Acceptance Rate at Cal Poly SLO and How to Get Accepted Easily

If you want to apply to Cal Poly SLO, the first thing you should think about is the institution’s acceptance rate. The acceptance rate at Cal Poly SLO indicates the difficulty of gaining admission and their selection standard.

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo is the most selective of the 23 colleges that make up the huge California State University system, which enrolls almost 500 students. It’s no surprise that the number of Cal Poly applications has more than quadrupled since the turn of the century, thanks to cheap and well-regarded bachelor’s degree programs in mechanical engineering, business administration, computer science, and architecture.

Aside from the acceptance rate, there are other important factors that account for the school’s admission criteria. They include GPA requirements and testing requirements, including SAT and ACT scores. You should understand the roles of these requirements while applying to the California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

Read on as we explain every detail you need to know as you consider applying to Cal Poly SLO.

Acceptance Rate at Cal Poly SLO and How to Get Accepted Easily

About Cal Poly SLO: Overview of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo is a state public university in San Luis Obispo, California, that is located in a suburban environment. Cal Poly SLO was founded in 1901 and today has a student body of 22,287, including 21,447 undergraduates. Students can live on campus at Cal Poly SLO. The majority of students reside off-campus.

Cal Poly SLO offers a variety of opportunities for students to become engaged. If you enjoy performing or listening to music, you have the campus band, a chorus, or one of Cal Poly SLO’s theatrical organizations. The school has lots of organizations suitable for any vocational activity of your choice.

Graduate students can choose from approximately 40 degrees, including those offered by the Orfalea College of Business. Cal Poly’s highly regarded engineering programs are the most popular choice among undergraduate students, who can pick from almost 70 majors. Cal Poly’s College of Engineering has more than 80 state-of-the-art laboratories and 50 groups dedicated to it.

Additionally, students can join any of the other 300 student groups on campus, such as Rose Float, which allows students to design and build a float for the New Year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. Cal Poly provides dozens of intramural and club sports to students, in addition to the almost 20 Cal Poly Mustangs varsity teams that participate in the NCAA Division I Big West and Great-West conferences. Former NFL coach and NBC sports commentator John Madden, as well as a humorous singer “Weird Al” Yankovic, are notable alumni.

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Overview of Cal Poly Acceptance Rate

Cal Poly is a well-regarded public institution in the state of California. It is a huge university, with 52,377 first-year students expected to enroll in the autumn of 2020. Cal Poly’s acceptance rate is 39%, making admissions extremely competitive. Business, Mechanical Engineering, and Biology are some of the majors available.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants54,072
Percent Admitted28%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield)30%

CAL Poly 2021 Admission Requirements

As previously indicated, admissions to California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo are more selective, with a 39 percent acceptance rate. The majority of California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo candidates had an SAT score of 1270 to 1470 or an ACT score of 27 to 33.

First-year, transfer, graduate, and international students are all eligible to apply. The application date is November 30th each year, and the application cost is $70 per campus at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

First-Year Student Admission Requirement

If you are enrolled in high school (with or without any completed college coursework) or a high school graduate who has not attended any college after high school prior to enrolling in Cal Poly, you are considered a first-year student.

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Each academic year, Cal Poly selects some of the best and brightest students from California and around the world to attend their university. From October 1 to December 15, undergraduate applications are accepted. For all CSU campuses, you can submit your application using Cal State Apply.

SAT Scores and Requirements

All applicants must submit SAT or ACT results to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, 78 percent of accepted students reported SAT scores.

Section25th Percentile75th Percentile

According to this admissions data, the majority of Cal Poly’s admitted students had SAT scores in the top 20% nationally. On the evidence-based reading and writing portion, 50% of Cal Poly admitted students scored between 620 and 700, while 25% scored less than 620 and 25% scored more than 700. On the math component, 50% of admitted students scored between 620 and 740, with 25% scoring below 620 and 25% scoring above 740. Individuals with a combined SAT score of 1440 or higher will have a significant edge.


The SAT writing portion is not required at Cal Poly SLO. Cal Poly participates in the score choice program, which means that your top score from each particular section across all SAT test dates will be considered by the admissions office. Although SAT Subject test results are not needed, they may be utilized to complete some core course requirements if they reach a baseline.

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ACT Scores and Requirements

Cal Poly SLO requires all candidates to provide SAT or ACT results. ACT results were provided by 48 percent of accepted students during the 2018-19 admissions cycle.

Section25th Percentile75th Percentile

According to admissions data, the majority of Cal Poly’s accepted students score in the top 18 percent nationwide on the ACT. The middle 50% of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo accepted students had an ACT composite score of between 26 and 32, with 25% scoring above 32 and 25% scoring below 26.


The admissions office participates in the score choice program, which means that your greatest score from each particular section across all ACT test dates will be considered by the admissions office. The ACT writing portion is not required at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

GPA Requirement

In the year 2019, the average high school GPA for entering Cal Poly freshman was 3.99, with almost 82% having GPAs of 3.75 or above. According to these statistics, the majority of successful Cal Poly candidates had mostly A grades.

Cal Poly SLO Acceptance Rate 2021

Due to the enormous number of candidates for enrolment, only 28% of applicants are admitted. Based on past acceptance rate statistics, the expected Cal Poly acceptance rate in 2021 is 28%. More information is available on the admissions office website,

Historical Trend and Acceptance Rate 2022 Projection of Cal Poly SOL

The historical trend depicts prior-year acceptance rates, from which we forecasted the acceptance rate for the 2022–2023 school year. Hence, in comparison to prior years’ acceptance rate, the overall admission rate trend for California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo has been decreasing.

YearAcceptance Rate

Acceptance Rate By Year

  • 2016-2017: 29.5%
  • 2017-2018: 34.6%
  • 2018-2019: 30.2%
  • 2019-2020: 28.4%
  • Projected Cal Poly Acceptance Rate 2021-2022: 28.1%

How does Cal Poly SLO Acceptance Rate differentiate from others?

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo’s admittance rate is 100 percent lower than the national average of all universities, which is roughly 56.7 percent.

Neighboring Colleges Acceptance Rates:

SchoolAcceptance Rate
University of California-Santa Barbara29.6%
California State University-Bakersfield80.7%
California State University-Fresno57.9%
University of California-Santa Cruz51.3%
California State University-Northridge59.3%

Cal Poly- Admissions Stats by College

College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences

  • GPA range: 3.94-4.25
  • Acceptance rate: 48%
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College of Architecture & Environmental Design

  • GPA range: 4.04-4.25
  • Acceptance rate: 30%

College of Engineering

  • GPA range: 4.17-4.25
  • Acceptance rate: 22%

College of Liberal Arts

  • GPA range: 4.00-4.25
  • Acceptance rate: 31%

College of Science & Mathematics

  • GPA range: 4.14-4.25
  • Acceptance rate: 34%

Orfalea College of Business

  • GPA range: 4.11-4.25
  • Acceptance rate: 27%
  • The most significant note is that all CSU schools have adopted a test-blind policy moving forward.
  • There were 286 international students in the Class of 2025 from 66 different countries.
  • Only 10% of freshmen are first-generation college students; the average among public universities in California is 33%.
  • Cal Poly also remains the least ethnically diverse school in the CSU or UC system.
  • 59% of Mustang freshmen earned above a 4.0 GPA.

Yield Rate at Cal Poly SLO

Cal Poly’s yield rate was 27 percent, which is the proportion of accepted students who choose to enroll divided by the total number of admitted students. When compared to other California public colleges, UC-Berkeley has a 40% yield, UCLA has a 44 percent yield, and UC San Diego has a 17 percent yield.

How Cal Poly SLO Rates Applicants

The intensity of your courses and the GPA attained within those courses are the only two elements that this institution considers “extremely relevant” in its admissions decision. Extracurricular activities, talent/ability, first-generation status, geographical location, volunteer work, and paid job experience are all factors they take into account.

Cal Poly, like all other California State University campuses, has gone test-blind, which means that SAT or ACT results will no longer be used in the admission process. Previously, test results were a “very essential” part of the Cal Poly review process.

According to the admissions office:

  • “For the purposes of your application, we’ll consider your 9th-11th grade weighted GPA. That number is calculated from college-prep coursework as designated on your application. Weight is granted for courses designated as ‘honors,’ ‘college-level,’ ‘advanced placement’ or ‘international baccalaureate’ for up to eight semesters.”
  • “Cal Poly takes activities such as work experience, internships, volunteer programs, and extracurricular activities into consideration. We are also interested in any leadership roles you may have held in these activities.”
  • “All candidates are objectively evaluated by the cognitive and non-cognitive variables under our faculty-mandated Multi-Criteria Admission (MCA) process.”

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How to Apply to Cal Poly SOL

  • On your application, pick a major. With their Major Finder, you can look up various majors and pick your path of study.
  • Examine the selection criteria to verify that you’re optimizing your chances of being chosen and that your application has the necessary information.
  • To finish your application, gather all of the required materials. Make sure you have a copy of your transcripts, current and future class schedules, test results (not relevant for autumn 2021), yearly family income, and social security number (if available).
  • From October 1 through December 15, you can apply online at Cal State Apply. Examine your application thoroughly before submitting it, as there are very few adjustments that may be made once it has been submitted. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.
  • Look at the application resources for advice on how to complete the application.
  • Unless you qualify for an application cost waiver, pay the $70 application fee per college when you apply. At the time of submission, the application will automatically tell you if you qualify for a fee waiver.
  • Add to your contact list to stay in touch. The university’s primary mode of communication is email, and that will be how they communicate with you during the admissions process. If they require any other supporting papers, such as transcripts or portfolios, you will be notified.
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Application Filing Dates and Deadlines

  • The application period for Cal Poly runs from October 1 to December 15. Your application and payments (or fee exemptions) must be submitted through Cal State. Submit your application before 11:59 p.m. PT. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.
  • On October 1, both the FAFSA and California Dream Act applications will be available. To optimize your prospective aid prospects, we encourage you to send in your application as soon as possible. The priority filing deadline for both applications is March 2.
  • The deadline to request an application modification is January 15. Changes must be made by January 1 for applicants to music or art & design. Only biographical information, primary or alternate majors, and updated test results will be accepted.
  • By April 1, all candidates will be advised of their admission status.
  • By April 1, students who have been accepted to Cal Poly will get information about their financial aid awards. From April through August, scholarships are given out.
  • By May 1, you must accept or refuse the admission offer on your My Cal Poly Portal.

Is it difficult to sign up for the classes you want?

Cal Poly provides a wide range of classes, but only a limited number of students may enroll in them. Having said that, the majority of your coursework at Cal Poly is reserved for your first year! You do not need to worry about enrollment for Fall Quarter unless there is a problem with the classes you were assigned to.

Who is eligible to live on campus?

Students who are enrolled in eight or more units are eligible to apply for campus housing. For first-year students, housing is necessary. Members of the Cal Poly Scholars Program, Student-Athletes, CAED students, CAFES, and CENG will be required to spend a second year on campus beginning in 2021.

Students can apply to reside on campus until all of the available apartments are occupied. When housing is no longer available, students might join an interest list.

We feel that now that you are aware of the CAL Poly acceptance rate, your application will have a higher chance of being accepted. Please feel free to share this information with your friends and family.

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To summarize, if you received a 4.0 (or above) weighted GPA in high school, you are a strong contender for any program at Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. Students earning a 4.1 or 4.2 in the honors or AP programs will also do better. However, very few students can consider Cal Poly a “safe” option these days; all students must create an acceptable college list that includes a mix of “reach,” “target,” and “safety” institutions. You should absolutely work with an admissions specialist who is up-to-date on the newest trends and methods linked to your preferred institutions.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions about Cal Poly SLO Acceptance Rate

Does California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo prefer SAT or ACT?

Cal Poly receives SAT results from 75% of students. When applying, 57% of candidates provide their ACT scores.

What is my chance of getting into California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo?

Cal Poly accepts 38 percent of those who apply. Admission is competitive, and the college has extremely high admission criteria. Check to see whether your grades and test scores are enough for admission.

What SAT score is required for California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo?

At the center, 50% of admitted candidates had SAT scores ranging from 1220 to 1410. When applying, 75% of students submit their SAT results. Check to see whether your SAT score is sufficient for admission.

What ACT score is required for California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo?

The center 50% of admitted candidates had ACT scores ranging from 26 to 32. When applying, 57% of students submit their ACT results. Check to see whether your ACT score is sufficient for admission.


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