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San Diego State University


San Diego State University ranks as one of the top colleges in the San Diego area and one of the top colleges in all of California. Founded in 1897 as the San Diego Normal School, it offered teaching programs for women to prepare them for working in rural and urban school districts. Those students could customize their degrees in English, math or history. As it expanded its teaching program, SDSU added programs for secondary and elementary school teachers to its curriculum and also offered specializations in other fields. Once it launched programs outside of education, it became a state college and then a university.

Also known as San Diego State, it now offers more than 180 bachelor’s programs, more than 90 master’s programs and more than 20 PhD programs. Students also have the option of earning dual or joint degrees and taking classes on other campuses in the state. It has two campuses in other parts of California and another campus in the country of Georgia that offer opportunities for local students and those from the main campus. The Daily Beast listed SDSU as one of the country’s top 100 colleges, but it also ranked on lists produced by U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, Money Magazine and Forbes.

San Diego State University Accreditation Details

If you think that you might take classes on another campus, you need to make sure that both colleges you attend have regional accreditation. This means that they both follow the same set of standards and that those credits will transfer. The regional accreditation that SDSU has comes from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. WASC accreditation is similar to the accreditation offered by organizations like the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. SDSU also has program accreditation from approximately 20 groups that include:

Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
Accreditation Board of Engineering & Technology
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
American Psychological Association
American Physical Therapy Association
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration

San Diego State University Application Requirements

SDSU lets prospective students file their applications as early as October 1 in the year before they want to start classes, but it also accepts applications up through the end of November. All incoming freshmen must start classes in the fall as the university does not let students start in the spring or summer. As SDSU accepts less than 40% of all applications, it’s important that you know what it looks for in candidates. You will use the California State University website application, which many state schools use. The account that you create will include simple information about where you attended high school, classes you took, your overall grades and extracurricular activities you participated in or volunteer experiences you did. You can use that same information when applying for admissions at other state colleges.

San Diego State University asks that you pay a $55 application fee, send in an official transcript and arrange for your SAT or ACT test scores to arrive on the campus. Certain programs have additional requirements too. Nursing students must show that they took math courses and life science classes with a lab component in high school. Those enrolling in a dance or theater program will need to audition for a spot in that program. Some of the art programs require a portfolio that shows some of your most recent work too.

Tuition and Financial Aid

As a state university, SDSU charges a lower rate for California residents and a higher rate for nonresidents. Residents pay just over $7,000 a year, which entitles them to take a full class load during the two main semesters and covers all miscellaneous fees charged by the university. The cost for nonresidents is just over $21,200 a year. The cost of living on the SDSU campus is around $14,000 a year. Living off-campus on your own, with your parents or with other students can increase or decrease your overall costs.

You can file the FAFSA in the early spring or late summer to see if you qualify for any financial aid. Those with more need may qualify for federal Pell grants, and you can reapply for a new grant each year. Many students can also take out loans of more than $5,000 during their freshman years. There are parental loans and alternative loans available too. As alternative loans come with higher interest rates, the university recommends that students apply for government loans and other financial aid options first. SDSU participates in the federal work-study program, which gives students regular paychecks for working in jobs on the campus. You can usually work between 10 and 20 hours a week based on your year of study.

Student Experience

San Diego State has an urban campus that covers more than 280 acres. Many of its buildings went through renovations in recent years and now provide more benefits to students. More than 50 fraternities and sororities operate on that campus, and other Greek organizations offer professional opportunities for students majoring in specific fields. It also has a strong reputation for welcoming LGBT students and for study aboard programs that let students study in more than 20 different locations. Around 80% of those who start at SDSU return for their second year, and a high percentage come back for future years too.

With more than 180 majors to choose from, you can major in something traditional like nursing or business or in something nontraditional like food and nutrition. SDSU has its own food and nutrition club that is open to students and has scholarships available too. The accredited program includes internships and field placements also.

You can also major in child and family development, which can prepare you for becoming a social worker or family therapist. It has its own field experience program that lets students work in children’s museums, social agencies and summer programs that cater to kids of all ages. Though some go on to graduate school, others go to work for government and social agencies after graduating. San Diego State University also allows its child and family development students to take the courses necessary for getting a teaching license in California.