While Cal State Long Beach (also known as Long Beach State) is widely known as a commuter school, my tour guide was a freshman from Florida! Kaerra is a Communication Studies major – a strong program at Long Beach – and a theatre minor. She is clearly enjoying her experience here, taking advantage of the smaller class sizes (she told us her largest intro class has 70 students) and opportunities to connect with professors. She strongly advised the students on my tour to do the same.
Long Beach takes a liberal arts approach to education, so each of the seven undergraduate colleges require students to take core classes in a variety of disciplines to create a well-rounded education. It’s important to realize that Long Beach State is an impacted CSU campus. This means that they accept more students than they have room for in each major, and students must complete courses in the core curriculum and then apply into their major. This could slow some students down, making it difficult to graduate in four years (the six-year graduation rate at CSULB is just over 50%, but unfortunately this does not factor in students who start but do not finish for some reason). Nursing is one of the more highly impacted majors. The engineering majors are heavily impacted as well, but mechanical, aerospace and civil engineers can take advantage of CSULB’s close relationship with Boeing and Raytheon, not far away. Business and kinesiology are strong here; a list of all academic programs is here.
Students seemed very involved when I visited – not just my tour guides but all of the students we saw on campus. The student union has a game room and a large TV viewing room, both of which were filled with students when I visited on a Thursday morning, as well as offices for the 350+ student organizations. A campus campaign was underway when I visted, advocating for more space and resources for student groups. Students interested in producing editorial content for the campus radio, TV and opinion newspapers will find great opportunities here! The campus Pride Center puts on free movies-even before they come out in theatres. There are four Starbuck’s on campus, as well as a student union filled with fast food options. Fraternity and sorority life is strong but not dominant at CSULB.
A Long Beach student ID gets students free rides on Long Beach transit, which stops right in the middle of campus, making downtown Long Beach just a few minutes away. Students seemed happy and not overwhelmed here. Peer and professional mentoring is available for those who seek it out. Long Beach also has one of the safest campuses in the Cal State system.
Admissions stats: SAT mid-50% CR 440-550, M 460-590
Visit Date: October, 2014