Future Students

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How to Apply - First-Time Freshmen

If you have decided to attend SF State, you've made an excellent choice. A first-time freshman is a student who has earned no transferable college credit after the summer immediately following high school graduation.* If that's you, you're in the right place. If you completed college units after graduation from high school, you are considered a transfer student and must meet those requirements

*Note: You may enroll in college courses the summer after high school graduation before you enroll at SF State the following fall.

On This Page . . .

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Getting Started

How to Apply

Apply online through Cal State Apply.

When to Apply

The earliest you can begin applying to San Francisco State depends on the semester in which you'd like to begin attending classes.

Fall Semester

The priority filing period is October 1 through December 15 of the previous year, but be sure to check our Dates + Deadlines section for application deadlines specific to the semester you are applying for.

Spring Semester

The priority filing period is August 1 through 31 of the previous year, but be sure to check our Dates + Deadlines section for application deadlines specific to the semester you are applying for.

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Am I Eligible?

For a printable .pdf that outlines freshmen eligibility requirements for Fall 2017, go to: www.sfsu.edu/future/apply/fresheligibility2017.pdf

You are eligible to have your application reviewed by SF State if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You are a high school graduate, or equivalent
  2. You complete the required high school courses with grades of "C-" or better in:
    • a. History/Social Science - 2 years required- including one year of US History or US History/US Government.
    • b. English - 4 years required - Composition and Literature.
    • c. Mathematics - 3 years required (4 years recommended) - Algebra, geometry, intermediate algebra; or integrated mathematics.
    • d. Laboratory Science - 2 years required (3 years recommended) - One year of biological and one year of physical science both with lab.
    • e. Language Other Than English - 2 years required - Study in the same language.
    • f. Visual and Performing Arts - 1 year required - Select two semesters of course work in art, theatre/drama, music or dance from area "f" of the "a-g" course list (effective Fall 2016).
    • g. Elective - 1 year required - Select from the areas a-f or from other approved college prep "a-g" courses.
  3. Take and submit your SAT or ACT test scores
  4. You meet or exceed the minimum eligibility index
    • The eligibility index is a weighted combination of high school grade point average during the final three years of high school and a score on either the SAT or ACT. To make a preliminary admission decision, all grades earned in "a-g" courses taken in 10th through 11th grades are used to calculate the high school grade point average (GPA).
    • Graduates of California high schools or residents of California, as defined for tuition fees purposes, must have a minimum eligibility index of 2900 using the SAT (prior to March 2016), 2950 if using the NEW SAT (after March 2016), or 694 using the ACT. Nonresidents who are not graduates of a California high school must have a minimum index of 3510 using the SAT (prior to March 2016), 3576 using the NEW SAT (after March 2016) or 850 using the ACT
    • The CSU eligibility index is calculated by using either the SAT or ACT as follows:
      • SAT (prior to March 2016) (scores in mathematics and critical reading) + (800 x GPA)
      • -or-
      • SAT (scores in mathematics and critical reading) + (800 x GPA)
      • -or-
      • (10 x ACT composite score without the writing score) + (200 x GPA)

Residents of California Minimum Eligibility

GPA 2.00 2.50 2.80 2.99 3.00+
(prior to March 2016)
1300 900 660 510 Must submit test scores. Eligible for consideration with GPA above 3.00 and necessary course requirements.
(after March 2016)
1350 950 710 560 Must submit test scores. Eligible for consideration with GPA above 3.00 and necessary course requirements.
ACT 30 20 14 10 Must submit test scores. Eligible for consideration with GPA above 3.00 and necessary course requirements.

Choice of major and application review

Applicants should carefully select their intended majors.

Non-residents of California and international applicants must meet higher minimum standard, regardless of major.

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Impacted Programs

A major is designated impacted when more applications are received in the priority filing period than can be accepted. Only upper division transfers may apply to certain impacted majors. Visit www.sfsu.edu/future/apply/impacted.html for more information on all impacted majors, including deadlines and any required supplemental applications. CSU-eligible applicants who are not admitted in first choice impacted majors will be offered admission in their declared "alternative non-impacted major" listed on their Cal State Apply applications.

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Ensuring a Quick Admissions Decision

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Apply online at www.calstate.edu/apply during the filing period (see above).
  • Pay the $55 (non-refundable) application fee by credit card online to further speed processing or complete the online fee waiver available with the Cal State Apply application.
  • Answer all questions on the application completely and accurately; quick admission is based on self-reported information.
  • Submit official SAT or ACT test scores. Only your official scores are compared to your self-reported high school GPA.
  • SF State communicates with students via e-mail. Make sure to read all e-mail messages and pay careful attention to transcript deadlines.
  • Check your application status to ensure all supporting materials have been received.

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San Francisco State University will communicate admissions decisions, deadlines and other important information regarding your application status via email. Remember to check your email often for important admissions messages from SF State.

  • Fall admissions decisions for most local area applicants will be made in January or February.
  • Fall admissions decisions for out-of-area applicants should expect to receive admissions decisions in February or March.
  • Most fall admissions decisions for impacted majors will be made by April.

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Early Admissions

SF State may offer you early, conditional admission based on your work completed through your junior year of high school and coursework in progress and planned for your senior year. You must submit a transcript showing final grades and graduation from high school before you begin attending SF State classes, to verify that you meet all admission requirements. If the University does not receive your transcript and all other required documents by the deadline, your admission to SF State will be rescinded.

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Academic Preparation and Placement: English and Math

For students planning to start SF State Fall of 2018:

In order to support student success, the CSU is revising its approach to math and English placement. Please note, placement is not the same as admissions. It is only about which courses to choose the first year.

At SF State, students choose their first-year math course based on their major. For example, STEM and business students take calculus-based courses, humanities and social science students take statistics or other courses. No matter which math is chosen, there will be two pathways: a single course or a course with extra units in the form of a lab or additional semester. These extra hours/units will provide academic support.

Placement in one of these two pathways will be based on CAASPP/Smarter Balance scores, ACT scores, and/or SAT scores. Exact scores and placement will be determined in 2018.

At SF State, students choose their first-year English course based on a combination of the Univeristy’s recommendation and a student’s self-evaluation. This is done through the Directed Self Placement. CAASPP/Smarter Balance scores, ACT scores, and/or SAT scores may affect this placement.

Additionally, the Entry Level Math Exam (ELM) and the English Placement Test (EPT) are no longer required.

As these changes are occurring now, please be sure to check the Developmental Studies website for updates across the year.

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Early Start Program

If a student’s test scores places them into the pathway with extra support for math and/or English, they may be required to take a summer course in 2018 for preparation. Please see the Developmental Studies website for updates to the exact requirement. Updates are expected to be posted in 2018.

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Early Assessment Program

The EAP program was established to provide opportunities for students to measure their readiness for college-level English and mathematics in their junior year of high school, and to facilitate opportunities for them to improve their skills during their senior year.

The goal of the EAP program is to have California high school graduates enter the CSU fully prepared to begin college-level study.

All juniors who attend public high school in California automatically participate in the EAP. EAP is now fully integrated into the California Assessment for Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) which students take during spring semester of the junior year.

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Students planning to start SF State Fall of 2019:

To the 2017-18 high school juniors, we suggest taking ERWC or AP English if available and a senior-year math course. These will increase success in college courses and may aid in placement into courses at SF State.

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Educational Opportunity Program

For over 40 years, the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at San Francisco State University has been a system-wide leader in both identifying students with the highest potential and providing a support system for their success. The Educational Opportunity Program is designed to improve access and retention of historically underserved (low income, first generation college) students by facilitating their matriculation into SF State. EOP students receive outreach, admission, academic and financial support. They also receive on-going advising, tutoring and workshops to make sure they successfully complete their degree requirements. EOP students can also apply for specific EOP scholarships. Some EOP students are eligible for additional EOP programs such as Summer Bridge, Guardian Scholars Program and Student Support Services-TRiO. Visit the Cal State's EOP information page for more details on how to apply.

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SF State requires that all students provide proof of immunization against Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Hepatitis B before being allowed to register for classes.

Note: Students who were enrolled in a California public schools for the seventh grade or higher on or after July 1, 1999 will not have to provide proof of immunization.

For complete information concerning immunization requirements and to print a copy of the proof of immunization form, please go to the Student Health Service. For questions regarding the submission of Immunization records, please contact the Registrars department at records@sfsu.edu

California Residency

If you're under the age of 19 and you and/or your parents currently live in California or your family has recently moved to the state and plans to stay here in definitely you may be eligible to be classified as a resident for tuition purposes. Please note that if you're under 19 your residency is based on your parents and your parents must have a citizenship, legal immigration or visa status in the US in order to be considered residents for tuition purposes at any CSU.

Read more about California Residency for Tuition Fees Purposes.

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TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all prospective students, regardless of citizenship, who have not attended schools at the high school level or above for at least three years of full-time study where English is the principal language of instruction.

Read more about TOEFL.

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SF State E-Mail Account

Admitted students who accept their offer of admission will automatically have an SF State e-mail account generated for them. Information about your created account will be communicated to the email account submitted on your Cal State Apply application.

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Accept Admission Offer & Enrollment Deposit

Newly admitted students who plan to attend San Francisco State must accept their Admission Offer and pay a non-refundable Enrollment Confirmation Deposit by the posted deadline in order to enroll in classes at SF State.

For more information, including deadlines and frequently asked questions, please go here.

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Frequently Asked Questions by First-Time Freshmen

When will I hear about my application?

You will receive confirmation with your assigned San Francisco State Student ID Number sent via e-mail to the address submitted on your application within approximately 10 business days of submitting the Cal State Apply application.

How soon will I know if I am admitted?

SF State may offer admission based on the information you self-report on your application compared to your official SAT or ACT test scores. Otherwise you may be asked to submit a high school transcript reflecting all work completed to date for review.

When should I submit my high school transcript?

If you have already graduated from high school by the time you apply, submit the final transcripts showing evidence of graduation immediately. If you have not yet graduated from high school, SF State will notify you via e-mail if we need an in-progress transcript. Otherwise you will be asked to submit a final transcript by a specific deadline showing the date of your graduation.

When do I have to tell SF State that I am planning to attend the University?

Newly admitted students must indicate their enrollment plans by May 1 for fall semesters and by December 9 for spring semesters. To accept your Admission Offer at SF State, go to your Student Center on the SF State Gateway. The Accept Admission Offer process enables SF State to know who is planning to attend the University during the upcoming year. For specific dates and other information about accepting your Admission Offer, visit our Accept Admission Offer Q & A.

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