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First Year at Cal Poly

New Freshmen

To facilitate your transition into the University, Cal Poly will enroll you into a full schedule of classes for your first fall quarter and a partial schedule for the following winter and spring quarters. We call this effort “block scheduling.”


Fall Quarter

In early August, you will receive your fall quarter schedule. This will be a full-time schedule with a variety of classes. You will be able to access your schedule through the Student Center in Cal Poly Portal.

When we choose your classes for your fall term block schedule, we make every effort to consider your academic history (e.g., AP exam credit) and your preferences from the Cal Poly Admission survey responses.

Some of the classes you will see in your fall schedule are “major” classes (classes that are required for your major). Some are “support” classes (classes that are meant to support the material that you learn for your major; for instance, mathematics classes are considered “support” classes for engineering majors). Finally, some are “general education” (GE) classes (see General Education).

Sometime in mid-August, open enrollment period will take place. Open enrollment is when a student can add/drop/swap classes to/from their schedule. Please avoid making changes to your fall block schedule without consulting an advisor. We make very intentional efforts in placing you into these classes. If you really do believe that you have to make changes to your schedule, please talk to your academic advisor or contact the Mustang Success Center first.

NOTE: Any college transfer work that newly admitted freshmen might bring by July 15 will be taken into consideration for block schedules. Any work that is received after July 15 might take up to one to two quarters to evaluate after the official transcript has been received. Official transcripts that includes college credit must be sent to Cal Poly directly from the institution that awarded the credit; we cannot award credit for college courses listed on a high school transcript.


Winter and Spring Quarters

We will also enroll you in some classes during your winter and spring quarters of your freshman year. You will see which courses you are enrolled in a few days before the enrollment appointments begin for these quarters (see Calendars and Deadlines for exact dates). Here is how winter and spring block scheduling differs from fall block scheduling:

  1. Unlike fall block schedules, we will only place you into critical major and/or support classes for winter and spring quarters. In other words, your winter and spring block schedules:
    • Most likely will not be full-time schedules;
    • Will not include any general education (GE) classes (with the exception of GE Area A1)
  2. Ideally, each student should enroll in a full-time schedule (at least 12 units) to make adequate degree progress. So, if you receive a less than full-time block schedule, you are expected to supplement your schedule with additional classes according to your degree flowchart. You may add classes or make changes to your block schedule during your enrollment appointment. However, you should keep in mind that if you drop a class that we have placed you in, you may not be able to add it back later.
  3. Please refer to your degree flowchart to figure out which additional classes to add to your schedule for winter/spring quarters. Note: If you have credit for or have taken all of the recommended classes in your first year before the year ends, you are encouraged to choose from classes recommended for your second year. Before you choose your classes for your winter and spring terms, as well as any other future terms from here on, you are also highly encouraged to view your degree progress report to verify which degree requirements you have completed and which ones are still remaining.
  4. Just like your fall block schedule, your winter and spring schedules will reflect classes that pertain to your declared major. If you are planning to change your major or have started the change of major process, you must meet with an advisor either in your college advising center or in the Mustang Success Center before you attempt to make changes to your block schedule.
  5. If you do not see a block schedule for winter and/or spring quarters in your Student Center, this most likely means that your major has not prescribed any specific classes for you for winter/spring quarters. In this case, please use your degree flowchart and your degree progress report to pick the classes you wish to enroll. You can also reach out to an advisor to help you with this process.
  6. You will NOT receive a winter and/or spring block schedule if you have a hold on your account. You are responsible to clear the hold(s) on your account by the deadline listed in the Student Planning Calendar. Typically, students might have holds on their accounts for the following reasons:

For more information on block scheduling, Mustang Success Center Block Scheduling support page.

Newly Admitted Transfer Students

After a transfer student is admitted, Evaluations will evaluate previous college work in relation to Cal Poly requirements. Transfer students will receive an email from Evaluations that their evaluation has been completed and will then be able to access the Degree Progress Report via the Student Center on the Cal Poly Portal; they cannot access the Degree Progress Report prior to that time, nor can Evaluations provide specific information about credit prior to that time.

The Degree Progress Report will be available to transfer students prior to the date of transfer student registration in August and serves as the basis for determining remaining requirements for the student’s specific objectives. The Degree Progress Report is available throughout a student’s Cal Poly career to track progress toward the degree. More information about the Degree Progress Report

Refer to transfer support page for more information about your first quarter registration.

Course Transfer Equivalence

Transfer students attending California Community Colleges or CSUs may refer to articulation agreements on ASSIST, which equate individual courses to Cal Poly major and support courses. ASSIST also provides CSU General Education lists. For information on using ASSIST to determine Cal Poly credit, please refer to our “How to Use ASSIST?” page. Some major/support courses may need to be petitioned through the student’s major department if articulation agreements are not in place in ASSIST or if classes were taken at a private institution, a UC, or out-of-state. Evaluations will convert semester units of credit to quarter units by multiplying semester-unit totals by one and one-half.

Note: Transfer students with Advanced Placement credit must have their scores sent to Cal Poly directly from the College Board; notation of AP exams on a college transcript is not sufficient for Cal Poly to award credit. It is recommended that students do this as soon as possible, in order for the transfer evaluation to be as complete and accurate as possible, and in order to satisfy registration prerequisites.

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