Experience Confidence and Enjoyment in Learning (ExCEL) is individualized counseling designed to help you enjoy your learning opportunities at CSUN. Remember when you were a kid filled with curiosity and a love of learning? Remember when nothing would get in your way of leaning how to ride a bicycle, master a video game or put together a difficult puzzle? We would like to help you rediscover that enthusiasm, curiosity and confidence in learning through ExCEL. Learning does not have to be experienced as a tedious and boring activity. Learn how to enjoy and have more confidence in your learning journey at CSUN.

Why do we offer ExCEL?

Our counselors have found that a significant percentage of college students have a difficult time enjoying their learning opportunities while in college. Many students have experienced "mini" academic traumas before they enter college that reduce their confidence to learn new and difficult material. Enjoyment and confidence in learning are two important variables in achieving academic success. Your confidence and enjoyment in learning can be increased.


Learn about ExCEL

Below are the ways you can find out more information about available ExCEL services at University Counseling Services. 

  • Call (818) 677-2366, and request an intake for individual counseling with an ExCEL counselor.
  • Check the Schedule of Classes posted each semester and consider registering for a RAISE Your GPA class (EDUC 201).

Self-Assessment Questionnaire

College students have varying levels of confidence and enjoyment in their learning. This usually depends on the subject matter and type of assignment. Awareness that you may have experienced lower levels of confidence and enjoyment in certain subject matters or class assignments is the first step towards finding new ways to approach your academics. 

Take this short questionnaire as a way to better understand your potential learning roadblocks.

Check your attitude

  I believe that even if I put in the effort I will not do well in the class or the assignment.
  I blame the teacher when I am not doing well in a class.
  I believe I am not a smart person when it comes to school.
  I sometimes or often feel I do not belong in college.
  I sometimes or often worry that others will view me as "stupid."
  I have given up caring about my grades in a class.
  I hate going to the class.

Check your behavior

  I wait until the last minute to do the homework in the class.
  I don't go to class.
  I say that I understand the material even when I do not.
  I copy someone else's homework.
  I give up easily when the schoolwork is too hard.
  I give up easily when the schoolwork is too boring.
  I make excuses to others as to why I am not doing well in a certain class.

Check your History

  I have viewed myself as a poor student for many years.
  I have been told for many years that I am a lazy student.
  I have not enjoyed going to class for many years.
  I view school as primarily a social event.

Thanks for taking the self-assessment questionnaire. How many boxes did you check? If you have checked more than three boxes, it is very likely you would benefit from ExCEL counseling or the RAISE Your GPA class. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

ExCEL Video


Two guidebooks are available to accompany the ExCEL video on building Academic Confidence. Each of the guidebooks contains live links to the video.

REFLECTION GUIDEBOOK FOR STUDENTS – This guidebook can be used by students as a reflection exercise after watching the video.

FACILITATION GUIDEBOOK FOR FACULTY & STAFF – This guidebook can be used by faculty and staff as a teaching tool.

SELFIES VIDEO FACILITATION & REFLECTION GUIDEBOOK - This guidebook can be used by students, faculty, and staff as both a reflection exercise and teaching tool.

Please contact Dr. Mark Stevens at mark.stevens@csun.edu if you have any questions.


EDUC 201: RAISE Your GPA is a course that is offered as collaboration between University Counseling Services (UCS) and the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at CSUN. This one-credit course is designed to help students strengthen learning habits, increase academic self-confidence and motivation as well as the ability to set and achieve goals, with the aim of increasing academic persistence. This course is intended for students who are working to get off academic probation and want to prevent disqualification. Additionally, this course will introduce students to the CSUN resources and programs available to support academic success. The course learning objectives will be accomplished with the use of proven learning principles, self-assessments, interactive exercises, hands on practice and weekly writing assignments.

  • Multiple sections of this course are offered every fall and spring semester and are taught by UCS counselors. No permission number is needed to register. Talk to your academic advisor about whether this might be a good course for you!


FAQs about ExCEL

Question: How can I make an appointment?

Answer: Call (818) 677-2366, option 1, and ask to make an appointment with an ExCEL counselor.

Question: What is my first appointment going to be like?

Answer: Your counselor will be asking you lots of questions about your past and current learning experiences to determine the best strategies to help you. At the end of your initial appointment, your ExCEL counselor will summarize his or her assessment and discuss your options. You will be asked to fill out new client forms via MyHealth@CSUN.

Question: How much will it cost?

Answer: ExCEL counseling is free to all enrolled students.

Question: Who are ExCEL counselors?

Answer: ExCEL provides trained counselors and psychologists specializing in the academic health needs of university students.