Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience
Michael  Cardona
Michael Cardona UC Berkeley, Rhetoric

Michael Cardona, a graduate of Hillsdale High School, came to CSM to play football with the goal of continuing his athletic career at the university level. While he worked hard to be the best player he could be, he realized that it wasn’t enough. He changed direction and decided to focus on academics and becoming the best student he could be.  

With the assistance of several college programs, Michael set his sights on getting into a top-notch university. Transfer Services helped him focus on what was needed to get into various universities and connected him with the admissions staff at those schools. Through Transfer Services, Michael received guidance in writing an effective personal statement for his UC application. He was also a participant in the college’s EOPS program, “As an EOPS student, I had the opportunity to tour several top universities. That experience helped me visualize myself at those schools.” In addition, Michael received assistance from the Financial Aid Office which supplemented his income and allowed him to get involved in college life.

“I had great English teachers who helped me to become a better writer and more skilled at reading comprehension. I was glad to have the opportunity to focus on those important skills. They were key to transferring and my success at UC Berkeley.” says Michael. “Becoming a better student also instilled confidence that I could accomplish my goals.”

After earning associate degrees in administration of justice and liberal arts from CSM, Michael transferred to UC Berkeley as a rhetoric major. He also participated in the university’s study abroad program, spending a semester in Thailand. After graduating in 2013 with his bachelor’s degree, he was accepted to University of San Francisco’s Law School. Michael clerked for the Alameda Public Defender’s Office and has recently launched an online business ( He plans to pursue a career in law, specializing in defense litigation and starting more e-commerce websites.

Looking back at his experience at CSM, Michael says, “CSM met all of my expectations and more. The wonderful faculty and staff helped me to realize what I wanted out of life. I was fortunate because I had some very good mentors while I was at CSM including Sylvia Aguirre-Alberto, my EOPS counselor, other faculty and staff in EOPS and my English professors. I feel that by the time I completed my degree at CSM, I was not only a better student but a better person.”