California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

Reviews

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
3.75 Average Rating

Ashley from Sun City, CA

a current student here
22 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I LOVE CAL POLY!! The great thing about this school is starting from freshmen year you jump right into your Major courses instead of having to go through only GE's for your first year or two. Here, you start learning about your interest in the first year! As a Pre-Vet and Animal Science Major, I wouldn't go anywhere else. Yes it's a challenge on a Trimester system, but you learn so much more than any other college because of that, and the professors know their stuff. Plus we have student projects you can take for units that further your Major interest!
Am enjoying being here
The school itself is amazing as I said before. but the people are even better. They all want to be here, and its easy to see why. Being in such a college oriented town really makes you feel like a big part of a good thing. There's Farmer's Markets every Thursday, Concert in the Plaza every Friday, and so many activities at Cal Poly itself its hard to pick which to be in! The group of friends i have here are going to be my friends for life because going to Cal Poly is a life bond we all share.
Everyone in the college and town is supportive and want you to succeed. The students are so spirited you need more fingers to count the amount of Cal Poly you'll see walking the campus and town.
Bang for the buck
As an Engineering and Agriculture school (primarily), and being dubbed The Best In The West college for years, it has its price tag, but when you get here and realize the quality or education and how much it offers opposed to other colleges...there really isn't anything better as far as a State University goes.
Tips for prospective students
Though it is primarily an Engineering and Agricultural school, our other majors have a lot to offer..take Liberal Arts for instance. Our Performing arts Centers...yes that's plural...and Music facilities and Band are state of the art and Best of the West as you can get.
If there are any Animal Science perspective Aggie's for Cal Poly i can answer any question you may have as well. Also! Any incoming Freshmen have questions about the school or the town I am also bursting with info as a 2009 Week Of Welcome orientation Leader aka WOW!

and one more thing....if your coming to Cal Poly? WOW is a must!!

[email protected]
Great for these types of students
ANIMAL SCIENCE (Pre-Vet especially)
ANY Agriculture student
ANY Engineering student
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Elizabeth from Roseville, CA

a current student here
17 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Every class I have been in has had exceptional teachers. My freedom and equality in American history teacher is insanely passionate about the subject and can always relate some of her graduate studies to daily lecture. My economics teacher is always doing some sort of research that he offers his students to participate in for some cash rewards and extra credit. My beginning news writing teacher is a 3 time pulitzer prize winner, wrote for the L.A. times for decades and turned down a spot at the Washington Post just to teach at Poly. The quality of my teachers has made my time here one full of learning.
Am enjoying being here
What can't one enjoy about San Luis Obispo. The weather is 70 degrees it seems like constantly and the sun is almost always shining. It is 15 minutes away from gorgeous Pismo Beach as well as other attractions like Hearst Castle. There is definitely a lot to do around the campus as well, like the huge farmer's markets every Thursday night. Though San Luis is a small town, there is always something to do. As far as campus goes there is always some event going on (last month I got to see tibetan monks performing!) and many you can even participate in like the monthly poetry readings in the UU.
Bang for the buck
Though Cal Poly is the most expensive of the CSU's, it is an excellent bargain. You truly do receive a UC level education at a CSU price tag. Cal Poly is a better school than many UC schools and though it isn't cheap, it is priced far below most UC schools.
Tips for prospective students
Cal Poly is one of the few CSU's that take extra curricular activities into account in their applications so make sure you add them all in!

Definitely visit the school to get a feel for the campus which is absolutely beautiful, I fell in love with it the moment I laid eyes on it for the first time.

My main tip though is APPLY TO CAL POLY. A lot of students are put off by the fact that it is a CSU and not a UC but the level of education and the value for it is unparalleled in the UC system.
Great for these types of students
Great obviously for engineering students and architecture students, but for other majors as well. Though Cal Poly isn't known for it's other colleges like business, agriculture and liberal arts they are all very strong programs at this school.
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Rebecca from San Luis Obispo, CA

a current student here
17 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I have only been at Cal Poly for one quarter so far, but I do think I am learning a lot. Through services at Cal Poly (like career service and my advisor) and my intro class, I think I learned more about what I can do with my degree after college than anything else. I did also learn a lot in my classes. I didn’t think the GE classes were worthwhile, but one good thing about Cal Poly is that you start major classes right away which are usually more interesting.
Am enjoying being here
I definitely enjoy being here, but my impression of what college would be like wasn’t entirely accurate. I was really looking forward to WOW and dorm life. I thought between those two things I would get there and have instant friends just like at home. They are both great at getting you to meet a lot of people, but those people are mostly acquaintances and not necessarily people you will relate to and keep as friends. You will find those people, but real friendships take time. I didn’t really start enjoying school until about half way into the quarter when I settled into my group of friends. I think one thing I love about this school is that I really feel like anyone can find those people with time. No matter what you are into, someone else here will be too. If you want to party, it’s definitely out there (yes, it is a party school), but if you don’t you can also easily ignore it and involve yourself in other things. For example, we have one the largest Campus Crusades (Christian clubs) of any college and they have events all the time. Line dancing and farmer’s market on Thursday nights can both also be a lot of fun if you want to skip out on the parties. I really think whatever you’re looking for you will find.
Bang for the buck
This is actually something I talk to my friends about all the time! I think it is the best bang for your buck you can possibly find. The tuition is about half of what you would pay at a UC and nothing compared to a private school. The education you are getting is still top notch. It’s the best school in the west whose highest degree is a Master’s. It’s also very highly ranked for Architecture and Engineering. I don’t know much about the quality for Liberal Arts majors, but I think it’s also very good. I know for anything technical or related to science it’s the best ranked school you can go to for the smallest price tag.
Tips for prospective students
If you are considering going to Cal Poly, you will hear these things a lot, but I’ll say them anyway. Go to WOW and live on campus! WOW will introduce you to tons of people that may or may not end up being your friends, but more importantly it shows you all the things to do in town and the clubs on campus. It basically introduces you to your new home. Everyone does WOW; if you don’t you will definitely be left out. Also, there’s nothing like the experience of living on campus. It’s hard to meet people your first year if you don’t. I would recommend dorms over the apartments because the dorms are much more social. Other tips:
If you aren’t in love with your major, consider other options and do it early! The longer you are in a major at this school, the harder it is to switch. It’s not as hard as they make it sound, but it is still pretty difficult. It will also depend on how drastic the switch is. If you’re switching from Mechanical Engineering to Electrical Engineering, it should be relatively easy. If you’re going from English to Physics you will have difficulties.
Don’t overload yourself the first quarter! If you go to SOAR, they will probably tell you to take 16 units (depending on your major) and make it sound like you are way behind if you don’t. I took 13 my first quarter and I’m still right on track. Take time to get involved, try different clubs, and just have fun your first quarter. You’ll probably end up getting distracting with the stuff either way, and you don’t your GPA to suffer for it.
Be organized! The quarter system is FAST! You have to plan ahead and know when assignments are coming up.
Great for these types of students
Every type! Like I said before, I think anyone can find something there into here.
Academically speaking, it's one of the best schools you can possibly go to Achitecture or Engineering.
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Shannon from Honolulu, HI

a current student here
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Before attending Cal Poly, I had no idea what it looked like or the specifics of many aspects of the school. Luckily, upon arrival I realized the beauty of the school. Besides the beautiful campus and welcoming people, the school really challenged me in comparison to high school. I entered without any AP credit, so I felt like I was somewhat behind academically, but the quality of the education at Cal Poly is proving to help me raise to the high academic level that my peers are at. The professors are always approachable and willing to help you, especially the professors within your specific majors. I really enjoy the fact that we get to start taking classes within our majors from the very beginning because you start learning about your field earlier than most college students.
As an out-of-state student, I feel that the quality of the education that Cal Poly provides to its students is definitely worth the price.
Am enjoying being here
Cal Poly is placed within the beautiful town of San Luis Obispo. The town is definitely catered to the college students with a central downtown area that is home to multiple boutiques, shops, small and delicious restaurants, and the famous farmers market.
Aside from the town, Cal Poly also has a life of its own. Although the athletic program isn't as popular as I thought it would be, it still manages to hold a good crowd to keep students busy.
The cultural and racial diversity at Cal Poly also isn't as diverse as I thought it would be, but each culture has its own club to represent their pride at Cal Poly. Overall, the vibe of Cal Poly is extremely welcoming and pleasant. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Bang for the buck
As an out-of-state student, I feel that the quality of the education that Cal Poly provides to its students is definitely worth the price. I'm getting an awesome education from professors who care about your success and constantly challenge your knowledge and critical thinking ability. It's cheaper than the UC schools and a lot of private schools, yet I feel that I'm getting a better education here than if I went to school elsewhere with a higher tuition.
Tips for prospective students
Get the meal plan with the most plus dollars because there are only 4 places to use the actual meal credits and 2 of those places basically serve the same food. Plus, the places where they only accept plus dollars have a higher quality of food.
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Zoe from Santa Barbara, CA

a current student here
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Cal Poly is fantastic for education, social life, and extracurricular activities. My classes have always been great with good teachers and interesting coursework. It's also so much fun, from the party scene to opportunities to get involved on campus!
Tips for prospective students
Get ready to work hard if you are studying a major such as engineering, and make sure that you are doing what you are interested in! If you like what you're learning, you'll be prepared to work hard for your degree. Try to take advantage of EVERYTHING Cal Poly has to offer!!!
Academic Rigor
For majors like engineering, the academics are really tough, and a degree in engineering from Cal Poly is really valued in industry. Other majors, however, are much easier and require much less work.
Dorm Life
The Red Brick dorms are generally less crazy than Yosemite or Sierra Madre, but have more of a diverse collection of students who study, party, exercise, and go to events.
Food and Dining
Dining on campus isn't great. There are a few okay options, but overall, my friends and I would MUCH rather go off campus for food. The dining plan is tough to get used to. Definitely go for less meals and more plus dollars when choosing a dining plan!!!
What to do for fun
Off campus food, great party scene off campus, sports events, hiking, and going to the beach.
Bang for the buck
Cheaper than any UC and getting a degree from Cal Poly (at least in engineering) is more valuable than many UC engineering degrees!
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The University Union is a great place to hang out, study, or relax!
Great for these types of students
A lot of diversity in the types of students. Cal Poly definitely has the frat/sorority types, the athletes, the nerdy engineers, the hipsters, the agriculture students/cowboys, and so much more! There is not one type that best fits in here!
Clubs and Activities
So many options for clubs and activities on campus. You can find literally ANYTHING you want to do!
Greek Life
A lot of people are into the Greek Life at Cal Poly but in my experience, it's definitely not as big as at most other universities. We don't have a frat/sorority row and a lot of the frat parties happen at smaller satellite houses and aren't as crazy as at other schools.
Campus Safety
I ALWAYS feel safe on campus and I know that it's easy to contact University Police from a blue pole or by calling at any time.
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Jessica from Lompoc, CA

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Last year when I came to Cal Poly I expected my first year to be a breeze. But when I came here I didn't expect to learn so much about the school, city, and myself so fast. I am starting my 2nd year in Biomedical Engineering, I like the curriculum and what it has to offer. I liked how focused most students are here, which explains why we're always in the library!
Am enjoying being here
Being from the area, I thought I knew what a college town was like but I was wrong. Every Thursday you can find other students at the Farmer's Market on Higuera St. Everything is within walking or bike distance.
Bang for the buck
Compared to other California colleges, I was surprised to learn that Cal Poly was on the cheaper end of the stick. It still costs alot of $ to attend but its worth it. The teachers & curriculum you can't find anywhere else.
Tips for prospective students
Definitely bring a bike because you will use it. It's a quick way for you to get to class or downtown.
Attend WOW. Week of Welcome is a weeklong event that happens every year before classes start. New freshmen come a week before classes start and move into their dorms. They are placed in groups of 8 or 9 students and their WOW leaders show them SLO and what it has to offer. It's a great way to learn about where you'll be living for the next 4 years at least. WOW taught me alot about SLO that I never knew.
Great for these types of students
Any student that wants to major in Engineering or Agriculture should come here! It is one of the top engineering schools in the nation!! It's in a dry county, small college town, & Cal Poly has police officers that patrol the school. It's a very safe town/college.
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Justin from Boulder Creek, CA

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
This school is fast paced and there is a ton of information to absorb in and out of school. The best part about Cal Poly, as far as learning goes, in my opinion and experience is the learn by doing curriculum. I love the hands on aspect of my major and it has really helped facilitate an understanding of what a related job may entail. Cal Poly has always been reviewed as a school with a unique learning style and commitment to developing work force skills.
Am enjoying being here
This is Central Coast California. If you haven't seen the rolling hills in the early spring and summer you are missing out. It's beautiful here and the weather is generally really warm. The school architecture isn't the greatest but its acceptable. Besides downtown has some unique buildings. Night life is pretty limited as far as things to do. But that should inspire you to get involved in clubs or something to meet the awesome people of Cal Poly.
Bang for the buck
Although Cal Poly (along with every other school in CA) is experiencing budget cuts and increased tuition, it is still very affordable compared to other state schools as well as UC's. Plus Cal Poly has an extremely high graduation rate as well as job placement percentage.
Tips for prospective students
It's helpful to know what field you would like to pursue. But it doesn't have to be exactly what you want to do. Just don't pick something you are going to hate :)
Great for these types of students
Motivated students who want to rise to a challenge. Students who want to get involved with things on or off campus. Cal Poly has over 200 clubs! The opportunities are endless!
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Current Student

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
College isn't just about learning information from a book. There is so much to learn outside the classroom, and I really feel that Cal Poly gives you that opportunity, because they are focused on engaging students into the community. Wow week is a must for all incoming students. Our orientation program goes far beyond most schools to make new students feel welcome and familiar with the community. Upper classman are eager to share tips and helpful information about college life to anyone who needs help. We are on the quarter system which moves at a faster pace than other state schools on the semester system. Due to the fast pace of the classes here at Cal Poly, students are constantly learning and absorbing information because there is not time to slack off or miss an opportunity to learn information that they will be tested on within the next couple of weeks.
Am enjoying being here
There are not many colleges located in such a diverse environment with great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. We are close to the beach but our campus is also surrounded by great mountains to hike and view wildlife. The location is great because Cal Poly attracts students from all over the state because of the central location of California. The people are friendly and diverse, which allows you to meet people who may have a different background from you. This diversity challenges you to think about who you are as a person and forces you to evaluate your own morals and viewpoints.
Bang for the buck
Cal Poly is one of the more expensive state schools but you receive the quality of education offered at a UC School. UC’s does not have much to offer that you cannot find here at Cal Poly. No, we do not offer graduate school, but we also do not have graduate students teaching our classes. The professors here are passionate, knowledgeable and experienced instructors. Cal Poly is by far the best deal because of the great location; price compared to similar schools, and the great education you will receive.
Tips for prospective students
First make a chart of what you are looking for in a college. Then as you visit each college fill in the chart by listing the characteristics that the particular college had to offer. Write down your initial reaction about the college you just visited because you will forget. Compare the diffrent colleges on your list and select the one with the most qualities of your ideal college. Remember to keep location from home, expenses, and major in mind when selecting.
Great for these types of students
It is great for any self motivated student who can work hard and adapt to a fast paced learning environment. It is a great school for any student interested in Agriculture or Enginerring, but many students have no interest in either and are satisfied with the school as well. It is great for anyone out of state because they will get a good tast of California. Our demographic includes students from both Northern and Southern California, which contributes to the uniques blend of students Cal Poly has to offer.
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Luke from Parkton, MD

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I am a 2nd year architecture student at Cal Poly. Cal Poly is a great polytechnic because of our motto, Learn By Doing. At Cal Poly you learn how things actually work not just theroy, how things should work. At Cal Poly you can expect to be doing all sorts of projects. Field trips to job sites in san luis obispo. A variety of great teachers really know what they're talking about. Cal Poly is the place to be for undergrads
Am enjoying being here
There is a serious diversity problem at Cal Poly, its 93% in state. Way to many californians, but they are going to start admitting more out of state students to make it 15% out of state. I'm really getting sick of California.
Bang for the buck
Its the #3 Architecture school in the nation and the #2 engineering school whose highest degree is a masters and its one of the cheapest, it is the definition of bang for you buck. (according to us news and world report) I pay as much out of state as i would in state at u of maryland
Tips for prospective students
take classes in hs related to your major like drafting ad cad for architecture. and if your out of state ca calls gpa a 5 point scale, which pretty much no other state does, the go by weighted gpa.
Great for these types of students
math and science kids - arch, engingeering, math and science
agriculture - its the best in CA and we have so much land and facilites for ag.
californians - its 93% instate

the kids at cal poly are smart but still cool, its not a nerd school, but its not a bunch of screw-offs

as long as you can stand california, its the best undergrad university in the west for polytechnic majors like arch, eng, ag, etc
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Alyssa from Huntington Park, CA

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Cal Poly is an academically challenging school who does well in providing its students with the necessary resources to move forward in their major. The staff is truly supportive of any concerns and do their best to help in any way. Cal Poly is also situated in San Luis Obispo, and environmentally dynamic city with much to discover.
Tips for prospective students
When taking AP courses in high school, research which passing grades you will get credit for and if those classes apply to your major. Also, research the major you will be choosing to enroll with because you start taking classes within that major your first quarter.
Academic Rigor
Professors are knowledgeable and labs support what is being taught in the classroom.
Dorm Life
There are two options for freshmen in terms of dorming: traditional dorm rooms and the Cerro Vista Apartments. The apartments are much newer and you get your own room, a communal kitchen and living room with your suitemates. The dorms vary from 2-3 people per room.
Food and Dining
School dining has some good options, but overall the food is not the best. However, there are various options on campus.
What to do for fun
There are many peaks great for hiking and downtown for shopping.
Bang for the buck
The most expensive Cal State, but a great deal in terms of the education you are getting while paying less than a UC.
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