Asian Male SF Bay Area Computer Science. Please recommend alternative majors for my list

Please suggest alternative relevant majors. Long list please recommended trimming.

Fall of 2023
US Citizen
Public High School
Computer Science

HS transcript UW Cumulative GPA since 9th grade : 3.62
Class rank not reported, probably in top 50% based on UW cumulative gpa
Rogerhub UC: UW 3.69, W 4.06, WC 3.94

SAT 1390 English 700 Math 690
ACT 29 Math 26 Science 29 English 25 Reading 35

AP Courses done (AP score)
Calculus AB (4)
Bio (4)
CS Principles (4)
CS A (3)
Calculus BC (4)

Senior year courses
AP Eng Lit
AP Stat
AP Physics 1
American Gov/Economics
Speech & Debate (since Middle school)

Sports: Hockey, Track, Cross Country & Badminton
Music: Piano (Home), Band (School)
CS Club / Hackathons
Tech / Gaming Personal projects
Summer AI Course

Essays/Prompts: Are pretty good but they revolve around EC, Sports
LOR from Science and Math teacher.

Budget: Around 35K/year can be stretched with loans

Safety: UC Merced, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal State Fullerton, San Jose State University, Michigan State University, Arizona State University, Oregon State University, University of Utah, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Pennsylvania State University

Target: UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz, Purdue University, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, University of Washington, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Hard Target: San Diego State University, Santa Clara University, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Reach: UC Davis, Cal Poly SLO, Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Long Beach, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine

Wild Card: Carnegie Mellon University, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Southern California, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

I unfortunately think your list is overly optimistic. I can’t speak to the CA schools but Minnesota is not a safety from an OOS applicant interested in CS and Purdue, UIUC, and UWash are all reaches. Not targets.

Run the net price calculators for the schools on your list and cull any school that doesn’t come in at budget. That will help you eliminate a lot of schools and streamline our list.


Your subject asks for alternative majors. Do I understand it correctly that your first choice is a CS major, and you are looking for suggestions for major options to put on your applications as a 2nd choice?

If you want to do a CS major, some of the schools that you listed are extreme reaches. For example, UW Seattle’s posted acceptance rate for OOS CS applicants is only 3%. You can probably cross that one off the list, as you will be competing with many extremely strong applicants.

For San Jose State, are you in its local area? Computer related majors at this school are highly impacted and I am not sure if even a local student could gain entry with a weighted capped GPA under 4.0. You might be able to get a better sense by calculating your impaction index. Here is more information: Freshmen Impaction Results | Admissions

I agree with @momofboiler1 that the first step should be to run net price calculators for the OOS and private schools. It’s best not to plan to stretch your budget with loans. Some of the schools you listed are extremely expensive.


SJSU CS is a reach with a 3.94 weighted capped GPA, since the most recent threshold was something like 4.35 (HS in Santa Clara County adds 0.25).

However, many other majors at SJSU are much less selective. Software engineering may be less selective than CS, but not that much less selective. Look for SJSU impaction results on the web.

UC Merced is highly likely.

Arizona State University should be a safety if you can afford it (check its scholarship estimator). Take me a look at its admission criteria for the campus and CS major on its web site.


It’s true that there are many other less selective majors, but software engineering is not one of them. It appears to be more selective than CS, unless I am misunderstanding the impaction results?

SJSU software engineering has a higher threshold, but it is one of the majors with the 400 * math_GPA (CS does not use this) added onto the base 800 * GPA number.

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Oh, that’s a good point. Thanks!


What is your current career goal? Knowing that would help folks give you other ideas for a major instead if computer science.

What courses interest you the most in school?


IMO, if you want to do CS, apply for CS at schools where you will be more competitive. If you are trying to gain admission and then transfer into the CS major later, that rarely works. Most competitive entry programs don’t have many (or any) flexibility for non majors to transfer in later.


Penn State and MN are not safeties.

Purdue, UIUC, and Washington are beyond reaches for you.

Look at Arizona in addition to ASU.

Edit. I missed the budget. Oregon State is WUE.

You likely need to stay in state or hit an inexpensive school like Southern Illinois or UAH.

Penn State most like will be unaffordable at $50k/year. They’re not very generous with merit or FA. Same with a lot of out of state public schools.

Maybe look at majoring in MIS? It can be housed in the business school.

For affordable schools out of state with a 35k budget, you might look at WUE schools:

Examples of some schools that offer a WUE scholarship or discount:

  • U Utah: 150% resident tuition for students with 3.3+ UW GPA
  • Washington State U: 11K scholarship annually for students with 3.4+ UW GPA
  • U New Mexico: “WUE Plus” students with 3.0+ GPA pay NM resident tuition
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@sera3 cluld you please clarify what you want to know here? Folks are giving you alternate suggestions for colleges…but your title clearly states you are looking for alternatives to majoring in Computer Science.

If you are looking for alternate majors, could you please answer my two questions…

What is your current career goal?

What courses do you enjoy?

Congratulations on getting this far! You’ve got an interesting collection of extracurriculars and I’m sure you will end up at a good school where you can major in CS, or whatever other field you are interested in. You have a lot of schools on your current list, and you’re right that it needs to be trimmed.

You need to have your family run the Net Price Calculators (NPCs) at each school you’re considering to see if the school’s Expected Family Contribution is something that your family is willing and able to pay. If they’re not, then the school gets trimmed off the list.

In order to minimize some of the time with the NPC calculators, I suspect that these schools could be eliminated.

  • Extraordinarily Unlikely – Not worth the effort: All your Wild Cards, plus U. of Washington, UIUC
  • Unlikely to be affordable if accepted: Penn State, U. of Wisconsin, & Purdue

As others have mentioned, U. of Minnesota is not a safety. It would probably be a target or hard target, as you term it.

I don’t feel comfortable chancing on the California publics, but @ucbalumnus or @gumbymom have statistics on acceptance rates and GPAs, and I suspect that for CS, a number of your California publics are miscategorized.

If you’re looking for alternative majors, what are you interested in? Would you like to attend grad school, or do you hope to finish with your Bachelor’s? Are there particular areas of the country where you would like to live or types of areas (rural/urban, etc)? Do you want a job where you’re primarily behind a desk/computer, or do you want to be out of an office or being more physical (and it doesn’t take much to be more physical than a desk job!). Any additional information you can provide would be helpful in suggesting additional majors you may want to explore. Also, note that it could be a good thing to find a school where you’re not locked into the major you declare on your application and that you can change majors with relative ease. Few seniors in high school know exactly what they want to study, and many of those who think they do end up changing their minds in college.

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For UCs, the following may be useful, but you should assume that CS will be more difficult than the overall campus.

Recalculate your HS GPA with GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub . Use the weighted capped version for the table below.

Fall 2021 admission rates by campus and HS GPA range from Freshman fall admissions summary | University of California :

Campus 4.20+ 3.80-4.19 3.40-3.79 3.00-3.39
Berkeley 30% 11% 2% 1%
Davis 85% 55% 23% 10%
Irvine 60% 31% 14% 1%
Los Angeles 29% 6% 1% 0%
Merced 97% 98% 96% 89%
Riverside 97% 92% 62% 23%
San Diego 75% 35% 5% 1%
Santa Barbara 73% 28% 4% 1%
Santa Cruz 91% 81% 46% 9%

These are for the whole campus. Different divisions or majors may have different levels selectivity (usually, engineering and computer science majors are more selective).

Your UC list should include Merced, Riverside, and Santa Cruz. All of the others should be considered reaches for CS.


Based on CPP’s MFA it could be a Hard target for CS if you have additional points from being First Generation and your EC’s (specific points not listed). Freshman Student Profile

UCSC would go into the Reach category. Plenty of applicants with a 4.0+ capped weighted UC GPA which were denied or waitlisted. Although the CS admission rate for UCSC was high in 2021, 2022 was very tough.

Below some CS admission rates I have complied for the UC and CSU campuses which had data listed.

SDSU 2021 admit rate for CS 48%. Applications by Major – Analytic Studies & Institutional Research

Cal Poly SLO CS had around a 9% acceptance rate for 2021 admits.

UCLA admit rate for CS in 2021 was 8.3%

UCB’s admit rate for the College of Engineering was around 7%. If applying for EECS, it was 4.5%
CS in the College of Letters and Sciences was 2.9%.

UCI’s 2021 admit rate for CS was 7.1%. Undergraduate Admissions | Office of Institutional Research | UCI

UCSB admit rate for CS 6-8%

No specific Data for UCSD OR UCD.

UCR 2021 admit rate for CS was 37%. Admission: Undergraduate | Institutional Research

UCSC 2021 admits rate for CS was 71% Admissions Funnel

If you are looking for alternative majors/CS-related, then Data Science has become a popular choice. Also Math-CS or Software Engineering.


Alternative majors if that is what you wanted.

MIS at SJSU/Santa Clara. Technology Information Management at UCSC. Integrated Business and Engineering at Purdue.

Can we get this pinned for all CS threads?

Thanks. Will move them. I rather wait for what a school offers.

Looking for alternatives closer to CS field. Local for SJSU.