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San Diego State University

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How do I know if I am a Compact Scholar?

You do not have to apply to be a Compact Scholar. All student applicants who meet the following benchmarks are considered Compact Scholars once enrolled at SDSU:

  • Continuous Enrollment in Sweetwater Unified High School District (SUHSD) since the 7th grade

  • Maintain a CSU GPA of 3.0 or higher

  • Completed CSU’s A-G Requirements

  • Satisfy the CSU English Placement Test (EPT) requirement

  • Satisfy the CSU Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) requirement

  • Have taken the SAT or ACT


How many Compact Scholars are there?

There are approximately 2,000 active Compact Scholars at SDSU, which comprises about 8% of the total undergraduate population. The size of the incoming cohorts of Compact Scholars for the past ten years are:


  • 2006 201 students

  • 2007 186 students

  • 2008 225 students

  • 2009 265 students

  • 2010 372 students

  • 2011 378 students

  • 2012 465 students

  • 2013 483 students

  • 2014 541 students

  • 2015 585 students


What are the benefits of being a Compact Scholar?

The benefits of being a Compact Scholar are many, and they include, but are not limited to:


  • Student and Academic Success Advising

  • Events hosted by Scholars for Success, the SDSU student organization connected to Compact Scholars Program

  • Program website / links to resources

  • Blackboard Homeroom / Blackboard Academic Suite

  • Priority registration for academic Learning Communities

  • Freshmen University Seminar GEN S 100 A

  • Access to the DUS Student Learning Lounge for studying, printing, etc.

  • Scholarship Opportunities

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunities

  • Community Service Opportunities in the Sweetwater Union High School District and elsewhere


Where is the Compact Scholars Program office?

We are located in Administration Building, Suite 201 or you can reach us by phone at (619) 594-0563.



How do I get my personalized book list for my classes?

1) Log onto your SDSU webportal account 

2) On the left side of the page select "My Registration" and select the specific registration period

3) On the left side of the page find the category "My Schedule" and select "My Book List" (This will then generate a book list based on the classes for which you are registered once you click on the link shown*)


*The list generated by the bookstore is accurate unless the Professor adds on a book last minute on the first day of classes (In this case, see the given syllabus)


Should I buy or rent textbooks?


You can purchase/rent your books through the bookstore before the start of classes through the "EZ Books" program (they will pull the books you have selected to purchase through your webportal account) and will be available for pick-up on campus or delivered to your home.

OR you can personally go into the bookstore and find the books that you need on the 2nd floor



Bring your book list here as well to find what you need. At KB Books you have the option to RENT or BUY books (new or used) at a cheaper price in comparison to the SDSU Bookstore. At the end of each semester KB also "buys back" specific textbooks from students in exchange for cash. 


Rent or Buy (new/used)



Rent or Buy (new/used) 

*Amazon Prime is offered to students for $49/year (opposed to $99/year) and includes many benefits such as Free Two-Day Shipping 



What is a “commuter student” and why does it matter?

A “commuter student” does not live on campus. Students who do not live on campus their first year often have lower graduation rates than students who live on campus in their first year. “Commuter students” face unique challenges when it comes to finding success in college.


Are there any resources on campus specifically for students who commute?


How do I know which classes to take?

A great place to find out which classes you need to take depending on your major is the “MyMap” service hosted by the Office of Advising & Evaluations. The MyMap shows you which classes to take and when. Remember, the MyMap is only a guide or suggested order – each student’s path to completing all required courses will be different.


Where do I go to see an advisor?

Go to the Office of Advising & Evaluation, located at Student Services West (SSW), Room 1551.


The Academic Advising Center can help you:

  • Understand Graduation Requirements

  • Develop an Academic Plan

  • Evaluate Transfer Credit 

  • Choose or Change a Major 

  • Plan Your Next Semester’s Schedule 

  • Satisfy Mathematics and Writing Competencies

  • Remove Probationary Status to Avoid Disqualification


For up-to-date hours of operation, and instructions on what materials and information to bring to your advising session, please see the office’s website.


Is there more than one type of advisor?

There are many sorts of advisors on the SDSU campus. All students can go to the Academic Advising Center to see a general academic advisor. However, there are other advisors available to students on campus, depending on their affiliation with certain groups, majors, etc.


Commuter and Compact Scholars Program Advisor dedicated to providing academic guidance to Compact Scholars and commuter students is located in Administration Building, Suite 201J.


Major Advisors are available for each individual major. Find the specific advisor for your major here. Your faculty advisor will help you choose your upper division courses. He or she can also answer your questions regarding your career opportunities and graduate studies you’re your major field. Some major advisors include:


Educational Opportunity Advisors (EOP) Advisors are available for EOP students. Advisors can be found in the Office of EOP/Ethnic Affairs: Student Services East (SSE), Room 2209 or at (619) 594-6298.


Professional Advisors are available for students pursuing a pre-professional career (Pre-medical, pre-law, etc.).


When can I change my major?

You may change your major any time after census of your first semester on campus. Click here for more details.  


What can I do if I do not know what major to choose?

If you are struggling to find or choose a major that is a good fit for you, please visit Career Services and ask about taking a skills inventory, which will provide you with careers best suited to your skillsets and interests. 


What are the testing requirements once I have been admitted?



What are the qualifications for being an honors student?

High School Applicants

High school seniors (incoming college freshmen) will be required to meet one of the following three eligibility criteria in order to apply:


  • A grade point average of 3.70 or above, or

  • A score of 1200 or above on the SAT (math & verbal), or

  • A composite score of 28 or above on the ACT


Currently enrolled SDSU Applicants
Current SDSU students must have at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average in order to apply.


Transfer Applicants
Students applying from a community college or another university must have at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average in order to apply.


If I meet the qualification am I automatically an honors student or must I apply?

You must apply to the Weber Honors College. Students interested in applying for honors, can do so before they are formally admitted to SDSU. For more information visit the Weber Honors College webpage. You can also visit them in the Administration Building, Suite 201.



Which math course will I be placed in and why?

Students required to take math courses for their major usually follow the following course trajectory depending on their test scores and credits upon admission:


            Biological Sciences take Math 124.

            Other majors requiring Math require Math 141 (Pre-Calculus),

            150 (Calculus I) and 151 (Calculus II).


What if I have AP credit or community college credit?

Students who score a 3 on the AP Calculus Exam will be placed in Math 150; students who score a 4 or a 5 will be placed in Math 151. Students who score a 1 or a 2 on the AP Calculus Exam, or who do not take the exam, are automatically placed in Math 141.


Student who complete a Community College Course equivalent to Math 141 with a “C” or better will be allowed to enroll into Math 150. Student who complete a Community College Course equivalent to Math 150 with a “C” or better will be allowed to enroll into Math 151.


Do I have to take the Pre-Calculus Proficiency Assessment?

If you have taken the AP Calculus Exam and scored a 3 or higher, NO.


If you have taken the equivalent of Math 141 or higher at a Community College, and earned a “C” or better, NO.


If you did not take the AP Calculus Exam, took the AP Calculus Exam and did not pass, or failed a related math course at a Community College, you must take the Pre-Calculus Proficiency Assessment in order to test out of Math 141 and go directly into Math 150 or Math 151.


If you plan to take the Pre-Calculus Proficiency Assessment, we STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you take the test as early in the summer as possible. For information on registering for the Pre-Calculus Placement Test visit their webpage.  


What if I have AP or Community College Credit, but fail the Pre-Calculus Proficiency Assessment?


If you pass the AP exam form AB with a 3 or higher, or have Community College credit for Math 141 or Math 150, you do not need to take the Pre-Calculus Proficiency Assessment. However, some students take the Pre-Calculus Proficiency Assessment to see how they will perform in college-level mathematics. If you take the Pre-Calculus Proficiency Assessment and do NOT pass, you might consider starting at Math 141.


However, failing the Pre-Calculus Proficiency Assessment does not negate your AP or Community College credit; you will still be allowed to enroll in the highest level mathematics allowed based on your test scores and college-level credits.


How do I know what math class to enroll in?

Math 141 is a good starting point. If you feel that you have a solid understanding of algebra and trigonometry you can start with Math 150. In order to register for Math 150 you must satisfy one of the following:


  • Receive a C or better in Math 141

  • Receive a C or better in a Community College Course equivalent to Math 141

  • Receive a 3 or better on the AP Calculus test (AB or BC)

  • Pass the Pre-Calculus Proficiency Assessment administered by the SDSU Testing Office

  • If you don’t pass that assessment, establish competency using an online system called ALEKS. See:


What happens if I do not know which math class I will eventually need to be in because I am using ALEKS or won’t know my Pre-Calculus Proficiency Assessment Scores until after I register for classes?

First of all, don’t stress. It is common for this to happen. Often SDSU receives late AP, ALEKS, or testing scores that allow students to move into higher level math courses just as school is starting in the fall. Once you receive your scores, and can enroll in a higher level course, contact the Compact Scholars staff in Administration Building, Suite 201 for help with switching math courses after registration.


Where do I go for help with my math classes?

The *new* Aztec Math Center! Love Library, Room 410.

Hours of operation: Monday-Thursday, 9 am – 9 pm

                                Friday, 9am – 12 pm

                                Sunday, 3-6 pm



What is a Learning Community?

The key goals for Learning Communities are to encourage integration of learning across courses and to involve students with “big questions” that matter beyond the classroom. Students take two or more linked courses as a group and work closely with one another and with their professors. Many Learning Communities explore a common topic and/or common readings through the lenses of different disciplines. Some deliberately link “liberal arts” and “professional courses”; others feature service learning.


Learning Communities are two or more academic courses, university seminars (USEMs), and supplemental instructional courses based on requirements for different majors, student academic standing, and student interests.


What are the various Learning Communities at SDSU?

SDSU offers a variety of Learning Communities, including, but not limited to communities linked to the following courses:


  • Africana Studies 170A

  • Math 141

  • Math 150

  • Math 151

  • RWS 100

  • Political Science 101

  • Psychology 101

  • Sociology 101

  • Statistics 119

  • USEM: Aztec Scholars Initiative (ASI)

  • USEM: Aztec Freshman Connection

  • USEM: Casa Azteca

  • USEM: College In-Shape

  • USEM: Compact Scholars Program

  • USEM: Emerging Leaders

  • USEM: Pride House


How will participation in a Learning Communities affect my GPA?

Taking an academic course (a 3-unit course) in a Learning Community is no different than taking the same course independently; it will be calculated into your GPA the same.


However, the 1-unit courses (such as a USEM or supplemental instruction), whether stand-alone or linked to academic courses, are taken credit/no credit, so GPA is not directly affected, even though it is still noted on your transcript and affects unit accumulation.


What is supplemental instruction?

Supplemental instruction is generally a 1-unit course paired with a larger lecture course. For example, Math 141 (3 units) is paired with Sciences 296 (1 unit) to create a 4-unit Learning Community Package.


In a Learning Community that offers supplemental instruction (often in the form of a Sciences 296 1-unit course), approximately 15-20 students meet weekly to work in groups on course materials with their instructor – exploring together in a low-stakes setting the topics or problems introduced in the associated lecture. Instructors may be professors, graduate students or outstanding undergraduates who are experts in the subject material, depending on the course.


What are the benefits of being in a Learning Community?

Involvement in a Learning Community is considered a High Impact Practice (HIP), which can also be called an active learning experience. Educational research suggests HIPs/active learning increase rates of student retention and student engagement. Studies also show that students who participate in at least two (2) HIPs during college have higher graduation rates and find more success post-college.


Practically speaking, a lot of lower division courses are taught in lecture format with hundreds of students, making it difficult for individual students to have their questions answered. Students enrolled in Learning Communities have more opportunities to practice and understand the material presented in lecture. The small class size allows students to ask their peers or instructors questions and engage more fully in the materials in a low-stakes environment.


Additionally, the courses most commonly offered in Learning Communities have some of the highest fail rates on campus, especially for commuter students. Data suggests that students who participate in Learning Communities are more likely to not only pass these courses, but avoid academic probation as well.


Where can I learn more about High Impact Practices (HIPs)?



Is there anyone who can help me get a job?

Career Services is a great resource to help you find employment both during and post-graduation. Career Services is located at Student Services East (SSE), 1200 or call (619) 594-6851


What are office hours and why should I go to them?

Attending office hours can be extremely beneficial for students. Most professors have hundreds of students each semester which makes it difficult for them to get to know each one individually.


1) The professor gets to know you one-on-one rather than just by another Red ID number.

2) If you are having a difficult time grasping a concept taught in class/lecture this is the time where you can get direct help.

3) Professional relationships can form and it will become possible to use the professor as a reference when applying for scholarships, research opportunities, etc.


What do I do if I or someone I know is struggling on campus with depression or anger?

Visit Psychological & Counseling Services in the Calpulli Center, Room 4401 or call (619) 594-5220. Their services for students include short-term individual, couples and group counseling, as well as crisis intervention. We also provide consultation and referral services to students, staff, faculty and parents.


Where do I go to get help if I am disabled?

Visit Student Disability Services (SDS) in the Calpulli Center, Room 3100 or call (619) 594-6473.