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College Readiness

A college education can help you reach your personal and professional goals. The following information explains generally what you should do each year of high school to prepare academically and financially for college. Contact the Coordinator of College Readiness & EAP or visit the CSU's new Cal State Apply website for more information.

Middle School (Grades 6-8)

Prepare early for college by developing strong study habits, completing challenging language arts and math courses, and earning high grades. Explore careers connected to your interests, and discover which degree(s) and certificates you will need to enter your preferred industry.

High School (Grades 9-12)

High school students interested in entering the CSU directly following graduation must complete the following pattern of classes, totaling 15 units (one unit equals one year or two semesters), which satisfy the University of California (UC) "A-G" subject requirements:


A. History/Social Science

2 Years (1 year U.S. History, 1 year Social Science)


B. English

4 years


C. Mathematics

3 years (4 recommended)


D. Laboratory Science

2 years (laboratory classes)


E. Language Other than English

2 years (same language)


F. Visual/Performing Arts

1 year


G. College Electives

1 year (any college preparatory subject)

What grades do students need for admission to the CSU?

The CSU accepts the top third of California high school graduates (and community college transfer students with 60+ transferrable units). Students with a 3.0 or higher GPA in Grades 10 through 12 college preparatory courses earn automatic eligibility for admission to the CSU. Eligibility for students with a 2.0 to 3.0 GPA depends on ACT/SAT scores.

How will students pay to attend the CSU?

The CSU offers of the lowest tuition fees in the nation for a four-year public institution. Many CSU students qualify for free financial aid through the Cal Grant by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submitting required documents listed by the CSU. Students typically acquire funds for college through free public and private grants and scholarships, employment, federal work study, and student loans (Note: Graduating on-time limits the amount of loan money and compound interest students repay).

The CSU Foundation Board of Governors lists scholarship opportunities statewide and at particular CSU campuses. Supporters fund over $500,000 in annual scholarships across all 23 campuses. Please contact Cal Maritime's Financial Aid Office for more information.

What else can high school students do to prepare for college?

  • Satisfy first-year general education (GE) course placement standards by scoring high on the ACT, SAT, and applicable AP exams.
  • Complete challenging English and math classes to develop key knowledge and skills to satisfy campus admissions requirements.
  • Participate in CAASPP Smarter Balanced Assessments, which provides early signals of students' college readiness (see EAP).
  • Become informed of academic qualifications, the true cost of college, and financial aid/scholarship opportunities at the CSU.
  • Engage in extracurricular activities, such as student government, school clubs, journalism, art, music, theater, and sports.
  • Visit and tour college campuses of interest and attend back-to-school nights, college fairs, and scholarship workshops.
  • Aim for A and B grades in every class, and maintain a consistent 3.0 or higher GPA for all four years of high school.
  • Discuss college readiness pathways with a college admissions advisor, high school counselor, and/or educators.
  • Research interesting degree majors, programs, and professional development/internship and career paths.

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Coordinator, College Readiness & EAP

Matthew Tener, MA
Student Services 125
(707) 654-1081


Campus Resources

Office of Admission
Student Services Building
(707) 654-1330

Office of Financial Aid
Student Services Building
(707) 654-1287

Office of the Registrar
Student Services Building
(707) 654-1201

University Advisors
Laboratory Building 111
(707) 654-1794

Laboratory Building 112
(707) 654-1785

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