San Diego State University (SDSU) – Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements

San Diego State University is part of the California State University (CSU) system, which is made up of 23 campuses around California. The mission of CSU is to create educational opportunities that are affordable and accessible. As a result, the universities in the CSU system are the most affordable and diverse in California. 

This CSU commitment is evident in SDSU, which is one of the top public research universities in California and is designated a Hispanic Serving Institution. 

SDSU has a vision for meeting the academic needs not only of Californians, but of those from around the globe. This can be seen in the university’s 2020-2025 strategic plan, “We Rise, We Defy: Transcending Borders, Transforming Lives.” 

SDSU’s five-year plan moves the university towards elevating its research status to an R1 designation, better serving those who live at the intersection of the California/Mexico border and creating accessible online programs that provide top-notch courses for a global community. 

To attend SDSU is to be part of an academic institution that is actively pursuing ways to best meet student needs before, during, and after their post-secondary education. 

Not only is SDSU a great school academically, but it is also located in one of the most beautiful places in California. 

Students who want to get away in nature have easy access to beaches, mountains, and deserts; for those looking for opportunities in the city, San Diego has a downtown that boasts award-winning theaters, authentic Mexican cuisine, and museums galore. 

Being in California’s second-largest city also affords plenty of job and internship opportunities. SDSU prepares students for career opportunities with popular local industries like biotechnology, travel, cybersecurity, etc. 

SDSU requires hard work and solid academic background from its admitted students to access these benefits, but the payoff is well worth the effort. 

Below are the technical details students need to start the application process for San Diego State University, including acceptance rate, GPA, and more.

San Diego State University Acceptance Rate

San Diego State University
Wikipedia User:Geographer, Sdsumain, CC BY 1.0

SDSU’s acceptance rate for the 2021 Fall semester was 39%. This rate is relatively high considering the main campus of San Diego State University is impacted, meaning that there are far more eligible applicants than spots available. 

Because of this dynamic, students need to be diligent in crafting an application that shows their ability to succeed in both their general education courses and in their chosen area of interest. 

Beyond the kind of course work already completed and a student’s grades, a huge part of SDSU’s application consideration process includes adding specific college prep courses that all students have to take. 

California residents should be familiar with these requirements, but out-of-state students must ensure they have courses that correspond to the state’s requirements. More about these special courses are below.

SDSU Out of State Acceptance Rate

Of the 5,269 new students enrolled in Fall 2021, 25% of those students were from out-of-state. Though some universities in California recently revealed they were reducing their out-of-state student admissions, SDSU continues to try and meet its vision for a global campus that accepts students from all over. 

That said, the CSU system has a policy that, depending on the number of admission spots for a given year, California students will have priority selection. 

Students who are from out-of-state should reach out to the out-of-state admissions office to learn more about the rate of acceptance for a given year. 

San Diego State University GPA

GPA requirements for SDSU are based on something called the A-G Requirements, a set of specific course requirements unique to the state of California. 

Students are required to have completed this series of college preparatory courses and received at least a 2.5 GPA for in-state applicants and 3.0 for out-of-state applicants. The average GPA of a first-year student on the A-G Requirements is 3.6. 

The A-G Requirement courses include a range of subjects like a foreign language, laboratory science, and English. 

For students who use the Cal State Apply application, they will be able to record this information within the application and it will calculate if they have reached these requirements. 

SDSU SAT & ACT Requirements

Students aren’t required to report their SAT or ACT test scores for admission, but submitted scores would be considered. 

As noted above, SDSU is looking for students who have the foundational education to succeed at the university. 

SAT and ACT scores, along with other test scores like AP, IB, and CLEP, assist in determining where students should start in the SDSU general education requirements for writing, math, etc.  

Other Requirements and Admission Tips for SDSU

SDSU Exercise and Nutritional Sciences Building
Nehrams2020, SDSU ENS280, CC BY-SA 3.0

Students should complete the CSU common application Cal State Apply for the actual application process. 

This application has all the basic requirements, including a $70 application fee or the ability to waive it, but students will find it has an extensive reporting requirement for a student’s academic record. 

In addition to official transcripts being sent separately, students will need to self-report all their academic work into the application. 

Students need to understand that all information they report on the application will be confirmed after acceptance and if any of what was reported deviates from transcripts, they can risk losing their acceptance. 

Confirming and updating academic information is especially important for high school students who are still completing courses. 

The deadline for applying to SDSU is between October 1st and December 15th for the following year’s fall semester, so some students may still be completing high school when they go through the application process. 

Those who are in this position should contact the admissions office to find out how to best record their current academic status. 

Applying to SDSU also requires applicants declare a major upfront. This has the potential to limit a student’s chances of acceptance depending on the program and how popular that degree path is. 

The best way students can increase their chances of getting in is to show through their application that they have the academic experience to succeed in their major of interest. Students should look in the catalog and see the courses that will be required to meet a major’s specific criteria. 

Once students send their general application in, they will be given login information for the applicant portal SDSU WebPortal. 

The school will let applicants within this portal when all their documents have been processed and whether a student is officially accepted or not by March.  

For students who are looking to apply to the honors college, they will need to have at least a 3.7 GPA and need to send in a separate application directly to the program by January 17th. To learn more, students should visit the Weber Honors College information page.

Is San Diego State University Right for You?

Applying to SDSU will be a high-risk, high payoff experience. This is evident by the work the school is currently doing and the academic opportunities it offers students. 

SDSU is at the forefront of research in STEM-related fields and recently hired Janet Franklin who is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. 

Her work on climate change and the environment will give students the ability to learn from one of the leading conservation biogeographers in the field. 

Other faculty, like Susan M. Kiene who teaches Global Health, is doing lifesaving research on HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Not only will students have access to excellent faculty, but also some of the best teaching technology available. 

Recently SDSU opened the Virtual Immersive Teaching and Learning Research Center where students can experience virtual and augmented reality education experiences. This technology can place students in environments where they can practice medical procedures or even see models of molecules. 

SDSU further increases students’ ability to succeed in their education by having new students live on campus for the first two years of their education. The university believes that students who live on campus have higher GPAs, especially when they are able to learn in the community. 

All of these opportunities are open to any interested applicants, but for students who are first generation, who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and/or who are from local high schools they will have priority in the application process at SDSU. 

If this is a student’s experience, they need to make sure they demonstrate this in the application process. 

The SDSU application is a complex one, and the reality that SDSU is the type of university that students need to have planned ahead for can seem intimidating. 

But with all the amenities made available to students, the beautiful location, and the vision SDSU has for the future, students will find the university is worth their time to pursue.