How to Get Into San Diego State University (SDSU): Admissions Data and Strategies

April 28, 2022

For the incoming Class of 2026, San Diego State University received a record 76,000+ total first-year undergraduate applications. Including transfer students that figure eclipsed 99,000. Applicants to this member of the California State University system campus that was once primarily the target of local residents, hailed from all 50 states and 74 countries during the 2021-22 cycle. This is a testament to how much SDSU has become a coveted postsecondary home and a selective university with just a 38% acceptance rate.

To help prepare aspiring Aztecs for the challenging process ahead, we will touch on the following topics:

  • San Diego State University’s Class of 2025 acceptance rate
  • Admissions statistics of accepted SDSU applicants
  • Admissions trends from the Class of 2025
  • The demographics of current San Diego State University undergraduates
  • San Diego State University’s yield rate
  • How SDSU’s admissions officers evaluate candidates
  • Tips for applying to SDSU
  • How to assess whether applying to San Diego State University is even worth the $70 application fee (for you)

Many students applying to San Diego State University may also find the following blogs to be of interest:

How to Get Into:

Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.

SDSU: Overall Acceptance Rate – Class of 2025

The university received 67,602 freshman applications for a place in the Class of 2025; they admitted 25,610 for an acceptance rate of 38%. This was comparable to the 37% admit rate for the Class of 2024. Admission is traditionally much easier for out-of-state applicants than locals. For the Class of 2024, the out-of-state acceptance rate was 82% compared to just 33% for CA residents.

San Diego State University Admissions Statistics 

Those who enrolled in SDSU for the start of the 2021-22 school year sported an average GPA of 3.82. One-third possessed a GPA of 4.0 or better and 65% possessed a 3.75 or higher. Twenty-four percent placed in the top decile of their high school class; 61% were in the top quartile, and 91% were in the top half. While SATs are no longer considered as part of the admissions equation, last year’s class earned mid-50% scores of 1130-1320.

Admissions Trends & Notes – (Class of 2025)

  • In May of 2022, the entire CSU system voted to remove SATs and ACTs from admissions consideration.
  • 22% of the Class of 2025 were first-generation students
  • 40% of the most recent freshman class were members of an underrepresented minority group.
  • Freshman enrollment jumped from 4,798 in fall 2020 to 5,236 in fall 2021.
  • The acceptance rate for transfer students was under 30% last cycle, lower than the admit rate for first-year applicants.

Who Gets Into SDSU?

Let’s now look at the demographics of San Diego State University undergraduates. The 2021-22 freshman class came from the following geographic locations:

  • Local: 10%
  • Los Angeles: 26%
  • San Diego: 14%
  • Orange County: 12%
  • Santa Clara: 9%
  • Riverside: 7%
  • Alameda: 7%
  • Out of State: 12%

2% of the Class of 2025 were international students. The following countries have the strongest representation on campus:

  1. Kuwait
  2. China
  3. Mexico
  4. India
  5. Vietnam

Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of the Class of 2025 is as follows:

  • Asian American: 15%
  • Hispanic: 36%
  • African American: 4%
  • White: 29%
  • Two or more races: 7%
  • Filipino: 4%

On the gender front, the Class of 2025 is notably split in favor of women:

  • Male: 41%
  • Female: 59%

You might assume that, with such a gender gap, it may be easier to gain admissions into SDSU as a male. Yet, the acceptance rate for men and women tends to be almost identical.

Yield Rate

The San Diego State University’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted was relatively low 20% last year. For comparison, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has a yield of 27% while UC San Diego comes in at 17% and UCLA is a much higher 44%.

How the San Diego State University Rates Applicants

There are a mere two factors that the San Diego State University ranks as being “very important” to their admissions process: rigor of secondary school record and GPA. The two factors rated as “important” are: state residency and geographical residence. The only “considered” item is extracurricular activities. All other factors including essay, recommendations, test scores, and work experience are “not considered.”

In the admissions office’s own words:

  • “San Diego State University’s admissions process considers a comprehensive range of factors for each applicant. We seek to enroll students who are both academically qualified and demonstrate the potential to contribute to SDSU’s diverse community. SDSU students have a wide variety of backgrounds, curiosities, and passions.”
  • “You must choose a major when you apply to SDSU. All majors are competitive, and every major has more applicants than available spots (the CSU calls this impaction). While we look at all of the college-prep coursework you have taken during high school, we also consider your performance and the number of units taken in courses most relevant to predicted success in your intended academic discipline.”
  • Special consideration is given to students who have overcome life obstacles, participated in college preparatory programs, and attend high schools within SDSU’s local admission area.

 Tips for Applying to San Diego State University

If you plan on joining the almost 76,000+ aspiring Aztecs for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  • Applications are accepted any time between October 1 and December 15.
  • Applications are completed through the Cal State Apply
  • You must fulfill the A-G requirements to be eligible as a first –year student at SDSU.
  • San Diego State University states that they do not consider “demonstrated interest” in the admissions process. However, given their low yield rate and reliance on ED applicants, it can’t hurt to visit campus (in non-pandemic times), contact an admissions officer, follow them on social media, etc.
  • If you get waitlisted, don’t give up hope. Last year, roughly 10% of those who accepted a place on the waitlist were later accepted. The prior year, this figure was a far friendlier 38%.

Should I Apply to SDSU?

With acceptance rates of under 40%, the San Diego State University is primarily seeking candidates who have earned a mixture of A’s and B’s in a rigorous high school program. Unless you have earned perfect grades in high school, you’ll need to make sure that you have a rock-solid backup plan. All students need to make sure that they formulate an appropriate college list, containing a complement of “target” and “safety” schools.