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San Diego State University

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Date: Nov 21 2017
Major: History/Histories (art history/etc.) (This Major's Salary over time)
I attended SDSU for a Master's degree in European history, and I also worked as a teaching assistant. Most of my professors were intelligent, knowledgeable, and capable people who did challenge me and provide the the opportunity to learn and develop independently.

But graduate students comprise only a small part of the overall SDSU community. This is a state college with a predominantly working class and now minority student body. Overall, the admissions standards are quite low. I was repeatedly shocked at the low levels of literacy and general understanding exhibited by most of the undergraduates. I quickly found out that I could not assume any kind of a knowledge base. My students frequently interrupted me because they didn't understand my vocabulary or even what I was talkinga about in the first place. As for my fellow graduate students, well, they were a mixed lot: some were quite capable and engaged, but a large proportion of them were simply frittering their lives away there, and as a result many seminars ended up being a waste of time.

Compared to the UCs, the "public ivies," the Ivy League itself or the "Little Ivies," SDSU is underfunded, and it shows. The campus may be superficially attractive, but in many places it is dirty and poorly maintained, notwithstanding the conspicuous, showy newer buildings that dot the landscape. The administration, while not unusually bad, is fairly typical of schools of this kind: there is a lot of red tape to deal with with, files get lost, and staff can be extremely rude and unhelpful.

If you have no other choice due to financial and/or logistical constraints, and you are a self-starter with a lot of initiative, San Diego State is perhaps not the worst option. Even today it is still inexpensive, at least relatively so, and if you work in or around downtown San Diego, the drive isn't too horrendous. But it would definitely not be my first choice.

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commentYou say that the admission standards are quite low but that's only half true. I applied to this school's business/accountancy program a year ago and was denied with a 3.7 while some people on the college confidential forum I was a part of at the time became accepted with a 2.98. This school, along with most cal states grant absurd priorities to students that are part of their "local area".
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