Apply for Graduation — Do It.

screen shot of a TDA

Eventually, it happens to all of us. One day you wake up to find a mysterious and unexpected email in your inbox. “You have met the minimum requirements to apply for graduation.” What? I haven’t thought about next semester’s classes, let alone graduating. Am I even on track? What am I supposed to do?

First of all, pat yourself on the back. If you play your cards right, you can probably walk across the stage in a cap and gown in a year. But why do I have to apply for graduation? And why so early? After all, it’s just a ceremony and a piece of paper. What’s the big deal? Well, as you’ve probably figured out by now, earning a university degree is a big deal.

The graduation process is just that, a process. In order for you to get your degree, a lot of things need to happen. You will need to apply for graduation, and your major department has to review your TDA to make sure it shows the correct major classes and approve your grad check. The grad fee needs to be paid, and all of the degree requirements have to be met. The Graduation Unit in Admissions and Records will review your TDA to determine degree completion. With several thousands of degrees being awarded each year, that process takes time; that process begins with applying for graduation.

Applying for graduation a year in advance is very beneficial. You’ve heard the horror stories. A student thinks he’s graduating, but makes one tiny mistake, and bam. No degree. Applying in advance will give your major department time to review your TDA, and give you the time to receive the necessary advising to ensure that you graduate when you want to.

So, you’re eligible to apply for graduation. What’s the next step? First, determine your final semester and apply for graduation through your Student Center. If you’re not sure which semester to pick, talk to an advisor first. Next, pay your graduation fee ($115) at Student Financial Services (UH-180). It’s a one-time fee, so don’t be afraid to pay it early. Plus, paying the grad fee is necessary to become a Candidate for graduation (along with your major grad check advisor reviewing/approving your TDA), and there are many benefits to becoming a final Candidate: you will be able to register earlier for your final semester, get tickets to your assigned commencement ceremony, and get on the radar of the Graduation Unit so your TDA can be reviewed in advance. After that, get advising and review your TDA regularly. Seek general education and major advising to ensure that no degree requirements are forgotten. Lastly, enjoy your final semesters and complete all of your classes. CSUF wants you to help you graduate, so begin the graduation process as soon as possible, and seek the resources provided to help you move from student to proud alumnus.

Operation Get Involved

There are a ton of resources available in the online Student Portal, so you may have missed the addition of a new tab at the top of the screen. However, if you take a moment to click the Get Involved link, you’ll be on your way to discovering a new tool that provides all the resources needed to get involved and keep track of your participation during your time at Cal State Fullerton.

The Get Involved icon leads to the Titan Student Involvement Center, where you’ll find announcements and calendars of upcoming campus events and activities, as well as copious resources to discover anything you’d want to know about campus life. Another advantageous feature is the My Involvements tab that allows you to construct a printer friendly  “Titan Pride Record,” or formatted snapshot of your extra-curricular activities throughout your college career. It’s a very handy tool when building a resume. Lastly, on the CSUF Spirit Corner tab, you’ll find highlights of students and alumni who are “leaving their legacy” on campus, as well as downloadable Titan spirit, everything from the CSUF Fight Song to Tuffy the Titan clipart.

Cal State Fullerton is a sizable campus, unique in it’s accessibility to commuters; however, this makes learning about the manifold options for campus involvement a rather formidable task. This new tool is a centralized, user-friendly way to discover your perfect place in the Titan community, and maximize your college experience.

5 Tips for Securing an Internship

Does the idea of getting an internship scare you to death? Are you avoiding the process of finding an internship because you don’t know where to start? You are not alone! Many students are very anxious about going through the internship process.

However, internships can be an exciting experience as a step toward transitioning to the professional world.  As a peer advisor and a student myself, I have learned a few things along the way. This semester, I am completing the required internship for my degree. Although I am a health science major, I’ve found that many of the same internship search strategies apply to all students. Based on my experience, here are some of my tips:

  1. First and foremost, start early! I cannot stress this enough. If you are really worried about securing an internship, start a full semester before the internship should begin. You’ll have more companies to choose from, and it will also give you more time to interview and find the best internship fit. This is especially important for students wanting to work in competitive industries, where you will probably need to go to multiple interviews. If you aren’t sure where to begin, start with the on-campus job search engine, Titan Connection.
  2. Utilize all of your personal connections. These connections don’t need to be people who work in your desired field. If you just start telling people you know that you’re looking for an internship, you may find that word-of-mouth could result in a referral or a tip. This is a great way to get into an internship that you would not find in an online search. In my case, I landed my internship because my sister’s mother-in-law knew someone who told me about the opportunity.
  3. Be sure that your good ol’ resume is polished. If you are interested in a competitive industry, you are going to want to send out many resumes. Also, having it in prepared in advance will ensure that you have it on hand when you need it. You will want to bring copies of your resume if you attend this spring’s on-campus internship fairs. The Career Center is sponsoring the “Internship and Career Expo” on Thursday, April 5, as well as the “Communications Internship Fair” on Wednesday, April 25 (during Comm Week). If you need help, visit the Career Center for resume writing assistance.
  4. Prior to an internship interview, make sure to do your research. You hear this over and over for job interviews; however, the same goes for an internship. Remember that companies may hire interns as full-time employees. Knowing your stuff about the company will just put you one step ahead. Don’t go around reciting their “mission statement” or anything, but be prepared to sound knowledgeable if called upon.
  5. Finally, be professional during the internship interview. This should go without saying, but surprisingly, some students don’t realize that wearing Vans and board shorts is usually not the best choice of interview attire (unless, maybe, you’re interviewing at Vans). Companies prize professionalism and will notice applicants who put their best foot forward. Don’t lose a great internship opportunity because of not presenting yourself in the best light!

I hope this gave you a little more confidence to get out there and snatch up an internship. For many students, it is necessary not only for graduation, but also for your success after college. We all know how challenging it is to get a job out there right now, so make the best of your college experience. Don’t be afraid of the internship! Take this requirement and run with it.

Tips for New Transfer Students

Are you a new transfer student and a little bit lost? Don’t worry! You’re not the only one. Transferring from the community college system can be very complicated and students often feel like they’re drowning in information. As a peer advisor in the College of Communications Advisement Center and a transfer student myself, I have come up with a list of the most common misunderstandings that many transfer students have.

  1. “I thought I was done with GE?” The absolute most common thing I come across is that transfer students don’t know they need to take 9 units of upper division GE at CSUF. If students don’t seek advisement, they may not find this out for their first couple of semesters at CSUF. The good news is that for COMM and RTVF majors, the required collateral courses may be able to double count for upper division GE courses! Consult an advisor for more information.
  2. “What is a TDA?” As a new transfer student, your Titan Degree Audit (TDA) will be a preliminary evaluation of your transfer coursework. The TDA is the compilation of all units completed, in progress, and requirements needed for graduation. It includes a section for your General Education requirements as well as your major requirements. Students should check their TDAs at least once every semester to make sure they are on track. TDAs are absolutely necessary when seeking advisement as well! If you are having trouble understanding your TDA, make sure to seek clarification. Here is a Flash-based tutorial that explains how to access your TDA.
  3. “Not all of my classes are showing up on my TDA!” Make sure to send your most recent community college transcripts as soon as possible after completion of all transfer classes. It may take some time for admissions to process your transcripts. The sooner you send them in, the sooner your TDA will be updated. On the front of your TDA, you will see the “Final Evaluation Status” message change to “Complete” when the Admissions and Records office finalizes the final evaluation of your records. Transcripts may also affect registration for classes, so don’t forget about sending them in!
  4. “Who do I talk to?!” Finally, there are at least two different places for students to receive undergraduate advisement for their degrees. The Academic Advisement Center in UH-123 provides advising for General Education and undergraduate policies. For major advising in the College of Communications, full-time faculty can provide advisement, as well as the College of Communications Advisement Center in CP 425.

Hopefully, you are now feeling a little more at ease! As a transfer student, I know I had some of these questions. My last piece of advice is to never shy away from asking questions. It’s not fun to ask questions when everyone else seems to know what’s going on. However, part of the college experience is learning how to navigate the system.  Keep asking questions until you feel comfortable with where you’re going. I hope this helps!

Rebecca Buntain
Peer Advisor

Approaching the Finish Line

The two weeks after Thanksgiving break are notorious amongst college students. Teased by freedom from school and the beginning of the holiday season, motivation to write final papers and study for exams is hard to find. Looking for a way to beat the turkey-induced bout of post-break laziness? Here are a few simple tips to avoid crashing before you hit the finish line:

1. Defeat procrastination before it’s too late! Let’s be honest, you probably didn’t get too far on the list of homework you wanted to do over the break, and the daunting list of tasks to be done can be a temptation to put it off further. However, even the procrastinator can be tricked into working ahead by easing into small amounts of work at a time. Study during commercial breaks, devote just 15 minutes at a time to something that needs to get done, or set yourself to complete only 25% of an assignment before you hang out with your friends. Motivation to begin is considerably harder to produce than motivation to continue something that has already begun, so make getting started as easy as possible.

2. Find an environment that will encourage studying. Surprisingly, your couch, your bed, your dorm, and in front of a TV are terrible places to study! If you like lattes, study at a coffee shop. If you want pancakes, go to Denny’s to study. If being around friends will keep you off Facebook long enough to accomplish something, meet together at someone’s house. ASI offers the All Night Study in the TSU to accommodate all of your study needs at any time. Finding the right environment will maximize the time you spend studying.

You’d be hard pressed to find a student excited to return from Thanksgiving break, but some creativity can help you finish the semester with excellence. Discover what helps you the most, and make the approach to the finish line as smooth and easy as possible.