Cal State Apply Quick Start Information and FAQs (2023)

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What is Cal State Apply?

Cal State Apply is a Centralized Application Service (CAS) that simplifies the process of applying to California State University (CSU) programs. You start by selecting the programs you wish to apply to, then you submit one application that includes all necessary materials. Once received by Cal State Apply, your application and materials are transmitted to all of your selected programs.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Coursework and Transcripts

Application Edits and Programs

Fees and Payments

Top Questions on Deadline Day

What if I attended a high school that has both quarter and semester term types?

List the high school twice: once as one term type and again as the other.

Do I need to send transcripts?

If a program requires transcripts, you will receive instructions from the campus after submitting your application. These transcripts will be sent directly to the campus(es) you are applying to.

Do I really have to enter all coursework? (Undergraduate/Transfer Only)


How do I enter my coursework?

For detailed instructions on entering coursework, see the College Coursework section, the Freshman Coursework Entry Guide, and the Transfer Coursework Entry Guide.

Am I required to list 7th and 8th grade coursework?

If you took a course in 7th or 8th grade that fulfilled A-G subject requirements, report your course(s) and grade(s) earned with the appropriate grade level.

What if an AP course fulfills one of the A-G requirements (Freshman Applicants)?

If you met one of your A-G requirements with an AP or IB test, then you should enter that test in the High School Coursework section as follows:

  1. Course Title: Enter the test and an abbreviated subject (e.g., AP Eng Lit)
  2. Grade: Enter “Pass” in each semester
    • If you need the exam to complete multiple years, enter the course on consecutive rows to match the number of years (i.e. 2 years = 2 rows)
  3. Course Type: Select None
How do I manually enter A-G requirements?

Once all high school and, if applicable, college coursework are entered, navigate to the A-G Matching section of the application. Click Update A-G Courses and enter the letter requirements (A-G) next to each course. For more information, see the 2022-2023 Freshman Applicant Guide or the 2023-2024 Freshman Applicant Guide.

What if an AP course fulfills one of the general education requirements (Transfer Applicants)?

If you met one of your General Education requirements with an AP, IB, or CLEP test, then you should enter that test in College Coursework section as follows:

  1. Course Code: Enter the test and an abbreviated subject
  2. Title: Enter the test and a full description
  3. Subject: Enter “Test-No subject”
  4. Credits: Enter the full credit value of the transfer
  5. Grade: Enter “CR” (regardless of the grade listed on the transcript)
  6. Transferrable: Do not check this box
How do I list my repeated high school courses (Freshman Applicants)?

Cal State Apply defines repeated courses as the exact same course with the exact same course title taken at the same school or school district at a later time.

If a new grade has been earned, only report the highest grade for the course. Do not enter the repeated courses twice.

If the course is in-progress or planned and you have not yet earned a new grade, report the grade you originally received, along with the planned/in-progress course. The original grade will be counted in your GPA until a new grade is earned.

How do I list my dual enrollment courses?

Dual enrollment courses (college courses completed during high school) are considered Freshman and should be listed under the college where you took them. Do not report these courses again in the High School Coursework section even though they were taken while you were in high school. You will be able to match college courses to the A-G matching section.

How do I list my repeated/academic renewal courses (Transfer Applicants)?

You should list these courses twice. Enter either “RP” (repeat) or “AR” (academic renewal) for the first course attempt; then, enter the actual grade you received for the second attempt.

Note that repeated courses are only considered if the course was taken at the same institution and has the same course title/prefix (these courses will not hurt your GPA).

I received an error message about my ADT degrees. How do I fix it?

If you are seeking an ADT degree, you must select either Associate of Arts for Transfer or Associate of Science for Transfer in the Colleges Attended section. If you select any other Associates degree in the degree list, you will receive an error message that prevents you from submitting your application. Ensure that the correct degree is selected.

I made a mistake on my application. How can I make corrections?

After you submit your application, you can't make any changes. Contact your campus(es) directly with any updated information. For more information, see the Updating Your Cal State Apply Application section.

I would like to add supplemental information to my application (volunteer hours, extracurriculars, etc.). How can I submit those?

If you are applying to a graduate program, you can add this information to the Experiences section. Some campuses may also request specific information in the Program Materials section. Note that you cannot make any changes to previously-submitted information. If you are applying to an undergraduate program, note that experiences, extracurriculars, and volunteer hours are not considered for admission.

How do I remove a program?

Your application must always have at least one program selected. To remove a program, click the checkmark next to the program name on the Add Program tab or click the trash icon on the Submit Application tab.

What does face-to-face vs. online mean for program delivery type?

Face-to-face means the program requires that you complete your courses on campus; online means that you complete the majority (if not all) of the courses online and hybrid means that you do a combination of both.

What if I want to apply to more than one program at a campus?

You can’t apply to more than one program at the same campus during the same term.

I submitted my application to the wrong program. What do I do?

If you would like your application to be considered for a different program at a campus to which you've applied, contact the campus to determine if they can change your program.

If you applied to the incorrect level (i.e. Graduate vs. Undergraduate), you must create another account in order to apply to the correct program. After creating a new account and applying for a new program, contact Application Support to place the incorrect application on hold.

My campus said that this program would be available as of a certain date, but I still can’t find it?

Visit the Application Dates and Deadlines page. If the program that you are interested in does not appear, contact the campus directly.

Why can't I find the program I want to apply for?

Programs are displayed based on your applicant type. Ensure you have completed your Extended Profile correctly. If you still can’t locate the program, contact the campus directly.

Refer to the Application Dates and Deadlines page for more information on campus programs available to each applicant type.

When will I learn about admissions decisions? Did I get in!?

Campuses have varying admissions decision time frames. Upon submission of your application, the campus will confirm receipt and provide additional information regarding the next steps and a timeline for making admission decisions.

How do I change my degree goals or edit my Extended Profile?

To change your degree goals or make other edits to your Extended Profile, click your name in the upper-right of the application and select Extended Profile.

What if I do not have a current address to enter in the application?

The Current Address field is required in the application; you must at least provide a mailing address where you can reliably receive mail. Your mailing address can be the address of a relative or friend who has given you permission to use it, or it can be your college's address. If you want to use your college's address, you must contact the school for permission and instructions to ensure that your mail reaches you. Enter the approximate date through which the address is valid and mark it as your permanent address. If you find more permanent housing after you submit your Cal State Apply application, contact the campuses directly to update your address.

Is there any other way to pay other than by credit card?

We accept payments by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover) and PayPal.

I want a refund. What do I need to do?

The application fee is non-refundable. If you have additional questions, please contact the campus you applied to.

Do fee waivers expire?

Eligible applicants receive four application fee waivers per term. Fee waivers expire at the end of each term’s application filing period and are non-transferrable for a different term.

Why don’t I see the option for a fee waiver?

As you complete your application, you will answer several questions that automatically calculate a fee waiver. Once you complete the application, all four quadrants turn green (Personal Information, Academic History, Supporting Information, and Program Materials), indicating you have answered all questions, including the fee waiver-related questions. On the Submit Application tab (to the right of Total Fees), a message will appear alerting you if you are eligible for an application fee waiver.

Am I eligible for a fee waiver?

Fee waivers are available for applicants who are undergraduate students (you cannot be in an extension program), California residents for one year or longer, and US citizens or those without lawful immigration status who qualify for AB540 non-resident tuition exception. See Cal State Apply Fee Waivers for more information.

I get an error message when trying to save my college coursework. What should I do?

If you receive an error when entering coursework in the College Coursework section, delete the institution, then re-enter it.

Why is my Transfer GPA taking so long to calculate?

As a result of higher than usual activity in the application system, some Transfer GPAs can take extra time to calculate and display. You do not need to wait for this GPA to display to submit your application; your GPA will display once it becomes available.

Why am I not eligible for a fee waiver?

To be eligible for a fee waiver, you must meet several requirements. Review Cal State Apply Fee Waivers for more information.

I'm eligible for a fee waiver. Why can’t I use it for the program I want to apply to?

If you received a fee waiver but can't apply it to your program, it may be because the program cannot accept fee waivers. Only undergraduate programs can accept fee waivers; extension programs cannot accept fee waivers.

I missed the deadline; how can I submit?

If you missed the deadline, you must reach out to the campus you wanted to apply to for the next steps.

(Video) Top Tips for Applying to the California State University

What type of student am I?

Applicant Type


Learn More Here

Freshman A first-time freshman applicant is someone who is currently attending high school and will earn (or has earned) a high school diploma, but has not earned any college units beyond the summer following graduation.
Transfer A transfer applicant is someone who has studied at another college or university and now wants to transfer to the California State University (CSU).
Returning A returning applicant is someone who previously attended a CSU campus, stopped their studies for any period of time, and is now applying to return to the same CSU campus to complete their degree. Returning applicants are also considered transfer applicants.;
Graduate A graduate applicant is someone who is currently completing (or has earned) their undergraduate bachelor’s degree, and is interested in pursuing a master's degree, certificate, or credential.
International Most California State University campuses welcome students from outside the US. Find out how to apply for admission to the California State University (CSU) as an international student.
Teaching Credential Do you want to teach kindergarten, elementary school, high school, or special education? Learn how to apply to earn your teaching credential through the California State University (CSU).
(Video) Cal State Apply Overview


What is required for the Cal State application? ›

California residents and graduates of California high schools will be eligible for admission by earning a 2.50 or greater “a-g” GPA. Any California high school graduate or resident of California earning a GPA between 2.00 and 2.49 may be evaluated for admission based upon supplemental factors.

Is it better to submit CSU application early? ›

Early action will give you access to event options for admitted students only. You'll have more time to take a deep dive into all aspects of CSU and can schedule meetings with faculty or researchers from your chosen major.

Is there an essay for Cal State applications? ›

Is an essay required? Although the CSU campuses will be looking at coursework and non-academic variables such as the hours spent in extra-curricular activities, the CSU system does not require any essays or personal statements and remains as objective as possible in making admissions decisions.

When can I start my Cal State application? ›

All 23 California State Universities (CSU) will start accepting applications for admission to the fall 2023 term on Saturday, October 1, 2022. Students can apply for admission to any CSU through the Cal State Apply systemwide portal at​​. The priority application period closes on November 30, 2022.

How much is a CSU application fee? ›

This is the place to start your own journey to a successful college career —​ and a degree. The fee to apply to the CSU is $70 per campus. Some students may qualify for an application fee waiver.

What GPA do you need for Cal? ›

California applicants must earn at least a 3.0 GPA and nonresidents must earn a minimum 3.4 GPA in all A-G or college-preparatory courses to meet this requirement. To see how to calculate your UC GPA, follow our instructions below.

Do I have a better chance of getting accepted if I apply early? ›

Timing and application strategy are key in selective admissions, and applying in the early round can improve the chances of getting an acceptance letter – but only if students are ready.

How long does it take for CSU to accept you? ›

Most students will receive a decision within four weeks after submitting a complete application with required documents.

Are you more likely to get accepted if you apply early? ›

Some students and high school counselors believe that applying early decision gives them better odds of acceptance, but the truth is early acceptance rates and admissions standards vary from school to school.

What is the deadline for CSU application Fall 2022? ›

Visit our Applicant Help Center for additional assistance. For fall 2022 undergraduate admissions, some campuses have extended their deadlines for Cal State Apply applications to December 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

What is the last day to apply for a Cal State? ›

Fall 2022 Admission Deadlines - Undergraduates
December 15, 2021 (Extended from Nov 30)Cal State Apply Application for Admission
1 more row

What happens if you accept admission to two colleges? ›

You Would Be Breaking a Contract with the Colleges

The first and foremost reason is that when you submit your application to any college or university, you electronically sign something that says you will only accept an offer from one school. So, theoretically, this should be the end of discussion.

What happens if I made a mistake on my CSU application? ›

I made a mistake on my application. How can I make corrections? After you submit your application, you can't make any changes. Contact your campus(es) directly with any updated information.

Which Cal State is the cheapest? ›

Most Affordable Colleges in California for 2021-2022
  1. 1. California State University – Los Angeles. ...
  2. 2. California State University – Dominguez Hills. ...
  3. 3. California State University – Northridge. ...
  4. 4. California State University – Fresno. ...
  5. 5. California State University – Stanislaus.

Are CSU applications first come first serve? ›

Applying for Fall Semester

Students can complete the document submission after completing the application on Cal State Apply. Applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis until spaces are filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.

Who qualifies for CSU waivers? ›

To be considered for the application fee waiver, you must be: An undergraduate student (you cannot be in an extension program) A California resident for more than one year. A U.S. citizen or someone without lawful immigration status who qualifies for an AB540 non-resident tuition exception.

Is CSU cheaper than UC? ›

Why are CSU schools cheaper than UC schools? UC schools charge around $13,000 in tuition per year, while CSU schools charge around $5,700 per year.

How many CSU can you apply to for free? ›

Applicants who are eligible for the application fee waiver may apply to up to four CSU campuses per application term (i.e., fall, spring).

Which Cal State is easiest to get into? ›

The easiest Cal State to get into is the California State University, Los Angeles. Founded in 1947, it enrolls about 27,672 students and has an acceptance rate of 70%. Its high acceptance rate and the quantum of students admitted yearly make it the easiest CSU to get into.

Is getting into Cal State Hard? ›

The acceptance rate at Cal State Los Angeles is 41.5%.

This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in.

Who qualifies Cal Grant? ›

Eligibility Requirements

be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen or meet AB540 eligibility criteria. be a California resident for 1 year. attend a qualifying California college. not have a bachelor's or professional degree.

How can I increase my chances of getting accepted? ›

  1. Earn Good Grades in Challenging Courses. ...
  2. Get a High SAT/ACT Score. ...
  3. Write a Compelling Personal Statement. ...
  4. Demonstrate Interest. ...
  5. Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation. ...
  6. Apply to a Diverse Selection of Colleges. ...
  7. Opt for an Early Admission Plan. ...
  8. Manage Your Online Reputation.

What happens if you apply early decision and don't go? ›

Nothing, If You Back Out With Good Reason

Yes, early decision is binding. However, if you have a good reason for backing out of an early decision offer from a college, the school will often let you leave without penalty.

How much does my chance go up when I do early admission? ›

This means that the average student is more likely to get in when they apply early decision than when the same student applies regular decision to the same school. On average, applying ED is going to result in a 1.6x or a 60% increase in your chances of admission to super selective schools.

Which CSU is the hardest to get into? ›

The hardest Cal State to get into is the Cal Poly San Luis, Obispo. It has an acceptance rate of 28%, the lowest among CSUs. It also has the highest average SAT score requirement of 1340 and an average ACT score of 29, also the highest among the CSUs.

What to do if no college accepts you? ›

Here is what you can do if you don't get accepted anywhere.
  1. Apply to a Community College. If you are determined to attend school in September, use a community college as your next step. ...
  2. Consider a Gap Year. ...
  3. Find a Job That Enhances Your Application. ...
  4. Look Into Trade Schools. ...
  5. Wait Until You Can Reapply.

How do I accept a CSU offer? ›

Once you are logged in, on the left hand side under “CUNYfirst Menu” click 'Student Center' Scroll down to the 'Admissions' section and click 'View Details' To accept an offer of admission, you should click 'I accept offer' and then confirm your acceptance.

Is there a downside to applying early action? ›

There are very few disadvantages to applying early. The main drawback to early action is that only a few institutions, including Harvard, MIT, Princeton, and Yale, offer early action. Selective colleges can safely provide this option because they know you will probably accept their offer even if it's not binding.

What are the benefits of early admission? ›


You don't have to wait around as long to find out if you're in. You don't have to spend time and money filling out applications. You have more time to plan how to pay for college.

Can early action hurt you? ›

What About Early Action? Applying EA may or may not increase your chances of admission, but it can't hurt unless you need: more time to write a really great application, higher test scores, or to count senior year grades. If you need more time to do these things, you may want to apply Regular Decision.

When should I start applying for fall 2022 University? ›

Most US college applications opened in August 2021 for students who plan to apply to colleges for fall 2022 enrollment. The application open dates may vary somewhat, but generally, college applications become available by late August or early September.

Will up open late applications for 2022? ›

There is no application opening date for the University of Pretoria late application for the 2022 academic year admissions. This is because UP does not consider late applications.

How many Cal State schools can I apply to? ›

Where do I apply to the CSU? You can apply to any of the 23 CSU campuses through Cal State Apply. Whether you're a U.S. or international student, undergraduate, transfer or graduate student, this website handles the entire application process.

When can I apply to Cal States for spring 2022? ›

For information on how to submit documents, visit the Submitting Documents webpage. The Spring 2022 application filing period opens on August 1, 2021.

Do Cal states require letters of recommendation? ›

California State University

Application opens October 1st. Deadline for submission is November 30th. CSU's do NOT need letters of recommendation letters.

Which universities are still open for 2022 applications? ›

Universities Now Open For 2022 Applications
  • Walter Sisulu University. Walter Sisulu University (WSU) has opened their late applications and this period will then close towards the end of February. ...
  • University of Mpumalanga. ...
  • University of Fort Hare. ...
  • Tshwane University of Technology. ...
  • Central Applications Clearing House.

Can a college decline you after already accepting you? ›

Colleges can revoke an admitted student's acceptance at any time. The most common reasons include poor grades, disciplinary infractions, and honor code violations. Students at risk of not graduating high school can have their admission revoked. Colleges typically reach out before revoking an admission offer.

Can you accept admission and change your mind? ›

Can you reject a college after accepting? Certainly! From the day you accept your acceptance offer to the day of your graduation, you can choose to no longer attend the university you're currently at. This is even true for those who accept an early decision acceptance offer, which are usually binding.

Can I reject a university offer after accepting? ›

If you do decide that you want to decline your offer, even if you accepted it initially but have now decided to change your mind, you can do so through UCAS Hub. This can be done by logging in to your UCAS Hub account and clicking the 'decline my place' button.

Is it better to submit college applications before the deadline? ›

colleges normally start to read applications at the same day for regular decision applicants. unless you are apply early decision, no benefit to submit ahead of the deadline.

Do colleges care if you submit early? ›

Applying EA/ED often increases a student's shot at admissions. Colleges also love EA/ED because most early acceptances will end up enrolling, which increases a college's yield and allows them to better estimate incoming class sizes.

Are CSU applications first come first serve? ›

Applying for Fall Semester

Students can complete the document submission after completing the application on Cal State Apply. Applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis until spaces are filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.

Is it better to apply early for university? ›

Applying early gives you a higher chance of getting accepted. You'll find out if you got accepted sooner than those who apply in the regular decision round. If you are accepted, it cuts down on additional admission stress.

Should I send my test scores before applying? ›

Some colleges require you to send in all of your SAT scores. As such, it's wise to use your four free reports if the schools you're applying to have this requirement. Otherwise, it's best to wait until you know your scores before sending out a report.

Does applying late hurt your chances? ›

It can have a small impact but it's nothing too worry about. A school won't decide to reject or accept you simply based on when you submitted your application. They understand that some students won't receive their test scores until close to the application date, especially for this year.

What is the best time to apply to college? ›

When should I start applying to college? You should start the application process the summer before your senior year. However, you can do a lot of prep work in your junior year, such as taking the SAT, researching and visiting campuses, getting recommendation letters, adding to your extracurriculars, etc.

Is it better to apply early decision or regular? ›

Applying early to colleges isn't absolutely necessary, but it's certainly advantageous. Colleges like to see early applicants, and the statistics show it. Both early decision and early action applicants are accepted at a higher rate than their standard deadline counterparts.

Can applying early action hurt your chances? ›

There is some truth to the fact that admission rates are higher for those who apply early. For example, applicants for Harvard may have a 7-8% chance at early admission, as opposed to a 3% chance for regular admission.

Which CSU schools are easiest to get into? ›

The easiest Cal State to get into is the California State University, Los Angeles. Founded in 1947, it enrolls about 27,672 students and has an acceptance rate of 70%. Its high acceptance rate and the quantum of students admitted yearly make it the easiest CSU to get into.

What happens if I made a mistake on my CSU application? ›

I made a mistake on my application. How can I make corrections? After you submit your application, you can't make any changes. Contact your campus(es) directly with any updated information.

How many people get their first CAO choice? ›

82% have received an offer for one of their top three preferences, which up from last year's 79%. Nine out of 10 applicants to Level 7/6 courses have been offered a place on the course that was their top choice.

What happens if you apply early decision and don't go? ›

Nothing, If You Back Out With Good Reason

Yes, early decision is binding. However, if you have a good reason for backing out of an early decision offer from a college, the school will often let you leave without penalty.

Is it easier to get into a college if you apply early decision? ›

About 450 colleges offer early admission plans. Under these plans, students can apply to colleges early — well before the usual deadline — and get a decision early. Some students who apply under these plans have a better chance of getting in than they would through the regular admission process.

What happens if you get accepted early decision? ›

Early decision plans are binding: A student who is accepted as an ED applicant must attend the college. Early action plans are nonbinding: Students receive an early response to their application but do not have to commit to the college until the normal reply date of May 1.


1. Cal State Apply Overview
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2. Cal State App Line By Line Overview
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3. Cal State Apply Freshmen Overview
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4. College Guide: Everything you need to know about the Cal State App Process - Part 1 (2021 UPDATE!)
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5. Cal State Apply Tutorial 1 Before You Begin
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6. CSU Application FAQ's: Fee Waivers
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