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High School Guidance - First-Time First-Year Students

The California State University is committed to helping high school and community college students to overcome college admissions challenges presented by the physical closures of schools. The CSU has taken steps to ensure students are not adversely impacted by these disruptions and can achieve their CSU education as scheduled.

The CSU has temporarily relaxed some undergraduate admissions standards for both newly admitted students and prospective students to account for changes in grading and administration of standardized tests.

The information below provides guidance for incoming First-Time First Year Students for Fall 2020 and beyond. 

View Frequently Asked Questions

View First-time Freshman Supplemental Factors by Campus​

  1. The CSU will consider course grades of “credit" or “pass" as fulfilling “a-g" requirements for those courses completed during winter, spring or summer 2020 terms. All other coursework must be graded and a grade of C- or better must be earned for the course to satisfy “a-g" requirements. Grades of credit/pass or no credit/no pass will not be included in the calculation of high school GPA.
  2. The CSU strongly recommends that ALL students enroll in a yearlong senior-year English course and a mathematics/quantitative reasoning course as student-specific Early Assessment Program (EAP) guidance will largely not be available at the time of senior year course registration. These courses could include Expository Reading and Writing (ERWC), Math Reasoning with Connections (MRWC), weighted honors, International Baccalaureate (IB), and Advanced Placement (AP) and other advanced courses.
  3. The California State University (CSU) will temporarily suspend the use of ACT/SAT examinations in determining admission eligibility for all CSU campuses for the 2021-2022 academic year. This temporary change of admission eligibility applies only for the fall 2021, winter 2022 and spring 2022 admission cycles. First-time freshmen must meet the following eligibility requirements: be a high school graduate or equivalent; complete the 15-unit comprehensive “a-g” pattern of college preparatory course; and earn a qualifying “a-g” grade point average (GPA) as described below.
    • 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 such as number of courses exceeding minimum “a-g” requirements, household income, extracurricular involvement, and other available information that would inform the campus admission decision. Each CSU campus will determine the supplemental factors used with GPA to determine eligibility in these cases and communicate these criteria publicly for prospective students.
    • Non-California residents may be eligible for admission to the CSU by earning a 3.00 or greater “a-g” GPA along with other supplemental factors utilized by the individual campus, including those outlined by impacted campuses and programs.
    • Any non-California high school graduate or non-resident of California earning a GPA between 2.47and 2.99 may be evaluated for admission based upon supplemental factors such as number of courses exceeding minimum “a-g” requirements, household income, extracurricular involvement, and other available information that would inform the campus admission decision. Each CSU campus will determine the supplemental factors used with GPA to determine eligibility in these cases and communicate these criteria publicly for prospective students.
  4. This temporary change of admission requirements will also apply to impacted CSU campuses and programs. Campuses and programs designated as impacted may utilize higher “a-g” GPA thresholds for applicants, as well as identify supplemental criteria and their relative weights, in making admission decisions. However, in no case will standardized test scores be utilized in making admissions decisions for applicants during the 2021-2022 academic year.
  5. The College Board recently has announced changes to the AP exam content and format for spring 2020. The CSU will honor all existing transferable credit articulation for spring 2020 AP exams on which scores of 3, 4, 5 are earned.

CSU will consider course grades of “credit" or “pass" as fulfilling “a-g" requirements for those courses completed during winter, spring, or summer 2020 terms. All other coursework must be graded and a grade of C- or better must be earned for the course to satisfy “a-g" requirements. Grades of credit/pass or no credit/no pass will not be included in the calculation of high school GPA.

  1. The CSU will accept grades of "Credit" or "Pass" to satisfy "a-g" requirements completed during winter, spring or summer 2020 terms. All prior coursework must be graded and a grade of C- or better must be earned for the course to satisfy “a-g" requirements. Grades of credit/pass or no credit/non-passing will not be included in the calculation of high school GPA.
  2. CSU campuses will assess and initially place students in first-year English/Math based on multiple measures: high school and college courses completed, GPAs and test scores (SBAC, ACT, SAT) that students have submitted thus far.
  3. The CSU will not facilitate a systemwide Early Start Program in summer 2020; individual CSU campuses may offer summer transitional programs (e.g. Summer Bridge) in virtual formats.
  4. The CSU requests that high schools that can provide transcripts by July 15, 2020, do so; however, campuses will continue to accept transcripts through the fall 2020 term. CSU campuses will not rescind conditional offers of admission based on the non-receipt of transcripts. If a student is not able to provide an official transcript, due to extended school closure, CSU campuses may use unofficial or self-reported data for senior year grades and graduation status.
  5. New first-year students will remain in a conditionally admitted status until the CSU campus receives a final transcript document and review of the transcript for a-g requirements is completed.
  6. If a student has not met all a-g requirements after review of their final transcript document, at that time, CSU campuses may use admission exceptions on a case-by-case basis if students are no longer CSU-eligible, based on the inability to complete all “a-g" courses in which they were enrolled in spring 2020.ii Consideration can include how well the student is doing academically in fall 2020. Students should in no way assume that enrollment in Fall 2020 CSU courses means that an exception will be automatically granted.
  7. The College Board has announced changes to the AP exam content and format for spring 2020. The CSU will honor all existing transferable credit articulation for spring 2020 AP exams on which scores of 3, 4, or 5 are earned.
  8. CSU campuses are individually considering their extension of intent to enroll and/or housing deposit deadlines. Intent to enroll deadlines will consider the campus' capacity to provide timely information regarding financial aid awards to students and families. More information will be forthcoming.


This page was updated​ on 8/6/2020