Chance me for UC's, Harvard, Stanford, and others

US Citizen

  • State/Location of residency: Alaska
  • Type of high school: Medium-Sized (1200ish students?)
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity: Vietnamese Male
  • Other special factors *: Being from Alaska?

Intended Major(s)
CS, Econ
GPA, Rank, and Test Scores
3.95UW, 4.3W, UC GPA: 3.96UW 4.46W 4.29W&C
Test Optional

  • Class Rank: 5/296

9th: French II, PLTW Intro to Engineering, Biology I, Geometry, Honors English I, Ancient Civilizations, Alaska Studies
10th: French III, APWH, Chemistry I, Algebra II, AP Seminar, Honors English II
11th: AP Chemistry, AP Physics 1, AP Calc AB, Honors U.S History, Precalculus, AP Lang
12th: AP Econ, AP Calc BC, AP Stats, English IV, Pottery, U.S Government, Calc AB Peer Tutor
4’s on all AP exams

National Honor Society
School District Academic Letter
UA Scholar (Top 10% of class)
AP Scholar
Honor Roll
Calculus Club Leader- Tutor students weekly, roughly 4hrs/week, around 25 members
Math Outreach Program - Part of a group of volunteers that hold study sessions for various math classes, usually the upcoming days before their tests
Food Bank of Alaska Volunteer - 100+ volunteering hours
Key Club - 20+ volunteering hours
Had a summer job at Target
JV Tennis for 2 years
Family Translator, I translate for my mother and her business
Airplane Pilot - 30 hours logged, working on license

Essays - 8/10, Wrote about passion for teaching and love of math
Calc AB Teacher - 8/10 Took calc ab and precalc with her, currently aiding her calc ab class
Econ Teacher - 7/10 On good relations, just not as close with her
Counselor - 8/10 I go to him pretty frequently and I feel that we know each other pretty well

Cost Constraints / Budget
Cost is not much of an issue

UC Berkeley

I‘M curious why you’re chancing at that particular set of schools. What do they do at those schools that you like?

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I can’t chance you, but all of the schools on your list are reaches for CS. Maybe UCI a match (what major did u apply to at each UC?) What are your UC GPAs? GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub

Being from Alaska makes you geographically desirable, but CS is a competitive major, and a number of your schools have admit rates in the single digits (Harvard, Stanford, Penn,UW CS).

Did you apply to any other schools than the ones you named? Have you received any acceptances/deferrals/denials yet?

I strongly encourage you to apply to some schools that are matches for your stats, as well as at least one, ideally two, affordable safeties. The UCs will cost around $67k/year…is that affordable for your family?

What’s your safety? All those schools are reaches for CS. Remember that UC schools have to give priority to CA students by law.

Overall, you seem like a typical applicant. Your piloting experience could be interesting. What’s your motivation for doing this? Is there a goal beyond just learning to fly? Other than that, I am not seeing anything here that makes me feel that you have a higher chance than another Alaskan applicant.

Being from Alaska might get your app a bit more of a look. You need other options too if majoring in CS is the goal.

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I think you are competitive for UCI and UCSD if you applied as an Econ major. I can’t chance CS.

Other than a passion for teaching, what else did you write about in your PIQ? Your piloting experience, living in Alaska, family translator and food bank could add to your application if you expanded on them in your essays.


@splendidlmao The UCs are test blind, but being test optional isn’t good at Harvard or Stanford for CS where a majority of successful applicants are going to have near perfect scores. TO applicants can try and balance that out by shining in another area, but to be honest I don’t see that from your write up.

Have you applied for (or expressed interest in) different majors at each of these colleges?
I’m not really seeing a theme that ties all these together except name recognition. Would love to hear where else you’ve applied.

I agree, your list is pretty reach heavy. I’d add a few more accessible schools. It looks like USD, is still accepting aps…

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The UC’s are going to start limiting the # of OOS admits to increase the # of in-state spots available. That said, you do look competitive but CS and Econ is an impacted/selective major for the majority of the UC campuses. For a school like UCLA, you are looking at an 8.3% acceptance rate for CS and a 13% acceptance rate for the College of Letters and Sciences (Econ acceptance rate not broken out since you are admitted not by major).

Below are some 2020 admit rates for the campuses of interest. 2020 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 4.20 or above capped weighted and not major specific:

UCB: 37%
UCLA: 38%
UCSD: 78%
UCI: 60%

Also remember that UCI and UCSD admit into the University first then into the major, so hopefully you submitted an alternate major you would happy to pursue.

UCSD/UCI are target schools. UCB/UCLA are Reach schools. Affordability will be important since UC’s offer no need-based financial aid and very little/limited merit aid.

Best of luck and I also agree that you need to a couple of safe schools on your list.

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This is what I was wondering also. I do not see a safety on the list.

Alaska is a WUE state. I would look closely at the WUE schools.

Is $70,000 per year or more okay with no debt at all?

Given that you are in Alaska, I might also be tempted to consider universities in BC or Alberta. UBC, Simon Fraser, U.Victoria, U.Alberta, and U. of Calgary all come to mind as possibilities. Admissions tends to be more stats-driven in Canada, and your stats are very good.

I am assuming that UW means Washington. However, Wisconsin is also very good for CS, but also is not a safety since you are out of state.

I got into my safeties already, was just wondering about chances on schools that have decisions in march-april. Thanks everyone



I am feeling a bit guilty since none of us quite answered your question, so I will take a guess.

Harvard and Stanford do not admit by major, so being a potential CS major will not hurt you. However, the majority of applicants have stats that are not much different from yours, and I am pretty sure that the majority of students accepted to these two schools were either #1 or #2 in their high school. I would put both as reaches.

I am pretty sure that UC Berkeley, UCLA, and U.Washington do admit by major, and CS is a tough major. Again I would put these as reaches.

The other UCs seem more likely, but others would know better than I. I would expect that you would be full pay if you are accepted.

I do not know much about USC.

U.Penn looks like another reach to me.

Which I guess is sort of what most of us are saying – these are mostly reaches. Fortunately since you are already in at your safeties you can relax and see where else you get accepted to.

I like your extracurricular activities. It looks to me that you have done what you want to do, and done it very well. This is exactly the right approach IMHO.

CS is a very employable major, and after a year or two no one will care where you got your bachelor’s degree. Math and economics go very well with CS in my opinion (I was a math major who took a fair amount of CS and some economics courses). To me it looks like you have been doing very well up to now and you are likely to continue to do well wherever you end up.


Getting into CS for out of state students is ridiculously difficult. The acceptance rate for CS for OOS was 2% at the University of Washington last year. The top California schools wouldn’t be easier (I don’t know exactly as we are in state).
The UCs admission is “holistic” so it resembles the privates now. Numbers are not enough - they want top ECs in the selected major. They cannot consider race in admission by law but it is more difficult to be accepted if Asian.

That’s some useful information. I had a question, and it’s fine if you don’t know the answer, but my dad lives in Washington, so would I qualify for instate at UW? I’ve heard that it’s much easier to get into cs at UW if you are considered an instate student

You will be considered a Washington resident if your parent has been a bona fide state resident for at least a year and claims you as a dependent on tax returns:

Great. Thank you for the information. Will the admission office notice this and consider me instate if I applied as out of state?

If you applied as a nonresident, I think they will assume that is true. If you qualify as a resident, you should contact admissions with supporting info and request your application be changed to reflect in state status.

Thanks, if they do approve me for instate, this makes UW one of my top schools. How much do you think this would affect my chances at UW CS?

Last year’s UW CS acceptance rate for in-state students was 27%, OOS 3%, so a dramatic difference. Freshmen by the numbers | Office of Admissions

I don’t think you will qualify for in-state residency: Residency Requirements - Office of the University Registrar

Definitely talk to someone at UW too, good luck.

ETA: Here’s the Residency Office info: Residency Contact Information - UW Seattle Students - Office of the University Registrar

I think those requirements apply to a student establishing residency for themselves. The link I included above indicates a dependent student can establish residency if their PARENT can establish a bona fide domicile and also claims them on tax returns.

Makes sense.

OP…do you know which parent is claiming you on their tax return? Only one parent can…some divorced parents alternate years regardless with whom the child lives, some don’t. Find that out, and best to speak with someone in the Residency Office ASAP.