CSU – Northridge (visited 1/17/14)
CSUN (pronounced as “see-sun”) is the largest in the Cal State system. The university is in a suburban area, located equidistant (25 minutes) to the beach and to downtown. Students can walk to the mall; there are definitely things to do off campus. Students are described as friendly and helpful, doing things like stopping to ask people if they need help. The university has a 75% retention rate, so students are generally happy with their experiences.
They get 30,000 apps a year from which they’ll admit 17,000 students for a yield of about 4,000 freshmen. Most of the students are in-state, but they do draw some out-of-state students, as well as about 15% from abroad. Because of CSU policy, CSUN admits students from the local area if they’ve met the minimum criteria. They use a formula of (GPA x 800) + SAT (CR+M). If a student takes the ACT, the formula is (GPA x 200) + (10 x ACT). They do not care which of the tests are submitted.The index is higher for out-of-state students with a required 3200-3400 (this has been moving up over time). Film production majors have to submit a portfolio and have an interview. Music applicants have to audition (those applying for Vocal Music have to have prepare a piece in a foreign language).
On-campus housing is limited with only 3000 bed spaces available, but off-campus housing is easy to find and many students commute from home. They currently have two buildings for first-time freshman. One of the things they’re working on is building more housing; the new dorms will have a fire pit, lounges, and Living Learning Community areas. Greek life is active; the groups that have houses are located right across the street. Students rush right away in the fall semester.
Of the 65 majors, only 3 are impacted (Accounting, Finance, and Business). Film and music are both strong, and Athletic Training is popular. Students have wonderful access to faculty, and facilities are state of the art. There are five science buildings and space for most majors. “The earthquake was the worst thing to happen to campus and the best thing to happen to campus.” Things were rebuilt after the earthquake which allowed the university to reassess what they wanted and how they wanted things laid out.
The largest classes rarely have more than 100 students; in fact, there are only about five auditoriums which each seat about 120 people, so they physically can’t hold large classes. Hands-on opportunities abound. Students will complete some sort of major community service project or internship before graduation. Film students will create and submit films; 1 went to the Cannes Film Festival (and won!). Engineering students do things like create an unmanned vehicle and compete in competitions with it (also coming in first!). Students have showcased at TechFest; it’s a great time to see robots and other things like that around.