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Applying as Undeclared Destroys Your Chances

g0ld3ng0ld3n Posts: 896Registered User Member
So all the college reps from the UCs that visited my high school this year said that UC's don't admit by major but instead by college (ex: Engineering, L&S) and that any major within the department has no impact on admission. As everyone starts getting back their admission decisions this year I can't help but wonder that their information is a stretch from the truth. I was told biology was extremely difficult to get into for UCLA and so I applied undeclared and was rejected yet I was very confident I would get into UCSD so I applied as a biology major anyway and sure enough easily got in. Some less qualified applicants I know of also got into UCLA for random/rare L&S majors which makes me wonder if I should have simply put one of the underrepresented majors down instead. So far I have only been rejected from UC's that I have put down undeclared L&S for out of peer rumors and simple assumptions. I did so because the UC reps that visited my high school emphasized major did not matter so I thought undeclared would not hurt my chances. Now I am wondering if applying as undeclared really does lower your chances because they hold you to a higher standard since if you gain admission you can choose your major. Anyone want to chime in on this? Does major within the department matter for admission purposes? I know the "official word" from the colleges is that it doesn't, but what is the reality? Not everything is as simple as it seems. I applied to Cal undeclared so it is worrying me slightly. Thanks in advance CC.

Note: This is not for transfer applicants, I understand that for transfer applicants the major is extremely important, but this thread applies to freshman applicants only.
Post edited by g0ld3n on
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Replies to: Applying as Undeclared Destroys Your Chances

  • woolybugger51woolybugger51 Posts: 75Registered User Junior Member
    I don't think it matters which major you declare within the college (and unless they've changed something, you can't apply to individual majors within colleges at Berkeley anyway). Some colleges are, of course, more difficult to get into than others.
  • JBeak12345JBeak12345 Posts: 452Registered User Member
    If you apply for L&S you're automatically undeclared, so applying undeclared does not affect your chances.

    However, for engineering, undeclared is the most competitive major.
  • demozdemoz Posts: 1,177Registered User Senior Member
    Applying undeclared doesn't hurt your chances. You can switch majors just like that once you get into the College of Letters & Sciences. You can apply as a philosophy major and then switch to computer science the first day you are there without having to ask anyone!
  • sandcastledreamssandcastledreams Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    i don't think that's true. i applied to UCLA as undeclared-social sciences and undeclared-engineering and applied science as my alternative, and I got in as undeclared-social sciences. and I think I was on the edge of acceptance... SATs: 2110 SATIIs: Chem-760 Lit-740 GPA: 4.55 weighted, but i have very few extracurriculars and awards. So, I don't think I was a for sure acceptance, but undeclared didn't hurt my chances
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 36,838Registered User Senior Member
    It is likely specific to each campus and college / school at each campus.

    For example, at Berkeley, all admits to the College of Letters and Science enter as Undeclared, and do not declare a major until generally sophomore or junior year after completing prerequisites for the intended major. With some majors ("capped" majors), one has to apply to declare the major. The same is true if an L&S Undeclared student wants to declare or switch to a major in some other college or school (e.g. College of Engineering or School of Business Administration).

    However, applicants to Berkeley's College of Engineering apply to a major, or Engineering Undeclared. Selectivity varies depending on which major one applies to.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 36,838Registered User Senior Member
    demoz wrote:
    You can apply as a philosophy major and then switch to computer science the first day you are there without having to ask anyone!

    Although you'll still be (L&S) Undeclared until you declare the desired major after completing the prerequisites.
  • SilvernSilvern Posts: 33Registered User Junior Member
    Applying undeclared does NOT hurt your chances within L&S. I can assure you this is completely true - Berkeley is not lying to you. Different colleges have different acceptance rates (e.g. College of Engineering and College of Natural Resources are more competitive than L&S), but different majors do not.
  • flutterfly_28flutterfly_28 Posts: 1,515Registered User Senior Member
    You got rejected from UCLA and accepted to lower UC's. It sucks, but it happens to a lot of people for a lot of reasons. Don't try to rationalize it with this made up theory.
  • pinayako58pinayako58 Posts: 95Registered User Junior Member
    phew! I feel so much more relieved after hearing this! :) I applied to UCLA and UCSD as a biology major and have been accepted to both. But I applied to Berkeley as undeclared/L&S, so I was worried that my chances would be ruined. thanks for all of the clarification!
  • Purepecha9510Purepecha9510 Posts: 126Registered User Junior Member
    Wait, so are you guys saying that the major does not matter? I'm really scared right now because I applied under an engineering major but not to the college of engineering. Or maybe I did because I simply indicated that my major was Bioengineering next to UCB. I am so confused because if it is based on major I am screwed. My stats are too low.
  • singh2010singh2010 Posts: 994Registered User Member
    Major does NOT matter for admissions to the College of Letters and Science (everyone comes in undeclared).

    Major DOES matter for admissions to the College of Engineering, College of Chemistry, probably others as well (you are automatically declared when you come in).
  • WongTongTongWongTongTong Posts: 2,734Registered User Senior Member
    Why would it matter for college of chemistry???
  • singh2010singh2010 Posts: 994Registered User Member
    Well presumably the three majors are fairly equal in their difficulty to get into, but you do have to fill out a form to transfer between them.
  • WongTongTongWongTongTong Posts: 2,734Registered User Senior Member
    So if they are fairly equally difficult to get into, why would the major you picked have any impact on your decision? Just wondering because I applied to CoC..
  • singh2010singh2010 Posts: 994Registered User Member
    Well, they probably have a limited number of slots for each of the three majors. So, for example, if by chance the ChemE applicants are slightly stronger than the ChemBio applicants, a ChemBio applicant might get in ahead of a ChemE applicant that is actually stronger. This is different from the College of Letters and Science, where they do not account for major in their decision.
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