SDSU Transfer Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements

A part of California’s public university system, San Diego State University began life in 1897 as the San Diego Normal School. 

With over 120 years of history, SDSU has become an R2-tier university noted for its high research activity.

The school supports its research by operating with a $353.3 million endowment. With this money, SDSU can fund academics and perform cutting-edge research, putting its students at the forefront of discovery.

Thanks to this money and the excellent academics it employs on its faculty, only the University of California at Berkley has more Fulbright Scholars in the state of California. 

Furthermore, SDSU is the alma mater of luminaries such as actor Gregory Peck, Jack-in-the-Box founder Robert O. Preston, and Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut.

But SDSU offers so much more than just academics. Taking advantage of its rich history, the school also has a number of notable traditions. 

One of the most unique is the practice of saluting “S Mountain,” the nickname given to Cowles Mountain, which has been marked with a 400-foot white “S.”

With its combination of top-level academics and unique culture, SDSU remains a popular school, even for those already in a college program. Fortunately for them, SDSU does bring in transfers from other institutions.

Here’s everything you need to know if you want to complete your studies at this excellent university.

SDSU Transfer Acceptance Rate

San Diego State University
Nehrams2020, Courtyard SDSU, CC BY-SA 3.0

The transfer acceptance rate at SDSU is 20%.

When one looks at transfer rates at most universities, you’ll find a potentially discouraging fact. Most schools accept far fewer transfer students than they do incoming freshmen. There’s no one reason for this disparity, as factors include financial issues and a preference on the part of the school to train students as freshmen.

That principle proves true at SDSU, as the 20% transfer acceptance rate is about half the size of its standard 36.7% acceptance rate.

Furthermore, it’s essential to understand the context of the transfer rate. SDSU is a state school that has a strong partnership with other state schools in California, especially community colleges. 

Those partnerships mean that community colleges intentionally design their programs so that students can transfer seamlessly into universities like SDSU.

To aid the transition, SDSU features groups such as the Transfer Student Outreach Alliance Student Organization

This college-supported student group works to help transfer students feel at home at SDSU. It provides everything from meetups to registration advice to make sure new students know their way around the campus.

While SDSU only accepts 2 out of 10 transfer students, those who do make it in will find themselves cared for and well-prepared for the challenges of studying at their new school.

Application Requirements & GPA for SDSU Transfers

The average GPA for accepted students at SDSU is 3.7.

Without question, SDSU strives to make transfers as simple and painless a process as possible, especially for those coming from California community colleges. 

But that does not mean that the school does not have high standards. SDSU will streamline the administrative aspect, but it’s up to you to earn the right grades.

If that seems harsh, it’s important to remember that SDSU does not look at grades as a sign of intelligence, but rather as a sign of work ethic. 

Unlike freshmen, who come to SDSU to take relatively easy 100 and 200-level courses, transfer students will be jumping directly into classes at the 300 and 400 levels.

Because higher-level courses have a much greater workload, SDSU needs to see evidence that students can meet the expectations. GPA is a good indicator of that ability.

For most programs, SDSU requires that students earn at least a 2.0 GPA in 60 credit hours. The courses in which that grade is earned must include core topics, such as written communication, math, and critical thinking.

They must also earn their GPA in courses that set the foundation for their major so that they can enter higher-level courses ready to learn alongside classmates who have been trained at SDSU.

SDSU Transfer Deadline

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

The transfer deadline for SDSU is December 15th.

Anyone who wants to transfer to SDSU must complete their application by December 15th of the year preceding your entrance. Because SDSU only allows transfers to begin their studies in the fall, there is no other deadline.

The period to apply opens on October 1st of each year, but you shouldn’t wait until the last minute. Although the application may seem fairly straightforward, there are always complications. 

Given the fact that you can only apply once a year, a mistake that causes you to miss the hard December 15th deadline could have real repercussions.

That’s especially true for those attempting to apply to a program that requires additional materials. 

If you need to audition or create a portfolio for your application, then you’ll need as much time as possible to secure all of the materials.

Unlike most schools, SDSU uses the same deadline for transfer students and first-year students. 

Although this means that transfer students miss out on some of the benefits offered by other schools, such as an earlier application date and a quicker response, it does show that SDSU shows no biases against transfer students.

What is the Decision Date for SDSU Transfers?

The decision date for SDSU transfers is mid-March of each year.

Like most modern universities, SDSU informs hopefuls of its decision via the application portal. In simple, but clear terms, the school will indicate whether or not a student can continue their studies at SDSU or if they’ll need to go elsewhere to complete their degree.

As with the deadlines for applications, SDSU provides the same decision date for transfer students as it does for first-year students. This can be a good thing and a bad thing.

On the plus side, it shows that SDSU treats its transfers the same as any other student. Some transfer students worry that an institution treats them differently than those who came in as freshmen, as they bring with them influences from another school. 

However, these dates prove that no such prejudice exists at SDSU.

On the downside, that does mean that transfer students need to wait longer to get an answer. Most universities have a fairly short turnaround between application and decision. 

For example, SDSU’s state sister UC-Davis has an application deadline of March 31st and informs students of their decision by April 22nd, not even a month later.

However, this decision date should not change things for transfer students. Although you need to wait longer for a response, hopefully, you’ve taken advantage of SDSU’s transfer resources, so you already know if you’ll be a good candidate for acceptance.

Deciding Whether to Transfer to SDSU

You already know that SDSU has an excellent academic track record. But did you know it’s also an incredibly fun place to earn a degree?

SDSU regularly ranks high on party school lists, proving that the school cares about helping students live a well-balanced life. Even better, San Diego has a ton of things to do for cheap, so you don’t need to go broke when you transfer to SDSU.

Of course, the main draw is the Pacific Ocean itself. San Diego boasts 17 miles of coastline, with numerous free beaches. Even on the most popular days, there’s always room to swim and sun.

Once you come to SDSU, you can take a break by enjoying a healthy jog or relaxing walk through Balboa Park. But if you relax by strengthening your mind, Balboa Park also features a number of free museums.

Transfers to SDSU can visit the Center Cultural de la Raza and not only see exhibits celebrating Chicano, Latino, and Native American culture, but also take lessons in dance and art. 

For those on the geeky side, there’s the newly-opened Comic-Con Museum, with a full collection of superhero and sci-fi memorabilia.

As this description shows, coming to SDSU will not only increase your intelligence, it will also increase your cultural awareness.

Recap – How to Transfer to SDSU

To transfer to SDSU, you need to have a GPA of at least 2.0 for most programs and complete your application by December 15th

By Mid-March, the University will make its decision available and you’ll know if you’ll be able to join their student body.

However, those are the bare minimum requirements. The fact of the matter is that SDSU is highly competitive, especially for transfers. Only 20% of those who apply are accepted, and most of those students come from California schools.

To have the best chance of transferring to SDSU, it’s wise not only to strive to earn a GPA that matches the 3.7 average but also take advantage of the resources available to you. 

Use the timeline and guides that the school publishes on its website and contact counselors for help.

None of this will be easy and it will require hard work. But as one of the best schools in the state of California, it’s hard to see why someone wouldn’t want to transfer to complete their studies along the Pacific coast at San Diego State University.