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Freshman Admission Requirements for California Colleges

Written by CB Experts

Interested in a college in California? The California Application process in the state’s higher education system depends on various characteristics, but follows a similar pattern overall. Most students are admitted upon a basis of graduating from high school and presenting their diploma, earning certain grades in specified courses and test scores, and completing specific high school courses.

Grades are the most important factor for California college aspirants. A GPA above 3.0 will allow students under this status to be exempt from submitting test scores, although taking these tests is highly recommended in order to avoid undergoing English and Math placement tests before enrollment. If, however, the student is applying to a high-demand major or campus, test scores are mandatory, as each case will be reviewed under more stringent standards. This usually happens in the school of business of state and private universities; a great majority of this demand comes from international students. On the other hand, a student with a GPA below 2.0 will not qualify for regular admission. A combination of grade point average and scores obtained in either SAT or ACT tests will determine the eligibility index, which requires a minimum of 2900 points using the SAT and 694 using the ACT.

The above-mentioned factors are the same for California residents as for non-residents, with the slight difference that the eligibility index is higher for out-of-state applicants. In these cases, a student who has earned a GPA below 2.45 does not qualify for regular admission. On the other hand, a 3.61 GPA or higher will exempt non-residents from submitting SAT or ACT scores. For these students, a minimum eligibility index of 3592 with SAT scores and 845 with ACT scores is required for admission.


Scores from the writing section are not required in either test, and students may always take both the SAT and the ACT if they feel that might increase their opportunity for admission.

In the case of high school course requirements, students are required to complete a minimum of 15 courses with a grade of C or higher to be considered for admission.

Honors courses such as AP, IB or college classes taken during the last three years of school are only acceptable with a C or better, and the maximum number of honors courses to be used is eight semesters. Most schools require you to have taken and passed the AP exam with a 3 or higher grade, depending on the school, to have these credits transferred.

It is important to consider that in state campuses or within careers where there is a high demand, and therefore higher standards, additional requirements are a must in order to be eligible for admission, and you must apply as soon as possible. For specific information concerning your campus or major of choice, visit the appropriate webpage. In all cases, California residents are given priority over non-residents, transfer, and international students when admission space is limited. For more information about the admission process for transfer and international students, please consult your university of choice.

Note: Private California institutions have their own admission process. For instance, at the University of Redlands students are required to submit SAT I or ACT scores, complete the Common Application online, submit a Secondary School Report, a Teacher Evaluation, a High School Official Transcript and a College or University transcript, and additional forms, where needed. Some require an average GPA of 3.52. Grades earned in Honors Courses or Standardized tests are subject to each department.

About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.