Cal Poly admits most selective class
Freshmen accepted into Cal Poly had the highest academic profile ever seen in admits — a weighted grade point average of 3.97 and a combined reading and math SAT score of 1318 out of 1600. | Mustang News File Photo

Cal Poly admits most selective class

Suha Saya

Cal Poly’s admission rate for Fall 2014 applicants is the lowest in university history — 28 percent.

Of the 51,707 students who applied for Fall 2014, only 14,749 students were selected. In regards to freshmen, that number was just 13,303 out of 43,803 — a 30.4 percent acceptance rate. For transfers, 1,320 out of 7,868 were selected — a 16.8 percent acceptance rate.

“We’re strong in demand,” Associate Vice Provost for Marketing and Enrollment Development James Maraviglia said. “Despite having almost 4,000 more freshmen apply this year than last year, we offered 650 less spaces … for transfer applications, we also offered about 600 less (spaces).”

But such a low selectivity rate isn’t the only trend worth noting.

Freshmen accepted to Cal Poly also had the highest academic profile ever seen in admitted students — a weighted grade point average of 3.97 and a combined reading and math SAT score of 1318 out of 1600. The average ACT composite score was also at 29, Associate Director of Admissions Terrance Harris said.

“We have more college-ready students applying than (we’ve had) at any other time,” Associate Vice Provost Kimi Ikeda said in an email to Mustang News. “This is great in terms of the quality of student that is attending Cal Poly, but it also means that we unfortunately have to turn away a large amount of college-ready students.”

In addition, all colleges except the College of Architecture and Environmental Design had record pools in regards to the best academic profiles, Maraviglia said.

“The strength of students that are both applying and being selected are increasing, and although a lot of other things have to take place for rankings to increase, this plays a part,” Maraviglia said. “Directly, it simply means that the quality of applicants and students continues to increase.”

Maraviglia noted, however, overall acceptance rates from 2013 — 32.8 percent — don’t play a big role in reference to the low number of students selected for Fall 2014.

“It’s a bigger picture … this isn’t about how many were accepted last year,” he said. “It’s about the overall enrollment mix of the entire scenario. Last year adds into it; I mean, we grew last year, but we were also funded to grow. So it’s all about the overall picture.”

Currently, Cal Poly is considered to be either on par with or more selective than most University of California campuses. Last year, only UCLA and Berkeley were more selective than Cal Poly, Ikeda said.

“We are more and more selective as an institution as a result of the students who are applying to Cal Poly,” Ikeda said. “As far as rankings, it depends on the type of ranking. Some use selectivity as a variable, so in those cases it would help our rankings.”

But such a trend isn’t incredibly unusual, according to Harris.

“We’re a school that’s continued to gain attraction from students, so it’s getting increasingly more difficult to get in,” Harris said. “That’s why over the years, we’ve seen that trend go from the mid-30s for the number of students being selected to a high 20 percent.”

The national deadline to register for colleges is on May 1. At that time, Cal Poly will find out exactly how many students have decided to accept its offer of admission.

“The rest of the story will be told after May 1st, when we know the rest of the students who have actually accepted our offer of admissions,” Harris said. “That will be interesting to know how the increase in the overall profile is actually impacting the actual students who choose to come to Cal Poly.”