Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience
Catherine Raye-Wong
Catherine Raye-Wong

By day, Catherine Raye-Wong worked full time as a legal secretary; in the evening, she transitioned to college student.  Catherine arrived at CSM equipped with ambition and drive to pursue her lifelong career goal of becoming a lawyer. Having a full time job presents an extra set of challenges for many students but Catherine found that CSM addressed multiple needs involved in balancing work and school.

As a working student, Catherine valued the flexibility that CSM’s class schedule offered which allowed her to continue to work and support her education. In addition, the college provided comfortable surroundings and a variety of resources that allowed her to complete all of her general education requirements. Catherine also appreciated CSM’s professional staff members who advised her in the selection of transfer track classes which would facilitate a smooth transition to Notre Dame de Namur University where she completed her bachelor’s degree.

Affordability also figured into Catherine’s decision to attend CSM.  The payoff came once she earned her bachelor’s degree and realized that she wasn’t saddled with large loans to pay back that her friends experienced when they completed college. What she saved by attending CSM for the first two years and working her way through college helped make it possible to afford graduate school. She continued working toward her career goal by enrolling in San Francisco Law School where she earned a Juris Doctorate and an LL.M. degree in taxation from Golden Gate University’s School of Law. Fulfilling her career goal, Catherine currently operates her own law firm, Raye-Wong & Associates, specializing in estate law in downtown San Carlos.

“CSM prepared me by offering excellent English courses that challenged me to become a decent writer. Writing skills are of the utmost importance in a legal career.” She offers this advice about attending CSM: “I always encourage potential college student to look at CSM, visit the campus and observe what is going on.  I think they will find it a welcoming, high caliber institution, as I did.”

“My favorite memories of CSM involved my writing classes which gave me more experience in essays and poetry.”  While at CSM, Catherine had the opportunity to participate in the London Semester, part of the college’s Study Abroad Program which she recalls as a “wonderful experience” and resulted in several lifelong friendships.