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San Francisco State University Application Essay Prompt

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at San Francisco State University is 68%. For every 100 applicants, 68 are admitted.

This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don't, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

The average GPA at San Francisco State University is 3.23.

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 3.23, San Francisco State University accepts below-average students. It's OK to be a B-average student, with some A's mixed in. It'd be best to avoid C's and D's, since application readers might doubt whether you can handle the stress of college academics.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.23, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to San Francisco State University. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

San Francisco State University SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 1050 (Old: 978)

The average SAT score composite at San Francisco State University is a 1050 on the 1600 SAT scale.

On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 978. (According to our records, this school requires only Reading and Math, so this score is out of 1600.)

This score makes San Francisco State University Lightly Competitive for SAT test scores.

San Francisco State University SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 950, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1150. In other words, a 950 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1150 will move you up to above average.

Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile

San Francisco State University SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 860, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1090. In other words, a 860 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 1090 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

San Francisco State University has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section."

This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.

Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.

How does superscoring change your test strategy? (Click to Learn)

For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:

Test 17003001000
Test 23007001000
Test 3300300600

Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, San Francisco State University will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1000 to 1400 in this example.

This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and San Francisco State University forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.

Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1050, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.

Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.

Exclusive: Want to learn how to improve your SAT score by 160 points?

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

San Francisco State University ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, San Francisco State University likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 21

The average ACT score at San Francisco State University is 21. This score makes San Francisco State University Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 18, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 24.

Even though San Francisco State University likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 18 or below, you'll have a harder time getting in, unless you have something else impressive in your application.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 21 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to San Francisco State University, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 21.

Studying for the ACT instead? Want to learn how to improve your ACT score by 4 points?

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

San Francisco State University considers the SAT/ACT Writing section optional and may not include it as part of their admissions consideration. You don't need to worry too much about Writing for this school, but other schools you're applying to may require it.

SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

We did not find information that San Francisco State University requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.


Auditioning at SFCM?

What you'll play, where you'll go, and who you'll talk to. Audition Day Information›

Let's get you here.

Application Timeline

  1. Spring applications and recordings due November 1 (October 15 for pre-screened instruments and disciplines) Only select areas have openings for spring semester (Contact apply@sfcm.edu before applying)
  2. Fall applications including an uploaded transcript, pre-screening recordings, and final audition recordings due December 1
  3. Two letters of recommendation due January 1
  4. Live auditions: January and February. Please see below for audition dates for your instrument.​
  5. Graduate students notified of admission by March 15
  6. Undergraduate students notified of admission by April 1
  7. Enrollment deposit for incoming graduate students due April 15
  8. Enrollment deposit for incoming undergraduate students due May 1

Required Materials for Admission

Fill out your application > 

Fall enrollment deadline: December 1

Spring enrollment deadline: November 1 (October 15th for prescreened instruments)

Application Fee

  • Non-refundable $110 application fee must be paid by credit card to submit application.
  • Late applications are charged an additional $50.
  • Current students and alumni of any SFCM program have a reduced application fee of $50.

Letters of Recommendation

  • All applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation from music instructors, preferably including the applicant's current private music teacher. Recommendations will be submitted electronically.
  • The applicant will provide the names and email addresses of two music teachers when completing the application. An email with detailed instructions for completing the recommendation will be sent to each music teacher as soon as the applicant enters this contact information in the application. 

Recommendations should be received no later than January 1.


  • Undergraduate applicants: Please submit transcripts from all high schools attended.
  • Undergraduate transfer applicants: Please submit all high school and college transcripts.
  • Home-schooled applicants: Please submit either an official transcript issued by an accredited institution, or the diploma from the GED or CHSPE. In addition, home-schooled applicants should submit the SAT or ACT.
  • Graduate and postgraduate applicants: Please submit all college transcripts.
  • International students, see here.

Please upload copies of your unofficial transcripts to your online application before December 1. These should be uploaded in the "Academic History" section of the application. If you are admitted and decide to attend, you will be responsible for submitting an original copy of your final transcripts to the SFCM Office of Admission. Complete, official transcripts are due no later than July 1. Students completing their degrees after July 1, but prior to enrollment at the Conservatory, must contact the Registrar prior to the deadline.

ACT/SAT Scores

Home-schooled applicants are required to submit official SAT or ACT scores to support their transcripts. The Conservatory's school code for the ACT is 0403; the code for the SAT is 4744. We will accept scores as official if they are listed on the student's official school transcript. All other applicants are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores.


Auditions are held both in San Francisco and regionally. While we encourage students to audition in San Francisco so that they may experience our vibrant campus firsthand, we understand that geographical logistics may present an obstacle. Local and regional auditions, along with final audition recordings, are not judged preferentially; students will receive equal consideration.

Academic Requirements for Admission

First-Year Students

  • Diploma from accredited high school, GED, CHSPE, or transcript (if home-schooled)
  • 3 years of English
  • 3 years of foreign language preferred

Home-Schooled Applicants

  • Official transcript issued by an accredited institution, or diploma from the GED or CHSPE
  • Submit SAT or ACT with transcripts.

Transfer Students

Students wishing to transfer to the Conservatory must show evidence of a satisfactory academic record at all institutions of higher education and secondary schools attended, and are required to submit official transcripts from all of them.

Transfer applicants who wish to enter at a level corresponding to their previous experience should perform repertoire during their audition that mirrors the Conservatory's jury requirements per level. For example, a transfer applicant hoping to enter as a sophomore (2nd year) flute major should perform audition pieces that mirror the Conservatory's freshman (1st year) jury requirements for flute.

Graduate Students

Applicants for the Master of Music degree and Artist Certificate programs are expected to hold a bachelor's degree in music from an accredited college, university, or conservatory. In exceptional cases, a student who has a degree in an area other than music and who has had excellent audition results and experience in music theory and history may be considered. Others may be recommended for admission as transfers into the undergraduate program. Graduate students may be able to transfer graduate credits to the Conservatory’s undergraduate program. The Conservatory will not accept any transfer credit at the graduate level.

International Students

Drawn from around the globe, our students contribute to a rich mixture of ideas, talents, customs, and backgrounds in a collaborative environment. Within a total collegiate student body numbering around 400, students hail from 35 countries and 35 states, and speak more than 20 languages. Over 30 percent of our students are international.

English Language Proficiency

Students whose first language is not English must submit either a TOEFL, IELTS score, or a certificate from ELS Language Centers in order to meet the minimum English proficiency requirement for admission to the Conservatory. Scores received from tests taken more than one year prior to the application deadline are not valid. Photocopied score reports will not be accepted. International students who have completed at least two years of full-time academic study at an English-speaking college or university at the time of application may request to be exempted from this requirement by submitting a formal request to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs by the application submission deadline for their chosen program. Exceptions to the minimum requirements will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact apply@sfcm.edu.

SFCM must receive an official TOEFL or IELTS score by February 15. Note that this score need not be a passing score. Students will have until June 1 to submit a passing score in order to be admitted.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): school code of 4744

  • Master of Music: 80 ibt
  • Artist Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma: 80 ibt
  • Bachelor of Music: 71 ibt
  • Professional Studies Diploma: 61 ibt preferred
  • Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) programs (all degrees): 80 ibt

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

  • Master of Music, Artist Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma: 6.5 IELTS
  • Bachelor of Music: 6.0 IELTS
  • Professional Studies Diploma: 5.5 IELTS
  • Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) programs (all degrees): 6.5 IELTS

English Language Services (ELS)

  • Master of Music, Artist Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma: level 110
  • Bachelor of Music: level 109
  • Professional Studies Diploma: level 107
  • Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) programs (all degrees): level 110

Conditional Admission
Non-native English speakers who do not meet the English language proficiency requirement at the time admissions decisions are made, but who have submitted a TOEFL or IELTS score or are enrolled in ELS Language Centers, may be offered conditional acceptance to their desired program. Those students accepted with this status are eligible for Conservatory scholarships and have until June 1 to fulfill the English proficiency requirements. Those who do not fulfill the requirement by June 1 will not be allowed to enroll at the Conservatory.

Intensive Summer English Program

If your TOEFL score is below our requirements but is over 65 (BM) or 71 (MM), the Conservatory offers an Intensive Summer English Program at the University of San Francisco in order to help non-native English speakers achieve the admissions requirement for matriculation. More information can be found here.

Professional Studies Diploma

International applicants to the Professional Studies Diploma in Instrumental Performance degree program who are non-native English speakers must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score at the time of application.

In order to take academic classes while at the Conservatory, non-native English speakers must meet the English language proficiency requirements outlined above for courses that correspond with a given degree level. Professional Studies Diploma candidates who do not wish to register for academic coursework will be limited to taking the following courses: ENS 200-513, HMS 210/211, HMS 212/213, IND 500, IND 600, IND 650, PRF 202-342, PRF 352-362, PVL 600, and PVL 620. Students wishing to take any other courses must receive special permission from the course instructor.


International students must also provide notarized course-by-course translations of their transcripts if the originals are not issued in English. The Office of Admission may require that international transcripts be evaluated by an organization specializing in foreign credential evaluation, such as World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (www.ece.org). Transcripts are due no later than July 1. Students completing their degrees after July 1, but prior to enrollment at the Conservatory, must contact the Registrar prior to the deadline.

Required Materials for International Students Applying for Scholarship

International applicants are eligible to receive scholarships, but may be considered for Conservatory scholarships only and are not eligible for any U.S. federal or state grants or loans. All materials are due by June 1.

Scholarships for International Students


All applicants to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music must complete an audition. See your specific area of study for more information about audition requirements.

Equal Educational Opportunity

SFCM is an equal opportunity institution of higher education and employer and is firmly committed to nondiscrimination in its delivery of educational services and employment practices. In compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, Conservatory policy prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, gender, religion, marital status, registered domestic partner status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition (including cancer and genetic characteristics), sexual orientation, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws. It also prohibits unlawful discrimination based on the perception that anyone has any of those characteristics, or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of those characteristics. When necessary, SFCM will reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities if the individual is otherwise qualified to meet the fundamental requirements and aspects of the educational program and/or safely perform all essential functions, without undue hardship to SFCM and/or without altering fundamental aspects of SFCM’s educational program. 

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