Cal State Acceptance Rates: Easiest and Hardest CSU to Get Into (2024)

Cal State Acceptance Rates: Easiest and Hardest CSU to Get Into (1)

Timothy Peck5College Lists

What’s Covered:

  • CSU Acceptance Rates
  • Hardest CSU Schools to Get Into
  • Easiest CSU Schools to Get Into
  • What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

The California State University (CSU) system enrolls almost a half million students, produces more than 130,000 graduates annually, and has conferred degrees on more than four million living alumni. While Cal State schools share a reputation for fostering diverse student bodies and providing affordable education, they also offer diverse experiences. For example, undergraduate enrollment at the smallest Cal State school, Cal State Maritime, is just 900, and enrollment at the largest Cal State School, Cal State Fullerton, tops more than 40,000.

The Cal State schools also provide differing levels of difficulty in admissions, with some Cal State schools being easier to gain acceptance to than others. In this post, we’ll share the acceptance rates at CSU and what makes the most and least selective schools stand out.

List of the CSU Schools

The California State University schools encompass 23 campuses—spanning 800 miles from as far north as Arcarta to as far south as San Diego. All of the CSU campuses provide four-year programs, however, each campus offers its own unique variety of degrees and acceptance rates. The 23 CSU schools are:

  • CSU Bakersfield
  • CSU Channel Islands
  • CSU Chico
  • CSU Dominguez Hills
  • CSU East Bay
  • CSU Fresno
  • CSU Fullerton
  • Cal Poly Humboldt
  • CSU Long Beach
  • CSU Los Angeles
  • CSU Maritime Academy
  • CSU Monterey Bay
  • CSU Northridge
  • CSU Pomona
  • CSU Sacramento
  • CSU San Bernardino
  • San Diego State University
  • San Francisco State University
  • San José State University
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • CSU San Marcos
  • Sonoma State University
  • CSU Stanislaus

CSU Acceptance Rates


Acceptance Rate

Middle 50% SAT

Middle 50% ACT

CSU Bakersfield




CSU Channel Islands




CSU Chico




CSU Dominguez Hills




CSU East Bay




CSU Fresno




CSU Fullerton




Cal Poly Humboldt




CSU Long Beach




CSU Los Angeles




Cal Maritime Academy




CSU Monterey Bay




CSU Northridge




Cal Poly Pomona




CSU Sacramento




CSU San Bernardino




San Diego State University




San Francisco State University




San José State University




Cal Poly San Luis Obispo




CSU San Marcos




Sonoma State University




CSU Stanislaus




Hardest CSU Schools to Get Into

1. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Acceptance rate: 33%

With its 9,178-acre campus, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO) is the second-largest land-holding university in California and one of the largest land-holding universities in the nation. Situated between San Francisco, which lies 230 miles to the north, and Los Angeles, which is 200 miles to the south, Cal Poly SLO students truly are at the center of the action.

Engineering is the most popular major at Cal Poly SLO, however, the school is best known for its agricultural programs—which are among the best in the nation. The university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences offers 15 majors, ranging from agricultural business to wine and viticulture.

2. San Diego State University

Acceptance rate: 38%

Founded in 1897, San Diego State University (SDSU) is the oldest institution of higher learning in San Diego and has grown into a research powerhouse—with more than $160 million in grant funding in 2022. SDSU has gained some notoriety for its annual Student Symposium, a two-day event that gives SDSU students—both undergraduate and graduate—a chance to present their research, scholarship, and creative activities.

SDSU has a well-deserved reputation for diversity: it’s a federally-designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) as well as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI).

3. CSU Long Beach

Acceptance rate: 47%

CSU Long Beach (CSULB) is the second-largest campus of the California State University system and the third-largest in the state of California by enrollment. The school is home to over 30,000 undergraduates and offers more than 90 majors, ranging from agriculture to women’s studies. CSULB has been designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution since 2005 (21 of the 23 CSU campuses are designated as HSIs).

In addition to its large enrollment numbers, CSULB is notable for the many attractions found on its campus. For example, it’s home to a world-class art museum, a gorgeous Japanese garden, and the Walter Pyramid—the dramatic-looking, 18-story-tall, cobalt structure where CSBU’s men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams play.

Easiest CSU Schools to Get Into

1. Cal Poly Humboldt

Acceptance rate: 91%

In 2022, Humboldt State University became California Polytechnic University Humboldt (more simply known as Cal Poly Humboldt), the state’s third polytechnic and the only one in northern California. By 2030, the college is slated to introduce 28 new degree programs focusing on STEM and applied science.

Currently, Cal Poly Humboldt is one of the smallest schools in the California State University system in terms of enrollment, which fosters a tight-knit campus and involved student body. That said, it’s predicted that the school’s transition to a polytechnic will double its enrollment by 2030.

Arcata, the small city Cal Poly Humboldt calls home, was named among National Geographic Adventure’s50 next great adventure towns” and offers access to a variety of recreational activities along its wild coastline and through its ancient redwood forests.

2. Cal State East Bay

Acceptance rate: 82%

Cal State East Bay is continuously evolving—just consider that the school has had five names in its 60+ years of operation:

  • The State College for Alameda County
  • Alameda County State College
  • California State College at Hayward
  • California State University, Hayward
  • California State University, East Bay

Today, Cal State East Bay is known for its spectacular location in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area—it’s just a 30- to 40-minute drive to San Francisco, Oakland, and Silicon Valley, each of which offers seemingly boundless internship and career opportunities.

Cal State East Bay has developed a reputation for the diversity of its student body. More than 60% of undergraduates are women, Latinx students make up almost 40% of undergraduates, and Asian students account for almost 25% of undergraduates. The school also welcomes more than 1,100 international students from over 60 countries.

3. CSU Dominguez Hills

Acceptance rate: 90%

CSU Dominguez Hills primarily serves students from the South Bay area of Los Angeles County. The school has its roots in the wake of the 1965 Watts Rebellion, providing educational pathways to students from underserved communities—something the college still does today. Almost half of CSU Dominguez Hills students are first-generation college students and Pell Grant Eligible, while more than 85% are students of color.

In recent years, CSU Dominguez Hills has taken steps to improve its sustainability. Since 2019, the school has cut its greenhouse emissions in half. The university generates almost 1 million watts of power from solar panels on five buildings—the panels produce between a third and half of the college’s daily power needs. CSU Dominguez Hills is also home to two carbon-negative buildings, which put more energy into the campus grid than they consume.

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

Your chances of admission at any of the California State Universities largely depend on the strength of your profile. CollegeVine can help add clarity to your college search—our free chancing engine uses factors like your academics, extracurriculars, and demographics to estimate your odds at hundreds of colleges across the country, including the easiest and hardest CSUs to get into. Furthermore, it provides insight into your profile, highlighting your strengths and illuminating areas to improve.

Cal State Acceptance Rates: Easiest and Hardest CSU to Get Into (2024)


Cal State Acceptance Rates: Easiest and Hardest CSU to Get Into? ›

1) Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo had an admit rate of 30 percent for the Fall 2022 semester.

What is the hardest CSU to get into in California? ›

1) Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo had an admit rate of 30 percent for the Fall 2022 semester.

Which is the easiest CSU to get into? ›

Which CSU school is easiest to get into? Many Cal State schools admit a high number of applicants. In fact, most CSU schools have acceptance rates above 90%. California State University, Fresno has the highest acceptance rate at 97%, making it the easiest CSU to get into.

What is the lowest GPA CSU will accept? ›

California residents and graduates of California high schools will be eligible for admission by earning a 2.50 or greater “a-g” GPA. Any California high school graduate or resident of California earning a GPA between 2.00 and 2.49 may be evaluated for admission based upon supplemental factors.

Is Csulb or SDSU harder to get into? ›

Is San Diego State University (SDSU) or California State University-Long Beach (CSULB) Harder to get into? Which school is easier to get into? If you're looking at acceptance rate alone, then California State University-Long Beach (CSULB) is more difficult to get into.

What is the best CSU in California? ›

*Acceptance rates on our list of the Best CSU Schools Ranked are from the Class of 2027, unless otherwise noted.
  • 1) Cal Poly SLO.
  • 2) San Diego State University.
  • 3) Cal State Long Beach.
  • 4) Cal Poly Pomona.
  • 5) San Jose State University.
  • 6) Cal State Fullerton.
  • 7) CSU Fresno.
  • 8) CSU Chico.
May 8, 2024

Can I get into Cal Poly SLO with a 3.7 GPA? ›

If you earned a 4.0 (or better) weighted GPA in high school, you are a viable candidate for any program within Cal Poly –San Luis Obispo. Students with a 4.1 or 4.2 in a mostly honors/AP curriculum will fare best.

Can I get into Cal State Fullerton with a 3.5 GPA? ›

For the Fall 2023 admission cycle, the average high school GPA of incoming freshmen at Cal State Fullerton was around 3.5. The California State University (CSU) system has a minimum eligibility requirement of a 2.5 GPA for California residents or a 3.0 GPA for out-of-state or international students.

What GPA do you need for Cal State Northridge? ›

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 3.42, Cal State Northridge requires you to be around average in your high school class. You'll need a mix of A's and B's, and very few C's.

How hard is it to get into Cal State Fullerton? ›

The acceptance rate at Cal State Fullerton is 66.7%.

This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in.

Is SDSU actually hard to get into? ›

The acceptance rate at SDSU is 39.3%.

This means the school is very selective.

Is Cal State Long Beach better than CSUN? ›

I heard a lot of them say that as far as CSU's go, CSUN and CSULB are around the same in prestige. So they said it truly doesn't matter where you go, so long as you get the degree. CSULB is just a more appealing campus over CSUN, hence the popularity and lower acceptance rate.

Is Fullerton better than SDSU? ›

- SDSU is ranked slightly higher overall as a university compared to CSUF. It's also known for its strengths in business, engineering, and psychology. That being said, CSUF has reputable programs in communications, nursing, and kinesiology.

What is the hardest UC campus to get into? ›

UCLA and UC Berkeley stand out as the most selective UC schools, with acceptance rates of 9% and 11% respectively, and high GPA ranges.

What college has 100% acceptance rate California? ›

List of Colleges by Acceptance Rate
SchoolAcceptance Rate
American Conservatory Theater San Francisco, CA100%
Bethesda University of California Anaheim, CA100%
California Institute of Integral Studies San Francisco, CA100%
California Christian College Fresno, CA100%
14 more rows

Are CSU or UC harder to get into? ›

Selectivity. Overall, the UC schools—being very prestigious and highly ranked—are much more difficult to get into than are the CSU schools, especially UC Berkeley and UCLA, the two highest-ranked schools. In other words, acceptance rates at UC schools are often far lower than those at CSU schools.

What is the least diverse CSU? ›

Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo is the whitest public university in California.

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