Chance a junior please! Asian female in CS

disclaimer this is my first time using cc so i apologize if im doing something wrong lol. also please be brutally honest

Demographics - texas resident, big public high school, no hooks

Intended major - CS

Stats -
SAT - 1580
ACT - 34
GPA - 4.0 UW, top 4% of my class


  • basically the hardest classes you can take at school. i mainly did this for the gpa boost but I feel like aos will see through that so rip


  • TSA national qualifier for webmaster
  • abrsm grade 8 piano passed with merit
  • some regional/state awards in database design
  • the ap scholar thing (I think that what its called)
  • some minor art awards

ECs (dont wanna be too specific because i dont want someone recognizing me lol)

  • internship as an enterprise technology intern (2 months)
  • hosted free summer coding camp: 3 weeks long, 5 hours on weekdays, taught around 20 students (9-15 years old), helped each of them develop their own personal website and taught them basic web design
  • another internship at a pretty unknown company (managing multiple websites, creating a full stack application with mysql) 1.5 years
  • red cross: lead advocate for area’s youth action campaign - created virtual event ideas and lead team, gathered 150~ participants (i actually didnt put a lot of work into this but it sounds a little bit impressive lol)
  • will be participating in machine learning research at a local college this summer, im really excited about it
  • i like sewing so i basically just sew a lot of stuff during summers and donate it to hospitals (like lovies for infants, covid masks, etc) 2 years
  • might publish an app to the App Store but its nothing major and probably won’t get many users
  • dance: dont really have anything major to show for it because a lot of plans got cancelled because of covid (3 hours a week)
  • coding projects in my free time; developed an app for a competition but didnt win rip, some fun projects in django and flask, freelance web developer for a local business, leetcode
  • im really passionate about protecting wildlife and climate change, so im part of an environemtnal club at school (minor leadership role)

probably the only significant boost to my application by the end of this year might be getting a good leadership position but thats it

schools im planning to apply to:
safety -utd, tamu
match - purdue, umass amherst, ucsd, wpi, cal poly slo, northeastern
reaches - ut austin (dream school), uiuc, cornell, cmu, ucb, ucla (also dream school), gtech, stanford for funsies, umich

obviously my list is really long right now but what are my chances? please be very honest lol and i would really appreciate advice to boost my app

UCSD and SLO are not match schools for CS with very low acceptance rates. Also the UC’s and SLO are test blind next admission cycle.

Can you pay around $65K/year for UC’s or $42K/year for SLO without financial aid?

yikes probably not. what would be some good match schools for me?

For CS and California schools, perhaps Santa Clara University where you would have a chance for merit aid. Not match schools but the Claremont Colleges such as Harvey Mudd, Pomona and Scripps.

What is a realistic budget for you and your family?

we havent really discussed a budget but our income is around ~250k. does ut austin seem like something i could have hopes for? because instate tuition is manageable

I am not too familiar with Texas schools but I do know UT Austin has an exceptional CS program so it should be a top choice as a Texas resident.

Your stats and ECs look great so far. As mentioned, all the Calif schools on your list will be reach schools just because of the fierce competition, especially in your intended major. What is your UC capped and uncapped GPA? Have you thought about your strategy for the UC essays? Fit seems to be even more of a consideration now without SAT/ACT scores to consider. My kid got into UCB but got rejected by UCSD.

@uclasimp I recommend applying for CS at USC. You have a great shot there!

Top 4% rank is automatic admission to the school, but not to competitive majors like CS. If there is no published information about admissions specifically to the CS major, it is hard to determine how difficult it will be.

This is necessary before making your application list. Any college where you need merit scholarships, not just admission, to afford it must have the reach/match/likely/safety categorization based on the large-enough merit scholarships (for larger ones, usually reach, unless automatic for stats that you have).

If you attend a target high school with lots of UT admissions, I think you’ll have a very good chance. A lady from our target HS got a 34 and 4.3 WGPA (approx top 10%) and didn’t get BME at UT. That SAT is very good and top 4% is solid. Show your passion for CS through activities and how you help others.

Uclasimp, You may want to concentrate on CMU for a couple reasons. FIrst, they are ranked higher in CompSci than every school on your list except for Stanford (on some rankings they beat Stanford). Second, and more importantly, CMU has instituted a policy that will help you. CMU has a target of 50% men/ 50% women for all its STEM majors, including CompSci. The admission rate for all majors at CMU is ~15%. The admissions rate for CompSci at CMU is 5%. Because far more men apply for CompSci programs than women, in practice this means that 2-3% of male applicants and 30% of female applicants are admitted to CMU’s CompSci program. It also means that the admissions standards for women are likely lower than for men.

The good news is that you have a far better chance of getting into the No 2 (or No 4, depending on what list you read) CompSci program in the country than you think.

The bad news is that CMU is expensive and they have a reputation for being stingy with aid. Since you are a woman with strong credentials , however, you may get financial aid because CMU is trying to make their 50/50 target. The other bad news is that Pittsburgh gets around 30 days of sun per year.

Good luck.