Deciding where to go to college is one of the biggest decisions a student will make. Cal Poly Pomona is a popular option, especially for California residents. But is it actually a good school? In this comprehensive article, we’ll examine Cal Poly Pomona in detail to help you determine if it’s the right fit.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Cal Poly Pomona is considered a good public university, particularly for STEM and hands-on majors. It has a beautiful campus, strong job placement rates, and offers academic rigor at an affordable price for in-state students.

Overview and Reputation of Cal Poly Pomona

Cal Poly Pomona, also known as California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, is a highly regarded institution located in Pomona, California. Established in 1938, Cal Poly Pomona has a rich history and has earned a strong reputation for its focus on hands-on learning and practical application of knowledge.

History and background

Cal Poly Pomona was originally founded as a satellite campus of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. However, it gained independence in 1966 and became the second polytechnic campus in the California State University system.

The university’s mission is to provide a comprehensive education that prepares students for successful careers in their chosen fields. With a strong emphasis on applied learning, Cal Poly Pomona offers programs that integrate theory with real-world practice, giving students valuable experience before they enter the workforce.


Cal Poly Pomona has consistently been recognized as one of the top public universities in the nation. It has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best regional universities in the West.

In addition, Cal Poly Pomona has received accolades for its individual programs. The College of Engineering, for example, has been ranked among the top undergraduate engineering programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Academics and major programs

Cal Poly Pomona offers a wide range of academic programs across eight colleges. Some of its most notable programs include engineering, business administration, agriculture, hospitality management, and computer science.

The university is known for its hands-on approach to education, with many programs requiring students to participate in internships or cooperative education experiences. This practical learning component helps students develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their chosen fields.

Campus life

Cal Poly Pomona offers a vibrant and diverse campus community. Students have access to a wide range of extracurricular activities, clubs, and organizations that cater to various interests and hobbies.

The university’s location in Southern California also provides students with numerous opportunities for recreation and entertainment. From hiking in the nearby mountains to exploring the vibrant city life of Los Angeles, students at Cal Poly Pomona can enjoy a well-rounded college experience.

Admissions Information

Acceptance rate

Cal Poly Pomona is a moderately selective public university with an acceptance rate of around 55% for first-year applicants. This means a little over half of students who apply end up getting an acceptance letter.

While not highly exclusive, Cal Poly Pomona still attracts many more qualified applicants than they have space for. Applicants with strong grades and test scores have a good chance of getting in.

Average GPA and test scores

The middle 50% of admitted students at Cal Poly Pomona have GPAs between 3.30-3.93. This indicates that a competitive GPA is around 3.6 or higher. The average ACT score is between 22-28, while the middle 50% SAT score range is 1030-1260.

Applicants with stats at or above these averages have a great shot at admission.

Here is a comparison of the middle 50% test score ranges:

ACT Composite 22-28
SAT EBRW 510-640
SAT Math 520-620

Application requirements

To apply to Cal Poly Pomona, students will need to submit the following:

  • Official high school transcript
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • 1 letter of recommendation
  • Personal insight questionnaire
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended (if transfer student)

The application deadlines are November 30 for fall and August 31 for spring. While not required, submitting an application essay can boost a student’s chances, especially if their grades or scores are below average. More details on applying can be found on the university admissions website.

Costs and Financial Aid

When considering whether Cal Poly Pomona is a good school, one of the key factors to consider is the costs and financial aid options available. College can be expensive, so understanding the financial aspect is crucial for prospective students and their families.

Tuition and fees

The cost of tuition and fees at Cal Poly Pomona is an important consideration for students. As of the academic year 2021-2022, the tuition for in-state students is $7,429 per year, while out-of-state students pay $19,309 per year.

It’s worth noting that these figures are subject to change, so it’s important to check the official Cal Poly Pomona website for the most up-to-date information.

Room and board costs

In addition to tuition and fees, students also need to factor in the cost of room and board. On-campus housing options at Cal Poly Pomona include residence halls and apartments, with prices varying depending on the type of accommodation chosen.

For the academic year 2021-2022, the cost of a double room in the residence halls is approximately $12,000 per year, while the cost of a double room in the apartments is around $14,000 per year. Again, it’s important to check the official website for the most accurate and current information.

Scholarship and grant options

Cal Poly Pomona offers various scholarship and grant options to help alleviate the financial burden for students. These include merit-based scholarships, need-based grants, and external scholarships. The university has a dedicated Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships that assists students in finding and applying for these opportunities.

Prospective students are encouraged to explore the official Cal Poly Pomona website to learn more about the specific scholarships and grants available and the application process.

It’s important to note that the costs and financial aid options mentioned here are subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to verify the information on the official Cal Poly Pomona website or contact the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships for the most accurate and up-to-date details.

Outcomes and Career Prospects

Graduation and retention rates

Cal Poly Pomona has impressive graduation and retention rates, indicating that students who enroll are likely to stay and complete their degree. According to government data, the 6-year graduation rate for first-time undergraduate students is over 70%.

This is much higher than the national average of around 60%. Retention rates are also strong, with over 90% of first-time freshmen returning for their second year.

High graduation and retention rates can be attributed to Cal Poly Pomona’s focus on hands-on learning and close student-faculty interaction. Small class sizes and abundant research opportunities help keep students engaged and on track to finish their programs.

Job and internship placement

With its emphasis on experiential learning, Cal Poly Pomona prepares students well for the working world. According to a recent survey, over 95% of Cal Poly Pomona graduates were employed or continuing their education within a year of graduation.

The university has an extensive network of corporate partners that offer valuable internship and job opportunities.

Cal Poly Pomona’s career center provides resume help, interview coaching, and job/internship search assistance. Major companies like NASA, Disney, and Cisco recruit graduates from the university. Given the hands-on training and career support, it’s no surprise Cal Poly Pomona students are in high demand.

Earnings potential

The average starting salary for Cal Poly Pomona bachelor’s graduates is nearly $60,000, per government data. This puts the university’s early career earnings well above the national median. Mid-career salaries can reach $100,000+, especially for graduates of high-demand programs like engineering and business.

Here’s a comparison of average salaries by major, according to Payscale:

Major Early Career Salary Mid-Career Salary
Engineering $70,000 $115,000
Business $55,000 $95,000
Computer Science $67,000 $105,000

With strong earning potential across disciplines, a Cal Poly Pomona degree provides excellent ROI. Hands-on training and industry connections prepare graduates to command competitive salaries.

Pros and Cons of Attending

Advantages of Cal Poly Pomona

Cal Poly Pomona has several advantages that make it a good choice for prospective students.

  • Strong academic programs: Cal Poly Pomona is known for its strong emphasis on hands-on learning and practical experience. The university offers a wide range of academic programs, including engineering, agriculture, business, and more.

    Students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in real-world settings, which can give them a competitive edge in the job market.

  • Beautiful campus: The campus of Cal Poly Pomona is situated on 1,438 acres of land, featuring stunning architecture and scenic views. With its lush green spaces, botanical gardens, and modern facilities, it provides an excellent environment for learning and personal growth.
  • Great faculty: The university boasts a dedicated faculty who are experts in their respective fields. They are committed to providing high-quality education and mentorship to their students. The small class sizes allow for more personalized attention and interaction with professors.
  • Strong alumni network: Cal Poly Pomona has a large and active alumni network, which can be beneficial for students in terms of networking and career opportunities. The alumni often come back to campus to share their experiences and provide guidance to current students.
  • Affordability: Compared to other universities in the area, Cal Poly Pomona offers a relatively affordable education without compromising on quality. The tuition fees are lower than those of many private institutions, making it an attractive option for students and their families.

Potential drawbacks to consider

While Cal Poly Pomona has many advantages, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks before making a decision.

Drawbacks Solutions
Limited campus housing Cal Poly Pomona offers a limited number of on-campus housing options. However, there are off-campus housing options available in the surrounding area.
Heavy workload Due to its rigorous academic programs, students at Cal Poly Pomona may experience a heavy workload. Time management skills and effective study habits can help students manage their workload more efficiently.
Commute for some students For students who live far from campus, commuting to Cal Poly Pomona can be challenging. However, the university is accessible by public transportation, and carpooling options are available.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons based on your personal preferences, goals, and circumstances before deciding if Cal Poly Pomona is the right fit for you.


In summary, Cal Poly Pomona offers a lot of upside as an affordable, hands-on university with strong career outcomes in STEM and technical fields. While it may not have the nationwide reputation of some other schools, Cal Poly Pomona provides academic rigor and excellent ROI for many students, especially in-state applicants looking for an alternative to the crowded UC system.

Weighing all the factors, Cal Poly Pomona is considered a good option and a smart choice for many prospective students.

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