For the second year in a row, Cal Poly has received more than 40,000 applications for admission.The university received 40,232 applications this year for admission for the fall quarter of 2011 compared with 42,495 for fall 2010, which was the all-time high.
The demand for admission into the university has drastically increased over the past 15 years, and the average grade point averages and test scores have risen considerably, according to Cal Poly data.
The university’s admissions director, James Maraviglia, attributes the widespread interest to several factors, including Cal Poly’s location in a desirable area, its focus on hands-on learning and the kinds of job opportunities students receive after graduation.
“A lot of this is because our public understands that Cal Poly is dedicated to learning through doing,” Maraviglia said. “We are unique in our ability to graduate leaders who enrich their professions, their communities, California and the world.”
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The number of applicants over the past couple of years compares with 13,441 in fall 1993, when the university’s student enrollment was about 15,000 students. Now it is 19,000.
The average GPA of admitted high school students has increased from 3.50 in the mid-1990s to above 3.8 now.
Cal Poly selected 32.5 percent of first-time freshmen who applied last year, which amounted to 10,944 students. Of those, 32.2 percent enrolled, which amounted to 3,524 students.
The university selected 12.7 percent of transfer students for fall 2010, or 926 new students, and 59.5 percent enrolled, or 551 students, according to data.
The number of students expected to be offered admission for this fall hasn’t been determined pending an estimated budget from the state in February.
Decisions are based on available spaces in each major that students designate when they apply. For those who aren’t accepted, it can be a blow, but admissions officials try to explain why to those who seek answers about the process.
“We also let denied applicants know about the extremely limited number of openings available for new students, that they are strong students, and that denial to Cal Poly is, by no means, a reflection of their ability,” Maraviglia said. “Rather, it is a combination of the high number of applicants for each program and the limited number of candidates that we can admit.”
University officials say that they advise students seeking to get into Cal Poly to prepare themselves as well as possible inside and outside the classroom.
“Don’t ask what’s the minimum I need to do to be eligible for admission, but rather focus on doing all you can to best prepare yourself for tomorrow,’” Maraviglia said.