Cal Poly: 2020 Requirements, Scores & GPAs

This is the go-to guide for getting into California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. We suggest you read until the end... Not only will we layout the exact GPA and test scores you should aim for when applying to Cal Poly, but we’ll also offer creative ways to help your application stand out from the pack. We breakdown Cal Poly statistics better than any article out there and show you how these have changed over time. Also, make sure to check out California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo on CampusReel to see what it’s really like here. If you're interesting in transferring to Cal Poly, the read our transfer guide. You can also use the below calculator to help determine your likelihood of acceptance at Cal Poly

What are your chances at Cal Poly?

Your SAT Score
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  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at Cal Poly or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

    What GPA do you need to get into California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo?

    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo’s average GPA is 4.0. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo does require GPA. This average GPA means California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo is brutally selective - the most competitive applicants in the world are already applying to the school, in hopes of taking up residence in San Luis Obispo, and, somehow, you need to be better. Generally speaking, if your GPA is not at least equal to 4.0 then California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo may be a reach. However, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo considers the ENTIRE application - we can make up for a weak GPA with more factors that we’ll discuss below. If your GPA is equal to or greater than 4.0, you’re sitting right in the sweetspot.

    *BEFORE CONTINUING PLEASE NOTE: GPA and “prestige” DO NOT mean a college is right for you. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo may seem amazing on paper, but you may hate it... That’s why 700,000 students transfer colleges every year - they end up going to the wrong school. It’s crucial to watch the videos on CampusReel and make sure you can envision yourself on Cal Poly’s campus. These Cal Poly admission statistics do not sufficiently tell you what a college or university is like.

    What is California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo’s acceptance rate?

    Last year California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo’s acceptance rate was 31.29. However, check out how the acceptance rate has changed over time.

    2016 2017 2018
    Acceptance Rate 29.0 % 35.0 % 31.29 %

    As you can see, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo is getting more and more difficult to get into. If this trend continue it’s likely that Cal Poly will be even more competitive by the time you apply.

    Acceptance rate alone does not indicate your likelihood for getting into Cal Poly - it’s a very high level understanding of the true competition. Use the acceptance rate as a general guide for curating a list of 10-15 schools that fall into different ranges of competitiveness. Then, use the below data to get a deeper understanding of how your application will compare to the rest of the pool.

    What are your chances at Cal Poly?

    Your SAT Score
    Your ACT Score
    Select a score
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  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at Cal Poly or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

    Does California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo Require Test Scores?

    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo requires that you either take the SAT or ACT. See the table below for how California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo’s accepted students have performed on both tests. You may be wondering how many test scores should you submit. Generally, don’t freak out about taking the test too often. Industry consensus is that you can submit up to 6 tests as a reasonable limit.

    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo SAT Requirements

    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo’s average SAT score is 1255 - this is the sum of the math and reading portions of the SAT (the 1600 scale). Check out the below table for a deeper look into how students performed - it’s also very interesting to look at the average test score over time. The trend over time helps give insight into whether California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo is getting more or less competitive.

    25th Percentile 75th Percentile Average
    Math 590 700 645
    Reading 560 660 610
    2019 Total 1150 1360 1255
    2018 Total - - -
    2017 Total - - -

    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo’s average SAT score is 1255. To be a competitive applicant for California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo your SAT score should come close to the average. If you’re closer to the 1150, you’re likely going to have a tougher time getting accepted. To consider California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo a “target” school (one that you are likely to get into) you should aim for a score of 1360.

    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo ACT Requirements

    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo’s average ACT score is 86. To be a competitive applicant for California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo your ACT score should come close to the average. If you’re closer to the 77, you’re likely going to have a tougher time getting accepted. To consider California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo a “target” school (one that you have a good chance of getting into) you should aim for a score of 95.

    25th Percentile 75th Percentile Average
    Math 26 31 28
    Reading 25 33 29
    Writing 26 31 28
    2019 Total 77 95 86
    2018 Total - - -
    2017 Total - - -

    How hard is it to get into California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo?

    As you can see from the data above, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo is difficult to get into. Not only should you be aiming for a 4.0 but also SAT scores around 1255.

    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo Requirements

    Now you know where you need to be for getting into California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo from a grade and test score perspective. Let’s quickly outline what else you’ll need to provide for your application to get reviewed, and then we’ll move onto the most important section: differentiating your app.

    Recommendations Status
    School Rank Neither required nor recommended
    GPA Required
    School Record Required

    How to get into Cal Poly

    Follow these steps to maximize your chances of getting into Cal Poly. Everything you read above will help prepare you for what you need to achieve to have a shot at Cal Poly, but these steps will take you even further in applying that knowledge and differentiating your application.

    Main Academic Excellence that is in line with Cal Poly admission standards.

    1. Score at least a 1255 on the SAT or 86 on the ACT.
    2. Maintain a GPA of at least a 4.0.

    Join Extracurriculars that Align with Cal Poly’s Values.

    1. Join your school band, a sports team or another group activity. If California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo values music heavily, for example, then try to participate in an organization related to that topic.
    2. Volunteer in your hometown. San Luis Obispo has tons of ways to be involved beyond just the college. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo wants applicants that are also good ambassadors for the school - they want students who will give back to the local community and broader San Luis Obispo area in general.
    3. Spend your summer doing something that speaks to your values, personal growth, leadership qualities and other less quantifiable characteristics. Cal Poly needs to see past your test scores and grades - they need to know that you will be a valuable and contributing member of their community. You are more than grades and test scores - your experiences should demonstrate that.

    Prepare Your Application

    1. Write a stellar essay that shows California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo something they can’t figure out from the other parts of your application. For a detailed guide on writing the best college essay, check this out.
    2. Get teacher recs that speak to your character. If you know what you’re majoring in and include that in your Cal Poly app, try to have at least 1 recommendation from a teacher in that department.
    3. Apply Before the Deadline. Too many students wait until the last minute to submit their application, and too much can go wrong during this precious time window. Since many students are applying on the last day, it’s possible that Cal Poly’s own system crashes. Don’t risk the added stress this can cause - submit your app a few days early.

    What are your chances at Cal Poly?

    Your SAT Score
    Your ACT Score
    Select a score
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  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at Cal Poly or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

    Related College & Universities:

    Transfering to California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
    Transfering to California State University-Northridge