For Incoming Students, Families and Supporters
You have received a lot of information since receiving your acceptance to Cal Poly and probably still have a lot of questions. We've compiled some answers to our most commonly-asked questions for your reference. If you have questions not answered here, you can find a list of email addresses in the bottom question so you can reach out to someone on campus.
Considering the current situation, would Cal Poly offer courses online during fall quarter?
We are very hopeful that by the beginning of fall quarter, everyone will be back on campus and ready to experience Learn by Doing together in person. But your safety is our top priority and we will continue to follow state, CDC and CSU guidelines as the coronavirus situation evolves. We will be ready to offer all our courses online in the fall if necessary. Whether online or in person, we are committed to providing the same outstanding learning experience that brought you to Cal Poly in the first place.
How will you do online labs? How do we Learn by Doing remotely?
Some hands-on learning opportunities may be limited for now, and will be different for every college and program as we all Learn by Doing through this difficult situation. The coronavirus pandemic may even offer unexpected and unique opportunities to practice hands-on learning.
For example, two engineering professors redesigned their spring courses to focus on building ventilator parts to address the pandemic. A music professor is developing a virtual choral ensemble, directing his students by video and compiling individually-recorded parts into one complete performance.
As long as the pandemic lasts, we will provide every Learn by Doing opportunity we can while also protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.
Does Cal Poly have a virtual tour?
Even with campus operations limited, there are a lot of ways for you to get to know Cal Poly, interact with current students and faculty, and get your questions answered. You can take a virtual tour guided by Poly Reps, our student ambassadors, or sign up for an interactive online information session at calpoly.edu/explore-cal-poly.
What about orientation? Will SLO Days and WOW happen?
For now, SLO Days and WOW are scheduled to proceed as planned, but we are keeping an eye on the coronavirus situation and will adjust as needed. If social distancing guidelines remain in place into late spring and fall, we will be prepared to offer both of those events virtually. It’s all about your safety and the safety of our campus community.
Is Quarter Plus still happening?
An on-campus Quarter Plus is still planned so that you have the option to get a jump on your first-year academics. However, if the coronavirus situation warrants, it will also be offered online. For the latest updates and to learn about the program and its important deadlines visit quarterplus.calpoly.edu.
How do I accept your offer of admission and how do I know you received it?
By now you are probably pretty familiar with the MyCalPoly portal. This is where you find out various requirements and learn important information. It is also where you accept our offer of admission. You will receive an email within 24 hours after you have accepted with your next steps
My financial circumstances have changed because of the coronavirus. Can I get additional assistance because of this?
We understand that many families are facing economic challenges and a financial situation that may be significantly different than what was reported on the FAFSA application. If your family has experienced a loss of income, please submit a Change of Income appeal, which will be available on our website after June 15, 2020. To learn more visit coronavirus.calpoly.edu/financial-aid.
Do transfer students have the same support as first-year students at Cal Poly?
At Cal Poly, we actually have a special center designed to support transfer students with their unique needs. You will find resources and answers to your questions about housing, classes, enrollment and so much more at advising.calpoly.edu/transfer-advising.
How does housing work and how do I find a roommate?
Once you accept your offer of admission, your housing application will appear in your MyCalPoly portal in 24-48 hours. Fill out your housing application, make the initial payment, and you've secured a space on campus!
First-year students are required to live on campus in one of our residence halls. Interested in living with a specific roommate? You can return to your application any time before May 7 to request roommates and edit your preferences. Most first-years find roommates on the official Cal Poly SLO Class of 2024 Facebook page or other social media groups.
New transfer students have the option of living on campus and will be assigned a space in a campus apartments, although space is limited.
You can find more information about housing, like selecting a roommate, on the housing website.
Since I can’t have a car on campus as a first year student, what’s the best way to get around?
Cal Poly is a very walkable campus, and is located a quick walk or bike ride from shopping, restaurants, banks and most other needs. Downtown San Luis Obispo is just a mile and a half away. We also subsidize the SLO city bus system so that students can ride anywhere in town for free, and provide other options for further travel, like getting home on breaks. Visit our commuting website for more info.
Do a lot of companies offer internships to Cal Poly students?
Many leading companies actively search for student interns at Cal Poly, and students in all majors have plenty of opportunities to explore this important part of the Learn by Doing experience. We’ll help you by pointing you in the right direction for an internship in your field, helping you prepare for interviews, and introducing you to companies at our Career Fairs, held frequently on campus and online during spring quarter. Learn more at calpoly.edu/internships-and-co-ops.
What security measures are implemented on campus?
Your safety is our first concern. Each year we collect our safety data and present a report and campus safety plan (https://afd.calpoly.edu/police/campus-reports/) so that you can see exactly what is happening on campus. Because Cal Poly is a state school, California State Police are housed right on campus. These highly trained officers are ready to help within minutes.
In addition, we are focused on cyber security at Cal Poly. Your information security is our priority, and our Information Technology Services team will help you with all the steps you’ll need to protect your accounts and devices.
Will study abroad still be available in the near future?
Once travel advisories have lifted, students can study abroad in locations around the world on Cal Poly programs that range from a week to a full academic year. The International Center offers over 500 study abroad approved programs in 75 countries. Programs can help fulfill GE courses, major-related courses, and even offer internships. Visit the Cal Poly Study Abroad program online for more information and to stay up to date on the latest travel advisories.
Some high schools have frozen our grades with a baseline number based on when we left school. Can we send these inflated final transcripts?
If your high school considers these to be your official transcripts, then that is what you should send to us. You can submit them electronically here.
Will fourth quarter grades (or a lack thereof) impact AP credit or the courses we are required to take as a first year Cal Poly student?
Please make sure to send all official AP/IB exams to Cal Poly by July 15th. Our evaluations team will automatically evaluate those exams for college credit. For more info about AP/IB credit and how the exam scores will transfer to Cal Poly as college credit, please visit registrar.calpoly.edu/other_ac_credit.
Will I get a refund on my registration fee if the fall term is held online?
Tuition and registration fees are mandated by the CSU, and we have to collect them from every enrolled student in order to keep campus running. However, due to extraordinary circumstances, some fees are refundable for spring quarter while campus is under limited operation, and those same considerations will likely be available if the coronavirus situation continues into the fall. For more information, visit coronavirus.calpoly.edu/fee-refund-guidelines.
Does Cal Poly offer any help with my job interview skills?
Yes! Career Services provides great resources such as internship and employment search, mock interviews, resume reviews, career fairs every quarter, and even a professional clothing closet. They have a freshman focus career counseling team and college specific career counselors as well. Learn more at careerservices.calpoly.edu/explore-services.
Can I change my major?
Yes, with some conditions. While you must commit to a major when you apply, you can change majors after your first quarter at Cal Poly. Keep in mind that you’re not guaranteed to get the new major you want — requests are subject to space in the new major and department approval. Generally speaking, it is less competitive to change majors within the same colleges than from a different college. For more information, visit advising.calpoly.edu/change-major.
How do I pick my classes as a first-year student?
First year students are automatically block scheduled in to their first quarter of classes. Class schedules for fall are available to view in your portal mid-August. For advising questions about your class schedule, schedule a virtual advising session with our Mustang Success Center’s freshman focus team. Learn more at advising.calpoly.edu.
I’ve been on your site and I still have questions about what is happening. How do I speak directly with an advisor?
If you can’t find the info you need here, you can always keep up with that’s happening at Cal Poly or connect directly with an advisor at calpoly.edu/explore-cal-poly. You can also email more specific questions to an advisor at email@example.com. Here are some other emails that you may find useful: Financial Aid - firstname.lastname@example.org, Advising at the Mustang Success Center - email@example.com, Orientation - firstname.lastname@example.org, Housing - email@example.com.