- Gender: Male
- Race/Ethnicity: East Asian
- Location: South Bay Area
- Type of School: Competitive Public School, UC feeder
- Income: Upper middle class, $300k+ (full-pay)
- Hooks: NONE
- Intended Major: Computer Science
Intended Major(s): Computer Science
ACT/SAT/SAT II: 1540 SAT (790 M, 750 ERW), one try
UW/W GPA and Rank:
UW: Projected 3.88/4.4 (Extenuating circumstances during Sophomore COVID year + hard upward trend)
Rank: No Rank, probably top 10%
2 Honors courses (Honors Chemistry, Honors Algebra 2)
13 AP’s (AP Euro (4), AP CSP (5), APUSH, AP CSA, AP Calc AB, AP Calc BC, AP Physics C: E&M, AP Stats, AP Macro Econ, AP Micro Econ, AP US Gov, AP Comp Gov, AP Lit)
- AP Scholar with Distinction (projected)
- Debate regional champion (Public Forum)
Extracurriculars: (Deliberately vague)
- Debate: Have been doing this since 5th grade, multiple regional awards
- Nonprofit: I run a humanitarian nonprofit which works in China helping people do well in the Gaokao, I have raised over $50K
- Software Engineering Intern: Worked in the summer at a startup
- Robotics Team: Leadership role for programming, helped the team get top 10 in NorCal
- Volunteering: 60 Hours across various organizations
- Debate Teacher: Work at a private camp and I teach younger children debate over the summer
- Summer Program: I was admitted and am planning to attend a prestigious summer camp (<20% acc rate)
- Consultant: Worked as a consultant for a food company, taught many people Java and helped them build a high quality website
- Teacher Assistant: I teach at my local churches Sunday School
LOR 1: English teacher projected 9/10, I know him very well and we talk often before/after class
LOR 2: Debate teacher projected 7/10, We have known eachother for a while but I am not sure if he will write an amazing LoR
Cornell (probably ED)
Cal Poly SLO
University of Washington
No safeties because I will enroll at De Anza and transfer if I get rejected everywhere.
Based on how things played out for fall 2022 cycle it’s going to be tough. Positives for you are num of APs and ECs relevant to CS, SAT will not help as most universities are test optional. Also since you mentioned your school is a UC feeder you would be evaluated with your own school peers and if you are in the top 5% of potential CS applicants in your school then u will have some chance with UCs. Being Asian may make it more difficult as the top universities are now going after “equity “ in their applicant pool. It’s going to be tough for CS but expect few UCs.
Being a parent who went through this whole admission cycle this year, your list is pretty good. My daughter applied to most schools you have listed except the top few ivy leagues.
Why wouldn’t you choose to apply to Stanford REA and do all other public OOS in EA so you can lock something and apply to all ivys in Regular? Also add UCD and UCSC to your list to be a little complete. With the way UC admissions were this year, I would highly recommend that.
Also focus on your essays, this is very important in the current climatic conditions of hollistic approach. Another 2 cents from me is to improve your SAT score by another 30 pts, that can offset your GPA a bit. CS by itself is such highly impacted major in public in-state and OOS schools. Good luck for your application this year.
Congratulations on your hard work and accomplishments. Now on to the college search adventure!
Your list is composed of many very selective schools, and CS is one of the most selective majors to get into because there are far more people who want to major in CS than there are spots. I believe the U. of Washington only allots 3% of its CS seats to out-of-state students. There are several other schools on this list where the overall admissions rate isn’t much higher than 3%. I definitely think you have a chance at getting in at any university on this list. Unfortunately, however, the odds are very small for ALL students, no matter how well qualified. Most of these schools could fill the entering class over multiple times and still have the same stats; there are simply far more qualified applicants than there are spots.
Is Cornell truly your first choice school? Or is it a school where you think you would gain the biggest ED advantage? I will say that you are extremely blessed that you have a family willing and able to pay $80k/year for your college education. Only ED at a school if it is truly your first choice.
I suspect that the California publics will be your best chance for admission, but even those are extremely competitive to get into for CS (and many other majors). Does De Anza have a TAG program where you are guaranteed a transfer to a UC in computer science if you meet the requirements? How competitive is it to get into CS as a transfer? (I am honestly asking; I do not know.) Perhaps @Gumbymom or @ucbalumnus might know?
What is it that you are looking for out of your college experience? Are you purely looking for vocational preparation to enter CS? Or are you looking for what some consider the “traditional” residential college experience of living in the dorms? Do you want to continue debate or robotics in college? Do you want to live surrounded by others your age, or do you want to live in a mixed-age community (like your neighborhood)?
If you’re simply looking for vocational prep and don’t care about other aspects of college, then your plan of going to community college and then planning to transfer is just fine (assuming that CS transfers are doable). If that’s not the experience you want, however, I urge you to consider some likelier schools for admission. If you need any help with that, let the community know.
TAG is described at Transfer admission guarantee (TAG) | UC Admissions
How competitive each UC campus and major is can be seen at Transfers by major | University of California .
UC’s and CS have been tough admits for all students this year. UC’s are test blind and only use 10-11th grades for their GPA calculations which could be an issue with a less than stellar Sophomore year. At the end of Junior year, calculate your 3 UC GPA’s using the following link and repost: GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub
Plenty of UC capped weighted GPA 4.2+ applicants for CS that were either denied or waitlisted at several of the UC’s this year and last.
You are definitely a competitive applicant so make sure you spend time on the UC activity section and the personal insight questions to give the schools a complete picture about yourself and your Sophomore year issues.
Only 2 UC’s accept TAG for CS: UCM and UCR so if you end up going the CC route just be aware. UCLA and UCB TAP are other CC options but hopefully it will not come to that.
Wishing you the best of luck.
Edited: CS TAG for UCSC discontinued for Fall 2022.
This year has been extremely hard to get into UC’s CS program. We have people getting into Brown, Wash U St Louis, Rice for CS and totally rejected or wait-listed in UC’s including UCSC, UC Riverside. These are high stats kids.
Your choice but if you want the four year experience, why wouldn’t you expand this list ? You can accomplish your cs goals from many places beyond this very tight and reach heavy list.
UCLA/Berkeley should be good (lots of bay area kids - heavily meritocratic), the rest nah, low chance. Pure CS majors hardly do well unless they are hooked (female, URM) or have USACO Camp
- Stanford is too close to home and I am only planning to apply because my parents forced me to. Plus their REA boost is pretty low
Thanks for the SAT advice
Is there any way to become “hooked?” Should I take a gap year and move to Wyoming or another underrepresented state? I am seriously considering this if my new residence is what counts and not where my HS is.
Ok, using the Transfers by Major site that @ucbalumnus provided, this is what the chances look like for CS transfers:
With an 8% acceptance rate to Berkeley’s CS program and a 4% acceptance rate to UCLA, the odds are small. UC Santa Cruz is the best shot at 49%, followed by UC Riverside at 40%, and then UC San Diego at 24%. UC Santa Barbara was the other UC campus on your original list, and that has a 9% transfer admit rate.
With a degree in computer science, you will have job prospects regardless of where you attend college. Prestige is your issue…not that of future employers.
I do have to ask…do you think your future employers will be more impressed with an applicant who attended a four year university from the get go…or one who choose the community college route?
The community college to four year transfer is fine for someone who really needs that. You don’t.
My opinion…find some great colleges with CS programs where you will have a good chance of acceptance as a HS senior. They are out there.
I have talked with some recruiters in the industry and from what I have heard they do not care if an applicant went all 4 years to the university or transferred from somewhere else
If you are asking this…you are not a hooked candidate. And NO there is no way to become hooked…well…unless you win an Olympic gold medal or something like that.
The only hook that you as a student can apply your own effort to getting is doing well enough in a sport of interest to a college for the college to want to recruit you as an athlete. Other hooks are generally attributes inherited from your parents (e.g. legacy) or based on something your parents do (e.g. giant donations).
How would you feel if you don’t get a transfer acceptance at Berkeley or LA?
What happens if you get to a prestigious place (university or job) and don’t like it? Or what if you’re at the prestigious school and others are getting the plum research positions and internships, and you’re not? Is doing something or living somewhere that you don’t really like worth it simply because you know there are thousands of others who think they want to be in your place?
You have hooks.
- You’re a male with a good GPA and strong SAT scores. MANY universities are becoming increasingly gender-imbalanced, with more females than males (60% or more females at colleges that are coed).
- You’re Asian. There are many schools that do not have an abundance of Asians and would love to attract more.
- California’s a populous state that sends many students to other states. But think of some less popular states…how many Californians are they getting?
- You’re full pay. Your family is willing to pay sticker price for you to have the desired education.
If you want to find schools where your chances are likelier, where your hooks will give you bigger advantages, let us know. It’s just that for the most part, you’re not interested in universities that would be interested in your hooks.
Purdue and some of the UCs are plausible.