California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo Reviews

  • 73 Reviews
  • San Luis Obispo (CA)
  • Annual Tuition: $28,229
95% of 73 students said this degree improved their career prospects
93% of 73 students said they would recommend this school to others
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Student & Graduate Reviews

Shannon Parker
  • Reviewed: 6/26/2019
  • Degree: Fitness Trainer
"While it has been a while since I completed my undergraduate studies - I still can confidently say that Cal Poly's "Learn By Doing" motto prepared me for my career! My career unfolded in a rather unconventional manner - with one opportunity leading me to the next. I took the opportunities, learned by doing and have had a successful career as an educator and am now looking to move into Educational Administration. I loved the Kinesiology coursework and still draw on my experience in the human performance labs when working with my students today."
  • Reviewed: 6/24/2019
  • Degree: Child Development
"I completed my bachelor's degree at CP SLO and highly recommend it. Though there are a variety of majors available, the majority seem to be studying Engineering, Architecture or Business. That being said, I think they have an excellent Child Development program and many of my friends from a variety of majors said they thought their education was crucial to their future successes. Personally, I loved the learn by doing motto and think it's helped me put into practice what I learned rather than just knowing a lot of information. In addition, I felt that the professors at the school are more student-focused then at many universities because they don't have the same pressure to publish research. This allows them to spend more time preparing for classes, keeps the class sizes small and means that the professors are able to focus on completing high-quality research rather than just high-quantity. My biggest disappointment with the school was the lack of diversity often evident when walking around campus. Many students find it difficult to switch majors, though it is possible, so I don't suggest attending school there if you aren't sure what you want to study."
  • Reviewed: 6/22/2019
"Cal Poly's Biology department has great mentorship and teaching. The school chooses professors who want to teach, and do some research, but mainly focus on teaching. As such, the teaching is outstanding, and the research is below average. However, the department is very active in helping students find a project, or create a project."
Kari Tuggle
  • Reviewed: 6/16/2019
  • Degree: Nutrition
"Cal Poly SLO is a learn by doing campus. The skills and knowledge I acquired through applying what I learned in the classroom gave me an advantage when starting my career. The senior project requirement was useful in proving my expertise to employers. Several senior projects have been turned into business ventures after graduation. The school is in beautiful San Luis Obispo, California. The school experience was made even better with hiking in the local mountains, spending time at the nearby beaches, and fishing or camping at nearby lakes. As a single mom attending school, I also appreciated the student childcare center. Parking is an issue as is the cost of housing however, this is typical of a school in a desired geographic location. Teachers are accessible and classes not too large. I made lifelong friends during my time in San Luis Obispo and miss the local food and activities. I would recommend this school to anyone pursuing a degree in animal science, engineering, business, architecture, or the health professions."
Caterin Miralda
  • Reviewed: 6/10/2019
  • Degree: Business Administration
"Cal Poly, SLO is a beautiful campus located in a beautiful city. I write this review as a first generation latina student, and about my experience there. As a minority, I realized that Cal Poly did not do enough to help out students of color or staff of color; this led many staff and students of color to transfer out to new schools or jobs. This made life as a student of color there a little harder as representation diminished. However, the remaining students of color or marginalized communities were very active and vocal about these issues, pushing for changes from the administration. While it was hard being a student of color, it really taught me how to use my voice to help my community and push for change. It turned me into a leader and taught me the importance of activism. I wouldn't say Cal Poly is the worst, but it is very white, which makes it hard for students of color to feel like they fit in. Nonetheless, I recommend that you visit campus, attend spring orientation and Poly Cultural Weekend so that you can see and decide for yourself. One thing I would say is a major positive is the on campus community. Most of the students either live on campus or within a short distance, so there is always a lot of activity on campus. This makes is so great to be on campus at all times. Also the food bank is an amazing resource for students struggling with food insecurity."
Michael Hiebert
  • Reviewed: 12/28/2018
  • Degree: Civil Engineering
"I went to school for Civil Engineering at Cal Poly and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The school is gorgeous and only 15 minutes from the beach (you will not go as much as you think you will though). The campus is a little spread out and on lots of hills so you will definitely get your steps in when going to class. Most students live on campus the first year and then life just of campus after that. It's not a necessity that you own a car, but it is really nice to know someone who does. Greek life and sports teams exist but are not a very big deal outside of the Cal Poly vs. UCSB soccer game, but there is a club for just about everything. The engineering school is one of the best bangs for your buck in the country. Cal Poly keeps the California State pricing but offers a bachelors degree that can compete with anyone in the nation. Most of the teachers I had were very knowledgeable and the classes are extremely competitive as Cal Poly only lets in the best of the best. Also pretty much everyone I knew in the engineering school landed a job extremely quickly out of college. I was able to find a job a couple months after college and have been working in for the last five years. Overall really great college and extremely competitive prices for the level of education you receive."
  • Reviewed: 11/4/2018
  • Degree: Environmental Engineering
"I really hated the administration/corporation that ran the school. Like most other schools, they try to squeeze out money from students instead of making fair costs. Examples include packing in freshmen into the dorms (3 students in a double room dorm), overpricing their generic food, the book store costs are terrible and yet classes force you to buy from them. Most of the academics are run of the mill like other campuses. The pros are a nice location and weather, many laboratories for hands on learning, and quality upper division teachers."
  • Reviewed: 10/21/2018
  • Degree: CAD/Computer Aided Drafting
"Cal Poly was an average college experience for me. The upsides being that it was close to the beach and had good weather. For general electives, the psychology lecture was the most insightful and interesting class. The chemistry and math classes were pretty bad in that the motto changed from learn by doing to Figure it out yourself, poor instruction, large classes, and lots of my friends failed because of trouble getting direct help from teachers or peers. The major specific courses had much better instruction and lab teaching. I would HIGHLY recommend transferring to this school, but completing lowers division coursework elsewhere. It will save you lots of time and money. The freshman/sophomore experience here doesnt not compare to what Ive heard many other UC and state schools have in terms of sporting events, parties, fun city-life, and diversity (very undiversified crowd and culture). Overall my recommendation is to apply to this school only if you plan on engineering AND have a high enough budget to meet its cost. AND it would be most valuable to go only after earning lower division credits to transfer in so you avoid wasting the first two years of tuition and cut your college cost in half."
  • Reviewed: 9/5/2018
  • Degree: Biology
"Great school program! The learn by doing philosophy has set me above many of my peers who attended other universities thanks to the hands on experiences I gained while at University. I am a proud alumni of Cal Poly and would encourage other students to enroll as well. Take full advantage of the many benefits available to you as students including clubs, student research projects, and so much more that give you the advantage when searching for careers. Cal Poly is an amazing university that supports its students and provides an ideal environment for learning."
Sydney Matthews
  • Reviewed: 7/7/2018
  • Degree: Architectural Engineering
"Cal Poly's "Learn By Doing" philosophy is implemented in every class and every program. It is a great way to learn, because a lot of universities or programs who just lecture or don't have hands on programs make it hard for students to transition into the real world. Cal Poly is very good at preparing you for your future career and letting you know what to expect. The campus community is great and you will definitely graduate with life long friends."
Abigail Bacharach
  • Reviewed: 6/20/2018
  • Degree: Communications (Speech & Rhetorical Studies)
"Cal Poly is a great place to receive an education. I easily got out in four years and had so many great teachers. Small class sizes create a comfortable learning environment for students to interact with each other and their professors. Many of my professors were always willing to answer any questions I had and help to make me as successful as possible."
Anthony Martello
  • Reviewed: 5/12/2018
  • Degree: Biology
"Cal Poly is an excellent learn-by-doing university with a strong comprehensive program for both undergraduates and graduates. I appreciated the attention teachers gave me in both lab and lecture and highly recommend it to those applying to both undergraduate and graduate school."
Kyle Radomski
  • Reviewed: 12/21/2017
  • Degree: Biology
"Cal Poly SLO has prepared me for a career in dentistry. I have recently been accepted into a dental program where I will earn a doctorate degree. The faculty at Cal Poly is extremely professional and will steer you towards your future goals. Any student looking for an affordable education will find it at Cal Poly SLO."
  • Reviewed: 5/22/2017
  • Degree: Social Work
"It provided hands on learning opportunities."
  • Reviewed: 5/16/2017
  • Degree: Child Development
"The Child and Adolescent Development program did an amazing job of preparing their students for real-life experiences. The degree itself integrated field work that was applicable to many students in the program. I found jobs throughout my time in college that were applicable to my degree and immediately after graduation. The professors in the department were all willing to help and get you through the program by allowing you to learn the necessary material as you went up each consecutive year into major-specific classes. Advisers helped tremendously by guiding you through your audits - for courses - and preparing you to graduate on time. All in all, the department of child and adolescent development were a great asset to my success."
Nikki Chen
  • Reviewed: 3/31/2017
  • Degree: Public Policy
"The positive is that it is one of the few state schools that offers a more traditional university experience: most students live on campus or in university housing and are following a traditional educational path. The negative is that it offers a traditional university experience. It is the most expensive CSU in the system. It seems most students attend directly from high school and finish in four years, meaning those who are older or attending part-time are few and have even fewer support services. As a student who is used to learning from my classmates as much as my professors, I was incredibly disappointed by the lack of diversity, including age, experience, race, etc. Professors know their subjects very well and most are active in their fields, making instruction in the classroom incredibly rich and informative. In terms of nationality, age, and areas of interest, they were very diverse and showed incredible empathy for their students. Most had limited experience outside of academia, so while they were very experienced in their fields, they were limited in speaking beyond that. However, they know the purpose of our education and really push us to learn and grow according to the schools motto of learn by doing, and theyve fostered amazing growth from their students. The program is small, each cohort is typically around 10 students, meaning each students receives a lot of individual attention. There is also a lot of opportunity available through the school, and the program is very proactive in making students aware of the learning and networking opportunities available. The school, however, does not seem to share the commitment to diversity and student success. Theres a lot of talk but little action towards improving diversity, supporting minority students, and creating a safe and tolerant campus. Students, clubs, and campus services are often stymied in their attempts to change the campus climate. Then again, most students seem to love it there, but most students come from a traditional background and are seeking a traditional experience, so its up to each student to determine whats most important to them in their college experience. As a working, commuting, minority student, I find the culture there a bit much. Overall, the quality of my professors and instruction was top notch, there's amazing availability of opportunity and experience, and some in my cohort have already landed great jobs. If only the program existed on another campus!"
Candice Rodriguez
  • Reviewed: 3/31/2017
  • Degree: Finance
"The program was fairly difficult. Some classes were huge and it was hard to meet with the instructor. However, towards the end of the program the classes got much smaller and intimate. The campus is beautiful. Plenty of places to relax and enjoy the great weather."
  • Reviewed: 3/30/2017
  • Degree: Teaching
"If you would like to teach on the beautiful central coast, Cal Poly is the place to go to get your teaching credential. The networking opportunities are fantastic and you can meet numerous potential employers. Your experience as a student teacher is totally dependent on the teacher you are placed with and Cal Poly does a pretty good job of matching you. The downside is most of the classes don't do much to prepare you for actually teaching and feel like a total waste of time."
Megan Hayes
  • Reviewed: 3/28/2017
  • Degree: Liberal Studies
"I honestly and most dearly recommend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to any future student searching for a school that will meet all academic and learning needs, as well as provide a healthy, interactive, and collaborative environment. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo advocates for hands-on learning which engages students in the academic content and curriculum and values the art of "learning by doing." Cal Poly's safe and collaborative environment allows students to join clubs, part-time jobs, and academic groups that will help foster a student's emotional health and overall happiness, as well as providing multiple sources to create long-lasting networking opportunities and relationships. My last four years at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has been full of rigorous but well-worth learning experiences that have pushed me to become a focused and enthusiastic student, and further my studies to become as knowledgeable as I can about my major and degree. I have the utmost respect for Cal Poly, and I feel that it's reputation of being an incredible and highly referred school is well-accredited for. My only hope is that more students consider Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as their future university as I believe it will give them their greatest support and encouragement to excel and succeed."
Thomas Stephens
  • Reviewed: 3/27/2017
  • Degree: History
"Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is one of the top universities in the country. It has great engineering programs, but the degree I received is in History. The History department at Cal Poly SLO is excellent. They have great professors who are genuinely interested in the topics their classes cover. These professors want to see their students succeed. The department is also relatively flexible about accepting classes from other universities. I studied in Germany for a year while I was at Cal Poly. Every one of the classes I took in Germany was transferable because they fit in slots that were empty. The history department recognizes the expertise of other universities. They make it easy to go to another university and bring back knowledge to share with fellow students and staff. Overall, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is an excellent school that I recommend to everyone who is looking for a university to attend in the fall."