San Luis Obispo, CA
Tuition (in-state)
$19,071 ($8,043)
Admission Difficulty
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2 College Freshman

Diversity: If you're from a big city, prepare for some culture shock. A majority of the student body is White, straight, and there are some fairly vocal conservatives here. There are definitely awesome groups of minority students and queer students, and we offer some great courses on ethnic studies and gender & sexuality studies, though.

4 College Junior

Diversity: Cal Poly does a wonderful job of promoting diversity in many aspects. Organizations like the PRIDE Center, Cross-Cultural Center, University Housing, and many others host several events throughout each quarter for students to attend and learn more about how to be more accepting of their peers.

2 College Freshman

Diversity: There are a lot of spoiled, rich, white kids. I sense of bit of racism on a daily basis and a majority of students are definitely homophobic.

2 Recent Alumnus

Diversity: The Cal Poly campus is not very diverse at all - predominantly, the campus is white. Acceptance did not seem to be an issue as diversity was so low. There seemed to be some challenge and attempt at greater diversity in the College of Engineering when I was present. They seemed to be striving at enrolling culturally diverse students, but there were difficulties in seeing that diversity spread throughout the campus.

4 College Freshman

Diversity: It's true that the a large majority of Cal Poly students are white, but there is still a fair amount of diversity in religion, economic background, and political views. Most students are heterosexual but there is a minority of other sexual orientations. Despite the lack of racial diversity, the student body is very accepting of all people.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 232nd
    Most Conservative Schools
  • 1163rd
    Most Liberal Schools
  • 1354th
    Most Open-Minded Schools

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Amy Herman
Burbank CA
Liberal Studies
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

Diversity is more than just the color of your skin, and that is evidenced by the wide array of students who attend Cal Poly. That being said, the majority of students here at Cal Poly is Caucasian. The administration as a whole has made an effort to make students of all ethnicities feel welcome at the University. Having friends with many different backgrounds is not uncommon. One thing that Cal Poly students realize is that even in an ethnically homogeneous group of people, there can still be much diversity. It isn't hard to find people of different cultures in class. 

Another thing to be aware of is that there are many multicultural clubs and organizations. Some of these organizations are culture-specific (Chinese Students' Association, for example), but by no means culture-exclusive. These organizations welcome students unconditionally and even the seemingly homoegeneous clubs have more diversity than most people would anticipate. Conflicts regarding diversity usually surround issues of sexuality rather than race or gender. Fortunately, Cal Poly has the Pride Center on campus that supports students of any sexuality.

Facts & Statistics

African American
Native American
Historically Black College/University?
Tribal College?
Out-of-State Students
Common States of Residence
  • Colorado
  • Foreign countries
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington
Student Age Breakdown
Under 18: 0%
18-19: 38%
20-21: 37%
22-24: 20%
25+: 4%
Female Faculty
Male Faculty
Faculty Diversity
African American: 1%
Asian American: 9%
Hispanic: 5%
International: 0%
Native American: 0%
White: 81%
Unknown: 4%
Gay Pride
Cal Poly leaves a little to be desired in this area. However, it seems to be getting better. LGBT groups definitely have the protection and support of the administration.
Political Activity
Cal Poly is active on both ends of the political spectrum. At one end, we have peace protests, and on the other, pro-war rallies supporting the troops in Iraq. The school newspaper, Mustang Daily, has reported that student voting numbers in on-campus elections (for student body president) have continued to go down in recent years. But, if you're looking for heated debates, they're not hard to be found. On the other hand, nobody bugs you if you just don't care.
Economic Status
Economically, Cal Poly is quite diverse. Many students work their way through college, taking out enormous loans, while others seem to have an inexhaustible supply of parental finances.
Most Common Religions
Christianity is the major religious force in the community. There are three or four on-campus ministries and plenty of churches to choose from. It's not uncommon to walk by a group of people and overhear their Bible study. With that being said, there are other vibrant religious communities (including many, many students with no religious affiliation whatsoever).
Minority Clubs on Campus
There are clubs on campus that have a racial and cultural connection, including Greek societies.

Student Polls

How would you best describe your personal political beliefs?    Based on 123 responses

  • 2% Libertarian
  • 17% Not sure
  • 2% Very conservative
  • 12% Conservative
  • 30% Moderate
  • 32% Liberal
  • 5% Progressive/very liberal

How would you best describe the political beliefs of campus as a whole?    Based on 123 responses

  • 1% Libertarian
  • 2% Very conservative
  • 21% Conservative
  • 34% Moderate
  • 25% Not sure
  • 16% Liberal
  • 1% Progressive/very liberal

How diverse is the student body in the following areas?    Based on 123 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How diverse is your personal circle of friends in the following areas?    Based on 122 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How accepting is the campus community as a whole toward someone who falls into the minority (ethnic, sexual, or religious)?    Based on 123 responses

  • 7% It's hard to be a minority here.
  • 5% The campus is split on its acceptance-not all minority groups are as accepted as others.
  • 50% Most students are accepting, except for a few rare cases of intolerance.
  • 37% Very accepting.
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