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College Readiness

A college degree can help students reach their personal and professional goals. The following information explains generally what students should do each year of high school to prepare for college. For additional information, please contact the CSU Admissions Division at (562) 951-4726 or visit the all-new Cal State Apply website.

What classes should students take in high school? (Grades 9-12)

High school students interested in entering the CSU directly following graduation must take the following classes, totaling 15 units (one unit equals one year or two semesters), which satisfy the University of California's (UC) "a-g" subject requirements. Plan to take four of the following classes almost every year of high school in preparation for college:


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 takes the top third of California high school graduates (and community college transfer students who have 60 or more transferrable units). Students with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above in 10th through 12th Grade college preparatory courses earn automatic eligibility for admission to the CSU. For students with a GPA between 2.0 and 3.0, eligibility depends on ACT or SAT scores. Contact a college admissions counselor or visit Cal State Apply for additional information.

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 a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and completing any additional requirements listed by the CSU.

Additionally, the CSU Foundation Board of Governors lists scholarship opportunities both statewide and at particular CSU campuses. Currently, supporters fund over $500,000 in scholarships across all 23 campuses. For additional information about affording college please contact the Financial Aid Office at Cal Maritime.

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

  • Complete challenging coursework to develop key knowledge and skills to satisfy general CSU college admissions requirements.
  • Participate in standardized testing in 11th Grade, which provides early signals of students' college readiness (EAP webpage).
  • Become informed of academic qualifications, the net 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.
  • Ask a school administrator and/or math teacher about participating in the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project.
  • Complete interest inventories to discover interesting majors and minors, academic programs, and career paths.
  • Discuss college readiness pathways with a college admissions advisor, high school counselor, or educators.

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Coordinator, College Readiness & EAP

Matthew Tener, MA
Laboratory Building 112
(707) 654-1081


Campus Resources

Office of Admissions & Outreach
Student Services Building
(707) 654-1330

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

University Advisor
Laboratory Building 111
(707) 654-1794

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