Fall 2018 Freshman Admission Criteria
San Diego State University accepts freshman applications each year between October 1 and November 30 for admission the following fall. Get started by reviewing the admission criteria below, and then find out how to apply.
Who is a Freshman?
You can apply to SDSU as a first-time freshman if you have:
- not yet graduated high school, but are on track to graduate with a high school diploma by spring 2018.
- graduated high school, but have not taken college courses beyond the summer after graduation.
How Freshman Applicants Are Ranked
We consider freshman applications on the following criteria:
- Completion of A–G courses: As a first-time freshman applicant, you must complete, with letter grades of C- or higher, the 15-unit comprehensive pattern of college preparatory courses. For fall admission you must complete your subject requirements by the spring term before enrolling at SDSU. See the list of A–G courses.
- Eligibility Index (GPA and test scores): The eligibility index is the combination of your high school grade point average and your SAT/ACT test scores. All California State University campuses use the eligibility index as part of the admission decision. Calculate your eligibility index.
- The major to which you apply: You must choose a major when you apply to SDSU. All majors are competitive, and every major has more applicants than available slots (the CSU calls this impaction). Applicants are ranked within each major, rather than overall. The popularity of majors changes every year based on the applicant pool. Admission is major-specific, which means you cannot change your major during the application process. Specific majors will have additional requirements you must meet for admission to the major and the university:
- Music, Dance and Theatre Arts: Performance – Applicants must pass an audition for acceptance to these majors and the University. Auditions will be held in January/February 2018 for fall admission.
- Nursing – Admission to the School of Nursing is very competitive. Applicants will be ranked for admission by their college preparatory courses, GPA and SAT evidence-based reading and writing or ACT English and SAT or ACT mathematics. Applicants must also have earned a B or higher grade in high school intermediate algebra, biology and chemistry with lab courses. If AP or IB level courses were taken in these areas, applicants must have earned a B or better grade in the course.
Students admitted to SDSU as undeclared, or as a major other than Nursing, will not be able to change their major to Nursing during their tenure at SDSU.
All first year students who graduate from a high school outside of SDSU's local admission area during spring 2018 will be required to live on campus for two years. First year and second year students who live in SDSU campus housing are proven to academically out-perform their peers who live off campus. Research shows that the average GPA is 11 percent higher for residential students and 13 percent higher for students living in learning communities.
Because of this proven success, the SDSU Sophomore Success Program was created, which enables program participants to receive customized career development support, flexible guest, meal and roommate policies, and enhanced safety and security.
For more information about the Sophomore Success Program, visit the Sophomore Success Program website.
What Happens Next
Over the next few months, special attention will be given to reviewing each application. Notices of admission will be sent by mid-March.
To accept an offer of admission, you must submit the online Intent to Enroll deposit and official transcripts with fall 2017 grades by May 1, 2018. You will also separately submit final official transcripts with spring 2018 term grades postmarked by July 15, 2018.
In the meantime, there are steps you can take to make sure you have a smooth admissions experience:
- Review all of the information to the left before you are notified of SDSU's admission decision.
- Check your admission status periodically through the SDSU WebPortal. If you have not already done so, you will first need to activate your WebPortal account using your RedID number. Your RedID will be emailed to you within two weeks of applying to SDSU.
- Keep your email and mailing addresses updated.
Keep Your Grades Up!
Admission is based on self-reported information from your Cal State Apply application. Once you are provisionally admitted, we will verify this information against your official transcript. Please make sure to report accurate information.
Your admission may be rescinded for reasons such as the following:
- your GPA, test scores or course grades are lower than what you reported on the application.
- you miss any admission deadlines.
- you earn D or F grades in any coursework (not just A–G courses) taken during your senior year.
- you misreported or did not complete a required course.
How to Apply
We accept applications from October 1 to November 30 through Cal State Apply, the California State University common admission application. Learn how to apply.
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 SDSU is 34%. For every 100 applicants, 34 are admitted.
This means the school is very selective. If you meet SDSU'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.
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.
The average GPA at SDSU is 3.69.
(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.
With a GPA of 3.69, SDSU requires you to be above average in your high school class. You'll need at least a mix of A's and B's, with more A's than B's. You can compensate for a lower GPA with harder classes, like AP or IB classes. This will show that you're able to handle more difficult academics than the average high school student.
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 3.69, 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.
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 SDSU. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.
SDSU 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: 1190 (Old: 1653)
The average SAT score composite at SDSU is a 1190 on the 1600 SAT scale.
On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1653.
This score makes SDSU Competitive for SAT test scores.
SDSU SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1090, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1300. In other words, a 1090 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1300 will move you up to above average.
Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:
|Section||Average||25th Percentile||75th Percentile|
SDSU SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)
The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1500, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1820. In other words, a 1500 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 1820 puts you well above average.
Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:
|Section||Average||25th Percentile||75th Percentile|
SAT Score Choice Policy
The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.
SDSU 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.
For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:
Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, SDSU 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 SDSU 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 1300, 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.
Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.
Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.
SDSU ACT Requirements
Just like for the SAT, SDSU likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.
Average ACT: 25
The average ACT score at SDSU is 25. This score makes SDSU Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.
The 25th percentile ACT score is 22, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 28.
Even though SDSU likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 22 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 25 and above that a 22 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 28 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 SDSU, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 28.
Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.
SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements
Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.
SDSU considers the SAT/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 SDSU 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.