SAT Scores for Admission to the 23 Cal State Universities

A Side-by-Side Comparison of College Admissions Data

Brotman Hall at CSULB
Brotman Hall at CSULB. Marisa Benjamin

You've taken the SAT, and gotten your scores back--now what? If you're wondering if you have the SAT scores you'll need to get into one of the California State University schools, here's a side-by-side comparison of scores for the middle 50% of enrolled students. If your scores fall within or above these ranges, you're on target for admission to one of these Cal State universities. You'll see that several schools do not have SAT scores listed below.

This is because those schools have test-optional admissions--your SAT scores are not a required part of the application.

Comparison of SAT Scores Needed for Admission to Cal State Schools

Cal State SAT Score Comparison (mid 50%)
(Learn what these numbers mean)
Bakersfield------see graph
Cal Maritime------see graph
Cal Poly Pomona450580470620--see graph
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo550650580690--see graph
Channel Islands------see graph
Chico440550450560--see graph
Dominguez Hills------see graph
East Bay------see graph
Fresno390500400510--see graph
Fullerton460560470570--see graph
Humboldt State440560430550--see graph
Long Beach460570470600--see graph
Los Angeles390490390500--see graph
Monterey Bay------see graph
Northridge400500390510--see graph
Sacramento415520420540--see graph
San Bernardino400490400500--see graph
San Diego State500600510630--see graph
San Francisco State430540430550--see graph
San Jose State450570470610--see graph
San Marcos420520430530--see graph
Sonoma State440550440550--see graph
Stanislaus------see graph
View the ACT version of this table
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For the universities that don't list SAT scores, you can still see how you measure up by clicking on the "see graph" link for that school. The graph presents SAT, ACT, and GPA data for students who were accepted, rejected, and waitlisted from the university.  In some cases, students with lower grades and scores were admitted, and some with higher scores and grades were rejected.

This shows that admissions offices look at more than just grades and test scores​ and that students with lower scores still have a shot at being admitted--provided they have an otherwise strong application.

With the exception of San Diego State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, you'll be on target for admission to any of the Cal State schools with SAT scores that are average or even a bit below average. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is the most selective of the 23 universities, and to be admitted you'll need SAT or ACT scores that are well above average (especially in math given the school's math/science focus).

Other Factors That Affect Admission

Unlike the University of California system, admission to Cal State universities is not holistic. Factors such as an application essay, extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation do not typically play a role in the process (EOP students and some specialized programs are exceptions to this policy). The most important part of your application will be your academic record; the admissions folks will want to see solid grades in college preparatory classes. Students who haven't completed adequate credits in key subject areas such as math, science, and English might be rejected.

More SAT Tables:

Check out this side-by-side comparison of SAT admissions data for the University of California to see the typically higher standards of California's other state university system.

On the national level, this comparison of SAT data for the top public universities in the United States reveals just how selective public institutions can be. For any of these schools, applicants are going to need SAT scores that are well above average.

Data from National Center for Educational Statistics