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High School Guidance - First-Time First-Year Students

The California State University (CSU) system is taking all necessary steps to mitigate the disruptions caused by COVID-19 while ensuring the health and safety for our students, faculty, staff and communities. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became necessary to adjust some CSU admission requirements for Fall 2020 incoming students. As the pandemic continues to exert significant impacts on California communities, the CSU will be providing accommodations for Fall 2021 and Fall 2022 incoming students.

The CSU system and CSU campuses are prepared to continue exercising flexibility and accommodation when working with our educational partners and Fall 2021 and Fall 2022 applicants in meeting admission requirements and the subsequent steps toward matriculation.

The following information is provided for school districts, schools, community colleges, colleges, educators, prospective students and applicants regarding CSU admission and provides a high-level overview o​​​f the guidance.

View Frequently Asked Questions

View First-time Freshman Supplemental Factors by Campus

  1. The CSU will continue to accept grades of "Credit" or "Pass" to satisfy "a-g" requirements completed during Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall 2020 terms and during Winter, Spring or Summer 2021 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.

    1. The CSU expects and assumes that high school Pass (Credit) grades will represent work completed at the C- or higher level.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. ​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. Each CSU campus should endeavor to ensure that those first-year students who do not provide ACT/SAT scores will not be disadvantaged in placement decisions as a result.
  5. The CSU has reinstated a systemwide Early Start Program for Summer 2021; in addition, individual CSU campuses may offer summer transitional programs (e.g., Summer Bridge) in virtual formats.
  6. The CSU requests that high schools provide transcripts by July 15, 2021. CSU campuses will work with students on an individual basis if schools are not able to provide official transcripts by the deadline.
  7. 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.
  8. 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, Fall 2020 or Spring 2021. 
  9. The CSU will continue to honor Advanced Placement exams on which scores of 3, 4, or 5 are earned, regardless of the delivery mode of the exam. 
  10. Students will continue to earn general education or lower-division major credits if they passed or received credit for a CSU-accepted International Baccalaureate​ (IB) exam.
  11. CSU campuses are individually reevaluating their respective intent to enroll and/or housing deposit deadlines to maximize student access and success. 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 from each campus. 
  12. If students encounter unforeseen circumstances and need to defer their admission, the CSU campus may defer their admission to a subsequent term. This action will be at the discretion of the individual CSU campus.
  1. The CSU will consider course grades of “credit” or “pass” as fulfilling “a-g” requirements for those courses completed during Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall 2020 terms and during Winter, Spring or Summer 2021 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 expects and assumes that high school Pass (Credit) grades will represent work completed at the C- or higher level.
  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 may 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 and International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) or other advanced courses.
  3. The California State University (CSU) will continue to temporarily suspend the use of ACT/SAT examinations in determining admission eligibility for all CSU campuses for the 2022-2023 academic year. This temporary change of admission eligibility applies for the following terms: Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023 and Spring 2023 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.
  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 2022-2023 academic year.
  5. The CSU will continue to honor Advanced Placement exams on which scores of 3, 4, or 5 are earned, regardless of the delivery mode of the exam.
  6. Students will continue to earn general education or lower-division major credits if they passed or received credit for a CSU-accepted International Baccalaureate​ (IB) exam.

CSU will consider course grades of “credit” or “pass” as fulfilling “a-g” requirements for those courses completed during Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall 2020 terms and during Winter, Spring or Summer 2021 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.

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This page was updated​ on 1/5/2021