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Colleges / California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA 4-Year Public
Acceptance Rate30%

About Cal Poly SLO

Cal Poly SLO is a public university known for its highly-regarded engineering and agricultural programs and its "Learn by Doing" philosophy, which emphasizes hands-on experience. Students dive right into real world learning opportunities through research, passion or service projects, hackathons, and more. Cal Poly SLO is also home to one of the largest business incubators in the country, which has launched numerous successful startups and fostered a culture of innovation on campus.

Students are often described as active, outdoorsy, socially conscious and environmentally aware. Cal Poly SLO is located in between Los Angeles and San Francisco, along California's Central Coast. The campus has a vineyard, an arboretum, a dairy unit, and other agricultural facilities, all of which provide sites for students to “Learn by Doing.” Cal Poly SLO is a great choice for students looking for practical, career-oriented degrees in a beautiful location.

Did You Know?

Cal Poly SLO hosts one of the largest student-run events in the United States, known as the Open House. The event spans an entire weekend and includes exhibits, performances, and athletic events. The highlight is the Poly Royal Rodeo, which attracts thousands of spectators each year. 

Pros and Cons Of Cal Poly SLO


Experiential Learning: The university’s “learn by doing” philosophy can be a plus for active, career-driven students.

Access to Outdoors: San Luis Obispo offers easy access to hiking, biking, and surfing, as well as beaches and wine country.

Friendly Students: Cal Poly SLO has a vibrant student life and reputation for being a friendly and welcoming community.

Value: As a public university, Cal Poly SLO is relatively affordable compared to similar private institutions.


Limited Diversity: Cal Poly SLO has historically been the least diverse of the Cal State schools, which may be a concern for students looking for a more diverse and inclusive environment.

Limited Graduate Programs: Cal Poly SLO offers fewer graduate programs compared to many other universities. But as one CC Community notes, “Limited grad programs is not necessarily a disadvantage for undergraduates! Students are taught by professors, not by grad students, and the school’s focus is on its undergraduate programs, which is at least as much of a “pro” as a “con!”

Heavy Workload: Cal Poly SLO’s “learn by doing” philosophy means that students spent a significant amount of time on hands-on projects and experiential learning activities, in addition to academics.

The CC Community on Cal Poly SLO

Cal Poly SLO students seemed genuinely happy. The tour guide said the best thing about Cal Poly SLO is the people. As a friend of the tour guide walked by, the tour guide asked, “What is the best thing about Cal Poly SLO?” The friend answered, 'The people!' Both [of my kids] were impressed and said that Cal Poly SLO’s info session and on campus tour were the “best” of the five tours (others included 3 UC schools and Occidental College during Thanksgiving break).”

Read More

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo is a public, state university in the suburb of San Luis Obispo, California. Cal Poly SLO was founded in 1901. The college currently enrolls around 21,778 students a year, including 20,973 undergraduate students.

Cal Poly SLO Acceptance Rate

It is moderately difficult to get into Cal Poly SLO. Cal Poly SLO admitted 30% of all applicants in 2022. In 2022, 58,944 students applied to Cal Poly SLO and 17,885 were admitted.

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Admissions Facts At-A-Glance
Overall Acceptance Rate 30%
Early Decision Acceptance Rate ED not offered
Early Action Acceptance Rate EA not offered
Average GPA 4.0
Test Optional May require tests

Click below to find out more about the admissions requirements and deadlines, student life, academics, majors and more.


Student Life


Tuition & Aid

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Community Forums

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Cal Poly SLO Campus Tours

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo is located in the town of San Luis Obispo, California,.

If you are interested in seeing Cal Poly SLO for yourself, plan a visit. The best way to reach campus is to take U.S. Highway 101 to San Luis Obispo, or book a flight to the nearest airport, San Luis Obispo County Regional.

You can also take a virtual campus tour to get a sense of what California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and San Luis Obispo are like without leaving home.

College Info

1 Grand Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

Campus Setting: Suburban

Cal Poly SLO Application Deadline

First-Year Applications are Due

Nov 30

Transfer Applications are Due

Nov 30

The deadline for Fall first-year applications to Cal Poly SLO is Nov 30.

The deadline for Fall transfer applications to Cal Poly SLO is Nov 30.

Check the school website for more information about deadlines for specific programs or special admissions programs

Cal Poly SLO SAT Scores


Composite SAT Range

Not available


Math SAT Range

Not available


Reading SAT Range

Not available

Cal Poly SLO Tuition & Fees

Tuition & Fees


In State


Cost Breakdown
In State
State Tuition

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Student Life

Wondering what life at Cal Poly SLO is like? There are approximately 21,778 students enrolled at Cal Poly SLO, including 20,973 undergraduate students and 805 graduate students. 95% percent of students attend school full-time, 84% percent are from CA and 16% percent of students are from other states.


Full Time


Part Time


In State



Data Source: IPEDs and Peterson's Databases © 2022 Peterson's LLC All rights reserved

Quick Facts

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Fall Freshmen
Application Deadline

Nov 30
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