Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

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California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) is a public university with an acceptance rate of 30%. Cal Poly is the most selective of the California State universities, and successful applicants typically have grades and standardized test scores that are significantly above average.

Considering applying to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo? Here are the admissions statistics you should know, including average SAT/ACT scores and GPAs of admitted students.

Why Cal Poly

  • Location: San Luis Obispo, California
  • Campus Features: Cal Poly's nearly 10,000-acre sprawling campus includes a ranch, arboretum, and a vineyard.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 19:1
  • Athletics: The Cal Poly Mustangs compete in the NCAA Division I Big West Conference.
  • Highlights: Cal Poly ranks among the top undergraduate engineering schools in the country and has highly regarded schools of architecture and agriculture. The school's "learn by doing" philosophy extends to all majors and provides students with significant hands-on experience.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, Cal Poly had an acceptance rate of 30%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 30 were admitted, making Cal Poly's admissions process very competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2017-18)
Number of Applicants 54,663
Percent Admitted 30%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 27%

SAT Scores and Requirements

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo requires all applicants to submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 75% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 620 700
Math 620 730
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of Cal Poly's admitted students fall within the top 20% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to Cal Poly scored between 620 and 700, while 25% scored below 620 and 25% scored above 700. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 620 and 730, while 25% scored below 620 and 25% scored above 730. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1430 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at Cal Poly.

Requirements

Cal Poly does not require the SAT writing section. Note that Cal Poly will consider your highest score from each individual section across all SAT test dates. SAT Subject test scores are not required, but if the score meets a benchmark, it may be used to fulfill certain core course requirements.

ACT Scores and Requirements

Cal Poly requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 57% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 26 34
Math 26 31
Composite 26 32

This admissions data tells us that most of Cal Poly's admitted students fall within the top 18% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo received a composite ACT score between 26 and 32, while 25% scored above 32 and 25% scored below 26.

Requirements

Note that Cal Poly does not superscore ACT results; your highest composite ACT score will be considered. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo does not require the ACT writing section.

GPA

In 2018, the average high school GPA for incoming Cal Poly freshman was 4.0. All incoming first-year students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo had GPAs ranging from 2.5 to 4.0, and over 95% of admitted students had GPAs of 3.50 and above. These results suggest that most successful applicants to Cal Poly have primarily A grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.  Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which accepts just under a third of applicants, is a selective state school. In the graph above, 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 (ERW+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 the green and blue. Some students who have grades and scores that are on target for Cal Poly still get rejected.

What makes the difference between an acceptance and a rejection? Unlike the University of California System, the California State University admission process is not holistic. Except for EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) students, applicants do not need to submit letters of recommendation or an application essay. Instead, admissions are based primarily on GPA and test scores. Cal Poly wants to see strong grades in the most challenging classes available—Advanced Placement, IB, Honors, and dual enrollment classes— the more rigorous your high school record, the better. Students who have taken more science and math than Cal Poly requires have a better chance at admission.

All admissions data has been sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Undergraduate Admissions Office.