Cal Poly GPA, SAT, and ACT Data

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is the most selective of the California State University schools. Cal Poly admits less than one-third of all applicants. All admissions are competitive in all majors and you must declare a major when you submit your application.

ACT or SAT I scores are used in the selection process. You must have coursework with a grade of C or better in required courses, which include English, Algebra, Geometry, Advanced Math, Language Other than English, Lab Science (at least one year of Biological Science and one year of Physical Science), Social Sciences, Visual Performing Arts, and Electives.

The middle 50 percent of enrolled first-time students had an ACT composite score from 26 to 31, SAT Critical Reading from 560 to 660, and SAT Math from 590 to 700.

How do you measure up at Cal Poly?  Calculate your chances of getting in with this free tool from Cappex.

Admissions Graph for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission.
Cal Poly GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission. Data courtesy of Cappex.

In the graph, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. As the data shows, the majority of students who got into Cal Poly had at least a B+ average, an SAT score (RW+M) above 1100, and an ACT composite score of 22 or higher. Chances of admission improve as those numbers go up. Realize that in the middle of the graph there's a lot of red hidden behind all that green and blue. Some students who have grades and scores that are on target for Cal Poly still get rejected. On the flip side, some students with scores below the norm got accepted.

Except for EOP students, the California State University system does not ask students for essays or interviews, so the difference between an acceptance and a rejection usually comes down to factors such as your test scores, grades, college preparation, chosen major, and geographic location. Cal State schools often need to give preference to area applicants, and some majors are more restricted than others because of staffing and budget constraints. On the academic front, the more challenging your high school record, the better.

To learn more about Cal Poly including graduation rates, the acceptance rate, costs, and financial aid data, be sure to read the Cal Poly Admissions Profile

If You Like Cal Poly, You May Also Like These Schools

If you're looking for a strong science or engineering program in California, be sure to look at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, CalTech, and UCSD. Note that all four of these institutions have a higher admissions bar than Cal Poly. Stanford, in fact, is right up there with Harvard as one of the most selective universities in the country. On the other side of the country, MIT ranks as one of the best engineering schools in the world.

For a less selective school, the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona is an excellent choice. 

Rejection and Wait List Data for Cal Poly

Rejection and Wait List Data for Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California
Rejection and Wait List Data for Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California. Data Courtesy of Cappex

If we were to judge based on the graph at the top of this article, we'd conclude that an "A" average and above average SAT or ACT scores will likely lead to an acceptance letter from Cal Poly. When we strip away the blue and green data points for accepted students, however, we see a far less rosy picture.

Many applicants with grades and standardized test scores that are on target for Cal Poly are either rejected or waitlisted. So why might a student with the same grades and test scores as an accepted student be rejected? In most cases, it will be because of the student's high school curriculum. Cal Poly wants to see strong grades in the most challenging classes available--Advanced Placement, IB, Honors, and dual enrollment classes with colleges. They also like to see students who have taken more science and math than their minimum requirements.

When it comes to non-numerical measures, extracurricular activities can play a role in the process, although admission isn't overly holistic. Application essays, interviews, and letters of recommendation do not play a role in admissions decisions.