Backdooring into CALS
theseconddavid, you are exactly right. The admissions counselors can see right through students who apply to the smaller majors in order to get into the more competitive ones. Applying to a major that you are not truly passionate about will put you at risk for not getting into CALS at all because the admissions office is looking for students who are truly passionate and a good fit for their intended major. If you apply to a major that you are not passionate about it will show through in your application materials ie. the classes you have taken, your extra-curriculars, your essay(s), etc. Your best bet is to be honest and apply to the major that you want, don't lie and try to backdoor in.