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Selection Criteria

For First-Year Students

Cal Poly requires you to declare a major when submitting your application. Our selection process considers many factors for admission in an objective format in which applicants compete against other applicants within the same major. When we review your application, we consider:

Your Intended Program of Study

We evaluate and admit students by their major. Admission is competitive in all majors.


We look at the college-prep coursework you have taken during high school, including the courses you have in progress or planned during 12th grade. Our selection process is based on your self-reported information. Please do not send us official transcripts unless we request them.

High School course requirements. 


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.

Extracurricular Activities and Work Experience

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.

Other Variables

Cal Poly is an impacted campus and admission is competitive in all majors. While GPA and test scores (when applicable) are important, it is impossible to predict a candidate’s chances by looking at these statistics alone. We consider other factors for admission deemed important to our campus. All candidates are objectively evaluated by the cognitive and non-cognitive variables under our faculty-mandated Multi-Criteria Admission (MCA) process. We encourage students to apply to the program they feel best fits their academic and professional goals.


First-year student profile 

Art and Design and Music Applicants
Qualified applicants will be notified in mid-January to submit a portfolio. More information is available through the Art and Design and Music Departments