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San Diego State University

Commuter Life

What Are Commuter Success Pathways?

San Diego State University offers a variety of Student Success Pathways for incoming freshmen. This is a campus-wide initiative in which multiple offices and colleges work in collaboration.  

The goals of the various pathways are that incoming students will:

  • Build relationships with peers, faculty, and staff.
  • Feel a sense of belonging on campus. 
  • Become part of a small community of students with common academic or social interests.
  • Receive academic support from one course and apply it more deeply in another.

 Students who enroll in a Student Success Pathway in their first semester tend to:

  • Achieve a deeper understanding of course material.
  • Have confidence in their academic work.
  • Have higher GPAs and lower instances of academic probation.
  • Have higher satisfaction with campus life. 

The Four Main Commuter Success Pathways:

1. Freshman Interest Group (FIG): Includes a 1-unit freshman transition course called University Seminar, which meets one hour each week during the fall semester.  Students will take the course in a small group (30 or less).  Some FIG packages are paired with "In-College Shape," a 2-day summer retreat/orientation and/or academic mentoring.

2. Scholar Seminar (SS): Includes a 3- or 4-unit General Education course and a 1-unit Discussion/Analysis course taught by a graduate student assistant or an instructional student assistant in a small group setting.

3. Learning Community (LC): Blend of a FIG and Scholar Seminar.  In some packages, there is no 1-unit Discussion/Analysis course attached.

4.  Integrated Curriculum (IC): Includes two General Education courses (3-units each). The instructors of each course work in partnership to integrate course material. For example, in an IC for RWS 100 and PolSci 101, students will complete writing assignments about material learned in PolSci 101.


Student Success Pathways Available to Commuter Students:

There are many Student Success Pathways programs and packages available to commuter students that are offered by various offices throughout SDSU.  Students also have the option of enrolling into a general Student Success Pathway that is not tied to a specific program. 

Incoming commuter freshmen receive a formal invitation to the Freshman Commuter Student Success Reception, which is held in June.  At the reception, students will learn more about each Student Success Pathway, the various program and package offerings, and will also select their pathway preferences. 

Below are the descriptions of the different programs offered through the Student Success Pathways. 

casa aztecs logo An SDSU Learning Community

Casa Azteca is a learning community designed specifically for freshman students from south bay neighborhoods living at home or off-campus, referred to as “commuter” students.  This program is offered through Student Life & Leadership.

 aztec freshmen connection - an SDSU Learning Community

Aztec Freshman Connection is a learning community designed specifically for freshman students San Diego areas who are living at home or off-campus, referred to as “commuter” students. This program is offered through Student Life & Leadership.

 compact scholars logo

Compact Scholars are graduates from Sweetwater Unified High School District (SUHSD) who meet the requirements of the Compact for Success. Compact Scholars are automatically identified during the application process. In addition to the Scholar Seminars and Integrated Curriculum communities related to their majors, Compact Scholars are also eligible for CSP-specific FIGs and Learning Communities.   

aztec scholars initiative logo

Aztec Scholars Initiative. This community engages, supports and promotes the social, cultural, academic and leadership development of African American and American Indian students as they transition to life at SDSU. ASI offers both a Learning Community and a FIG.  This program is offered through The Office of Educational Opportunity Programs and Ethnic Affairs.

 freshman leadership development logo

Freshman Leadership Connection. This community offers an orientation to SDSU’s leadership opportunities through service, greek life and student government. Members of this community learn leadership theory and put their knowledge into practice on campus in one or more of SDSU’s 300+ student organizations. FLC offers both a Learning Community and a FIG.

Leadership Learning Community. Particpants in this community are enrolled in the SDSU Leadership Minor, a 15-unit minor exploring the art and science of leadership. This interdisciplinary program is open to all students regardless of their major. Students in this program enroll in the first course of the minor (Exploring Leadership) and in the Freshman Leadership Connection program. 

 mesa-official stem logo

MESA STEM. This learning community is a component of the comprehensive MESA program which supports first-generation college students in STEM fields.  Engineering and physical science majors who apply and are accepted into the MESA program take a seminar class, receive additional instruction in their math and science courses through Academic Excellence Workshops and participate in career development activities.  This program is offered through MESA.

 pride center logo

Pride House.  A community for LGBTQA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, asexual and allies) students who seek a safe and affirming environment where the focus is on making positive change in the world around them. Students of all sexual orientations or gender identities are welcome. Pride House offers a FIG.


WAGE House.  The Women’s and Gender Equity House connects students interested in feminism, gender equity, and social change. WAGE residents explore contemporary women’s issues through learning excursions, speakers, and local advocacy efforts. Students of all gender identities are welcome in the WAGE House. Members of this community are typically enrolled in Women’s Studies 101 or 102 and a FIG/University Seminar.

STEM Community. A community for STEM majors who are not members of MESA or STEM-Start. Any student who enrolls in a general STEM Scholar Seminar (Math 141/150 + Sci 296) is a part of this community.

Undeclared Community. Students who enter SDSU without declaring a major join this community, which offers a Psychology 101 Scholar Seminar that helps students choose a major by the end of their first semester.

Visit Commuter Land!

We are located on the 2nd floor of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, in the Student Life & Leadership Office.

student studying with laptop in the commuter resource center