Chance CA student for Data Science/CS with mid GPA

White male , not applying for financial aid

US Citizen

  • State/Location of residency: (state is important if you apply to any state universities)
    Northern California
  • Type of high school (current college for transfers):
    competitive public high school (top 200 usnews)
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity (optional):
    White, male
  • Other special factors (first generation to college, legacy, athlete, etc.):
    Intended Major(s)
    Data Science, CS for colleges without

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.65
    ( Sick during last month of school, caused grades to drop in second semester sophomore year )
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system): 4.12
  • UC GPA ( uncapped )*: 4.17
  • Class Rank: school does not report
  • ACT/SAT Scores: 1520 (780 math, 740 verbal)

(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))
AP LIt, Alg2 Trig Honors, AP Calc BC, AP Stats, AP Phys 1, AP Phys C, AP comp sci principles, APUSH, AP World History, Community College Course

Ap Scholar
Johns Hopkins Award

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

  1. Internship at Startup based in Oregon
  2. Internship at non profit - helped build app which used database to connect chapters with local shelters in need
  3. Varsity Swimming 2 yrs
    4.Research at University of Nevada Reno
  4. USSF Soccer Referring ( Employment )
  5. VP of service club

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

Essays - 8.5/10
LOR Stem - 9/10
LOR AP World history teacher - 10/10
LOR counselour - 8/10

Cost Constraints / Budget

None, cost is not an issue

(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)

  • Safety (certain admission and affordability)
  • Likely (would be possible, but very unlikely or surprising, for it not to admit or be affordable)
  • Match
  • Reach

Current List:
Reaches: Purdue, Umaryland, UW Madison, UCSC

High Targets: Texas A&M, Penn State, VAtech,

Safeties: CSULB, SJSU, Cal Poly Pomona, ASU, U of Arizona

Please suggest some more high target/reach schools for me. I am fine going to any of my safety schools, so I would like to shoot for more reach/high targets.


Note that all three admit to first year undeclared engineering, but have secondary admission requirements to enter the CS major afterward. Texas A&M secondary admission to CS is probably the most difficult, since it is unlikely to have space once the applicants meeting the 3.75 automatic admission college GPA are admitted.

SJSU is not a safety for CS. Threshold for admission to start CS in fall 2022 was equivalent to a 4.35 weighted-capped GPA (local area applicants got the equivalent of +0.25 GPA).

CPP is not a safety for CS. Threshold for admission to start CS in fall 2022 was equivalent to a 3.976 weighted-capped GPA.

ASU is a safety, since you appear to meet automatic admission requirements for the campus and CS major.

UA is a safety since you appear to meet assured admission requirements. However, you would only enter as a pre-CS major, so you need to meet CS secondary admission requirements after starting college.


my reported residence is in the local area for sjsu

What is your weighted-capped GPA?

Note that the CSU version is slightly different from the UC version: a semester college course counts as two courses and two grades for CSU, but one course and one grade for UC.

What is your Capped Weighted UC/CSU GPA? GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub

Are you local to SJSU, CSULB or Cal Poly Pomona:

Based on last year’s impaction threshold for CS, you would need a 4.35 CSU capped weighted GPA to be competitive. SJSU is not a Safety unless you meet the impaction threshold from last year: Computer Science- 3480. See information in another post.

Average CSU admit GPA for CS at CSULB 2021 was 3.98.

For CPP, you are looking at minimum CSU GPA of 3.98 for a chance at CS.

Any of the other UC’s such as UCI/UCD/UCSB etc… would be Reach schools for CS or DS.

Best of luck but you need to re-evaluate your safety schools.

Calculate your CSU GPA and then your SJSU impaction Index as follows:

### 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

Since you’ll be happy with Arizona and ASU, no more are needed.

Here’s a list of well thought of schools in Data Science

You only list big schools but schools like Rochester are worth a shot. And lots of the Big 10 schools plus LACs like Macalester and Dennison could happen.

What have your AP scores been?

Also, what kind of college experience do you want? Is a big state school your preference, as that’s primarily what you’ve listed? Are there any experiences or activities you’d like to have while at college? Any dealbreakers?

The CSUs won’t ask for details about your extra curriculars but the other schools will.

Is this a book award? If so, and you are going to include it on your applications, refer to it as “Johns Hopkins Book Award.” If it is a Center for Talented Youth award, refer to it as that.

Can you tell me a little about this? What type of research? Was it a summer program? Did you live with family?

Likewise, can you tell me about these internships and what you did? Was it related to data science or CS? You mentioned that refereeing was employment. Were these internships volunteer positions?

What course?

I would look at schools that are direct admit vs competitive admit as @ucbalumnus pointed out. A school like Pitt fits the criteria. If interested apply ASAP.

I’m also not a fan of data science degrees. Too new and no standards. It’s a combination of math, business and CS. Each college has a different philosophy and place them in different schools. Stick to CS, Math, Stats or Industrial Engineering and a major/minor in business. Just my opinion.

Look at Industrial Engineering. Georgia Tech’s ISyE concentration in data analytics is a pretty good benchmark. S20 is at GT and I’m very impressed with the ISyE program.


Ga Tech is unlikely for this student.

Is there a “like” school that would be a target - i.e. a school with a “like” program.

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If OP looks at the coursework necessary for an industrial engineering degree and thinks that is what he would want, then here’s a list of ABET-accredited schools for IE, most of which would be accessible to OP.

For our California public university gurus @ucbalumnus and @Gumbymom, how competitive is industrial engineering as compared to CS? Cal Poly SLO, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State East Bay, Cal State Hayward, San Jose State, and UC - Berkeley appear to be the only California publics offering a major in industrial engineering.

I wasn’t suggesting GT to OP. I was only pointing out to use their ISyE program as a guide for looking at Data Science programs. You get a degree in IE. Your focus could be Data. Also, kids don’t always know to look in the engineering school for DS. Many times they think it’s under CS or business.

It’s a small differentiation but I would rather see a candidate with a BS in CS, Math, Stats or Industrial Engineering with a focus on Data Science vs a BS in Data Science.

DS is a new degree with unknowns. I’m pretty confident an IE has met a certain level of math proficiency and coding. Same with CS. Not sure about a pure BS in DS. It could vary from school to school. I would have to research.

It’s one reason Pitt fell off the list for S20. At the time you had to work with three different schools within Pitt to cobble together a DS type degree. And part of it was just a certificate. I think they’ve cleaned it up since then.

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Cal Poly SLO IE is a much easier admit than many of the other Engineering majors with over a 50% acceptance rate based on 2021-2022 target projections. That said, OP would need to calculate his SLO GPA which is different than the CSU GPA. SLO uses 9-11th a-g course grades with a cap of 8 semesters of Honors point for UC approved Honors, AP/IB or DE courses taken 10-11th grades. The middle 50% GPA range for admitted students in the College of Engineering for 2022 was 4.17 – 4.25.

For Cal Poly Pomona, IE only had a 2950 MFA (CSU GPA x 1000) +450 threshold to be competitive for the major and IE is not impacted.

SJSU’s impaction threshold for IE was 3120 for 2022 admits. Being a local applicant along with a much lower Impaction Index than CS, IE was probably a solid Likely school.

Cal State Hayward = Cal State East Bay which is a non-impacted campus and Engineering is not impacted so could be a Likely school.

UCB would be a High Reach and not worth applying.

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Thanks for your constant willingness to share your awesomeness, @Gumbymom! And thanks for letting me know about Hayward = East Bay. I knew there were a lot of Cal States, but I was definitely thinking that one was new to me!

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One school (Pitt). Three different ways to get a degree in Data Science. Very confusing.

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