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Doesn't add up ...

twodownonetogotwodownonetogo Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
Our daughter wasn't selected for admission. Here are her stats:

GPA: 3.85 weighted
SAT: 1950/2400
Class rank: Top 3%
Student body, 4 yrs varsity (2 sports); extensive EC/community service/work experience
Applied as Poli Sci major

I realize Cal Poly has become more selective, but I'm finding it a little hard to believe that it has become THAT selective. I've looked at the stats of students who have been admitted, and ... well, it doesn't add up.
Post edited by twodownonetogo on

Replies to: Doesn't add up ...

  • gotpetergotpeter Registered User Posts: 407 Member
    Location is often a factor.
  • twodownonetogotwodownonetogo Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    Are you saying some kids get preference because of where they live?

    That isn't mentioned anywhere as being a factor.

    According to the Cal Poly website:

    "When we review your application, we consider:

    * Your program of study in secondary school/college (the major to which you are applying)
    * Completion of CSU and Cal Poly program required coursework with a grade of C or better
    * Academic performance in your classes (GPA)
    * Standardized test scores
    * Your extra-curricular activities and work experience"
  • PVHSPVHS Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Some of the programs in Cal Poly are a LOT harder to get into than others. Architecture, Engineering and Business are the hardest. Then they have other programs that are pretty easy to get into. I have seen some that were scoring 1100s on their SAT's get in. You pretty much need Stanford qualifications to get into Architecture here though.

    Also Cal poly does not consider where you live in California. Everyone is equal that way. Out of state people, I don't know.
  • Mariner116Mariner116 Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    I don't belive location is a factor at all. Gotpeter may have meant major, which is a huge factor. From looking at the posts it seems a minimum SAT of 1450/1600 was needed to get into several engineering majors (probably a minimum ACT of 33) this year. For other majors, a 1200 and 25 combination might have been enough. If you just look at applicant scores and don't look at the major they were applying to, the process looks very inconsistent. It seems that political science was a very popular major (I saw a lot of kids applying for it). That means the standards were going to be pretty high.

    A personal opinion I have is that CalPoly weights test scores much more than grades, and for good reason. It is the only way they can get a level playing field to compare students that go to hard schools with students that go to easy schools. There are plenty of examples I have seen where someone has a 3.3 GPA and 34 ACT. Another person has a 4.0 GPA and 23 ACT. My guess is that Cal Poly weights ACT/SAT much, much more than GPA (or class rank) in order to get a more fair comparison of all applications.
  • einnobeinnob Registered User Posts: 956 Member
    ^Thats very true. SAT/ACT scores provide a better standard for all students. For GPA, students might go to very competitive high schools and get 3.5's, versus a student with a 4.0 at an unranked high school.

    One thing I dont understand is why Cal Poly doesnt consider writing SAT scores. -_-
  • Mariner116Mariner116 Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    einnob, I would guess that half the schools we've applied to this year use the full SAT and half are just using the original math/reading components. I think some schools are building up some history on the impact that including writing makes before they use it. IOW, they are building up a database of writing scores to analyze for a couple of years. Others have decided to jump on board faster.
  • otc2010otc2010 Registered User Posts: 201 Junior Member
    I think they consider location the way the UCs do i.e. you must be competitive within the population applying from your high school. Plus, I think they try and take a smattering from as many CA high schools as possible to get a diverse student body.

    A GPA is just a GPA until you note what courses made it up. Our hs district has one hs on semesters and another on quarters - you can rack up a lot more APs and courses with the latter, many kids take two languages and complete advanced Calc.

    My son's friend, who applied for ME, has a 3.9, but is just in Pre-Cal now (due to having immature study habits in 8th grade - gasp!). It would make sense that he wouldn't out rank someone with a 3.9 who is in Calc BC. My son who is in AP Cal this year wouldn't out rank someone that has always taken honors math. It's been a leap for him this year and his GPA will take a hit, but I think they like that better than the person who never even attempted Cal at all.

    Bottomline...this is why they say on the admissions site that there is no way to tell who will be admitted just by looking at stats. It doesn't add up because they don't use that method. Schools like SDSU, CSULB, CSUF do, but CPSLO does not.
  • ralph4ralph4 Registered User Posts: 393 Member

    This document references "partner schools" many times. I think students from Cal Poly "partner schools" are given preference with regard to admissions. This may explain why some admissions "don't add up".
  • twodownonetogotwodownonetogo Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    All interesting theories, but why is it such a mystery precisely what the admissions criteria are? This is a public institution. Look at all the posts that begin "I think...", "I believe...", "I would guess...", "In my opinion..." Is the selection process spelled out clearly and in detail somewhere? If it isn't why isn't it? It's a little unsettling how little everyone seems to know about the process.

    By the way, oct2010, it's probably true, as you say, that there is no way to tell who will be admitted just by looking at the stats. But my point is that someone, somewhere must know exactly what weight is assigned to what. I also agree that SAT/ACT scores are a better yardstick than GPAs for comparing applicants, certainly a more objective one, and if CPSLO gives greater weight to scores, fine. If they choose a "smattering" of kids from different parts of the state to get a diverse student body, that may be fine too, but where is the weighing spelled out? Does Eddie from Eureka with a 2000 SAT get admitted over Sally from Santa Barbara who has the same score? It seems to me the entire process could benefit from more openness.
  • Mariner116Mariner116 Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    ralph4, good find about partner schools. I found this document, http://eadvise.calpoly.edu/iep/Forms/spreadsheet.pdf, which seems to indicate partner schools are international colleges.
  • WatermarkWatermark Registered User Posts: 214 Junior Member
    I remember last year someone (HS student) posted in this forum that his school is a partner school so the students there have an edge.

    In the recent business acceptance thread, one did post he/she got in with a 1160 SAT score. I was so surprised since others have been waitlisted/rejected with much higher stat. So I tend to believe some applicants are getting "bonus" points.

    OP, I feel your frustration. The college really should make this more transparent. It's like you're in the game but don't know ALL the rules to play the game.
  • BayAreaCAMomBayAreaCAMom Registered User Posts: 250 Junior Member
    For the CSU system, where you live DOES matter, and I believe Cal Poly is no exception. A few years ago, the entire CSU system WENT BACK to its original intent to serve those in their local community FIRST, and I believe that those that live in the SLO service area (do not know exactly how far that extends) DO get preferred status on their admission. So, someone in the service area can get in with lower stats. However, that area is not that heavily populated, so I would not expect it to affect Cal Poly as much as other CSU schools.

    I agree with twodownonetogo - my daughter has similiar stats and did not get accepted. Further more, when you look at the AVERAGE by college, for class of 2013 admitted students, my daughter's stats are exactly at the median (of the college she applied to), and she DID NOT GET IN this year. We were very surprised and disappointed.

    My guess is that they had to really decrease enrollment/admission numbers significantly, and therefore the median stats will jump quite a bit this year, and the acceptance percentage will be really really low. What can you say if they are only accepting say 25% of those who applied? That means 75% don't get in, a lot of whom were qualified.

    Just too many kids trying to get in the state school with too few spots at the "top" schools, in a very very populated, and educated, state, with horrible timing of a state budget crisis.
  • otc2010otc2010 Registered User Posts: 201 Junior Member
    I didn't mean to imply that their web information was adequate. If anything, I think we can say, based on the fact that year after year people are shocked by the rejections, that the information is misleading - on the one hand, people on this forum say, "Cal Poly is all about the numbers" and then CP says it's impossible to tell from just stats.
  • ShrinkrapShrinkrap Registered User Posts: 11,790 Senior Member
    I cant remember where (probably have to log into account), but there is somewhere you can see the scores ( GPA + SAT or something) it took to get into certain campuses and majors, in and out of the area, the year prior.


    Freshman Admission Requirements for California Residents

    It is easy to understand the California State University admission requirements for California residents. Admission offices at the 23 campuses use three factors to determine eligibility.

    Most applicants who are admitted meet the standards in each of the following areas:

    * Specific high school courses
    * Grades in specified courses and test scores
    * Graduation from high school

    Some CSU campuses have higher standards for particular majors or for students who live outside the local campus area. Because of the number of students who apply, a few campuses have higher standards (supplementary admission criteria) for all applicants. Many CSU campuses utilize local admission guarantee policies for students who graduate or transfer from high schools and community colleges that are historically served by a CSU campus in that region.

    Impacted Programs - Supplementary Admission Criteria

    In the California State University, an undergraduate major or campus is designated as impacted when the number of CSU eligible applications received in the initial filing period is greater than the number that can be accommodated by the major or campus. In such instances, CSU campuses have been authorized to use supplementary admission criteria to screen applicants to these majors and/or campuses. These supplementary admission criteria may include, but are not limited to the following:

    * Cease accepting admission applications at the conclusion of the initial filing period;
    * Require submission of the SAT or ACT regardless of the high school grade point average;
    * Rank order first-time freshmen by eligibility index;
    * Set a higher minimum eligibility index than that required for CSU admission;
    * Review additional characteristics such as socioeconomic or educational factors, space availability in a program or major, indications of overcoming educational obstacles, or exceptional talents; and
    * Require completion of specified lower-division general education requirements for transfer applicants.

    Impacted Programs - Local Admission Guarantee

    Under the local admission guarantee, local CSU-eligible first-time freshmen and local upper division transfer students shall be admitted to a local CSU campus on the basis of established CSU system admission policies. However, admission to an impacted campus does not include assurance of admission to a specific major if that major is impacted at the local campus. "Local" first-time freshmen are defined as those students who graduate from a high school district historically served by a CSU campus in that region. "Local" upper division transfer students are defined as those who transfer from a community college district historically served by a CSU campus in that region. The boundaries of a campus's local region shall contain the entire territory of the school district or community college district in which the local high school or community college campus is located. (The CSU Office of the Chancellor may specifically permit campuses to sub-divide a school or community college district for impaction purposes.)

    Campuses may use both campus impaction and major impaction simultaneously. For example, a campus could be "campus impacted" for first-time freshmen and use selected "major impaction" for upper division transfers. In this example, both upper division transfers and students currently enrolled at the campus would be required to meet the same supplemental admission criteria for admission to an impacted major at the upper division level. Please refer to the www.calstate.edu for updated campus specific information on impaction.

    For more information about Impaction, please refer to:
  • Mariner116Mariner116 Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    BayAreaMom, one of the frustrations with this process is that Cal Poly only releases stats by college, but not by major. There are wide ranges of admission standards within a college. For example, within Ag, which looks like it has lower standards, some majors like Animal Science (pre-vet), have very high standards (in the same ball park as engineering programs). If one applies for a major like that with stats that are average for the college, they will be way under the admission bar for that major.

    It would be very helpful to have access to admission data by major instead of just college.
This discussion has been closed.