CSUF caters to first-generation students

In Campus News, News
The amount of first-generation undergraduate students enrolled at CSUF has steadily increased since fall semester of 2005. With the increase in the percentage of this population, the more resources have become available. (Natalie Goldstein / Daily Titan)

Cal State Fullerton has 10,871 enrolled first-generation undergraduate students in the fall 2016 semester. 31.5 percent of the total 34,462 undergraduate students enrolled are first-generation, according to data from Institutional Research and Analytical Studies at CSUF.

To classify as a first-generation student, one’s parents must have no higher education experience whatsoever.

Since fall 2005, there has been a 9.2 percent total increase in the amount of first-generation students enrolled at CSUF.

Since fall 2005, there has been a 9.2 percent total increase in the amount of first-generation students enrolled at CSUF.

Phillippe Orea, 21, double major in cinema and TV arts (CTVA) and human communication studies has been working on campus since his sophomore year and throughout his experience, he has been able to obtain knowledge through campus resources that helped him as a first-generation student.

“I was luckily working as a Titan ambassador, which we know as tour guides on campus. If I wasn’t exposed to all that I really don’t know where I’d be today,” Orea said.

Students like Natalie Gowern don’t see being a first-generation student as a hurdle so much as it is an opportunity for independence and self-improvement.
“I’m kind of a self-starter. I just get myself and my own things going, so I like to research a lot. I didn’t even visit the campus, the first time I ever came to CSUF was when I had my interview for my grad program,” said Gowern, 27, a third-year graduate student receiving her masters in counseling with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. “I didn’t really even utilize the services on campus, I had no idea that anything was offered.”

Students are not the only ones who have experienced the struggle of being a first-generation student. There are others on campus who have experienced what first generation means as well.

Silvia Zamudio, Student Support Coordinator for the First Year Experience office, was a first-generation student who attended Cal State Fullerton while being a mother at the same time, and she never pictured herself going to college.

“I’m the only one in my family to finish high school, to go to college, to get an advanced degree, to get married, to have kids. All of that. First of everything,” Zamudio said.

Brent Foster, Ph.D., the interim director of the First Year Experience, was a first-generation student as well.

“I never once told anybody in a job interview, ‘Hey you ought to give me extra consideration because I was the first in my family to go to college.’ I never even thought like that,” Foster said. “Instead I want to say, ‘Compare me to that person. I guarantee I worked harder than that person.’”

CSUF houses many resources that are readily available for students on campus offering any information that may be helpful toward their educational path.

The Student Life and Leadership office is a source for looking into campus activities, clubs and organizations, sororities and fraternities, community service programs and any other leadership opportunities that may be offered on campus.

The Student Life and Leadership office, University Outreach and New Student Programs offered by the Department of Student Affairs (UONSP) are there to provided any type of educational guidance students may need.

Some of the services UONSP offers are New Student Orientation (NSO), Transfer Orientation, parent programs, campus tours, Titan Weeks of Welcome (WOW), student and visitor information services, Ask the Titans and freshman programs.

The First Year Experience (FYE) is also an informative opportunity for students to get better acquainted with the campus alongside peers who are in the same position. FYE aims to help achieve academic success, campus involvement and community engagement for prospect enrollees in the program.

CSUF aims to help students if they need additional information that may not be acquired from home or just an extra push of encouragement from those around them.

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