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Study in the USA at CAL POLY - San Luis Obispo

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About CAL POLY - San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly is a distinctive learning community for academically motivated students who seek a challenging, hands-on education in order to prepare for professional and personal success in an increasingly scientific and technological world.

Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive public university located in San Luis Obispo, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California's Central Coast. It is a distinctive learning community offering academically focused students a hands-on educational experience that prepares them for today's scientific and technical world.


Total Students


Student Ratio
Female 46%
Male 54%


Total Faculty


Student/Faculty Ratio
19 : 1


Estimated Cost



Total Applicants






Test Scores

SAT Math


SAT Reading


SAT Writing

ACT Composite


Students & Faculty

  • 20,186Total Students
  • 10,888Male Students
  • 9,298Female Students
  • 1,301Total Faculty
  • 651Male Faculty
  • 650Female Faculty
  • 19:1Student/Fac Ratio


total applicants

admitted ()

enrolled (4662)

SAT Scores:
25th-75th percentile
ACT Scores:
25th-75th percentile

Note: 25th-75th percentile ranges show the range of scores achieved by the middle 50% of students who were admitted to the school.

Other Requirements:
Admissions Test Scores?
Other Test?
College Prep?
Neither required nor recommended
*All data is provided by the school or compiled from IPEDS as of May 2013

Degrees & Programs

Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering
Agricultural Business and Management, General
Agricultural Engineering
Agricultural Mechanization, General
Agricultural Teacher Education
Agriculture, General
Agronomy and Crop Science
Animal Sciences, General
Architectural Engineering
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering
Biology/Biological Sciences, General
Business Administration and Management, General
Business Administration, Management and Operations, Other
Chemistry, General
City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning
Civil Engineering, General
Computer Engineering, General
Computer Science
Computer Software Engineering
Construction Engineering
Dairy Science
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General
Early Childhood Education and Teaching
Economics, General
Education, General
Electrical and Electronics Engineering
Engineering Science
Engineering, General
English Language and Literature, General
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
Ethnic, Cultural Minority, Gender, and Group Studies, Other
Fine/Studio Arts, General
Food Science
Foreign Languages and Literatures, General
Forestry, General
Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other
Graphic Communications, General
Health and Physical Education/Fitness, General
History, General
Horticultural Science
Industrial Engineering
Industrial Technology/Technician
Landscape Architecture
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, Other
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies
Manufacturing Engineering
Materials Engineering
Mathematics, General
Mechanical Engineering
Microbiology, General
Music, General
Natural Resources Management and Policy, Other
Ornamental Horticulture
Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
Physics, General
Political Science and Government, General
Polymer Chemistry
Psychology, General
Public Administration
Rhetoric and Composition
Social Sciences, General
Social Sciences, Other
Soil Science and Agronomy, General
Statistics, General
Viticulture and Enology
One Grand Ave
San Luis Obispo, California 93407
P: (805) 756-1111

Studying in California

When it comes to studying abroad, it seems the beautiful and vibrant state of California makes every student's top three choices list. What California has to offer in terms of quality education comes not only in the form of top-rated colleges and universities, but also in the diverse range of people, lifestyles, and activities students will have the opportunity to explore. For international students interested in studying American culture, California offers the ideal opportunity to experience first-hand the uniquely rich interplay of diverse cultural identities that arguably define the American experience.
Read our full article on studying in California

The City of San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly's location in San Luis Obispo makes it one of the best places to visit. It's a quintessential coastal California town with some 43,000 residents. Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles and just minutes from beaches, state parks, landmarks and premium wine regions, it's also a popular vacation spot. Sunset Magazine has called it the most Californian place in all of California.

The city of San Luis Obispo offers a historic, restored downtown full of restaurants, theatres, art galleries and shops centered around San Luis Obispo Creek, Mission San Luis Obispo and Mission Plaza. San Luis Obispo's Thursday night Farmer's Market on Higuera Street has become a model for cities around the state. It's a mix of fresh produce and flowers, baked goods, restaurant fare and free music all within strolling distance.

What is WASC?

WASC is the acronym for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, one of six regional organizations that the federal government has authorized to accredit institutions of higher learning.

Cal Poly and the WASC Cycle

Cal Poly is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) every ten years. During the accreditation process, Cal Poly completes a self-study process, where we demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the continuous improvement of our programs—both curricular and co-curricular. The vehicle for doing this is the self-study, which asks us to define an inquiry that can measurably improve student learning, an exercise in collaboration and in thinking that is both critical and creative, to cite our own University Learning Objectives.

Cal Poly submitted its most recent interim report to WASC in March 2015. We begin a new self- study in Fall 2019 and complete the next cycle in Spring 2022.

About the Survey

Career Services conducts an annual survey of the activities of its most recent graduates, which is compiled into the Graduate Status Report (GSR). This includes information on placement (employer, position, salary) and admissions to graduate or professional schools.

Considering Cal Poly?

See if why Cal Poly is the right school for you! Here are some quick facts so you are prepared

Student Body Enrollments

  • International Students:1%
  • Admitted first-time freshmen students' average high school GPA: 3.98 (Fall 2015)
  • Admitted first-time freshmen students' average ACT score: 27.5 (Fall 2015)
  • Admitted first-time freshmen students' average SAT 1 Math and Reading score: 1321 (Fall 2015)

Graduates - Careers & Grad School (2013- 14 Graduates)

  • Employed full-time or in graduate school within one year of graduation: 80%
  • Graduates employed full time within year after graduation: 65%
  • Employed part time: 6%
  • Attending graduate school: 15%
  • Median starting salary: $56,000

Career Services has two important tips for you to consider before completing your application:

  • Make sure you choose a major that is right for you from the very start! Changing your major at Cal Poly, when possible, can take up to two quarters
  • Before choosing a Cal Poly major on the CSU Mentor application, research careers and employment opportunities that are related to the majors you are considering.

Embrace your Unlimited Possibilities

Throughout your time at CAL POLY you will be supported by your teachers and advisors to guide you to your full potential! To reach your goals starts with career planning. From your first quarter, there are step you can take to help you along the path.

Career Services at CAL POLY will guide you by helping you choose a major by your interests and help you identify what you can achieve within that major. Their career services will also help you perfect your resume, cover letter and interviews to help you secure an internship or job. Their career counsel also provides students with career fairs, networking sessions, workshops and events. Being apart of CAL POLY also grants you access to their exclusive database of temporary jobs in California, fellowships, internships, and careers.

Some companies that support CAL POLY students are: Apple, Chevron, Cisco, Veeva, Keysight Technologies, Weber Metals and many more!

At your first year at CAl POLY you will discover your interest, strengths and values to clarify what major to choose and a career path. You will engage on campus by networking, participating on on campus activities and exploring jobs.

On - Campus Employment

International students may work 20 hours per week during an academic quarter and 40 hours per week during the vacation periods. No documentation is required from International Center for on-campus employment. You may begin on-campus employment 30 days prior to start of classes. A transfer student can only work at the campus that holds jurisdiction over his/her SEVIS record. You must be in good academic standing in order to qualify for work authorization.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT),

Curricular Practical Training is defined as internship or cooperative education. Students are required to be enrolled in an internship or cooperative education class and the work must be done during that quarter. Before beginning employment, students must receive prior authorization from the Cal Poly International Center Advisor in the form of a new SEVIS Form I-20 with CPT authorization indicated on the last page

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 students are eligible for up to 12 months of Practical Training upon the completion of each higher degree level. OPT employment must be completed within 14 months following the completion of study. Students are encouraged to apply for OPT 90 days before their degree completion. The International Student Advisor must confirm eligibility and then recommend OPT before the student sends their application by mail to the USCIS Service Center for processing.


  • Best in the West for 23rd Consecutive Year by U.S. News, 2015
  • Nation's Top State-Funded Undergraduate Engineering Program by U.S News, 2016
  • #2 Architecture Program in the U.S. by Design Intelligence, 2016
  • One of The Top Four Colleges of Agriculture by Campus Explorer, 2015
  • #1 in the U.S. for The Aerospace and Defense Industries by Aviation Week & Space Technology, 2015
  • Among Top Business Schools in the Nation, U.S. News, 2015
  • Top School to retain and graduate engineering students by White House, 2012
  • #2 in U.S. with Physics undergraduate programs by American Institute of Physics, 2015

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