Returning Students

Interested in Returning to Cal Poly?

We are so glad you would like to finish your degree! First, please watch this video created by Admissions to learn about the process of returning to Cal Poly.

General Information for Returning Students

If you are interested in returning to Cal Poly, your first step is to go to the Returning Students Page on the Cal Poly Admissions Website. Here you will find important information including the Former Student Application, application deadlines for each quarter, fees, and more. Please note:

  • Students applying to return to Cal Poly are not competing against new prospective students in the application pool.
  • Applications are not accepted for Summer Quarter

Who is Considered a Returning Student?

You’re considered a returning student if you left Cal Poly before graduating. This includes students who were academically dismissed and students that didn’t enroll in their remaining degree requirements after two consecutive quarters. Your academic status at the time of departure and the length of time since your last enrollment will determine your path to re-enrolling.

Note: Undergraduate students who have not enrolled for two terms are eligible to re-enroll without additional steps. 

Should I Contact an Advisor in Orfalea Student Services?

You SHOULD meet with an Academic Advisor if:

  •  You have applied, been accepted, and know which courses you have remaining to complete your degree.
  •  You have a completed Former Student Evaluation Request (PowerForm) from the Office of the Register outlining the courses you completed on your last catalog. This will be especially important if you have been gone for 8 years or longer.
  • You left in good academic standing, have already applied, and have access to your Degree Progress Report on Student Center.
  • You left Cal Poly in Poor Academic Standing and have completed a Readmission Contract for Orfalea Student Services (students that were dismissed from Cal Poly)
  • You left in Poor Academic Standing and are unsure if you will be approved to return due to low grades and/or GPA

If one or more of the above statements are true, please reach out to an Academic Advisor in Orfalea Student Services. For students that are eligible to return, an Advisor will be able to help you with the following:

  • Review your remaining degree requirements
  • Explain changes on the new catalog
  • Determine if you are eligible to return to your original catalog (must have 16 units or less remaining on a past catalog)
  • Possible course substitutions
  • Give you guidance on registering for classes

You SHOULD NOT reach out to an Academic Advisor yet if:

  • You don’t know what classes you completed on your last catalog, or what classes you have left to complete on the current catalog
  • You have transcripts from another school and you want to know what Cal Poly classes you will get credit for. Evaluations are handled by Admissions and the Office of the Registrar.
  • You have not submitted a Former Returning Student Application
  • You left Cal Poly in Poor Academic Standing but your Higher Ed GPA and Cal Poly GPA were above a 2.0 (it is not necessary to meet with an advisor before applying)

Students can reach out to an advisor in Orfalea Student Services HERE.

Additional Information & FAQs

How do I find out my remaining requirements?

To confirm your remaining course requirements, you should request a Former Student Evaluation from the Office of the Registrar (see below). This is especially important if you have been gone from Cal Poly for a significant amount of time or if you aren’t sure what courses you have left to complete. Course catalogs change every 1-2 years, so the current course offerings and major curriculum could be significantly different than when you were last at Cal Poly. If you have been gone longer than 10 years, this will be required for any student hoping to return to their past catalog.

Former Student Evaluation Request (PowerForm) 

What catalog year was I on before leaving Cal Poly?

Your previous catalog year is likely the same as the year in which you were first admitted into Cal Poly. You can also navigate to your PolyProfile homepage and find your catalog year listed under “Career Program Plans”. Your PolyProfile can be accessed in the Academics tab of your Cal Poly Portal.

What should I do once I'm readmitted?

Once you receive notice from Admissions that you are being readmitted to Cal Poly, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the requirements for the catalog year in which you are being readmitted. That way, you can review what the current degree requirements would be. All readmitted students will be placed on the current catalog for the academic year they are readmitted (ex. students returning to Cal Poly in the 2021-22 academic year will be placed on that catalog).

Here are links to the catalog curriculums for each major:

Business Administration (2020-2021) Business Administration (2021-2022)
Economics (2020-2021) Economics (2021-2022)
Industrial Technology & Packaging (2020-2021) Industrial Technology & Packaging (2021-2022)

To compare the current course requirements to your original catalog requirements, please use the database of past catalogs

Can I change my catalog year?

Readmitted students have rights to change to a past catalog year if it has been 10 years or less since your last date of enrollment at Cal Poly.

Change of Catalog Form

If you are coming back after more than 10 years, please obtain a Former Student Evaluation through the Office of the Registrar to determine your remaining requirements. If you have less than 16 units to complete on your old catalog and it has been more than 10 years since you left Cal Poly, you may be eligible to move back to your old catalog. Your Academic Advisor can help you submit a petition to change to a past catalog if you are eligible.