Some majors at Colorado State have additional admissions requirements beyond general admission to CSU. These programs are known as competitive majors. It may feel stressful to apply to a competitive major, but it doesn’t have to. Taking extra time to research the requirements and plan ahead can push you to the top of the applicant pool. Here are some things you need to know.
What exactly is a competitive major?
Competitive majors are undergraduate programs that have specific admissions requirements unique to the program itself. In addition to being reviewed for general university admission, applicants applying to competitive majors are reviewed for criteria such as GPA, courses, and date of application.
So why are some majors more selective than others? There are a few reasons.
Some of our programs, like business administration and journalism and media communication, have limited space for new students each year. Other programs, like engineering, are highly technical and require additional academic preparation. Applicants who demonstrate their academic preparation are most likely to be successful in these majors.
How can I make sure I’m a strong applicant?
If you are a freshman/first-year applicant, your best preparation for our competitive majors is to pursue a strong, college-preparatory curriculum with the goal of maintaining your best GPA. While we regularly admit students to the university with a 3.0 GPA and above, our competitive majors can require a higher GPA.
If you are a transfer applicant, there likely are prerequisite courses for your chosen major in addition to GPA requirements.
It can be helpful to apply early. Some of our competitive majors, like biomedical sciences, can reach capacity before the February 1 freshman regular decision date and our June 1 transfer regular decision date.
Are there any special application steps I need to complete?
Within the application, you’ll be prompted to list your first-choice major. If you’re interested in a competitive major, simply select it on the application. Requesting a competitive major does not make you any more or less eligible for admission to the university generally. It’s better to communicate your interest to us from the very start.
Some of our competitive majors also require that you list an alternate or second-choice major. You will only be considered for admission to this major if you do not meet the more competitive requirements for your first-choice major.
What is the admissions process like?
All applicants are reviewed according to the same university admission standards, regardless of the major they have selected.
If you choose a competitive major in your application, we will then also review you for the specific major requirements. If you are admissible to CSU but you do not meet the requirements for the competitive major or capacity has been reached, we still can admit you to CSU in your alternate choice major or a related exploratory studies program.
Your admission letter will tell you what program you’ve been admitted to and what you can expect next.
What if I don’t get accepted into my major?
If you are admitted to your alternate major or a related exploratory studies advising track, you have options! You may find another major that’s a better fit for you. Or you may decide that you’re still most interested in the competitive major you applied to. In either case, you’ll work with an academic advisor who can help you reach your goal.
It’s possible to pursue your preferred competitive major after you enroll at CSU. Each of our competitive majors has classes and/or GPA requirements students can meet with their CSU work in order to declare a new major.
If you are a transfer student, it may be quicker in some cases to finish meeting prerequisites at your current institution before transferring to CSU in order to demonstrate eligibility through CSU courses/GPA. You can visit with your admission counselor before you apply to see if this might be a better option; your advisor can answer these questions if you’ve already been admitted.