Not Selected for Admission

Admission to Cal Poly is highly selective and the size and strength of our applicant pool means that we are unable to select all qualified candidates. Cal Poly uses an objective, comprehensive review process that extends beyond the basic eligibility index utilized by the California State University to select students. This means that many CSU-eligible students are unable to be offered admission.


Cal Poly utilizes a waitlist process for outstanding freshman and transfer applicants who are not selected through the regular selection process. If you are offered a spot on the waitlist, you will be considered for admission again as additional openings occur in your major. Waitlisted freshmen will be notified of the final decision regarding their waitlist status by May 15th, while transfer candidates will be notified by July 15th.

Options for Not-Selected Freshmen

If you are not selected for admission to Cal Poly, you should consider admission offers you have received from other universities.

You may also consider transferring to Cal Poly after attending a community college. If you plan on transferring, you should pay attention to our transfer selection criteria and work with the transfer center or counseling office at your community college to develop a plan to help you be competitive in the transfer admission process.  

Freshman students can also look for Associate Degree for Transfer opportunities.


If you are a CSU-eligible California resident student who has been waitlisted or denied admission due to campus or program impaction, you may have the opportunity to be redirected to a non-impacted campus. The CSU will inform of you of available campuses via email.

Appealing Undergraduate Admission Decisions

Cal Poly does not set aside spaces for students who appeal admission decisions. Every denied application has been reviewed for maximum consideration. Therefore, for an appeal to have merit, it must bring to light new academic information as well as information pertaining to extenuating circumstances that were not present in the application information, that clearly show the student to be stronger than had been earlier evidenced. Neither grades received in the current academic year nor mistakes made by the applicant on the application are a basis for an appeal or the reversal of a decision.

Submitting an Appeal

  1. Send us a formal letter requesting that we reconsider your application. The letter must come from you (the applicant) and be postmarked no later than 15 days after receipt of your original admission decision. Please use this Cover Sheet when sending in your appeal. Note: Letters submitted via email or fax are not acceptable and will not be considered.
  2. Your letter must clearly outline your reasons for appealing the initial decision. The information you present should be new and compelling. Your letter should not simply repeat information that had already been presented in your application.
  3. Official transcripts (in an envelope sealed by the institution) must either be included in your letter of appeal or have been requested to be sent directly from your high school or college and so noted in your letter. Transcripts must include all coursework and grades completed to date, plus an official listing of the coursework in which you are currently enrolled. Transfer applicants must submit transcripts from all colleges attended, but do not need to submit high school transcripts. Freshman applicants must submit transcripts from all high schools attended and, where applicable, from all colleges attended.
  4. For freshman applicants, if the basis of your appeal involves an incorrectly reported test score, you should provide documentation (e.g., a revised score report) in the same envelope as your letter of appeal, plus request the revised test scores be sent electronically to Cal Poly from the testing agency.
  5. Letters of recommendation and personal statements or essays are not considered in the admission selection process at Cal Poly and cannot be submitted as part of your appeal.

It is our usual practice to respond to appeals within 15 business days of the date we receive them. While all appeals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, the rate of a decision being reversed based upon an appeal has historically been very low. We encourage applicants to consider all available educational options. All appeal decisions are considered final.

All appeals should be addressed to:

Cal Poly
Admissions Office
1 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 U.S.A.
Attn: Admission Appeal

*If you are denied after April 1st, your appeal must be postmarked within two weeks of the date of your decision notification email.

Graduate students should contact the program coordinator directly to appeal.


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