About California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

Founded in 1901, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. is a Public college. Located in California, which is a city setting in California, the campus itself is Suburban. The campus is home to 20,426 full time undergraduate students, and 880 full time graduate students.

The California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo Academic calendar runs on a Quarter basis. In the school year the student to faculty ratio was 21:1. There are 842 full time instructional teachers. Degrees awarded at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo include: Bachelor's Degree, Masters Degree, Post-master's certificate, Doctor's degree.

Quick Facts

Acceptance Rate29%
Application Deadline31-Oct
Application Fee55
SAT Range1150-1360
ACT Range26-31

Admissions at CAL POLY are considered More Selective, with ,115% of all applicants being admitted.

In the school year, of the students who applied to the school, only 9 of those who were admitted eventually ended up enrolling.

98% of incoming freshmen are in the top half of their high school class. 83% were in the top quarter, and 50% were in the top tenth. You can apply online.


We asked, and students answered these important questions about student life at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo REVIEWS

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  • How would you rate on-campus housing?

    226 Students rated on-campus housing 3.5 stars. 10 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate off-campus housing?

    204 Students rated off-campus housing 3.4 stars. 0 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate campus food?

    246 Students rated campus food 2.8 stars. 4 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate campus facilities?

    249 Students rated campus facilities 4.1 stars. 32 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate class size?

    249 Students rated class size 4.2 stars. 44 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate school activities?

    249 Students rated school activities 4.3 stars. 46 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate local services?

    250 Students rated local services 4.2 stars. 45 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate academics?

    251 Students rated academics 4.4 stars. 58 % gave the school a 5.0.

What's your overall opinion of California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo?

99 Students rated California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

Fred - 02/21/2023

Cal Poly SLO has very good academic programs and many opportunities to meet possible employers. The school is known to be a predominantly white institute but there are a few cultural clubs on campus. The campus food is edible most of the time but is pricey and pretty bad. As a minority, micro-aggressions do happen and are fairly common but most of the campus faculty and staff do their best to be inclusive.

Nick - 02/14/2023

California Polytechnic School in San Luis Obispo is overall a great option to pick for a college. It has many academic opportunities, including many options for majors, and many classes that vary in diversity, allowing for many choices for the exploration of student interests. However, campus life is not very diverse, having a huge majority of the ethnicity breakdown being white, which may be disheartening for some ethnicities.

Tyra - 12/20/2021

Cal Poly is an amazing, creative, and lively campus with a beautiful downtown and a thrilling nightlife experience! There is so much to do, being at the beach or shopping in the thrift stores and cute boutiques, that you could never get bored! I absolutely love it here!

Michael - 02/17/2021


California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo FAQS

  1. What is the Acceptance Rate at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo?

    The fall 2020 acceptance rate for California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo is 29%. That means, out of _____ applications received in 2020 , _____ students were offered admission. The number of males who applied was _____ vs the number of females which was _____.

  2. What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

    Cal Poly has been a huge blessing to me. I have learned to learn. In high school, it was about grades and simply getting homework done. Now, school has become an avenue for pursuing knowledge about the world around me. I look at the world through a new lense with every class I take. From stopping after geology class to wonder how that mountain might have formed to getting out of design class and admiring the beauty of a building, college causes me to appreciate the world around me that much more. I look forward to continuing my education and hope to use it to give others an appreciation for the world in which they live.

    Read all  243 answers
  3. Describe the students at your school.

    Upbeat, enthusiastic, knowledgable.

    Read all  52 answers
  4. What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

    ... Can't think of anything. I feel like I was thoroughly prepared.

    Read all  51 answers
  5. What's unique about your campus?

    This school has a great value for the education you get. For example, an engineering major that gets an engineering job can pay off loans very quickly. Also, if a student decides to pursue another path, they aren't left with loads of debt and a burden to go for a high-paying job. Money shouldn't be that important, and it's nice that Cal Poly allows students to live that way.

    Read all  46 answers
  6. Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

    Cal Poly pushes students to do their best, succeede, help others, and learn by doing hands-on projects and assignments.

    Read all  45 answers
  7. What kind of person should not attend this school?

    I wish more ethnic minorities would attend, but unless changes happen, I find it hard to attract minorities to Cal Poly. I think they should attend this school, but it can be hard because they most likely won't be comfortable.

    Read all  45 answers
  8. Describe your favorite campus traditions.

    My School is best known for its "learn by doing" motto. There are many in school projects and assignments that allow students to receive experience in their classes. It is a fun school, that provides a lot of learning experiences that allow the students to have fun and learn at the same time. Cal Poly has a gread agricultural school, and has many classes that help students learn more about agiculture, as well as the environment. It also has a nice clean campus. and a comfortable learning environment. Also it is located in a beautiful place.

    Read all  40 answers
  9. Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

    Personally, Cal Poly offered me a chance at an education that rivals renowned engineering schools, such as MIT, for less than half of the price. I'm getting a top tier, hands-on academic experience that will prepare me for a career directly out of college. In addition, San Luis Obispo is known as "The Happiest Place in America" according to Oprah. It is a beautiful, nurturing environment that allows students to experience a college town in a location that has so much to offer outside of the classroom.

    Read all  37 answers
  10. What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

    How far away from home it is because I live amost 12 hours away from school and only have the money to make it home twice a year.

    Read all  37 answers
  11. What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

    Due to budget cuts there are not enough classes being offered, so many people find that they can't graduate on time, or they cannot create a schedule that works well for their lives.

    Read all  35 answers
  12. What kind of person should attend this school?

    Any kind of person could attend Cal Poly because of the large variety of clubs, activites, and jobs on campus that match each personility type.

    Read all  25 answers
  13. What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

    No need to brag; it's already known that Cal Poly is a great school.

    Read all  19 answers
  14. What is your overall opinion of this school?

    Cal Poly's definitely a college town - students make up about 1/2 of the city population. There's a lot of school pride, especially at sporting events, and you can't go a day without seeing someone in a Cal Poly shirt/hat/sweatshirt, etc. We've got a few quirks on campus, for one: never expect to be able to drive anywhere on campus at the top of the hour. It's impossible. Classes get out at either 30 past the hour, or at the top of it, so that's when foot traffic is at it's highest. Another to do with driving parking: finding a spot to park in on campus is virtually impossible as well; permits are expensive, and spots are limited and generally not close to where you'd like to be anyway - it's really much easier to bike or walk anywhere you need to go.

    Read all  18 answers
  15. What are the academics like at your school?

    The professors are generally good people who all try and at least know your face, if not your name. One professor this quarter has a bet about knowing all our names by a specific date, and if he loses he'll get us a pizza party, so they're definitely human too. I've taken a lot of scattered classes from having switched my major, so Intro to Interactive Gaming was pretty unique, Equine Management, and a bunch of sport classes (soccer, flag football, aquatics, bowling etc.) are offered every quarter, and know there are a ton more out there.

    Read all  14 answers
  16. What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

    College is not like high school with a bunch of cliques and stereotypes. Much of your friend base is from your freshman dorm and what clubs you're involved with. If you're willing to meet new people and be friendly, you're guaranteed to make friends as everyone is welcoming.

    Read all  11 answers
  17. What are the most popular student activities/groups?

    I am at Cal Poly Pomona, as I told the site.

    Read all  6 answers
  18. Why did you decide to go to this school?

    I chose Cal Poly because it was the perfect school for what I was searching for. I wanted something that wasn't too close to home, but not far away. I am not 2.5 hours from home and that's perfect. I also wanted a school near the coast. Coming from a small town, I also wanted a small town type of school. I believe Cal Poly and SLO offer that. I also wanted a school that allowed me to excel in my major. I can complete my history degree in four years and then one year of grad school and I can teach high school. Also, who can beat SLO's view?

    Read all  5 answers
  19. What do students complain about most?

    How hard it can be to get classes! You are given a rotation number (1-12) for registering for classes. If you have a later rotation it can be very difficult to get the classes you want. This is especially hard for freshman because you can't use any of your 3 priority registrations until your sophomore year.

    Read all  1 answers
  20. When you step off campus what do you see?

    Cal Poly is in such a beautiful location! Right outside of campus is Bishop's Peak, which is a beautiful place to hike and see a great view of all of San Luis Obispo. If you drive a short distance, you will end up at Avila beach, or a little further south, Pismo beach. If you go downtown you will see plenty of places to shop and restaurants to eat at. On a typical night you are sure to find Cal Poly students eating at Woodstock's Pizza or Firestone. Something you won't see in San Luis Obispo is drive-thrus, since they are banned from the city.

    Read all  1 answers
  21. How often should I phone home? Is once a day too much?

    I tend to call home once a week. When I was first starting out at college I wanted that independence so I rarely called home. Since I'm in my second quarter now I call home about once a week, sometimes even less because I'm incredibly busy and sometimes don't remember until very late. I am missing home a lot more this quarter though. Not sure why but I am counting down the days until Spring Break.

    Read all  1 answers

Student Body







Total Undergrad Enrollment


Total Grad Students









Student Organizations







On-Campus Housing


of students living on campus

Student Diversity

% American Indian/Alaskan Native
% Asian/Pacific Islander
% Black or African-American
% Hispanic/Latino
% White or Caucasian


All students must apply yearly for financial aid. This process starts with the FAFSA. Though financial aid deadlines vary by school, it is a good idea to apply as soon as possible. For the upcoming school year, you can apply as early as October 1 for the FAFSA. Additional school aid will be dependent on the FAFSA results.

46% of students attending California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo receive some sort of financial aid. 11% were awarded federal grants. While 24% received federal loans. Many students do also need to apply for additional private student loans.

Cost Out of State


Tuition and fees(Out of state)


Books and Supplies


Room and Board


Total On Campus

Actual Cost By Income Level(W/Financial Aid)

Family Income
$0 - $30K
$30 - $48K
$48 - $75K
$75 - $110K
$110K & UP

We use student reviews and the most current publicly available data on our school pages. As such, we don't typically remove or edit college information. Sources for school statistics and data include the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Portions of college data include copyrighted material, which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. © 2009-2016 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.


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