School Spotlight: California State University, San Marcos

There are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. And while the media tends to focus on just a handful of schools, we at College Coach encourage students to think outside the box during their college selection process and explore a wide range of colleges. As such, we are highlighting a new college each week in our School Spotlight series. Check out the college below, along with the other posts in our series, and you may just stumble upon your dream school!

School Spotlight: California State University, San Marcos
San Marcos, CA

Located about 35 miles north of San Diego, Cal State San Marcos’ location makes it easy for students to escape to the beach, the mountains, or the desert. But there’s also plenty to do on campus, with over 100 student organizations, seven women’s and six men’s NCAA Division II teams, and active Greek life. There’s something for everyone on campus: academic organizations like the Electrical Engineering Club and the Poetic Society, cultural groups like Ballet Folklorico and the Pacific Islander Organization, special interest societies like Feminists Unite and the Anime and Gaming Club, and club-level sports including baseball, dance, surf, and lacrosse. The University Student Union is a popular spot to relax with a game of pool or a video game, meditate, or study. The Union also hosts the Black Student Center, Cross-Cultural Center, Gender Equity Center, Latin@/x Center, and Pride Center. Beyond campus, students can enjoy the town of San Marcos (population 95,000) or take the SPRINTER Light Rail to the neighboring communities of Escondido and Vista.

About 14,000 undergraduates are enrolled at Cal State San Marcos, and roughly a third of freshmen opt to live on campus or in campus-affiliated housing, which consists of modern, apartment-style housing with pools, lounges, meeting spaces, and fitness centers. Typically, about half of Cal State San Marcos alumni are the first in their family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, and the campus is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution; it’s regularly recognized as a college that improves the social mobility of its students and boasts a 78% job placement rate for its alumni six months post-graduation.

Cal State San Marcos houses a College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences; College of Business Administration; College of Education, Health & Human Services; and a College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics. These four colleges offer 43 bachelor’s programs, with the most popular areas of study being business administration, psychology, criminology, biological sciences, computer science, sociology, human development, liberal studies, kinesiology, and communication. Cal State San Marcos is also a popular destination for nursing students and offers unique majors like speech pathology, American Indian studies, and child and adolescent development. There are also majors that correspond to regional issues, like wildfire science and the urban interface, and a specialization within the liberal studies major that focuses on the geopolitics and culture of border communities (San Marcos is about an hour from the U.S.-Mexico border).

As of May 2021, campus was closed to tours but you can watch video tours online and email current student ambassadors your questions. Visit the website to learn more about admission to Cal State San Marcos, as well as financial aid.

Image Credit: Top, Courtesy of Institute of California State University, San Marcos

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Written by Emily Toffelmire
Emily Toffelmire is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Prior to joining College Coach, Emily worked as an admissions officer at University of Southern California as well as a college counselor at high schools in the US and Thailand. Visit our website to learn more about Emily Toffelmire.