Hardest Majors To Get Into At Cal Poly

Last Updated on August 4, 2022

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo is a public university in San Luis Obispo, California. It is one of two polytechnics in the California State University system. The university is organized into six colleges offering 65 bachelor’s and 39 master’s degrees.

If you are thinking about attending Cal Poly but are worried about getting into your major of choice, don’t fret. Here are the majors that are hardest to get into at Cal Poly. Have you been trying to get all the information you can on hardest majors to get into at Cal poly? Have you been able to get all the information you want? If you haven’t, you need not get worried. The article below brings you the information you are looking for.

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Hardest Majors At Cal Poly

Here, we’ve rounded up the hardest majors to get into at Cal Poly. Admittedly, the difficulty of getting into these majors is not always a reflection of the difficulty of completing those majors once you’re enrolled. For example, Anthropology is one of those majors that has a ridiculously high admission rate considering how much fun you’ll have learning about other cultures and experts can make it seem like just another walk in the park. Sometimes the major that’s the hardest to get into is also an incredibly worthwhile pursuit.

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 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.

Standardized Test Scores

Test scores for Fall 2021 admission decisions will NOT be considered.

Only ACT or SAT 1 scores are used in the selection process. You may send as many ACT and SAT 1 scores taken before November 30 as you’d like and we will apply the best score for each area.

Testing Information

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. Cal Poly considers 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.

PayScale Ranks Cal Poly Pomona among Best Value Colleges | PolyCentric

High Acceptance Rate Colleges

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What Are The Easiest Majors To Get Into At Cal Poly

Most Popular MajorsBachelor’s DegreesAverage Salary of Graduates
Business Administration & Management654$59,800
Mechanical Engineering308$71,600
General Biology197$31,200
Computer Science191NA
Animal Science174$29,100
Agricultural Economics & Business162$54,700
Civil Engineering159$68,100
Computer Engineering158$88,200
Electrical Engineering130$73,800
General Psychology124$31,400

Hardest Majors To Get Into At Cal Poly

CAL Poly Pomona Tuition

California State Polytechnic University Pomona tuition is $5,742 per year for in-state residents. This is 22% cheaper than the national average public four year tuition of $7,357. The cost is 77% cheaper than the average California tuition of $24,481 for 4 year colleges.

Tuition ranks 6th in California amongst 4 year colleges for affordability and is the 139th most expensive 4 year college in the state. If attending from out-of-state, the tuition is $17,622 which represents a 207% premium.

Cal Poly Pomona Acceptance Rate – College Learners
The school charges an additional fees of $1,654 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $7,396.

Housing Costs
On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $16,742 per academic year. Students electing to live off campus elsewhere in Pomona should budget at least this amount.

Books and Supplies
The estimated annual cost for books and supplies is $1,800.

Other Living Expenses
If living on-campus, students should budget for $2,604 in additional living expenses. Off-campus students should budget for $3,004 in other miscellaneous living expenses.

Total Costs
The total tuition and living expense budget for in-state California residents to go to California State Polytechnic University-Pomona is $28,542 for the 2019/2020 academic year. Out-of-state students who don’t have California residence can expect a one year cost of $40,422.

Citation: Price data from the U.S. Department of Education’s 2020 IPEDS survey response for California State Polytechnic University Pomona and represent reported costs for the 2019-2020 academic year.

24 CSU Acceptance Graphs ideas | gpa, graphing, admissions
Will you get in?
Find out which students are getting accepted at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, which are not, and how your GPA, SAT, or ACT scores compare.

Depending on many factors including student and parent income and assets, the total cost of attendance may be less than the $28,542 published price if scholarship or grant aid is made available to you.

Net Price
The net out-of-pocket total cost you end up paying or financing though student loans is known as the net price. The reported California State Polytechnic University-Pomona net price for in-state students is $12,843* for the 2018/2019 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid
70% of California State Polytechnic University Pomona students received grant aid in 2018/2019. The average total aid amount was $8,870. 45 percent of students received aid in the form of Pell Grants from the U.S. Federal Government. The average Pell Grant awarded for 2018/2019 was $4,989. To apply for a Pell Grant to attend California State Polytechnic University Pomona, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Financial Aid Summary

Average Annual Net Price $12,843*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid 70%
Average Total Grant Aid $8,870
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants 45%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid $4,989

Average Net Price for In-State Students by Family Income
The average net total cost of attendance for different levels of family income after federal, state or local government, institutional grant and scholarship aid are awarded. Data last published for the 2018/2019 academic year.

Family Income Avg. Net Price

  • $0 to $30,000 $8,596
  • $30,001 to $48,000 $9,630
  • $48,001 to $75,000 $14,012
  • $75,001 to $110,000 $17,944
  • $110,000+ $20,896

Average Financial Aid Mix – $28,542 In-State Total Cost
CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $28,542. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.

Cal Poly Pomona: Acceptance Rate, SAT/ACT Scores, GPA

Education, Industry Find Common Ground in Innovation Village | PolyCentric

Grants and Scholarships

34% – $8,870
Money granted to you by the U.S. Department of Education, California State Polytechnic University Pomona or other organizations. These are not loans and do not need to be repaid.

Federal Loans

19% – $5,044
Low interest student loans funded by the U.S. Department of Education. This amount will need to be repaid.

Out of Pocket

46% – $12,024
Covered by family savings, work or private student loans which you will have to repay.

*Reported Average Annual Net Price for in state students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education’s Academic Year 2018/2019 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school’s net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Note that for colleges with no reported on-campus room and board, the average net price has been increased to account for living expenses. This number may not only reflect the net price paid to the school for tuition.

Is it Worth the Cost?

To make a comparative assessment if California State Polytechnic University-Pomona is worth the price, measures of it’s relative value for tuition dollar can be examined. We’ve calculated an academic national percentile rating of 54/100 for California State Polytechnic University Pomona. Considering an average net price paid of $6,789, this leads to an overall value ranking of 52/100. This places the school 490th on our national Best Value Colleges ranking as a provider of a very high value education compared to actual overall price paid.

Tuition Comparison to Similar Public Colleges in the Region

  • School Cost vs. California State Polytechnic University Pomona
  • California State University Long Beach 0% less expensive
  • University of Nevada Las Vegas 29.8% more expensive
  • University of California Merced 99.3% more expensive
  • San Jose State University 0% less expensive
  • University of Nevada Reno 21.7% more expensive

Cost of a Degree

When considering ability to pay for college, the annual cost is often discussed but it’s the “all in” multi-year degree cost which matters in the end. Let’s take a look at what it could really cost for four years at California State Polytechnic University Pomona.

Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering

Estimated 4 Year Cost at Published Tuition

At the current published rates, an estimated total tuition, fees and living expense price for a 4 year bachelor’s degree at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona is $114,168 for students graduating in normal time. This methodology for estimating the 4 year cost is a straight multiple of the most recent reported annual total cost and does not factor in tuition increases during the time you’re in school. It also assumes you receive no grant or scholarship aid and pay the full list price.

A potentially more accurate but less conservative estimate of a degree cost can be made by using the school’s annual $6,789 in-state net price as the basis. Applying this cost over 4 would estimate the cost of a degree at $27,156**

If you end up on the “five year plan” and need an additional year to graduate, your five year cost could be as high as $142,710 or $33,945 using an average net price.

**Based on a 4 year multiple of Average Annual Net Price for in state students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education’s 2018/2019 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school’s net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Other Costs

Student Loans And Debt

The second consideration after understanding the cost of college is determining how to finance it. Some students are fortunate enough to have some form of family financial assistance, but student loans end up financing a significant portion of higher education in the U.S. 32% of California State Polytechnic University Pomona students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $5,044.

Example Loan Payments and Costs

How much are student loan payments for California State Polytechnic University Pomona? Obviously this varies based on a number of factors – offsetting financial aid you receive, percentage of fee you pay upfront while enrolled and the interest rate on your loans. We’ve modeled a sample student loan based on current Stafford loan rates to give you an approximate idea.

The following are the costs for a loan if you borrowed $27,156, 100% of the estimated average net price for a four year program and paid nothing while enrolled. The total of all payments including interest would sum $31,091.78. This could be your effective total out of pocket cost of an education at California State Polytechnic University Pomona.

Note that this calculation assumes you don’t pay full list price tuition, are part of the reported 70% of students at this school who receive financial aid and you are paying an average annual net price of $6,789. If you do not financially qualify for a reduced net price, your student loan payments could be significantly higher than this example. Use our California State Polytechnic University Pomona student loan calculator below to change loan assumptions and recalculate.

Student loans are not free money and must be repaid. You cannot dismiss student loans by via bankruptcy.

Example Payments

  • Monthly Loan Payment $259.10
  • Amount Borrowed $27,156.00
  • Interest Rate 2.75%
  • Term 10 years
  • Number of Monthly Payments 120
  • Total Interest Cost $3,935.78
  • Sum of All Payments over 10 years $31,091.78

Affording Student Loan Payments and Post Graduation Salary

Cal Poly Pomona is an above-average public university located in Pomona, California in the Los Angeles Area. It is a large institution with an enrollment of 21,824 undergraduate students. Admissions is fairly competitive as the Cal Poly Pomona acceptance rate is 55%. Popular majors include Business, Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Liberal Arts and Humanities. Graduating 69% of students, Cal Poly Pomona alumni go on to earn a starting salary of $39,900.

Can I afford to attend California State Polytechnic University-Pomona? In the end, the answer comes down a determination if you will earn enough to comfortably pay back a student loan with your post graduation salary. This is an extremely important point to consider.

In order to afford student loan payments and still meet all your other costs of living, it is recommended not to borrow more than you can pay back using 10% of your monthly income earned after graduation. If you’re considering attending California State Polytechnic University Pomona, you need to carefully consider if it will be realistic to make the post graduation loan payments based on your expected salary.

Using the 10% of salary threshold, an annual income of $31,091.78 would be needed to afford a $259.10 monthly payment in the example $27,156.00 loan modeled above. You will need to determine if it is at all realistic that you will be earning this type of salary after graduation. This assumes a loan payback over 10 years. You can change the terms of this example loan using the student loan calculator below.

Estimated Future Cost And Expected Tuition Increase

What will it cost to send your child to California State Polytechnic University Pomona in the future? In the past four years, this school’s published in-state tuition and fee total rose from $5,472 to $5,742. This amounts to an average annual price increase of 1%.

Nationally, university tuition prices are rising around 5% per year. Looking out five, ten, fifteen or eighteen years, these are CollegeCalc’s estimates how much you could expect to pay for a 4 year degree assuming tuition increases at the national average rate. Estimated future prices are based on the current in-state 4 year cost of $114,168.00. Use the college savings plan calculator below to perform a more comprehensive analysis on future costs and how much you will need to save for California State Polytechnic University Pomona.

Monday, 01/14/2008 | PolyCentric

Hardest Colleges to Get into

Cal Poly Requirements for Admission

What are Cal Poly’s admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:

GPA Requirements

Testing requirements, including SAT and ACT requirements
Application requirements
In this guide we’ll cover what you need to get into Cal Poly and build a strong application.

School location: San Luis Obispo, CA

This school is also known as: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo


Admissions Rate: 30.2%

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at Cal Poly is 30.2%. For every 100 applicants, 30 are admitted.

This means the school is very selective. If you meet Cal Poly’s requirements for GPA, SAT/ACT scores, and other components of the application, you have a great shot at getting in. But if you fall short on GPA or your SAT/ACT scores, you’ll have a very low chance of being admitted, even if you meet the other admissions requirements.

Cal Poly GPA Requirements

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school’s average GPA for its current students.

Average GPA: 4
The average GPA at Cal Poly is 4.

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 4, Cal Poly requires you to be at the top of your class. You’ll need nearly straight A’s in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes – AP or IB courses – to show that college-level academics is a breeze.

If you’re currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 4, you’ll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

SAT and ACT Requirements

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to Cal Poly. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

Cal Poly SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school’s average score.

Average SAT: 1335
The average SAT score composite at Cal Poly is a 1335 on the 1600 SAT scale.

This score makes Cal Poly Moderately Competitive for SAT test scores.

Cal Poly SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1240, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1430. In other words, a 1240 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1430 will move you up to above average

EFest unites young engineers | The Poly Post

Here’s the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

Section Average 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
Math 675 620 730
Reading + Writing 660 620 700
Composite 1335 1240 1430
SAT Score Choice Policy
The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

Cal Poly has the Score Choice policy of “Highest Section.”

This is also known as “superscoring.” This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.

Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.

How does superscoring change your test strategy?(Click to Learn)
For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:

Section R+W Math Composite
Test 1 700 300 1000
Test 2 300 700 1000
Test 3 300 300 600
Superscore 700 700 1400
Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, Cal Poly will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1000 to 1400 in this example.

This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and Cal Poly forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.

Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1430, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.

Cal Poly ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, Cal Poly likely doesn’t have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 29

The average ACT score at Cal Poly is 29. This score makes Cal Poly Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 26, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 32.

Even though Cal Poly likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 26 or below, you’ll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 29 and above that a 26 will look academically weak.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you’re taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school’s ACT requirement of 32 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you’re happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren’t able to find the school’s exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to Cal Poly, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 32.

SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements
Both the SAT and ACT have an optional essay section.

Cal Poly considers the SAT Essay/ACT Writing section optional and may not include it as part of their admissions consideration. You don’t need to worry too much about Writing for this school, but other schools you’re applying to may require it.

SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

We did not find information that Cal Poly requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.

Final Admissions Verdict

Because this school is very selective, strong academic scores are critical to improving your chances of admission. If you’re able to score a 1430 SAT or a 32 ACT or above, you’ll have a very strong chance at getting in.

For a school as selective as Cal Poly, rounding out the rest of your application will also help. We’ll cover those details next.

But if you apply with a score below a 1430 SAT or a 32 ACT, you unfortunately have a low chance of getting in. There are just too many other applicants with high SAT/ACT scores and strong applications, and you need to compete against them.

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