Application Tips

Completing the Cal State Apply application accurately is a very critical step in being considered for admission. We understand that you may have questions as you go through the application. To help you with completing the application, please review the tips below.

General Application Tips

Allow Pop-Ups from Cal State Apply

In order to view additional instructions for a question, your web browser must allow pop-ups from the Cal State Apply application.

If pop-ups are being blocked by your web browsers, you may see the following messages:

  • Google Chrome – An icon and message saying "Pop-up blocked" will appear on the right side of the URL/search bar.
  • Mozilla Firefox – An icon will be displayed on the right side of the URL bar and a message saying "Firefox prevented this site from opening a pop-up window" in a yellow box will be shown at the top of the page.
  • Microsoft Edge – A message will be displayed at the bottom of the browser saying "Microsoft Edge blocked a pop-up from calstate.liaisoncas.com."

Pop up block icons and messages for Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge

To allow for pop-ups to appear for the Cal State Apply application, please do the following:

  • Google Chrome
    1. Click on the pop-up blocked icon.
    2. Select the "Always allow pop-ups from https://calstate.liaisoncas.com" radio button.
    3. Click on the Cal State Apply instructions link again to have it display.
  • Mozilla Firefox
    1. In the yellow notification bar, click the "Options" button on the right side.
    2. Click the "Allow pop-ups for calstate.liaisoncas.com" option.
    3. The instructions page should automatically load in a new tab.
  • Microsoft Edge
    1. In the pop-up blocked message, click either the "Allow once" or "Always allow" button.
    2. The instructions page should automatically load in a new tab.

Use the Cal State Apply Applicant Help Center

The first place that you should look for help is the online Instructions and FAQs in the Cal State Apply application.

After creating an account, you may access this help section by clicking the blue question mark icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and select "Instructions and FAQs" from the dropdown list.

Help menu on the Cal State Apply online application

In the Cal State Apply Applicant Help Center, you will be able to access pages and sections detailing various parts of the application, from creating an account, to clarifying how to answer specific questions in the application, through to submitting your application. A link to a "Live Chat" is also available in a blue box located on the lower right corner of the page.

Cal State Apply Applicant Help Center

Filling Out Your Cal State Apply Application

This page provides instructions on how to complete each section of the Cal State Apply application.

Help filling out the Cal State Apply online application page

For more information, please click on the specific section of the application:

Select the correct Application Term

Before starting the application, please make sure you select the correct application term from the drop down menu and then click 'Apply'.

Cal State Apply Login Page - select the correct term from the drop down menu

The Online Application Fee Waiver

In case of financial hardship, the CSU allows for a limited number of undergraduate application fee waivers for residents of California. If you file the admission application via Cal State Apply, the fee waiver request is included in the online system as part of the application process. You will be notified at the time you apply online if you qualify for the fee waiver. If granted a fee waiver, it may be used for up to 4 campuses for each application term.

To be considered for the application fee waiver, you must be:

  • An undergraduate student (you cannot be in an extension program)
  • A California resident for more than one year
  • A U.S. citizen, or someone without lawful immigration status who qualifies for an AB540 non-resident tuition exception

Application fee waivers are not available for residents of other U.S. states, international students, and Graduate/post-bac program applicants. The CSU does not accept College Board fee waivers, nor any other external waiver form.

Mistakes to Avoid

The following common information reporting errors may cause an eligible applicant not to receive an application fee waiver:

  • If you report yourself as a dependent applicant with a family size of one
  • If you report the same dollar amount in the Adjusted Gross Income field as well as in the Untaxed Income field
  • If you select "None" in answer to "What U.S. State/Possession do you regard as your permanent home?"

Applicants who incorrectly report any of the items above will not be granted an application fee waiver.

For more information about the CSU Application Fee Waiver for undergraduate applicants, view the Application Fee Waiver Checklist.

Residency

Select the US state which you regard as your permanent home, regardless of your legal capacity to establish residency. If you select California, indicate whether you claim California residency and, if so, whether you have lived in California continuously since birth.

DACA, undocumented, or AB540 students:

  1. In your Cal State Apply profile, select "None" for U.S. citizenship status.
  2. In the Residency section, select "California" as the state of residence if you consider California your home.

Be aware that missing or inaccurate information will result in you being considered a non-California resident for CSU tuition purposes.

Freshman Applicants

How to Find Your High School

Accurately finding your high school(s) from the list of available schools in the Cal State Apply application is very important. Doing so will ensure a smoother application process by making it easier for you to complete the High School Coursework section.

 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using the High School search:

  • When searching by the school's address, do not use the city or zip code where you live; always use the school's address.
    • For example: Although many students from the city of Monterey Park, CA attend Mark Keppel High School, the school is located in Alhambra, CA. If these students search for a school in Monterey Park, they will not find their high school. They must search for the high school in Alhambra.
  • If searching by a city, do not abbreviate. For example, "Los Angeles" should not be entered as "LA".
  • If you can't find your school by location, you may also search by the College Board's CEEB code. Consult your school's website, or ask your guidance counselor, for your high school's CEEB code.

High School Coursework

Entering College Coursework and Matching to A-G Requirements

To use a college course to fulfill an A-G requirement for freshman admission, you must make sure to assign the correct A-G subject category to the college course.

  1. Add the college(s) in the "Colleges Attended" section.
  2. Add the college course(s) in the "Transcript Entry" section.
  3. Go to the "A-G Matching" section. It will display the number of years that you reported for each A-G subject.
  4. Click the "Update A-G Courses" button.
  5. For each college course taken, enter the appropriate category code in the A-G field.

Assigning a through g categories to college courses taken for high school credit

Check your Calculated High School GPA

  • To view the Calculated GPA based on your entered high school coursework, check the A-G Subject Totals box in the A-G Matching area of the Academic History section of the Cal State Apply Application.
  • If the GPA or the subject year counts look incorrect (too high or too low), please double check your High School Coursework entry.

Calculated High School GPA can be found in the A-G Subject Totals box

Transfer Applicants

Extended Profile: Degree Goal-Transfer Educational Status

  • What degree, credential or certificate are you applying for?
    • Select "First Bachelor's Degree (Seeking your first bachelor's degree and have not earned a prior bachelor's degree)"
  • Which of the following best describes your current educational status?
    • Select "Transferring from a community college or four-year institution"
  • How many college credits will you have earned when you enroll at the CSU campus to which you are applying?
    • Select the option based on how many semester units you have completed (and will complete) prior to enrolling at Cal State LA

Degree Goal Question from Cal State Apply Extended Profile

Cal State Apply Transfer Student Application Guide

For instructions on how to complete the Cal State Apply application as a transfer student, review the Cal State Apply Transfer Student Application Guide.

How to Find Your College

Accurately finding your colleges and universities from the list of available schools in the Cal State Apply application is very important. Doing so will result in a smoother application process by making it easier for you to complete the Transcript Entry section.

 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when adding a college or university:

  • Never abbreviate. The college search cannot locate institutions by acronyms or abbreviations. The following are some examples:
    • East Los Angeles College: Not found under East LA College or ELAC
    • Pasadena City College: Not found under PCC
    • California State University - Los Angeles: Not found under Cal State LA or CSU Los Angeles
    • University of California - Los Angeles: Not found under UCLA
    • University of Southern California: Not found under USC
  • Several schools have different entries for their main campuses and extension programs. Please make sure to pick the correct "location" based on where you completed the courses.
    • For example:  University of California - Los Angeles vs University of California - Los Angeles (Extension)

Transcript Entry

Check your Calculated Transfer GPA and Units

  • To view the Calculated Transfer GPA and Units based on your entered college coursework, go to the Transcript Entry area of the Academic History section of the Cal State Apply Application, and click the "Calculate my Transfer GPA" button.

Click the Calculate my Transfer GPA button to display your GPA.

  • After clicking the button, it will display the calculated Transfer GPA and Transfer Credit Hours (i.e., total number of completed transferable semester units).
  • If the Transfer GPA or Transfer Credit Hours look incorrect (too high or too low), please double check your course entry, including repeats, grades, unit counts, and transferable flag for each course.

After clicking the button, your overall transfer GPA and completed units will be displayed.

Engineering and Computer Science Majors: GE Critical Thinking Exception

Students applying to Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering are not required to complete the General Education Critical Thinking (A3) course for admission.

If you did not complete a transferable Critical Thinking course, in the Transcript Entry section of the application, please add the following dummy A3 exception course in your last completed/graded term:

  1. Add a new course.
  2. Enter the following course information:
    • Course Code: A3
    • Course Title: A3 Exception – High Unit Major
    • Subject: Special Topics
    • Credits: 0.00
    • Grade: P
    • Transferable: Check the Transferable box

Creating a General Education A 3 exception course

After adding the A3 exception course, go to the General Education section and match the A3 exception course to the A3 – Critical Thinking requirement.

Assigning a General Education A 3 exception course to the A 3 requirement slot

Major-Specific Criteria Matching

All majors have additional major-specific criteria for admission. Please see the Major-Specific Criteria Page for more information and the specific program requirements.

You will report your progress with the major-specific criteria in the Program Materials section of the Cal State Apply application.

Cal State Apply application dashboard

Before you start working on the Program Materials section, please make sure you have already completed the following:

  • Added every college or university that you have attended in the Colleges Attended question.
  • Fully completed the Transcript Entry question, which includes listing all courses taken (or in progress, planned) for each college/university attended. You must also report credit earned from examinations/tests (AP, IB, CLEP, etc.) and repeated coursework. Refer to the Cal State Apply Transfer Credit Entry Guide for instructions on entering courses into the application.
  • Double check everything on your application. You will not be allowed to make edits once it is submitted. Any false or incorrect information may negative affect your admission eligibility.

Once you are confident the first three sections (Personal Information, Academic History, and Supporting Information) have been accurately completed, click the Program Materials section, and find the name of the Cal State LA program to which you are applying, and click on it.

In the Program Materials section, you should find the following additional tabs:

  • Home tab – Read the information carefully before moving on to the next steps.
  • Prerequisites tab
    • You must have already entered your college courses in the Transcript Entry section of the Academic History section.
    • Read the instructions at the top of the screen before proceeding.
    • We strongly recommend that applicants complete the required major-specific criteria prior to the desired admit term. However, if there is still space available after offering admission to applicants who have met all the major-specific requirements, others may be considered for admission based on their progress in the courses.
  • Questions tab – Answer all supplemental questions accurately.

Completing the Prerequisite Tab

  • To assign a course(s) to the prerequisite(s), click the Assign Course button.

Unassigned prerequisite on Cal State Apply

  • On the prerequisite selection screen, you can assign which of your college courses will meet the prerequisite. Click the + button next to the course, or courses, to indicate which courses are being used to satisfy the specific prerequisite.
    • If you have not taken the course(s) by the required term that satisfies the prerequisite, click the I Am Not Matching Any Courses to this Prerequisite button near the top of the page.
    • If you have taken your courses at a California community college, please use the ASSIST website to match your community college courses to the Cal State LA prerequisite course codes.
    • If you are unable to find an equivalent course in ASSIST, please review the Determining Course Equivalencies section of this tips page to learn how to determine which of your courses may be used to satisfy a prerequisite.

Cal State Apply application prerequisite course assignment

  • Once you are finished assigning your course(s) to the current prerequisite, click the Save and Exit button to go back to the main prerequisite page. Repeat this process for each prerequisite listed.
  • When all prerequisites have been assigned or skipped, a green checkmark icon will be displayed in the Prerequisites tab.

Cal State Apply Quadrant 4 section tabs

Completing the Questions Tab

  • Answer all questions and click the Save My Responses button at the bottom of the page.
  • Once saved, you will see the following green checkmarks, and will have completed the Program Materials section of the application!

Cal State Apply Quadrant 4 completed

Determining Course Equivalencies for Major-Specific Criteria

Be Aware: A California Community College Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T/AS-T) in a major deemed similar may be used in lieu of the specific required and recommended preparation courses.

To determine if a course you have taken is equivalent to a specific prerequisite course, you may:

  • Use ASSIST to look up course equivalencies; or
  • If major articulation is not available for your school in ASSIST, you should compare course descriptions to determine if a course is reasonably similar to the Cal State LA prerequisite course.

Using ASSIST for courses taken at a California Community Colleges, UC, or another CSU campus

  1. Under Explore Transfer Information, select your institution.

    Selecting a California community college in Assist dot org
  2. Select California State University, Los Angeles to search for course transfer agreements.

    Selecting a Cal State L A major in Assist dot org
  3. Search for course matches by:
    • Major

      Selecting a Cal State L A major in Assist dot org

      Viewing matching courses report based on major on Assist dot org

    • Cal State LA course department

      Selecting a Cal State L A department in Assist dot org

      Viewing matching courses report based on department on Assist dot org

    • C-ID Designators, if available (noted in Cal State Apply Prerequisite Description)

      Prerequisite with a C I D course code on Cal State Apply

      Selecting a department to view associated C I D courses on Assist dot org

      Viewing courses at a community college associated with a C ID on Assist dot org

Comparing Course Descriptions for institutions not in ASSIST

Students who are transferring from institutions where formal articulation does not exist, or if a match is not available in ASSIST, must compare course descriptions to determine whether a course 'reasonably' matches the specified Cal State LA course.

  • Cal State LA "Course Descriptions" can be found in the University Catalog.

    Cal State L A online course catalog
  • When comparing course descriptions, it is important to pay attention to the following key information:
    • Does the course cover the key content areas of the Cal State LA course?
    • Does the course have the same or higher prerequisites to enroll in the course?
    • Does the course contain a lab or other required activity?
    • Are the unit values the same or greater at the student's current institution?

    Chemistry course descriptions for Cal State L A and University of La Verne

    The courses have similar topics, both require labs, and same unit value – the two courses are reasonably similar; may be considered equivalent for Major-Specific Criteria prerequisite reporting.
  • Additional Tips for Comparing Courses
    • The course should normally count for at least as many units as the course at Cal State LA. If the other institution is a quarter based school, multiply the quarter units by 0.66 to convert to Cal State LA semester units.
    • Many Cal State LA courses have stated prerequisites. Check the prerequisites for the course of the other institution to ensure that they are similar. A course that requires Calculus as a prerequisite is probably at a higher level than a course that only requires College Algebra as the prerequisite.
    • Look for similarities between the two course descriptions:
      • Do they use some of the same vocabulary?
      • Do they cover the similar content areas?

Be Aware: Although students may be admitted with coursework that reasonably meets the Cal State LA course objectives, additional coursework may be required for graduation should the course be deemed not fully equivalent upon formal review.

Returning Applicants

Report your Returning Student Status

If you were previously admitted and earned units at Cal State LA, please create your Cal State Apply profile as follows:

Degree Goal

  • What degree, credential or certificate are you applying for?
    • Select "First Bachelor's Degree (Seeking your first bachelor's degree and have not earned a prior bachelor's degree)"
  • Which of the following best describes your current educational status?
    • Select "Transferring from a community college or four-year institution"
  • How many college credits will you have earned when you enroll at the CSU campus to which you are applying?
    • Select the option based on how many semester units you have earned at Cal State LA

Applying as a returning student in Cal State Apply

Returning

  • Are you applying to return to the CSU campus which you previously attended, and intend to complete the same degree?
    • Select "Yes"
  • Which CSU Campus did you previously attend?
    • Select "Cal State LA"
  • What was your Student ID?
    • If known, enter your Cal State LA campus ID number (CIN)

Selecting Cal State L A as your previous campus

Cal State LA Coursework - To Report or Not Report?

Returning Student (Do Not Need to Report)

If you have not attempted units at another college/university, or through the College of Professional and Global Education (PaGE), you do not need to complete the Transcript Entry section of the application. To skip, please click the "I Am Not Adding Any College Transcripts" button.

For the Program Materials section of the Cal State Apply application, please opt-out of reporting Major Specific Criteria courses. See above "Transfer Tips: Major-Specific Criteria Matching" to learn how to select the "I Am Not Matching Any Courses to this Prerequisite" button.

Returning Transfers (Must Report)

If you have attempted units at another college/university, or through the College of Professional and Global Education (PaGE), you are held to the transfer admission requirements and must complete the Transcript Entry section of the application. Please report coursework from all colleges attended, including Cal State LA. See the "Transfer Applicants" tips section above for more details.

Graduate/Post-Baccalaureate Applicants

Colleges Attended and Degree Earned

In the Colleges Attended section, please accurately and completely report your degree information and dates that you attended each institution. Without this, you may not qualify for graduate admission.

Cal State Apply college and university entry

Program Materials

Please complete all tabs as requested.

In this section, some programs may request additional information, documents, and/or recommendations.

Be aware: In addition to the Cal State Apply admission application, some Academic Programs also require a separate supplemental program application. To view which programs require a separate supplemental application, visit the Admissions Deadlines webpage and select the desired graduate admission term.

International Applicants

Email Communications

Cal State LA uses email as the official means of communication with applicants. Be aware, we found that the following email hosts have blocked emails from the University:

  • qq.com
  • 126.com
  • 163.com
  • yeah.net

If you currently have an email account with one of the above email hosts, we strongly encourage you to:

  1. Create a new email account with an alternate email host (e.g., gmail.com, outlook.com, icloud.com, etc.); and
  2. Mark the domain (calstatela.edu) as a safe sender in your email account so Cal State LA communications are not flagged as spam/junk mail.

Cal State Apply International Student Application Guide

For detailed instructions on how to complete the Cal State Apply application as an international student, review the Cal State Apply International Student Application Guide.

Extended Profile - International Applicant Status

In the Application Profile section, you will be asked if you have or will require an F1 Visa (student) or J1 Visa (exchange) to study at the California State University (CSU)?

If you are an international student, please select "yes."

International Applicant Status question in Extended Profile

International Agent/Third-Party Release

If you are working with an individual or third-party organization to complete this application, select “Yes” and enter the representative type, name, and contact information of the individual or organization in this section.

International agent questions on the Cal State Apply application

Transfer Cal State Apply Application Update Tips

(Fall 2020 Transfer Application Update period: January 6-31, 2020)

Who must update their application?

Applicants who attended U.S. colleges and universities must update their Cal State Apply application during the January Application Update window. This is a required step in the Fall 2020 Cal State LA admissions process, and it must be completed no later than January 31, 2020.

The accurate reporting of your Academic History is very important! Please review your Cal State Apply admission application, and make the necessary updates before the window closes. The required updates include:

  • Earned grades for courses completed through Fall 2019
  • Changes to planned Spring 2020 courses
  • Colleges Attended and attendance dates
  • Transferability of entered courses
  • Required General Education courses
  • Changes to the Prerequisite courses section of the application

Be aware: If you do not submit the required updates during the Application Update window, we will assume you are no longer interested in Cal State LA, and we will withdraw your admission application. Requests for late updates will not be accommodated.

Review your currently submitted application

To view the information you submitted when you first applied to Cal State LA, log back into your Cal State Apply account, and download your application in PDF format. To find the pdf, go to the application dashboard, and:

  • Navigate to the Check Status tab and click the download button next to a program, or
  • Navigate to the Submit Application tab and click the download button next to a program.

How to find the Application PDF

After you download the application PDF, please review it for:

  • ACADEMIC HISTORY - Your reported schools
    • Did you report every college/university that you have attended?
    • Does the END date show CURRENT? If yes, it means you did not report a date for your "LAST SEMESTER" at that school.
    • If you plan to finish by the end of Spring 2020, please enter June 2020; or if you will also be taking Summer 2020 classes, enter August 2020.

View the colleges attended in the pdf

  • CALCULATED GPA – review your calculated transferable units and GPA
    • Graded Hours = Transferable Units
    • GPA Score = Transferable GPA
    • Does it look correct? If no, check your reported classes for accuracy, and confirm that your transferable courses are indicated as "transferable."

View the transferable units and GPA in the PDF

  • GENERAL EDUCATION – Did you report the correct equivalent classes? If no, check your reported classes and make any necessary corrections.

View the reported General Education Courses in the PDF

  • DESIGNATIONS-PREREQUISITES – if you applied to a major with Major-Specific Criteria for admission, review your reported prerequisite courses.
    • Did you accurately report your courses? If not, please make the necessary updates.

View reported prerequisite courses in the PDF

Colleges Attended - Where have you attended college?

  • It is important that we have your complete college history. Please report all colleges/universities that you have attended, and plan to attend prior to enrolling at Cal State LA.

Review all colleges attended

  • As part of the history, we need the attendance dates. For each college/university, report the date of your FIRST term at the college, and the date of your LAST term at the college.
    • If you will be transferring from that school to Cal State LA, and plan to finish by the end of Spring 2020, please enter June 2020; or if you will also be taking Summer 2020 classes, enter August 2020.

Transcript Entry - What courses will you complete before transferring to Cal State LA?

Be aware: If you had previously "opted not to enter your transcript" in the application, please contact Cal State Apply for assistance before updating this section. They will need to "undeliver" your application before you can enter your classes. Once your application is undelivered, you must "resubmit" the application before for the Transfer Application Update deadline. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of your admission application to Cal State LA, and to the other CSU campuses that you've applied to. 
  • You must report grades earned for all college courses taken through Fall 2019 (December 2019).
To report "new" grades for courses already entered, you will need to click and edit the specific term.
 
Review reported in-progress and planned courses

Once in the edit mode, replace the "IP" grades with the actual earned grades, and then click 'Save.' Also, if you know a course is CSU Transferable, make sure the "Transferable" box is checked!

Edit course grades

  • In addition to entering the grades for completed courses, please review your reported Spring 2020 coursework, and add/delete courses as appropriate. If you know a course is CSU Transferable, make sure the "Transferable" box is checked!

Add planned courses

  • Do a second review of your courses - make sure all transferable college coursework is reported!

Review reported courses

  • Are you getting credit for all your transferable courses? Review your reported courses, including those that self-populated, and make sure all CSU transferable courses are marked as "Transferable."

Review courses for transferable designation

Transcript Entry - Did you repeat any classes?

The CSU honors "the grading policies of the institution where credit was earned by accepting official transcript entries including those reflecting academic renewal, repeat, and incomplete grades."

  • If the transcript identifies the course as repeated and excludes the course from the institution GPA, enter a grade of RP. This applies to district transcripts that may include repeats at different colleges within the district and note them on one transcript.
Do not mark repeats for in progress courses. If a repeat is in progress, the original grade is reported.
 

Enter RP repeat courses

  • If your college offers Academic Renewal, use a grade of AR for courses noted as such on the transcript.

Enter AR repeat courses

 

Check your Calculated Transfer GPA and Units

  • To view the Calculated Transfer GPA and Units based on your entered college coursework, go to the Transcript Entry area of the Academic History section of the Cal State Apply Application, and click the "Calculate my Transfer GPA" button.

Click the Calculate my Transfer GPA button to display your GPA.

  • After clicking the button, it will display the calculated Transfer GPA and Transfer Credit Hours (i.e., total number of completed transferable semester units).
  • If the Transfer GPA or Transfer Credit Hours look incorrect (too high or too low), please double check your course entry, including repeats, grades, unit counts, and transferable flag for each course.

After clicking the button, your overall transfer GPA and completed units will be displayed.

General Education - Did you match your GE courses accurately?

  • Check your reported courses, and verify that your reported an equivalent course (or qualifying AP or CLEP exam credit) for each GE subject area.
    • If you only attended U.S. colleges, do not select 'I am not adding any General Education Courses.'
    • Do not leave one or more Subject areas incomplete.
  • Applicants with international coursework that cannot be entered select 'I am not adding any General Education courses'. If credit history includes some U.S. credits that qualify for GE, designate credit towards the eligible subject categories.

Review and edit the General Courses

Program Materials - Making changes to the Prerequisite section

If you applied to a major with Major-Specific Criteria for admission, and need to make changes to your reported prerequisite courses, do the following:

  1. Click on the "Program Materials" section;
  2. Click the "Prerequisites" tab; and
  3. Select the course(s) to edit, and reassign for the appropriate prerequisite.

For more information about how to match Prerequisite courses, see the TRANSFER APPLICANTS section below, and review the Determining Course Equivalencies for Major-Specific Criteria information.

View Cal State Apply Sections

 

Click on the Prerequisite tab

 

Need more help with how to report your Academic History - Colleges and Courses?

How do you submit the Updates?

After you have made all the necessary updates/changes, select the "Update Application" button on the Application Dashboard to "resubmit" the application. If you skip this step, your updates will not be sent Cal State LA.