Let's be honest, it certainly won't be easy, but its NOT impossible.
Such distinguished institutions want not only to have the "best & brightest" representing them, but also well-rounded human beings.
Having a perfect SAT score is fantastic, don't get me wrong, but you must understand that there is a committee that will look over your transcript, as well as your application that (hopefully) outlines in fine & positive detail your associations, contributions, extra-curriculars, etc.
Be sure to explain (with all that you'll be sending them) who you are, and maybe even what may have caused such a drop in the GPA. Mention the activities you've been apart of, the interests you've had (playing in a band, or participating in school-related activities/competitions), sports you were apart of, contributions you made (fundraisers, participation with non-profits, volunteer work, whatever).
As you can see, the list can go on and on.
It is also important to have GOOD solid references from distinguished individuals (though this won't always be the case, clearly, but it DOES help). Don't just get a reference letter from your resident Geometry professor, if you know what I mean. If you have friends in high places (Principal/Headmaster, etc), don't be afraid to ask them.
All these things matter and HELP when it comes to presenting yourself, so-to-speak, in front of the acceptance committe of said institutions. Your goal is to SHINE! They seek these kinds of individuals, for the most part. So, be prepared, and don't let the bad GPA get you down.
...HOWEVER! On the flip end, you could always do the whole "go to a lesser school/program" and build a foundation from there before you transfer over to the institution of your choice, but it will take a stellar transcript to do so along with everything else I mentioned. But to be honest, having a 1600 SAT is pretty good leverage if you ask me.
Competition for the Cal State system as a freshman is really tough. You might be able to get in, but maybe it won't be the school of your choice. What I recommend is to go to a community college, preferably one that has a transfer agreement with the Cal State that you want to go to. Finish your first two years at the CC and then transfer to the Cal State as a junior. You will have much less competition and your grades will be better. You will also save a bunch of money. Good luck!
I'm assuming this is a SAT score out of 2400, not a perfect score! The answer is yes. You would probably not get into one of the most competitive Cal States, like Cal Poly SLO, because only about 4% of their admitted students fit your profile, but at other schools, like San Marcos or even Fullerton, it is close to 30% of their students who get in with GPAs below 3.0. Don't get discouraged, and make sure that your senior year is a strong one!
I had a 2.8 upon high school graduation, but have been in community college for 1.5 years and now have a 3.6..so don't fret about the not-so-lovely GPA.
It's worth it to go to community college because you can get into the Cal schools easier having gone to one first and then applying as a transfer student. If you really don't want to, there are some schools that may take you, but I think the chances are slim for most.
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