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Chances for CSU, or even UC as Computer Science Major with Low GPA

carlsbadbruincarlsbadbruin Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
Hi,
My son just finished 11th grade, and his UC GPA is 3.25. The only reason it is this high is because he attends a performing arts high school and has a large number of music classes in which he received A grades (awesome musician!). However, he wants to major in Computer Science, not music, and his transcript is filled with many AP classes for which he earned a C. His weighted CSU/UC GPA as calculated on the UC site is 3.25, and his ACT on his first try was 24. Does he have a chance at San Diego State, Cal Poly Pomona, or a UC school like UC Riverside as a Computer Science major? Or should he look at schools like Sonoma State? Or is even that a reach? We are also considering WUE schools in Washington and Arizona, but since many of them don't weight the GPA like CSU/UC, we're not sure of his chances at these school (NAU, ASU Poly, WSU, CWU, WWU, etc.). I should add that our family income is too high to qualify for any financial aid (dad is a physician), and that he has a physical disability (so his essay may be compelling). Thank you for any recommendations for schools we should consider!
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Replies to: Chances for CSU, or even UC as Computer Science Major with Low GPA

  • GumbymomGumbymom Registered User Posts: 18,748 Senior Member
    If you calculate his Eligibility index for the Cal states using the ACT score of 24, it is 890. For SDSU, he needs around a 1000 EI for a solid chance. For Cal Poly Pomona an EI of 900+ should be get him an acceptance. If he can retake the ACT and get his score up to around 28-30 range, he would have a better chance at Cal Poly Pomona and an outside chance at SDSU. He should also look at CSU Fullerton, Sonoma State, Sac State and Chico State. An EI of around 850 should get him in there for CS.
    As for UCR, I would say it is a slight reach and again if the ACT can be raised, he might have a better chance along with the explanation of his physical disability which could be enough for an extra boost. Unfortunately, UC's are very GPA focused, but anything is possible with an outstanding essay and EC's. I would throw in UCSC also.

    CS is very competitive, so cast a wide net for schools and he should have some good choices in the end. Good Luck
  • GumbymomGumbymom Registered User Posts: 18,748 Senior Member
    Here are some posted acceptances/rejection stats for Cal Poly Pomona from this year. The data will be skewed since many accepted applicants will not post on this website, but it gives you an idea in what CPP is looking for in an applicant:
    Rejected to Pomona
    CSU GPA: 3.55
    SAT: 1610 / ACT: 24
    Major: Computer Science

    Accepted: Computer Science
    ACT: 31
    CSU GPA: 3.73 WGPA: 3.9
    In-state and local service

    Accepted
    Computer Science
    3.5 uw / 4.4 w
    OOS
    2150 SAT

    Accepted off the waitlist Freshman (local area)
    SAT 1690/2400
    CSU GPA W 4.12

    Here are some Stats for SDSU:
    Denied as of tonight....
    Stats:3.01 GPA UW 3.01 W
    25 ACT
    2.95 CSU GPA
    Computer Science Major

    Out of State (Washington)
    Pre-Computer Science
    CSU GPA: 3.78
    SAT: 620 M, 640 CR, 690 W
    Eligibility index: 4284

    Admitted.
    In State
    GPA:3.72
    SAT:1260 (Total:1820)
    Major: Computer Science

    Accepted for Computer Science
    CSU GPA: 3.71
    ACT: 27
    Tons of extra curricular activities and leadership positions

    Accepted
    Pre Computer Science major
    Csu 3.80 gpa
    1770 SAT
    Minimal Community Service
    5 AP's
    3 HNRS
  • carlsbadbruincarlsbadbruin Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    Thank you, Gumbymom! Your post was very helpful. We're still waiting on results from the June ACT and he'll also take it again in September. Hopefully some of the schools he's interested in Superscore.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,051 Senior Member
    Consider UC Merced as well.

    Among the CSUs, Bakersfield, Channel Islands, Dominguez Hills, and East Bay are non-impacted and the CS major is non-impacted, so he would have automatic admission with a GPA >= 3.0 as a California resident. Some other low-impaction CSUs are also likely for admission with his stats, although most CSUs other than San Jose do not publish their actual thresholds. San Jose past thresholds are listed here: http://info.sjsu.edu/static/admission/impaction.html . For fall 2015 entering frosh admissions, San Jose's threshold was 1021 for CS majors, 862 for software engineering majors (compare to the 890 calculated in reply #1). Of course, thresholds may change every year based on application demand.

    Another option if UCs and CSUs are the primary targets is to start at a community college and do well enough that his choices as a transfer will be greater than his choices likely will be as a frosh.

    Many of the schools offering WUE discounts are not that selective (they are not popular enough to need to be that selective), so some of them may be likely or even safety admissions for him. Is the price limit such that WUE or in-state UC/CSU level costs are necessary to be affordable?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,051 Senior Member
    Hopefully some of the schools he's interested in Superscore.

    CSUs superscore. UCs do not but focus on the highest single sitting score. He may want to check whether he can do better on the SAT (try a practice test at least).
  • carlsbadbruincarlsbadbruin Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    edited June 2015
    Thank you for the Superscore information! Regarding WUE, my husband and I have committed to pay for the equivalent of four years of tuition, fees, and R&B at a UC school for both of our kids (rising senior and rising junior). Any additional expenses would need to be covered by our kids (more expensive school, etc.). The younger one will likely earn merit scholarships that might make a more expensive school possible at an equivalent price to UC, but due to his grades the older one will have less options, unfortunately. The goal is no debt, for any of us!
  • NCalRentNCalRent Registered User Posts: 4,718 Senior Member
    As he sits, UCs are pretty unlikely, (even Merced) as is SDSU. As others note above, stronger test scores may open more doors.

    Sac/Sonoma/Chico are all solid programs in NCal. Sonoma and Chico are more residential. In So Cal, Northridge, Fullerton and Pomona are worth a look and probably within reach. The good news, he has lots of options. Tour a few to help him isolate what he is looking for in his college experience. College town,campus size, weather, etc.

    CS is one of the more competitive majors at many schools. He may want to apply undeclared, particularity for Cal Poly Pomona - it is pretty easy to switch during your first semester on campus.

    I love the no-debt plan. In my experience (my son goes to Chico) the cost of attendance at CSUs is somewhat overstated.
  • carlsbadbruincarlsbadbruin Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    Hi NCalRent,

    Thank you for your comments. We toured a number of schools during Spring Break and my son really liked both Chico and Sonoma State, although he had never heard of either of them before. It's good to hear that the cost may be overstated! He also liked Cal Poly Pomona, although it seemed to be more of a commuter school. We're waiting now for the results of the June ACT; hopefully he did better than the 24 on the April test.
  • NCalRentNCalRent Registered User Posts: 4,718 Senior Member
    Since my son goes there, i am biased but, as long as he's OK with the weather and location - choose Chico. It is a unique college town and almost everyone lives a short walk from campus. Sonoma has better weather but, is about half the size, is missing the integration with the surrounding community. It lacks the buzz/energy that surrounds Chico.

    Pomona is a very good school and to be fair, i haven't spent much time on campus. Most students do commute which undermines that freshman dorm, 4 year experience (if that's important to you).
  • carlsbadbruincarlsbadbruin Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    I just wanted to thank all of you again for your advice on this thread! Son is now in 12th grade and has applied as a Computer Science major to ASU (applied early and admitted!), U of Arizona, NAU, Washington State, and U of Minn (they sent him an invitation to apply for free, so why not? Great school!). He plans on also applying to SDSU, SJSU, Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Chico, CSU Fullerton, CSU Long Beach, and Sonoma State in October. If he can write the essay (I know!) he is also interested in applying to UC Santa Cruz and UC Riverside, and possibly Western Washington. He did take the ACT again in June, and received the same composite score of 24, but did up his Superscore to 25, so that will slightly improve his CSU Eligibility Index. I'll update this thread as he receives answers from these schools, so that it can be a resource for kids with similar stats and interests.
  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 Registered User Posts: 3,419 Senior Member
    I don't know about the UCs or Cal St but many schools recalculate GPA with core academic classes only
  • carlsbadbruincarlsbadbruin Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    UCs and CSUs calculate the GPA based on A-G core requirements. My son has many music courses that thankfully count in the GPA calculations. On their site (https://hs-articulation.ucop.edu/agcourselist#/list/search/5?f=), you can view which A-G courses at your high school can be included in the UC/CSU calculation.
  • carlsbadbruincarlsbadbruin Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    Son has also been admitted to NAU...
  • NCalRentNCalRent Registered User Posts: 4,718 Senior Member
    I will be curious to see where else he gets in and what he chooses.

    My Magic 8 Ball projections are SDSU, CSU Fullerton, CSU Long Beach, UC Santa Cruz and UC Riverside will say 'No' ,

    CSU Chico and Sonoma State will say 'Yes'

    Cal Poly Pomona and SJSU will accept him in an alternate major.

    I'd encourage him to include Sac State too.

    IMHO - NAU is an OK school but, simply not worth OOS (even with WUE) tuition. (Same is true for ASU and Western Wash) - especially if he plans to return to CA after he graduates.

    Good luck working through the process - write down all your portal IDs and passwords and keep them handy.

    Please post back with your experience. I hope I am wrong about at least one of my 'No' votes.
  • carlsbadbruincarlsbadbruin Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    Thank you for chancing him, NCalRent! I hope you're wrong, but you have much more experience at doing this than I do. We'll also look at Sacramento State, but it may be too much of a commuter campus.
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