Californian HS senior here: what do you think are reasonable targets and safeties for my stats?

~3.8 UW and ~4.3 W, 1500 SAT and no good SAT subject tests so far. 10 or 11 years of music and a business endeavor from earlier this year, scattered musical and academic awards, most of which were received within the first year or two of high school. 5s on Calc BC, English Language and Comp, French, and Micro, 4 on Macro. Taking AP U.S. History, U.S. Gov, Env Science, English Literature and Comp, Statistics, and Psychology this year.

What is your intended major? Budget? UC GPA?

Intended major will make a difference on college recommendations along with college budget.

What are you looking for in your college experience? Large/Medium/Small schools? Private vs. Public? Sports/Greek life?

Interested in continuing with your music in college?

Do you have at least 1-2 safeties? Local Cal state?


Cal states are test blind this admission cycle and UC’s are currently up in the air regarding submission of test scores.

@Mwfan1921 Hi, thanks for replying! I’m pretty unsure about my major, but I’m thinking of doing business and something in science/tech–either double major or major and minor, respectively. My family doesn’t qualify for financial aid, but I don’t think tuition fees would affect our choice very much. According to a GPA calculator, my UC GPA is 3.92 unweighted and 4.58 weighted.

What is the capped weighted UC GPA since this is the GPA most commonly reported on the UC Freshman profiles and the Capped weighted UC GPA = CSU Capped Weighted GPA.

@Gumbymom Hi, to be honest I’m not too picky about what I want out of my college experience except that the time spent on learning was worth it (so good profs/resources/opportunities and a safe campus). (Major above.) No preference on size, undergrad population, priv vs. public, sports, or music. And yeah, I’ve heard that California’s public universities are shifting focus way away from test scores. I guess those aren’t nearly as important as GPA, essays and extracurriculars this year

weighted and capped GPA was 4.25

You have worked hard and are well qualified for most of the schools in CA. Since most of them offer a good education but a widely varied student experience, taking some time to visit several and narrow down what you are looking for in your college experience. Giving it time now probably make you a happier and more successful student in the future.

good luck

If you are interested in Business, then only 3 UC’s have Business schools for Undergrad: UC Berkeley, Irvine and Riverside. If you are interested in Econ, then the other UC’s are also good options. All the Cal states offer good Business majors with Cal Poly SLO, San Diego State and Fullerton having respected programs. For privates, USC, Santa Clara and Stanford are exceptional.

One important factor is costs. Are you eligible for need based aid or are you looking for merit or both?

Plenty of colleges where you will be accepted so start with identifying some safeties and build from there.

Yeah, the private ones are the famous ones but I’ll definitely want to look into the mentioned UCs, Cal Poly SLO, SDSU and Fullerton more to see how I like them before I apply; thank you so much for the suggestions!!

Here is some more information regarding admit rates for the UC’s but remember these are not major specific:

2019 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 4.20 or above capped weighted and not major specific:
UCB: 38%
UCLA: 35%
UCSD: 71%
UCSB: 73%
UCD: 84%
UCI: 55%
UCSC: 85%
UCR: 97%
UCM: 98%

**2020 UC capped weighted GPA averages along with 25th-75th percentile range: **
UCB: 4.22 (4.13-4.30)
UCLA: 4.25 (4.18-4.31)
UCSD: 4.18(4.04-4.28)
UCSB: 4.17 (4.03-4.27)
UCI: 4.11 (3.96-4.26)
UCD: 4.11 (3.97-4.25)
UCSC: 3.94 (3.71-4.16)
UCR: 3.88 (3.65-4.11)
UCM: 3.68 (3.40-3.96)

Below is how the UC’s admit Freshman so sometimes going in Undeclared may make it difficult to change majors later.

Division (L&S, CNR, CoC, CED, CoE) matters for admission selectivity.
Within CoE (but not the other divisions), major matters for admission selectivity. Changing majors within the CoE after enrolling is not guaranteed, unless one is CoE undeclared.

    Note that L&S admits students as undeclared; admission to capped            majors (e.g. CS, economics, psychology, ORMS, statistics, art practice,         and a few others) is by college GPA in prerequisite courses (and                portfolio for art practice) after attending for a few semesters.

    The business major is in a separate division and admits students in a       competitive holistic process. Frosh intending business majors begin in      another division (usually L&S), take the business major prerequisites,      and apply (usually in their second years). They also need to take               prerequisites for a backup major in case they are not admitted to the       business major.

Alternate majors not considered.


  • Freshman Selection:
    UCI admits into the University first and then into the major. In the case that UCI is unable to accommodate all qualified applicants in their first-choice major, those students who indicate a valid alternate major may be offered admission in that major or Undeclared.

Admission by major but alternate/2nd choice major will be considered if applicant does not need their first choice admission standards.

For Business: Freshmen students must apply to Pre-Business under the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS). The College breadth requirements and the prerequisites for a Business major are completed during the freshman and sophomore years. An application is submitted at the end of the sophomore year. Upon acceptance, students become Business majors and are then advised in the Business Department. Students from any academic major may also complete a Business minor.

For the Cal states, they admit by major so you would need to research the change of major policies for each campus if you change your mind later.

Cal Poly SLO does not accept Undeclared so you do have to select a major upon applying and they also use 9-11th grades for their GPA calculation with a 8 semester Honors cap for 10-11th grade courses that are approved. Most CSU campuses do not consider alternate majors which includes SDSU and CSUF. SLO rarely considers an alternate major so if unsure, submit an alternate major as a backup.

@Gumbymom Cool, those are all pretty insightful details; thanks so much!

Because UCLA does not have an undergraduate business school, UCLA’s business econ, which is competitive, is an good alternative to a business degree at a UC. Many well known companies hire UCLA business econ majors.

Of the privates mentioned above, Stanford does not offer an undergraduate business or business econ. degree. In Stanford’s website: “Stanford does not have a pre-business major. A major in any one of the humanities, social sciences, or sciences, perhaps supplemented with a minor or a wise selection of business-related courses, can be excellent preparation for a career in business.”

Both USC and Santa Clara University have good undergraduate business schools.

Like UCB Haas, USC Marshall is a top 10 to 12 ranked undergraduate business school in the country. Prestigious consulting and investment banking firms recruit heavily at UCB and USC as well as at UCLA and Stanford. UCB, USC, UCLA and Stanford are high ranked national universities and are targeted schools for these elite firms (Goldman Sachs, Black Rock, Big 4 accounting/consulting, Big 3 consulting, etc.). Additionally, these schools also have good tech departments which you considering a major or minor in. As you are aware, the acceptance rates of these schools are a lot lower than the other mentioned schools.