After receiving more than 65,000 applications and accepting around 15,000 new students, nearly 6,000 students committed to Cal Poly as of May 1, National Decision Day.

Director of Admissions and Operations Terrance Harris said 5,000 of that total number are incoming freshmen, and 900 are transfer students. Admissions was unable to release exact numbers due to expected fluctuations in committed students.

There were approximately 4,500 spots Cal Poly wanted to fill originally. However, Harris said the university is on track with enrollment goals.

“Typically, between 6 to 9 percent of the students that confirm their offer of admissions will not show up, so we anticipate those numbers dropping down to somewhere between 4,600 and 4,700 first-time freshmen and between 800-900 transfers that enroll this fall,” Harris said.

Cal Poly enrollment

Admissions staff accounts for students who will turn down their acceptance to Cal Poly because of other schools after the May 1 deadline.

In Fall 2017, 22,370 students enrolled at Cal Poly, forcing the university to quickly accommodate nearly 1,000 more students than expected. This year, there were 855 fewer freshman students compared to 2017, final census data revealed. 

There is no predetermined number of students that will be taken off the waitlist.

“The waitlist is meant as a tool to make sure we do meet our enrollment,” Harris said. “Last year we needed to go to the waitlist pretty extensively, this year at this point we haven’t made any final determinations, but the picture’s definitely different than it was last year at this point in time.”

According to Harris, preliminary data looks like this will be the “most diverse incoming class that Cal Poly has ever had.”

The exact breakdown of ethnic diversity has not been released yet, but Harris said they expect the incoming class to be considerably more diverse compared to last year.

Cal Poly’s ethnic diversity during President Armstrong’s tenure

Last year, Cal Poly’s enrollment of African American first-time freshmen was the lowest since 2010, with just 19 students. This is compared to 41 African American first-time freshmen who enrolled in 2017.

“I do believe that last year the outcome in terms of who chose to come here was impacted by some of the things that were taking place on campus, and this year looks different, and I think that’s to the credit of the university for paying attention, being open, listening and making positive efforts,” Harris said.

As a public California university, race, ethnicity and gender cannot be used in determining admissions decisions.

Cal Poly’s ethnic diversity compared to California

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