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Notes on the Fly: Cal Poly

*College campus tours are packed with information and always an amazing experience. On my blog, I share facts, information and images about the college/university that I write "on the fly" during my visits.*

California Polytechnic – San Luis Obispo


Central coast of CA

  • College town

  • 21,092 undergraduates - mid size

  • 887 grad students - no Ph.D students which gives students the ability to do undergraduate research

  • best in the West Public Master's level university

  • No TA's teaching classes - all professor taught

Quarter system

  • learn by doing

  • upsidedown /blended curriculum

  • small class sizes - average 35

  • 63 majors, 84 minors = 6 different colleges

  • 50 grad programs

  • 19:1 students to faculty ratio

  • College of Agriculture

  • College of Architecture - 5 year program

  • College of Business

  • College of Liberal Arts

  • College of Engineering

  • College of Science and Math

Everyone does a capstone project at the end of their senior year. A passion project that is not necessarily dictated by professors of class work. This is where "learn by doing" really comes to the forefront.


  • will enroll in classes your freshman year in your major

  • makes students more competitive for internships right away

  • must select major when applying to Cal Poly

Learn by Doing

Campus Life

  • 400+ clubs and organizations

  • top rated orientation and new student programs

  • division 1 athletics

  • first time freshmen guaranteed on campus housing

Dorms have a 1 year requirement - looking at a 2 year on campus commitment

Students Services

  • academic advising

  • career services - career fairs are common and often, work on interviews, resumes and clothing if needed

  • student academic services

  • student abroad - 75 programs all over the world. Taught by Cal Poly professors.

  • There are specific major abroad programs and general programs

95% find jobs in their major. Career services and internships are top ways people get jobs

Admissions - students compete only with those applying to their college, not the entire school

Freshman criteria:

  • coursework and rigor

  • GPA - weighted, look at 9-12 grades. Not looking at middle school grades

  • ACT/SAT - only looks at math and evidence based parts of the test. They will superscore

  • Non-cognitive variables that are important to the campus

  • extracurricular activities and work experience, for example. Also look for leadership experience, and any major related work experience​

  • audition for music

  • portfolio for art and design

  • CC courses help make students more competitive for admission. Must be in an academic discipline you are interested in.

  • can use middle school courses if you have taken HS level course work in middle school

Cal Poly semester are more than the CSU system

  • 10 - English

  • 10 - math

  • 8 - language

  • 8 lab science

  • 4 social science

  • 4 visual/performing arts

  • 2 elective in and academic subject

Application opens October 1, closes November 30th. All students considered for merit based aid

Change of major - more of a process, must complete one quarter in that major first. Have to achieve certain benchmarks within the new major before being considered for a switch.

Couple of programs have 4+1 offerings

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