California public school kid


  • US domestic *
  • State/Location of residency: * CA
  • Type of high school *: CA public
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity : Indian American male
  • Other special factors *: N/A

Intended Major(s) : Statistics/Applied-Math/Econometrics/DataScience + Music (double major if available or major/minor)

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores :

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.75 total, 3.72 acad
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system): 4.25 total, 4.28 acad
  • College GPA (for transfers):
  • Class Rank: Not known
  • ACT/SAT Scores: 1500 SAT

(AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes, AP/IB scores for high school; also include level of math and foreign language reached and any unusual academic electives; for transfers, describe your college courses and preparation for your intended major(s))
Completed: Comparative Gov, CS Principles, Euro History, CS-A, Calc-AB, Stats, Music Theory
Senior Year AP: Physics, Gov, Lang
College courses (summer): UCSC - Microeconomics, Intro Python, International Relations


  1. Claudette Sorrel Piano competition fellowship
  2. Indiana University Summer Piano Academy “Ludwig von Beethoven scholarship award”

(Include leadership, summer activities, competitions, volunteering, and work experience)

  1. Music
  • Somewhat serious classical pianist - haven’t won major competitions yet but performed with local orchestras and has a good repertoire
  • Somewhat serious mirudangam performer (south indian classical percussion instrument)
  1. Soccer Analytics
  • Volunteering with an Ivy League college soccer team to crunch event data to help support different analytics views
  • Volunteering for a UK based semi-pro soccer team similar to above

(Optionally, guess how strong these are and include any other relevant information or circumstances.)

  • Personal statement story ties in his excitement of soccer and piano in a unique way

Cost Constraints / Budget
(High school students: please get a budget from your parents and use the Net Price Calculators on the web sites of colleges of interest.)
Private affordable

(List of colleges by your initial chance estimate; designate if applying ED/EA/RD; if a scholarship is necessary for affordability, indicate that you are aiming for a scholarship and use the scholarship chance to estimate it into the appropriate group below)
USC, NYU, UMich, CMU, Tufts, Cornell, UWash, Rice, UC’s,

  • Safety (certain admission and affordability) : Univ of Indiana, Purdue, UWisc-Madison
  • Likely (would be possible, but very unlikely or surprising, for it not to admit or be affordable) Mich, Tufts, NYU, USC, UWash,
  • Match
  • Reach Cornell, Rice

For the UC’s, you cannot list a double major for admission so which major(s) will be his first choice and possible alternate choice for the UC’s that will consider it?

Below is the 2021 admit rate table for the Capped Weighted UC GPA calculation. The new information for 2022 admits should be available end of January/February.

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%

You are a very accomplished applicant so apply widely especially since the UC’s are test blind. If music is the first choice major, then auditions will weigh heavily in the UC decisions which makes it more unpredictable.

Best of luck.


How confident are you that the University of Wisconsin is a safety out of state with an unweighted 3.72 or 3.75 GPA? I might guess that it is a match, but I would not have thought that it would be a safety. I do not know Indiana or Purdue much so I am not sure.

I think that some of your likely’s are also really matches. The University of Washington is quite good for both math and music.

Do you have any safeties among the various Universities of California? Your in-state system is excellent, and would be much more affordable for you. Since the Universities of California are not allowed to consider race in admissions, being Indian should not hurt your chances in-state.

The people who I know who are music majors are very dedicated to music. In contrast, the people I know who are math or CS majors often have a very diverse set of interests, and many of them are also quite good at music (I have seen at least three of them surprise me by getting up on stage and playing when I did not expect it – in one case I was also about to get up on stage and play but of course I knew this in advance). I do wonder whether just majoring in math and doing the music on the side might be more practical.

As an applied math major I did take one econometrics course in graduate school and liked it a lot. There is quite a bit of math in econometrics but I am guessing that you already know this.


USC, Tufts, Mich, and NYU are probably reaches for an applied math major that doesn’t have Calc BC, only a 3.75 UW, and is an Indian American Male.

I don’t think Purdue is a safety.


Congratulations on the accomplishments! Unless the class rank is high(top 20% at least) the unweighted gpa is likely going to make the schools you have listed as matches become reaches, and the reaches are quite a longshot. It really depends on the school: 3.75 unweighted can be around average at some schools, top10% at others. A candid conversation with the college counselor is in order to see what the estimated rank is. Even if schools do not rank, they often list gpa-range breakdowns on the school profile that is sent to colleges, so colleges usually can figure out estimated rank.


Thank you Gumbymom. First choice major is likely to be Data Science or Information Science or Statistics or Applied Math. He has a strong enough repertoire to apply for music major (Bach Well Tempered Clavier 885, Beethoven Sonata #16 all movements, Chopin Scherzo #3, Chopin etude 10-4 etc.) but it’s something he would only do if it is a reach school where he could potentially either minor in data science or do some kind of Music+X like in CMU.

DadTwoGirls, thank you. Among UC’s, I want to think Davis and Irvine could be quite doable. If he were to get into Berkeley or San Diego, he would certainly pick one of those over other privates. Let me update the list. With regards to Wisc, I put it in safety because they like his high school (15+ kids going there this year) and his sister studies there and got in with a lower GPA but better SAT.
Neela1, thank you. He could take Calc BC in senior year… my only experience for the bucketing was his sister’s admissions and waitlists. Would love to hear your thoughts on appropriate targets.
2Devils, will ask his high school counselor about estimated rank or gpa distribution. His Bay Area high school is a USNews top 100 school and as such very highly competitive. He may be in top 25% in his HS. His unweighted is not that great but he did have a pretty rigorous course load.
We are quite eager to hear community wisdom - want to find a great match for him… prestige isn’t the driving factor. He thinks he is a big school guy (10K+).
Would also love to hear views on possibly taking a gap year to focus a bit on his passions - piano competitions/recordings, soccer data analytics projects to help out teams etc., get a bit more mature (he is one of the youngest in his class) in his views etc.

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If he likes big schools, Ohio State could be worth a look. It has a particularly good Data Analytics major, and the school of music offers both a double-major-friendly BA and a performance-oriented minor.

Syracuse U has an actual Sports Analytics major Sport Analytics Major -, and it’s pretty good for performing arts as well. I’ll bet they would love his profile, and offer merit.

If he likes NYU and Tufts, I would think BU should be on the list. Good place for combining music and STEM, and more of a sports culture than either NYU or Tufts.

What foreign language has he studied? Would a gap year abroad appeal?

I’m a Rice parent and like the school a lot, but not sure it’s a great fit here. In addition to being a very high reach for his stats, it doesn’t offer as much to non-major musicians as many other schools, plus it doesn’t have the size and sports culture that he wants. I’d say that if he is willing to commit to a conservatory performance major and could get in via via that route, then adding the math/data science academics once there would be an option (BM students can switch to a BA if they want a more flexible program with an additional academic emphasis), but the other way around is not so accessible.

UMich could be a great fit if you don’t mind the price tag, although, like all of your “likelies” I think it’s more in the high-match/low-reach range. USC seems like exactly what he’s looking for, too - very double-major or minor-friendly for musicians.

Also look at WUE schools. Check out the Honors College at U of Utah, for example. Very good music (probably better than UC) and strong in his other areas of interest as well. Great sports culture. Could be very affordable, between merit and either WUE or the path to residency.


Your son sounds like a great candidate. I love the music/statistics interest that he has developed. I’m not so sure he should take Calc BC as a senior since he has Calc AB already. I’d advocate for AP Stats. It’ll probably be an easy class for him but will tie in to his interests rather well.

Another university worth looking into is Case Western. They have a double degree in music and science/math etc. One of my kids’ friends who is very talented both musically and academically is headed to CWRU for a double degree in music and chemistry (I think).

Good luck to him!


Thank you very much aquapt. Great thoughts - I will look at Syracuse and OSU. His foreign language is Spanish - gap year is certainly on the table… since he has interesting projects in piano and in soccer data that he could do, this is something we will talk about.
Interesting perspectives on Rice - understood your point about his stats and the list… he had a bit of a hard time this past semester due to a couple of issues that brought his GPA under the 3.8’s… these inputs help us to recalibrate. UMich has a very good music program and your thoughts about applying as a performance major and then adding data science classes is something we also talk about. Will explore that some more. Agree that USC will be an awesome place if he can get in.
Thank you!

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I agree with Neela1, I think he needs BC calc for the reaches especially. It looks as though he has already had STATS, as it is under completed APs? What is the math plan if not BC Calc?


Thank you Teleia. I was indeed looking at CIM-CWRU 4+1 program (Cleveland Institute of Music + CWRU). I am not sure if his piano is CIM level good - so I will look at CWRU’s music program as well. He is not fully convinced yet if he wants to go all-in for piano perf. So, his diverse interests makes it a bit hard but we are inching towards a strategy.
Agree with you about BC… I was saying that could be an option if Applied Math would like to see BC on his transcripts. He took AP Stats in junior year.
Thank you and I will look at the options you listed.

2Devils. Yes he took AB and Stats in Junior year. The only Math option in his school left for him is BC. Alternatively he could do something in one of the local community colleges but that creates schedule complexities. Personally I wouldn’t mind BC - reinforcement of Calc is not such a bad idea for a kid that’s interested in data science… but I don’t know if his head is there as well.

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I would have him look at Indiana University. They have Stats and Data Science. They are big on Sports marketing. And their mens soccer team is 3rd in conference (above WI). They have a fabulous music school- Jacobs.


Thank you 2plustrio, Jacobs is actually where he is these next couple of weeks. He certainly plans to apply there - they do have a good data science and informatics program. Both Luddy and Kelley give him good options indeed. And great to know about their soccer team.

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You may want to look at cal state Long Beach, as they have good academics and a good conservatory.

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Rice has gotten a lot tougher to get into since my kid applied in '13. On the other hand, a lot of blue-state applicants are having second thoughts about going to Texas for college, given recent developments, so it’s possible that the competition might ease a little for those who are still interested.

The optimal application strategy will vary by school; the Music Major forum here can be a great source of info, even if your son isn’t sure he wants to pursue a performance major. For Rice specifically, applying to Shepherd could be the best bet, because the more double-major-friendly BA is only available to music majors who start out in the BM program and then switch… plus, the importance of the audition could shift emphasis away from his (very good but not high for Rice) GPA. And Rice is an “open door” school major-wise, so there are no barriers, once in, to pursuing any non-music field of study he wants (except architecture).

OTOH, there are probably schools where there are barriers to adding or switching into a major like data science/analytics, and conversely there are schools where adding music as a secondary pursuit isn’t so difficult, so you really have to assess the situation at each school.

Have you looked at Cal Poly at all? Maybe he could expand their analytics team into soccer! They have good music programs, and I know of students who have double-majored. (And even if a double-major required a few extra quarters, it wouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg.)

I agree that Calc BC is the way to go if he wants anything math-related. There’s some repetition, but that will lighten his load a little in the fall when he’s doing applications, and then he’ll cover a whole additional semester of college calculus by the end of the year.

Santa Clara could be a good close-to-home school to have on the list. They’re solid in all of his areas of interest and make it pretty easy to double-major in music and math or other quantitative major. And they have a strong D1 soccer program. A reachier option with many of the same virtues would be Notre Dame.

Indiana does seem to have the whole package; it’s great that he is making connections there. Maybe he can also reach someone in the Sports Analytics group while he’s there? - beINvolved


Honestly, most all the likelies on your list are reaches. In this test-optional environment, your child’s GPA is on the low side for those schools. I’d read all the admissions decisions for many of these schools you have on your list. So many extremely high stats kids have been shut out. Do you plan to ED anywhere? That may help at some of these schools. I’d definitely expand the list and look at other schools.


The likelies you list seem like reaches for the stats in RA. Perhaps if you applied ED to one of them, it would make it a likely.


Some of the music programs listed here are conservatory level within a university. BU, Indiana, U of MIchigan, Rice, Tufts…it’s not easy to double major in anything and music. In addition, when you add the audition piece to these programs, these schools all become reaches, because his audition will be compared to the others auditioning on his instrument and you have no way of knowing the strength of those others doing auditions relative to him.

Have you considered Lawrence? They support double majors and that includes music.

If he really wants to double major in music and anything else, he needs to find colleges that actually support this type of double majors. The conservatories within universities don’t make this easy to do, in my opinion.

My daughter is a Santa Clara grad who played in their orchestra for four years, and took private lessons as well. If you would like, I can message you about this.