Chance an RSI CS major for HYPSM reaches

CS major/Asian male/Competitive area/No hooks/No life💀

rank numero uno
16 APs/4 Dual Enrollments
1580 SAT (790/790)
I’ll probably be getting the highest GPA ever at our school, but also important to note our school doesn’t have any honors classes (so itll be like 4.0 uw/4.70 w)

Our school itself actually isnt that competitive though (1900+ students but only 2 MIT/4 stanford admits in last decade)


  1. RSI
  2. 25+ hr/wk paid internship at fortune 50 tech company
  3. First authored published ML paper with state school prof
  4. Organized district-wide STEM activities for 700+ low-income students at multiple schools (Also received district award for this)
  5. Middle school math director for 200+ students
  6. Initiated STEM workshops at multiple city-sponsored homeless shelters
  7. Organized tutoring service for large homeless nonprofit (23 locations)
  8. CS club pres: hosted hackathons, taught lessons, created app for school ASB
  9. Math club pres: hosted several outreach events, school team won regionals
  10. Tutoring club pres: made tutor management website and tutored 4 kids


  1. 1st place in state CS competition from large company (200+ teams)
  2. USACO Gold
  3. 2x aime qual, amc 10 dhr
  4. google code jam round 3 qual
  5. top 20/40,000 in cybersecurity comp


CS Teacher: Read letter of rec (when applying for summer programs), talked about good learning skills in class and leadership during clubs. Also mentioned my internship/research.

AP english teacher: Had a pretty great interview to get to know me, probably wrote about my goals to use CS to help the marginalized

I’ll try to get my RSI mentor to write a LoR as well (or my other mentor as backup)

Personal essays: I’ll probably reuse my RSI essays so i think theyll be decent

Schools (The most important part here lol)
(HYPSM+; ranked based on priority; honestly fine with any of them)


  • MIT (top choice by far)
  • Stanford
  • UC Berkeley
  • Princeton
  • Harvard
  • Carnegie Mellon
  • Cornell
  • UIUC
  • Georgia tech
  • UCLA
  • UDubs
  • Northwestern


  • UCSD (is this a target school?)
  • UMich (also unsure if target for oos)
  • UC Irvine
  • Purdue
  • Cal Poly SLO
  • UCSB


  • SJSU
  • UC Davis

How are my chances for top schools, specifically MIT and Stanford? I don’t have as many crazy awards as other RSI admits and also have a lot of antihooks going for me as well. It’d be great to see these chances as a percentage of likelihood.

Congratulations on an impressive resume.

Here are the CS admit rates for some of the Cal states and UC”s. Some of your targets would be Reaches and I would calculate your Impaction index for SJSU which may not be safety. Also UC Davis is not a Safety but a Target.

I would calculate your CSU and UC GPA’s and remember that they are test blind.

CS admit rates if available

Campus CS Game design
Berkeley 2.9% L&S EECS: 4.5%
Davis No data but <20% N/A
Irvine 5.8% 10%
Los Angeles 3.8% N/A
Merced 85% N/A
Riverside 36% N/a
San Diego No data but <10% N/A
Santa Barbara No data but <10% N/A
Santa Cruz 60% 42.4%

SLO CS admit rate: 9%
SJSU CS admit rate: 31%

SJSU Impaction index threshold for CS: 3440

### Impaction Consideration Factor ### Impaction Point Calculation Value
A-G Grade Point Average (GPA) 800 points x A-G Coursework GPA
Local Admission Area 200 points
Eligible for Cal State Apply application fee waiver 40 points
Military Status (Active Duty, Veteran, National Guard or Reserves) 40 points
First Generation (Applicant is first generation of their family to earn a four-year college degree) 40 points
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Not a target. Move this into the reach category.

Only a target if you apply EA.

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If you want to continue your CS research consider UT Turing program and College of Creative Studies at UCSB. The advantage to both programs is your application may be read by a professor in the department, allowing your internship and published paper to be understood to a greater degree than the traditional application reader.

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You really need to humanize yourself to improve your already reasonable chances.
You should have your recommenders write about your interest in your community, mentoring, kindness (MIT especially cares about this kind of stuff).
Really they should want you on campus because a) you are a wonderful human being, and b) you are an interesting human being with intriguing perspectives on life and things that others would benefit from, and c) maybe you will change the world in a positive way.

MIT has maker energy. They seem to prefer that profile.
HYP tend to like kids that have a footprint in the humanities, and would benefit from the school in more ways than one.
S is a bit more quirky – I don’t know. Maybe you need to show that you are entrepreneurial and quirky.

Also wouldn’t hurt to write essays on non academic stuff. To open up and show more of who you are. Perhaps by highlighting an experience … Also showcasing good/engaging writing skills in the process.

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Agree with this. You are clearly a superstar, but you will be competing against many other superstars…How to set yourself apart? Humanize yourself, show that you have a soul, compassion, thoughtfulness, a sense of humor, weird hobbies, whatever it is that makes you human rather than a nonstop work machine.

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Paging @hebegebe who might be able to provide additional chancing insight.

You will be a good candidate at just about any school, however nearly all the schools on your list are extremely competitive for admission, and/or admission into CS. What is your budget? And what state are you from? Your state may influence your chances, and if a school is not within budget or has the potential to be via merit aid, then it’s pointless to apply there.

You might consider a school like Rensselaer Polytechnic, Rochester Institute of Technology, U. of Rochester, or Worcester Polytechnic as some schools that would be highly likely to grant you admission.

Out on vacation so can’t respond in detail, but traditionally RSI students do very well in terms of admissions, and at a quick glance I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t be true here. I will look at this more carefully in a few days.

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Back from vacation. I know it’s been a while since the first post, so I don’t know if @giga1 will see this.

But in terms of elite college admissions, RSI has traditionally been close to a lock, with the typical Rickroid (as RSI attendees are called, in honor of the founder of RSI, Admiral Rickover) getting 3+ HYPSM admittances. The OP says that he has far fewer accomplishments than other RSI attendees, and that may reduce chances. But barring bad recommendations or essays, I still think at least one HYPSM admittance is likely. And since RSI itself is a holistic admission process that requires essays and recommendations, I think the OP has that under control.

But likely doesn’t mean 100% which is the reason that matches and safeties are important. It appears you are from California, so I suspect that some of the UCs will be safeties, so I think you are set on that. Given that the UCs are of high quality, I am comfortable with what you have listed as targets as you have a range there of what others might classify as low matches to low reaches.

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Parent of a former Rickoid here.

While most applied to more than 3 HYPSM schools, and certainly could have been accepted to 3+ of them, them - at least as of 2016 the stats seemed to be about 70% admit rate at schools where the students used one of the three RSI official Recommendation letters.

Either way, the odds are darn good - and make RSI about the best single boost to admissions success for those hoping to be accepted on pure academic merit.

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