Have your sights set on one of Cal State’s 23 campuses? You may not need to take the SAT — but you might want to anyway. The university says on its CSUMentor site that students who are residents of California and who have a high school GPA of 3.00 or higher are guaranteed admission.
But they don’t say to what campus. If you have a specific one in mind, you’re encouraged to take either the SAT or ACT. Even then, CSU will only look at your scores on the Critical Reading and Math sections. That means ACT takers won’t need to write the optional essay. (I suppose it also means SAT takers can nap a bit during their test — though I’d never suggest doing as much.)
Some campuses have higher standards than others. San Francisco State, San Diego State and San Jose State are said to be “impacted” because they have more applicants than available spaces. Other impacted campuses include Fullerton, Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, San Diego, and Sonoma.
Majors, too, can be impacted. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, for example, is currently impacted in all majors. Only popular majors are impacted at other campuses, but qualifying students are granted admissions in an alternate major, or they may eventually be admitted to the oversubscribed major if they meet the supplementary admission criteria. To see the supplementary criteria specific to your campus and major, check out CSUMentor’s impaction info page.