SSU freshman students are surrounded by faculty// drawing

The New and Improved
SSU Freshman

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New, as in new to the campus and new to college life. New, as in newly out on their own, new friends and new places. New, as in new ideas, new ways of thinking, new concepts. These aspects of freshman life create a common bond among all Sonoma State freshmen, regardless of generation.

But to be a freshman at SSU in 2006 holds some distinct differences from the freshman experience of 20 or even 10 years ago. It’s not the ubiquitous cell phone or the competition for sidewalk space between bikes and skateboards. Nor is it the fact that today’s freshmen will never know the lines and the day-long trek around campus to register for classes. It’s the students themselves and what brings them to Sonoma State University that make the difference.

Today’s Sonoma State freshmen are better prepared academically than ever before. During the past 10 years, the percentage who devoted six or more hours to studying each week during their senior year of high school nearly doubled. More freshmen are coming to Sonoma State from private secondary schools, and the proportion of freshmen entering SSU with a high school grade point average of B+ or better has reached an all-time high. Their average SAT scores have been steadily increasing.

More freshmen live on campus than ever before and more are coming from outside the North Bay Area. Oh, and there are more of them, both in terms of straight numbers and as a percentage of the total student body.

Beginning fall 2006, an experience common to all Sonoma State University freshmen will begin in the classroom. The First-Year Experience pilot course, a part of the faculty’s larger efforts on the General Education Program, is designed to yield a common experience and a new perspective on college at the conclusion of the freshman year. A year-long, interdisciplinary course, the pilot program is planned for 150 freshmen next fall. At the end of the year, the freshmen will have received not only a shared academic foundation but a rich introduction to the college community at SSU.