Anywhere but CSUN?

Do teens in the valley have a bias against CSUN?


California State University Northridge (CSUN) is located less than 30 minutes away from North Hollywood High School. As time is coming for students to apply to college, this public university is either at the bottom of the list of dream schools or not even on the list at all for students at our high school. 

Helton Chang, an HGM senior at North Hollywood High School, when asked where the university lies in his college list responded “It’s not there at all” 

Meena Natarjan, an SAS senior, says the reason why she doesn’t want to apply to CSUN is because “You will see everyone from school there. It won’t be that different from high school.” 

They’re not the only students with that viewpoint in school. 

When discussing with Olivia Dare, another SAS senior, she answered that when she thinks of the word CSUN the word commonality comes to her mind. 

“I feel like anyone can get accepted into CSUN. It would be good to go out of state and start a new path.” she exclaimed. 

It seems that this is a shared thought within teens that live in the valley.

However, Shreya Aviri, a resident senior who transferred to North Hollywood High School from New York last year, views CSUN in a different light. 

She still considers the university as a safety school, but she also sees opportunities that the school offers. She states, “I would have an easier transition [from high school to college] and I could work and study at the same time.”

The negative bias surrounding the school is baseless once people who actually attended the school explain the reality of attending the school. 

For instance, SAS math teacher Ms. Conde, a beloved teacher at North Hollywood High School, is a CSUN alumni who attended years ago and had a different and more positive experience at the school than the ones that teens in the school spread around. She fell in love with it thanks to the amazing opportunities it granted her. 

“There is no debt, it’s close to home, and even has small classes which helps with the relationships the students share with their teacher,” she commented when asked what are the benefits of attending CSUN. 

A couple of years ago she had the opportunity to have lunch with one of her professors from college. 

“It’s much more difficult to remember one student out of 200 compared to one student out of 20,” Ms. Conde commented when praising the close knit community between teachers and students at the school thanks to the small class sizes. 

Additionally, there was no bias surrounding the school when she applied and was accepted. That was something that recently got into the minds of students but should not lead students astray while applying to college. 

“So many students want to go to a UC, then they run out of money, go to junior college and their path to a degree gets slowed down. Students at CSUN graduate faster.” Ms. Conde shared from the viewpoint of a teacher that has seen some of her own students struggle through the college experience. 

It’s clear that valley students dislike CSUN because they see it as having “low standards”, as commented by Olivia Dare. Comments running around like that can give the school a negative appearance to the students that are currently applying to the school. 

However, the school is undeserving of its reputation. This bias can be cleared up by simple things. For instance, Ms. Conde lived on CSUN’s campus to give her a better college experience without being too far from home. 

Furthermore, CSUN’s lack of titles are another issue. Almost everyone would prefer to go to a titled school that has a great title behind it which pushes the idea of attending a UC or private rather than a local university. 

For example, Olivia Dare admitted that she “cares about titles” when it came to the names of schools changing her decision of choosing a certain university or not. 

Some say it’s not about a title but rather how jobs see the school. Helton Chang says he doesn’t care about titles, however he believes a degree from a UC sounds better than a degree from a CSU, specifically CSUN.

This creates an environment where  people are afraid of being judged on by their decision to go CSUN rather than a school with a better title. 

Senior Ethan Zamora responded that he would be “afraid of being judged if [he] went to CSUN rather than a UC” when asked how he would feel. 

When people care about others’ judgement it could sway their decision due to rumor and bias.  This environment is toxic for any senior who wants to apply to college.

In the end, a degree is the same no matter what school you come from. Being afraid of judgement, of rumors, of titles should not move people from deciding which university to go to. 

As Ms. Conde said, “Everybody comes in with the same degree, you have to let your personality shine regardless of where you went to school.”