A note for fall 2021 and fall 2022 first-time freshman: The California State University (CSU) has temporarily suspended the use of ACT/SAT examinations in determining admission eligibility for all CSU campuses for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years. This temporary change of admission eligibility applies only for the fall 2021, winter 2022 and spring 2022, fall 2022, winter 2023 and spring 2023 admission cycles. For more information, please visit the
First-Time Freshman Guidance and the
First-Time Freshman Frequently Asked Questions pages.
Admission offices at the 23 campuses use three factors to determine eligibility.
Most applicants who are admitted meet the standards in each of the following areas:
Specific high school courses (referred to as the “a-g” courses)
Grades in “a-g” courses and test scores
Graduation from high school
Many CSU campuses have higher standards for particular majors or for students who live outside their local admission area. Because of the number of students who apply, several campuses have higher standards (supplementary admission criteria) for all applicants. See
Impaction at the CSU to determine if the campus or major you are interested in applying is impacted and may have higher or additional admission criteria.
Many CSU campuses use local admission policies for students who graduate or transfer from high schools and community colleges that are historically served by a CSU campus in that region.
See CSU Local Admission & Service Areas for each campus here (PDF).
FRESHMAN ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT RESIDENTS OF CALIFORNIA
The CSU requires a minimum 15-unit pattern of courses for admission as a first-time freshman. Each unit is equal to a year of study in a subject area. A grade of C or better is required for each course you use to meet any subject requirement.
There are career and technical education (CTE) courses that can be used to meet any of the subject area requirements listed above. Please refer to the
University of California’s Course List Search for the entire listing of approved courses.
WAIVER OF "LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH" REQUIREMENT
If you can demonstrate competency in a language other than English that is equivalent to or higher than that expected of students who have completed two years of language other than English study, you may be allowed a waiver for this language requirement. For further information, contact the CSU campuses to which you are applying.
HOW TO MAKE UP MISSING COURSES
If you didn't take all the required high school courses or earned D or F grades in some of them, you have several options to make up these courses and qualify for CSU admission.
You can complete appropriate high school courses with a grade of C or better either in summer school or in adult school. Courses in this category must be those found on the high school or adult school UC
"a-g" course lists. Some adult schools may not have “a-g” course lists.
You may also complete college courses with a grade of C or better in the missing subject areas. Finally, you can earn an acceptable score on examinations such as the SAT subject examinations, Advanced Placement (AP) examinations, or International Baccalaureate examinations.
If you are unable or do not choose to make up your subject deficiency, you may earn at least 60 units, including 30 semester units of general education from a California Community College or other college and transfer as an upper-division transfer student, where only your college performance is considered for admission.
ADMISSIONS APPEALS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
All students must be able to meet the academic, accreditation and technical standards required for admission or participation in their chosen program of study. Students with disabilities, therefore, are not excused from course prerequisites, GPA requirements or degree requirements. However, in some limited circumstances, substitution of course requirements based on a documented disability may be appropriate.
Such substitutions are granted only when it is clear that the student’s disability makes completion of the requirement(s) impossible and when the course in question is not a fundamental element of the curriculum. A course substitution means that the credit hours for the course are met through an alternate course. A course substitution may not alter or reduce the number of credits needed for degree completion or create a fundamental alteration in the program of study.
Students should visit their campus’s admissions website for the process to appeal an admission denial when the student’s disability directly impacts their ability to complete an admission requirement.
The grades you earn in high school are the most important factor in CSU admission decisions. Your high school grade point average is calculated using your grades in all your college prep "a-g" classes completed after the 9th grade.
WHICH TEST SHOULD I TAKE?
The ACT covers four areas: English, mathematics, reading and science. The ACT composite score is used for admission to the CSU. The ACT also offers, as an option, the Writing Test. The CSU does not require the score from the Writing Test for admission purposes.
For more information about the ACT and to register for the test and send scores, go to
If you list a CSU campus as an ACT score report recipient, your test scores will be sent to all campuses to which you submit an application.
The SAT currently consists of two main sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math. Scores from Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math are combined and used for admission to the CSU. Scores from the Writing section will not be used for admission purposes to the CSU.
CSU campuses will accept old and current SAT scores for admission through 2020. Applicants may submit scores from either test.
Collegeboard.org to learn more about the SAT tests and to register online to take the SAT test.
Once you’ve taken the SAT test, you should list the Cal State Apply institution code, so that Cal State Apply can store your scores for any CSU campus to retrieve. The Cal State Apply institution code for the SAT is 3594.
It's always best to stay in high school to receive your high school diploma. Sometimes, though, that’s just not possible to do. There are options for completing the equivalent of a high school diploma. So if you cannot earn your diploma, consider the
General Education Development program (GED), High School Equivalency (HiSET), or Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) exams. These are examinations that, upon successful completion, offer the equivalent of a high school diploma.
Remember that completing any of these exams does not eliminate the high school course requirements or the grades and test requirements.
The CSU assigns extra points for up to eight semesters of approved honors level, International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses taken in the last three years of high school: A=5 points, B=4 points, C=3 points.
No more than two approved honors level courses taken in the 10th grade may be given extra points. A grade of D in an honors IB or Advanced Placement course does not earn extra points.
Approved high school honors level courses means that the courses are identified as honors level on your official high school “a-g” course list. You can find your school's course list at the
University of California’s Course List Search.
Extra points are also awarded for college courses used to meet CSU "a-g" requirements. However, no more than eight (8) extra points may be awarded to any one applicant.
The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is designed to improve access and retention of historically low-income and educationally disadvantaged students. The program provides admission and academic assistance to EOP-eligible undergraduate students. In many cases, the program also offers financial assistance to eligible students. Campuses tailor their programs to accommodate the needs of their student population.
Every CSU campus has an EOP for low-income undergraduate students who are California residents or qualify for an
AB540 non-resident tuition exemption and are disadvantaged because of their economic and educational backgrounds
EOP accepts students who do not meet regular admission criteria, as well as those who qualify for regular admission. Be sure to indicate on the undergraduate application for admission if you are applying through EOP and ensure you complete the supplemental EOP Application along with the two letters of recommendation by the deadline determined by the campus.
Note: The criteria for acceptance to the EOP program at the CSU are more restrictive than those of the Extended Opportunity Program & Services (EOP&S) program at California Community Colleges. Therefore, you may not be accepted to an EOP program at the CSU even though you may be an EOP&S student at a California Community College.
More information about the EOP program is available here.
When the number of applications received by a campus or a major exceeds the number of available spaces, the campus or major is considered "impacted."
Your CSU “a-g” grade point average (GPA) is calculated based on all grades earned after 9th grade. Credit and No Credit grades are not included in the calculation.
Don’t know your current GPA? Find out using the GPA Calculator
This program enables some CSU campuses to establish pledge programs for first-time students who are interested and able to complete a baccalaureate degree in four years.