to meet the people you will be studying with over the next four years (in theory–I haven’t really seen my friends from orientation in my classes ^_^).


5. While you’re waiting for NSO-try scheduling a tour!

It is NEVER too early to get to know your new campus, especially considering how big it is. Tours are led by current students who will give you the ins and outs of campus by sharing their tips about college life.

Just make sure to bring your walking shoes. Oh…and say hi to the squirrels for me!

6. Take a stroll around the Matador Bookstore!

The best time to get in school spirit is always! There’s a wild selection of branded items that you will never be able to choose from. Oooh…is that a STAR WARS CSUN shirt?! *grabby hands*

If you can’t make it to the store IRL, you can always go online. Make a few (or a dozen) purchases. Then, get ready… Because at NSO, you’re gonna have an hour-ish break and not gonna lie: my friends and I totally spent it all in the bookstore.

7. Get your living situation figured out.

Dorming? Cool. Fill out all the proper forms and such? EVEN BETTER! Have a roommate? NO? Eep! Well, as a freshman, I think you will end up with whoever the Housing Gods place you with (may the odds be ever in your favor). Later, you can use the On-Campus Roommate Search Facebook for CSUN, so you can pick your own preferences of people. 

Commuting? Awesome. We are known as a commuter school, so I definitely know the feel. Living at home? Not a big deal! You will be spending tons of time at school, and, honestly, nothing beats passing out in your own bed after a long day of classes. Plus, home cooked meals? YES, PLEASE.

Off-campus apartment? Cool beans! If you don’t already have a roommate (or a plan)– The On Campus Roommate search FB group has a sister page for those Off-Campus people looking for roomies in Off Campus apartments. You can also find people in your class facebook page (see checklist item 9!) who are also looking for roommates. Maybe it will even be a classmate (can you smell the carpool?) !!!

See Also

8. Get your ride squared away.

We have an amazing trolley that will take you from the dorms to pretty much the middle of campus (I see it by the USU all the time). But, here are some other options:

Types of transportation you can use:

  • Scooter–Break out your old Razor ‘cause scooters are cool again (why did they stop anyway?).
  • Bike–If you want to appear more “grown up,” a bike may be the way to go. I mean, they look sophisticated and it just sounds cool: “Yeah, I bike to school!” (Such an LA thing to say). Just remember to bring your bike lock!
  • HoverBoard–Not gonna lie. These confuse me. But, I see them all over. I have to applaud people for their sense of balance! Me? I’d be on the floor in five seconds flat. Just…ummm…please don’t ride these inside.
  • Skateboard– Let out your inner Tony Hawk and get ready for some sick moves! Or…not. They make everything quicker, though. Less bulky than a scooter. Oh! You also might want to bring a lock because there are a lot of buildings (libraries and computer labs) that won’t let you take them inside. But, we have places you can put them so long as you have a lock!

Either way, make sure you have an efficient way to get to and from campus each day. Only “1.5 miles” may seem like something you could totally walk every day (I believe in you!). But, if you’re anything like me (read: lazy), biking might be a little easier.

Are you driving? Take a few practice rounds with whichever commuting method you use, ’cause the last thing you want is to be late for class on your first day. SO. NOT. FUN.

9. Join your class Facebook group!

Is Facebook just for old people, now? No! Joining your class Facebook group is really helpful, because it’s an easy place to talk and interact with your fellow graduating class. You guys can exchange schedules and talk professors or homework.

The bonus? There are always upperclassmen looking over you guys on the group so if you have any questions like: Do we have Cesar Chavez day off? They can answer for you! (Answer: Yes! We do! Earth Day? Umm, nada.)

10. Get READY and enjoy your sleep while it lasts, because classes start August 29th! *unless you decided to opt for Saturday Classes; then, you start on the 27th*

So there it is, freshman! Feeling ready? I hope so! You guys are going to do great this year! If you have any questions, feel free to ask an upperclassman. We were all where you are and totally understand. Freshman Year is weird and new. You just gotta make the best out of it!

What are some other tips for CSUN freshman? Comment below and share this article with friends!
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Baillie Puckett

Semi-Professional Cat Lady and book blogger, Baillie is a Creative Writing major at Cal State Northridge. She's a fan girl at heart and had a lot of feelings about fictional characters.

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