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California State University Admissions Update

graduate in front of building at Cal State Long Beach
Gabbi Tobias College Admissions Advisor

Written by Gabbi Tobiason January 3rd, 2023

I came to College Coach after being a decision maker in college admissions. I began my career at High Point University where I read and evaluated thousands of applications from territories across the US, including the Midwest and the West Coast. I led essay workshops and case studies to educate prospective families on the college admissions process. Dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion during my time at High Point, I implemented and led the office’s Diversity Recruitment Board, which focused on recruitment, yield, and retention of students from underrepresented communities. And as a recruited collegiate lacrosse player I understand the pressures and demands that the recruitment process entails. Not only have I worked with recruited athletes, but I myself have experienced the process firsthand!
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by Gabbi Tobias, former admissions officer at High Point University I attended a conference about the Cal State University system in late 2022, and I noted some key takeaways for seniors who applied this year and juniors planning to apply in 2023/2024. Why CSU? If you’re wondering why you might want to apply to or attend a CSU, consider this:
  • 83% of student are admitted
  • More than 80% of students receive financial aid
  • 54% of undergraduates are first generation college-goers
The CSU system ranks in the top 10% for economic mobility and is one of the most affordable systems in the nation. More than half of CSU undergraduates graduate with zero debt. And a new initiative means that if a family makes less than $70,000 per year (for a family of four), tuition is free. The CSU system focuses on hands-on learning and preparing job-ready graduates. Undergraduates have early access to research lab experiences and experiential learning opportunities. There also are more than 4,000 majors to choose from, include such unique choices as the Wine Business Institute in the School of Business at Sonoma State, and Dairy Science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. All of the above comes with extensive academic support; each enrolled student starts with an assigned academic advisor. Finally, the CSU system has led several initiatives to increase mental health resources on campuses. For example, Cal State Long Beach created a mental health strategic plan that will increase awareness both on and off-campus and align resources to ensure students have easier access to services. Services are also honoring students’ diversity with culturally informed practices, important in a system that is the most ethnically diverse in the country. Applying to CSU The CSU application period runs from October 1 through November 30, and November 30 is the priority deadline for impacted campuses or programs. (There are 11 campuses with no impaction or program impaction only, including Chico, East Bay, and Monterey Bay.) While some CSU may still accept applications on a case-by-case basis after November 30, it’s not likely. For that reason, students are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible. The good news is that the application is so straightforward that students should have no problem getting it done quickly. Students can’t alter the application once it’s complete, but they can go back and apply to more campuses. Admissions Eligibility California residents must have a 2.5 or higher a-g GPA. California residents with a 2.0 to a 2.49 may be evaluated for admissions based on supplemental factors they provide at the time of application, including extracurricular activities, first-generation college student status, coming from a low-income area, and courses taken beyond a-g requirements. Non-California residents may be eligible for admission to the CSU by earning a 3.0 or greater a-g GPA; some campuses will also include supplemental factors. Non-California residents with a 2.47 to a 2.99 GPA will also be evaluated on supplemental factors. The CSU system strongly encourages seniors to take an English course and a year-long mathematics, quantitative, or scientific data literacy course. Admissions Process The CSU campuses continue to use the Multi-Factor Admissions Score during review. The Primary Factors include:
  • GPA in all completed a-g courses*
  • GPA in subjects taken relevant to selected major
  • Number of academic courses beyond a-g requirements
The Secondary Factors are:
  • Location of high school and educational opportunities available
  • Student attributes: low income, foster youth, first generation college-goer, military service
  • Activities outside the classroom
*If a CSU campus is impacted at the freshman level, the admissions office will use the local service area as a factor during the application review. If the student is out of area, the GPA will need to be higher.

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