Difference in Applying to Cal State University vs. University of California Schools

Difference In Applying to Cal State University vs. University of California Schools

Difference In Applying to Cal State University vs. University of California Schools

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As you near the end of your high school career and as you plan for your future, you may be considering attending a nearby California university for your post-secondary education. While there are a number of incredible colleges within the state of California and all across the US, two of the top choices among California high school students are California State University and the University of California. Both colleges are excellent educational institutions that offer a variety of academic programs, athletics, and more to their students. They both have multiple campuses across California, making them even more appealing to California high school students. Freshman admission requirements for both Cal State and UC are pretty similar, but there are a few differences that may make one school or the other more appealing to certain individuals. High school graduation or the equivalent is a must for both colleges, and grades are heavily weighted when considering admission eligibility. Both schools require students to meet the A-G requirements and uphold a certain GPA throughout high school, but some testing regulations and class specifications vary slightly. Be sure to speak to the individual schools’ admission’s offices if you have specific questions.

CSU Requirements for Freshman Admission

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA plus SAT/ACT (3.0 for California residents with no test scores required)
  • Two years of History/Social Science, including 1 year of U.S History or 1 semester of U.S. History plus 1 semester of Civics or American Government AND 1 year of an additional approved social science.
  • Four years of college-preparatory English courses
  • Three years of Mathematics (4 years recommended), including Algebra I, Geometry and intermediate algebra or higher mathematics
  • Two years of Laboratory Science, including 1 year of biological science and 1 year of physical science with lab
  • Two years of the same foreign language other than English
  • One year-long course of Visual and Performing Arts (dance, drama, theater, music, or visual art)
  • One year of approved college-preparatory Elective

California State University uses an eligibility index based on completion of specific high school courses, grades in those courses, and graduation from high school. California residents who have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher are not required to take the SAT or ACT, though doing so may increase their likelihood of admission to certain campuses or programs with greater requirements, and taking the SAT or ACT may allow students to exempt certain placement tests administered after admission.  Non-California residents have higher requirements for admission and are required to take the SAT or ACT.

What to Have Before Applying to CSU:

  • Unofficial Transcripts – You’ll send your official transcripts later, but you’ll need a copy of your unofficial transcripts to complete your application.
  • Test Scores from SAT or ACT, as well as any AP or IB test scores, including dates of future tests.
  • Social Security Number
  • Citizenship Status
  • Parents’ Citizenship Status
  • Method of Payment for Application Fee
  • Annual Income

Check out CSU’s Freshman Application Checklist and apply online for the upcoming semester.

 

UC Requirements for Freshman Admission

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA with no grades lower than a C
  • Two years of History/Social Science, including 1 year of World or European History, Cultures, & Geography AND and 1 year of U.S. History or 1 half-year of U.S. History and 1 half-year of Civics or American Government
  • Four years of college-preparatory English courses
  • Three years of college-preparatory Mathematics (4 years recommended), including elementary and advanced algebra and two- and three-dimensional geometry
  • Two years of Laboratory Science (three years recommended), in two of these three foundational subjects: biology, chemistry, and physics
  • Two years of the same foreign language other than English (three years recommended)
  • One year-long course of Visual and Performing Arts (dance, drama, theater, music, or visual art)
  • One year of UC-approved college-preparatory elective

The University of California takes 14 different factors into account when making admission decisions, including grades, extracurricular involvement, special talents and achievements, and much more. UC also requires freshman hopefuls to answer personal insight questions, where students are asked to respond to 4 of 8 personal questions with 350 words or fewer per question. All UC applicants must take the SAT with Essay and/or ACT Plus Writing by December of senior year.

What to Have Before Applying to UC:

  • Unofficial Transcripts – You’ll send your official transcripts later, but you’ll need a copy of your unofficial transcripts to complete your application.
  • Test Scores from SAT Reasoning Test or ACT with Writing, as well as any SAT Subject Tests, AP, IB, TOEFL, or IELTS test scores, including dates of future tests.
  • Social Security Number
  • Citizenship Status
  • Method of Payment for Application Fee
  • Annual Income

Learn more about freshman admission requirements and apply online to all UC campuses at one time for the upcoming semester.