UC GPA UW/W: 3.7/4.22
Major: Cognitive Science

AP Classes/Grades/Score:
AP Biology: A, A (5)
AP World History: A, A (4)
AP English Lang: A, A (5)
AP Calculus AB: C, B (4)
AP Chemistry: C+, C (3)
AP U.S. History: A, A (3)
AP Literature
AP Calculus BC
AP Microeconomics
AP Government
AP Psychology

-11 years of piano; performed Mozart’s “Turkish March,” Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” and Chopin’s “Nocturne Op.37 No.2” at concert hall
-Animation hobby for 7 years (three-time film festival winner)
-Media Manager of Boys Team Charity nonprofit
-Lifting weights for 2 years (sculpted physique)
-Student Advisory Board Member for film festival
-Writer for a student hunger organization
-Art skills

-International Youth Silent Film Festival Finalist and 3rd Place Global Winner
-AP Scholar with Distinction Award

I’m aware that my grades aren’t perfect and my extracurriculars are lacking. I will be very happy (and pleasantly surprised) to get into any UC school. Realistically do I stand any sliver of a chance or will my C’s and subpar AP scores hold me back? Be brutally honest.

Recalculate your HS GPA with GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub . Use the weighted capped version for the table below.

Fall 2021 admission rates by campus and HS GPA range from Freshman fall admissions summary | University of California :

Campus 4.20+ 3.80-4.19 3.40-3.79 3.00-3.39
Berkeley 30% 11% 2% 1%
Davis 85% 55% 23% 10%
Irvine 60% 31% 14% 1%
Los Angeles 29% 6% 1% 0%
Merced 97% 98% 96% 89%
Riverside 97% 92% 62% 23%
San Diego 75% 35% 5% 1%
Santa Barbara 73% 28% 4% 1%
Santa Cruz 91% 81% 46% 9%

These are for the whole campus. Different divisions or majors may have different levels selectivity (usually, engineering and computer science majors are more selective).

Here are the 2021 admit rates for Cognitive Science/Psychology for the following UC’s:

UCI: 38% for Cognitive Science. Admits into the University first then into the Major. Alternate major should be listed.

UCSC: 68% for Cognitive Science. Admission not by major. Proposed major is listed during the acceptance but still need to declare.

UCR: 35% for Psychology (no Cognitive Science at UCR). Neuroscience had a 85% admit rate. UCR admits by major.

No major specific data for UC Davis, UC San Diego or UC Santa Barbara.

UCSD admits into the University first and then into the major and will consider an alternate major if listed.

UCD admits into the Department within the College of Letters and Sciences.

UCSB admit rate of College of L&S social science was around 22%. Average UC capped weighted GPA for overall campus admits was 4.36.
Choice of major is not considered in selection to the College of Letters and Science. The exceptions to this rule are dance and music performance majors.
In the College of Letters and Science, students are admitted to a major or a pre-major. If admitted to a pre-major, the student must meet additional requirements at UCSB prior to being in the full major.

Cognitive Science has many different emphases. Are you more interested in the AI side of Cog Sci or the neurobio side?

UCSB does not have an undergraduate cognitive science major. They have a biopsychology major in the department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

If you are considering healthcare, it can be difficult to enroll in your pre-healthcare courses as a cognitive science major at UCI. The College of Biological Sciences website states, " If you are not a major that requires the Bio Sci course you are requesting to enroll in, or if you are attempting to enroll to repeat the course, you will be held to the major and repeat restriction lift date and your request will be processed to be ready at that point."

I’m more interested in the Neurobiology side of Cognitive Science. I want to become a neurologist but if I eventually decide not to follow the med school route, I would either consider another career in the neuroscience field (e.g. research, tech development) or enter the AI field.

I’m applying for the biopsychology major at UCSB.

For UCI would you recommend selecting a different major? Some of my AP scores might cover the med school prerequisites.

Many medical schools do not want you to do that. See FAQ Pre-med courses, AP/IB/etc. credit and college/DE courses, etc.

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If you are considering med school, it might be easier if you choose a major in the College of Biological Sciences at UCI. They do have a neurobiology major. The College of Bio Sci at UCI has many school requirements, including calculus and chemistry.

Thank you for these helpful stats.

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I will try that but do you think my grades may not meet the admissions standard for a neurobiology major?

Also, do I seem to have a chance at UC Davis cognitive science?

ucbalumnus and gumbymom are better at chances than I am. You do, however, need to calculate your UC GPA as gumbymom posted above. When you have that, share it and they can give you a better idea of your chances at the different schools.

UCI’s 2021 admit rate for Biological Science was 35%.

Edited: I forgot to list UC Merceds 2021 admit rate for Cognitive Science which was 92%.

Chancing is difficult especially since none of the posters can see the complete application picture. You have not posted your 3 UC GPA’s which can give you an idea of your overall campus chances. Here are my opinions based on the profile you have presented and the major specific data I have listed. 2022 was a very unpredictable year for the UC’s along with 2021 but the admit rates for the majority of the UC campuses decreased in 2022 so 2021 data can give you a ballpark but not an absolute.

UC Merced is Very Likely
UC Riverside is Very Likely for Neuroscience. Psychology will be a much tougher admit.
UC Santa Cruz and Davis could be Target schools.
UC Santa Barbara and Irvine are probably Low Reach schools
UC San Diego will probably be a Reach school.

@dhilan: Looking over enrollment data for UC Davis, the number of Cognitive Science majors enrolled has grown from 167 in 2016 to 612 in 2021. Also Cognitive Science is in the top 6 most enrolled majors within the College of Letters and Sciences.

If you are looking at Neurobiology at UCD, then it is the 2nd most enrolled major in the College of Biological Sciences with Biology in the #1 spot.

I thought NPB (Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavoir) was the most popular major in the College of Bio Sci at Davis. At least that is what it says on the NPB website.

On the Aggie Data total enrollment summary for 2021-2022, the data shows 2124 enrolled for Biology and 1608 enrolled for NPB.

I guess the different departments will chose whichever data point makes them look better. :smile: In “Details of Degrees Awarded” for 2021, there were 363 grads in Biological Sciences and 518 grads in NPB. Either way, both are very popular majors.

I believe Cognitive Science was a new major at Davis in 2016.

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My UC GPA is 4.22

Would you recommend I apply to UC Davis as a Neurobiology major or Cognitive science major? I’m most interested in neuroscience but I don’t know how difficult it is to be admitted to that major.

What is more important, studying your area of interest or attending UC Davis? I always advise that an applicant should select their first choice major when applying to the UC’s.

If you are pre-healthcare and choose cognitive science as your major, you will need to stay on top of healthcare pre-reqs in addition to GEs and major requirements. Many students do it but they are organized and speak to health professions advisors early to make sure they are taking the correct courses. UC Davis does not restrict pre-healthcare courses to specific majors or colleges.

For example, Cog Sci with a neuro emphasis requires, a year of biology, calculus and physics. It does not require chemistry, organic chemistry, anatomy, microbiology and other courses that one might need to take for graduate programs.

UC Davis has a good Health Professions Advising website. To view requirements for med school, click on medical school prequisites. You can view requirements for other professions by choosing the Health Professions tab at the top. Choose your profession and then choose the blue box titled, “Resources and Helpful Links” on the right side. For example, prereqs for PA programs

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