Students walk and skateboard across a wide plaza in early fall

If you’ve previously attended Colorado State University as a degree-seeking student, we’re proud to welcome you home. We honor your individual story and know the path to a degree can take many detours.

Whether you took planned leave or are ready to try CSU again, we look forward to having you back. Your process to re-enter CSU may vary based on how long you’ve been away, your academic standing before you left, and whether you want to start a new degree or finish one.  

If you have questions before or during the application process, your admissions counselor is ready to help!

Who's a returning student?

Apply as a returning student if: 1) You previously attended CSU as a degree-seeking student and you left for at least one fall or spring semester while your degree was in progress OR you completed a degree at CSU AND 2) You want to return as an admitted, degree-seeking student to finish a degree in progress OR to begin a new CSU degree program.

When to apply

The best dates to apply for admission are based on the semester you want to start at CSU. The application opens August 1 each year for the following year’s fall semester.

We recommend that you apply several months before the start of the semester and no later than August 1.

We recommend that you apply several months before the start of the semester and no later than January 2.

We recommend that you apply several months before the start of the semester and no later than May 1.

What we need

If you are returning from a planned leave of absence, follow the prompts in the registration section of RAMweb instead of following the guide below.

If you are returning to CSU to start a new degree, your eligibility will be impacted by our second bachelor’s/post-bachelor admission standards.

If you are returning to CSU to complete a degree in progress, your eligibility will be impacted by your academic standing when you left CSU.

Requirements and materials

It’s important to know your academic standing before you start applying to return to CSU. The requirements and materials we need are based on your standing.

Good academic standing

  • If you have a cumulative CSU GPA of 2.0+, you are in good standing, academically eligible to return.
  • Your eligibility to return and to register for courses may be impacted by non-academic factors, such as holds from your prior enrollment.

Probationary status

  • If you have a cumulative CSU GPA less than 2.0 but have not been academically dismissed, you likely are in a probationary standing, academically eligible to return.
  • You will have one or two semesters to repair your CSU GPA to avoid academic dismissal.
  • If you’ve attended another institution since leaving CSU, know that successful completion of course work there will not change your probationary status or impact your CSU GPA. You should submit an official transcript for transfer evaluation purposes.
  • You are strongly encouraged to meet with your academic advisor now to ensure that you have a plan in place to support your success upon return.
  • Because we care about your success, we may contact you to offer additional support if there are concerns about your readiness to resume your academic efforts here.
  • Your eligibility to return and to register for courses may be impacted by non-academic factors, such as holds from your prior enrollment.

Dismissed status

If you were academically dismissed from CSU, you must demonstrate readiness to return through one of the two following options:

  • Repair your cumulative CSU GPA to a 2.0 or higher through non-degree enrollment in summer session, GUEST or CSU Online. You will return in good academic standing if you first repair your cumulative CSU GPA.
  • Demonstrate success through course work completed at another institution after leaving CSU. Strong candidates present 15-30 college-level credits in a range of academic subjects with a GPA of 2.5 or better and no grades of D/F or repeat/deletes. At a minimum, you must complete more than 12 credits to be considered for return.

Our evaluation of transfer work includes a variety of factors, including academic rigor, the types of courses/subjects and how well they meet AUCC and degree requirements, and trends in grades. We are looking for evidence that you’re ready for success when you return. You will return in a probationary standing with two terms to repair your cumulative CSU GPA to 2.0 if you choose this option.

You are strongly encouraged to visit with your academic advisor to determine which option is best for you based on your CSU GPA deficiency, proximity to graduation, and other factors.

Your eligibility to return and to register for courses may be impacted by non-academic factors, such as holds from your prior enrollment.

Returning applicants use the CSU application to apply; however; the application is abbreviated since we have information on file from your prior enrollment.

Choose “Returning” as your application type, and be sure you fully complete all residency prompts, even if your residency status hasn’t changed since your prior CSU attendance.

No application fee is required.


  • If you’re in the process of requesting a semester withdrawal for the remainder of this semester, wait until your semester withdrawal has been processed before submitting your application to return.
  • Create an application account as a “first-time user.” The system will recognize your email if you’ve applied using this tool before and help you reset your password.
  • If you are a current CSU student wanting to change your major to an online program, you do not need to reapply to CSU. Please fill out an Academic Program Change instead.

Only academically dismissed students are required to submit an official transcript from each institution attended since leaving CSU.

Students in good or probationary standing are encouraged to send official transcripts for work completed since leaving CSU for transfer evaluation purposes only.

How to submit transcripts

What we call a “personal statement” is also known as an essay. The personal statement is:

  • Required if you are seeking a Fresh Start. (See optional materials below.)
  • Optional but strongly encouraged if you’re in a probationary or dismissed status and not seeking Fresh Start status.
  • Optional but helpful if you’re applying to start a new CSU degree.

Your essay is your opportunity to help us understand what makes you unique beyond your grades and transcripts. It will be reviewed during your admission decision, for consideration if you apply to a competitive major, and for financial aid decisions. Check out some tips for guidance and inspiration.

The prompts you choose from are:

  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Optional materials

The Academic Fresh Start policy allows students to restart their CSU GPA and return in good academic standing while retaining credit for courses with grades of C- or better.

Generally, Fresh Start best serves students in a probationary or dismissed status who need 30 or more credits to complete their degree.

Who is eligible?

  • You must be pursuing your first undergraduate degree and
  • You must have a break of at least one years (two fall/spring semesters) since your last term of enrollment as an admitted, degree-seeking student

You’re considered enrolled in the semester if you used a semester withdrawal. Your time away from CSU starts after a semester withdrawal term.

Dismissed students can enroll in non-degree options during the two-year break and retain eligibility for Fresh Start.

How do I apply for Fresh Start?

  • Visit with your academic advisor or academic success coordinator about your eligibility for Fresh Start and its implications for graduation. Students awarded Fresh Start must successfully complete at least 30 upper-division credits in residence at CSU after Fresh Start is granted in order to graduate. In some cases, students are closer to graduation without Fresh Start.
  • Contact your admissions counselor to discuss the return process and your potential eligibility to return. Eligibility for Fresh Start does not guarantee admission to CSU.

Once you’ve had these conversations, you can request a Fresh Start within the Returning Student application. On the Personal Statement tab, simply check the box to be considered for a Fresh Start and then include a personal statement that addresses the following topics:

  • Why you wish to return to CSU.
  • Factors that support your successful return – what you’ve learned about yourself, evidence of change/success since you last attended CSU.
  • Your plan for academic success – tools and resources you intend to use when you return.

Finally, while it’s helpful to know whether you have completed additional academic work elsewhere since leaving CSU, additional course work is not required to be considered for either Fresh Start option.

You can only use one Fresh Start during your undergraduate degree.

For more information about Fresh Start, your permanent academic record, and your progress to graduation, be sure to consult your academic advisor/academic success coordinator and the University’s Scholastic Standard policy.

Please note that other institutions are not obligated to recognize our Academic Fresh Start policy and may not honor the new GPA.

We do not require a letter of recommendation for admission or scholarship purposes. Recommendations, if submitted, are not given much weight in our review.

If you opt to submit a recommendation, you may do so as a PDF or Word document attachment emailed to

CSU does not require ACT or SAT scores. If you submit scores, they will be added to your application, but they will only be reviewed if you email us at to request that they be considered.

Even when requested, scores are not given much weight in the decision. Test scores are not used as the basis for declining an application or for consideration in the scholarship award process.

How to submit ACT or SAT results

Who we look for

We are committed to helping you return to CSU. Our goal is to maintain high academic standards and provide people of all backgrounds access to higher education.

Research at CSU and across the country suggests grade point average (GPA) is the single most-predictive factor of a student’s potential for success in college. However, we know numbers aren’t the only way to understand someone’s readiness. That’s why we’re prepared to review applications holistically, meaning we may take a range of academic and personal factors into consideration.

Factors we consider

Academic standing
Applicants in good academic standing or a probationary status generally are readmitted without needing review by an admissions committee member. Applicants who were academically dismissed generally are readmitted at the point of committee review if they have satisfied Scholastic Standards requirements to return.

Additional factors
We want to understand circumstances that have impacted your course selection, performance, and involvement.

What to expect

So what does the full application process look like? See the main steps and timeline for making it all happen.

  1. Complete your online application.
    Completing the application typically takes about 30 minutes, not including the time you spend writing your personal statement and uploading supporting documents. If you have started but not finished your application, you can return to it.
  2. Activate your electronic identity.
    Within one to two days after you submit your application, you’ll receive an email with instructions to activate your electronic identity we call a NetID, which allows you to access your application status.
  3. Check your application status and email inbox to ensure your application is complete.
    Some applicants may be asked to submit more information, such as a new transcript, evidence of English proficiency, or an explanation of academic performance before receiving an admission decision.
  4. Wait for your admission decision.
    This is often the hardest part! Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Most applicants will receive a decision within two weeks after submitting a complete application with all required materials.
  5. Check your application status online or check your inbox for news and next steps.
    We will notify you of our decision via your online application status and email only. Notifications generally fall into one of these categories:

Fully admitted
Applicants who are admitted into CSU and into the program of their choice, whether you are returning to the major you were previously in or whether you requested a different one.

Fully admitted: alternate major
Some applicants are admitted to CSU but placed in an alternate major or a related exploratory studies program instead of the competitive major they requested, either because they don’t qualify for direct admission or because capacity has been reached.

Not admitted
Applicants who are not offered admission are encouraged to apply as a transfer student in the future or ask for reconsideration with compelling new academic information. Learn more about your options.


You’re ready. Start your application. (Or come back to finish it!) And reach out to your admissions counselor with any and all questions you have. That’s what they’re here for!