Campus: CSU, Northridge -- October 18, 2000

CSUN Reaches Out for National College Week
President Sends Letter to Thousands of San Fernando Valley Ninth Graders

Cal State Northridge is taking an active role in this week's second annual National College Week, with CSUN President Jolene Koester writing to thousands of area ninth graders and their parents, and the university's outreach staff working more than 50 events aimed at high school and community college students.

By joining with hundreds of universities across the country that are participating in the federally designated week (Oct. 16-23), President Koester said CSUN hopes to reinforce the key national themes, that college is possible and students should prepare early, while also encouraging students to consider CSUN as the San Fernando Valley's only public university.

"Attending college today is an important steppingstone for young people to success in life, better careers, higher salaries and gaining understanding of the world around them," President Koester said. "But too many families think they cannot afford college or students aren't adequately prepared. We at CSUN are working to help them realize college can be part of their future."

With the cooperation of the Los Angeles Unified School District, high schools in the San Fernando Valley will be distributing about 10,000 copies of President Koester's two letters?one to all ninth graders and another to their parents. CSUN officials said this is the first time the president has directly communicated via letter to such a large audience of high school students.

The president's letter to students begins: "Greetings from California State University, Northridge! In celebration of National College Week, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your academic accomplishments. As you begin your high school experience, you should keep in mind that after high school graduation you will have an array of options, including enrolling in a four-year university."

The letter then goes on to urge students to enroll in college preparatory and advanced placement classes, strive to make A and B grades in their classes, prepare for the important SAT and ACT tests, review the admission requirements for attending Cal State campuses, and lastly, provides background information about CSUN and its range of excellent programs.

The president's companion letter to parents of ninth graders says the key to a college education for their children is early preparation. The president says parents should establish relationships with their children's teachers and counselors, ask about financial aid and scholarships and visit university campuses. The letter also refers parents to the Cal State system's online admissions web site:

"I think National College Week really brings to the forefront for families the understanding that college education is a possibility," said Ludim Seja De Manzano, CSUN's director of student outreach and recruitment services. "It's exposure and awareness. It's engaging universities in helping promote college and college education for all families."

CSUN's student recruiters have been both busy and successful. After dipping in the wake of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, CSUN's student population has strongly rebounded in recent years. The university's enrollment this fall increased 4 percent to 29,066 students, the first time the campus has exceeded 29,000 students since 1992.

During this year's National College Week, for example, CSUN's outreach and recruitment staff members have more than 50 appearances and events scheduled at area high schools and community colleges. Those include CSUN participating in schools' own college days, holding special CSUN presentations at schools and hosting various special events.

This week's calendar includes the following: Monday?a daylong outreach session at Santa Monica College; Tuesday?a CSUN tour for students from the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies; Wednesday?a CSUN tour for Cathedral High School students; Thursday?an on-site admissions fair at CSUN's Channel Islands satellite program; and Friday?a CSUN tour for students from Oxnard College.

Throughout the school year, CSUN also holds a variety of innovative events aimed at familiarizing students and their families with college opportunities. Those include on-site admissions days at high schools and community colleges, an annual spring open house at CSUN that attracted about 3,000 prospective students last year, and "Evenings at Northridge" for newly admitted students.

Among CSUN's new arrivals this fall, the university enrolled 3,223 new transfer students from community colleges or other institutions, and 2,840 new freshmen from high schools. Both tallies represented increases over comparable figures from a year earlier. The university also exceeded its own targets this fall for enrolling new students.

The five community colleges that had the most students transfer to CSUN this fall, in ranked order, were Pierce College (381), Valley College (340), Santa Monica College (295), Moorpark College (273) and Ventura College (247). Those statistics illustrate that CSUN's service area stretches beyond the San Fernando Valley, reaching from the Westside to Ventura County.

Among high schools, the top five feeder schools to CSUN this fall were Granada Hills (97), Francis Polytechnic (92), Van Nuys (76), North Hollywood (64) and Chatsworth (60). The new CSUN students also are ethnically diverse, with minorities accounting for about 75 percent of new freshmen and 61 percent of new transfer students.

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