Does Cal State require SAT scores?

Does Cal State require SAT scores? Discover whether Cal State universities require SAT scores for admissions. Get the information you need to understand the application requirements.

Does Cal State require SAT scores?

What is Cal State?

Cal State refers to the California State University system, which is a public university system in the state of California. It comprises 23 campuses across the state, providing a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. Cal State universities are known for their emphasis on hands-on learning, affordability, and accessibility.

Historical SAT Requirement

Traditionally, Cal State universities have required applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores for admissions consideration. These standardized test scores have been considered alongside high school GPA, class rank, and other factors to determine an applicant's eligibility for admission. The SAT, developed by the College Board, has been widely used by many universities as a standardized measure of a student's academic abilities.

Changes in SAT Requirements

However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it presented for standardized testing, many universities, including some Cal State campuses, temporarily suspended the SAT/ACT testing requirement for admissions. This decision was made to ensure that students would not face undue hardships or disadvantages due to the limited availability of testing centers and the cancellation of test dates.

Cal State's Temporary Suspension of SAT Requirement

In May 2020, the California State University system announced that it would temporarily suspend the use of SAT and ACT scores in the admission process for the fall 2021 and fall 2022 terms. This unprecedented decision was made in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances faced by prospective students during the pandemic, including limited access to testing opportunities and the potential for unequal access to test preparation resources.

Implications for Applicants

The suspension of the SAT requirement by Cal State universities does not mean that the importance of academic achievement and college readiness has diminished. Instead, they have shifted their focus towards a more holistic review of applicants, taking into account factors such as high school coursework, grades, extracurricular activities, personal statements, and letters of recommendation. Admissions officers will evaluate applicants based on their overall academic profile and potential for success at the university.

Benefits of the Suspension

The decision to temporarily suspend the SAT requirement by Cal State has several benefits for prospective students. Firstly, it eliminates the stress and pressure associated with standardized testing, allowing students to focus on their academic performance and personal growth. Moreover, it creates a more equitable admissions process by reducing the reliance on test scores, which may be influenced by various external factors such as socioeconomic status and access to test preparation resources.


In conclusion, Cal State universities have temporarily suspended the SAT requirement for the fall 2021 and fall 2022 terms. This decision was made to alleviate the challenges faced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic and to promote a fair and inclusive admissions process. It is important for prospective students to stay updated with the latest information from their desired Cal State campuses regarding admission requirements and to focus on building a strong academic profile through their coursework, extracurricular activities, and personal statements.





Frequently Asked Questions

1) Do all Cal State campuses require SAT scores for admission?

No, not all Cal State campuses require SAT scores for admission. Some campuses have become test-optional due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is best to check with the specific campus you are interested in applying to for their current requirements.

2) What is the average SAT score required for admission to Cal State?

There is no specific average SAT score required for admission to Cal State. Admission to Cal State is based on a combination of factors, including high school grades, completion of college preparatory courses, and SAT scores. The required SAT score may vary depending on the campus and program you are applying to.

3) If I choose to submit my SAT scores, how will they be considered in the admission process?

If you choose to submit your SAT scores, they will be considered along with other factors such as high school grades and coursework. Cal State campuses use a holistic admission process, taking into account multiple aspects of your academic and personal achievements.

4) If I don't submit my SAT scores, will it negatively affect my chances of admission?

No, if you choose not to submit your SAT scores, it will not negatively affect your chances of admission. Cal State campuses that have become test-optional due to COVID-19 are committed to considering applicants holistically, placing less emphasis on test scores.

5) Are there any exceptions to the SAT score requirement?

Yes, there are exceptions to the SAT score requirement for certain applicants. Cal State has various alternative admission programs, such as EOP (Educational Opportunity Program), that provide opportunities for students who may not meet the traditional admission criteria, including SAT scores.