Chance me? UC universities/elite schools

I’m a rising senior from SoCal applying to colleges this fall and would like to know if UCB, UCLA, and UCSB are more high match/reach schools for me. My dream school is Cal. I’ll apply under L&S Political Science to all three schools- recently I’ve become interested in Computer Science but I hear that the Schools of Engineering across these schools are highly competitive so I’ve been discouraged from applying as a CS major. Any feedback/advice you may have for me is greatly encouraged and appreciated!

About me:
-First generation
-Immigrant family
-Latina and Asian
-Middle class

My stats:
-Class rank: 20/370 (top 10%, I’m expecting my rank will increase after this upcoming school term)
-Unweighted GPA: 3.917 (two B’s freshman year only)
-Weighted GPA: 4.354
-UC GPA: 4.21
-ACT: Composite: 33; Reading: 35; Math: 29 (had a small panic attack during this section and did much poorly than I had during practice tests); English: 35; Science: 33
*** I also do not plan on taking the SAT because I have little faith I could get a higher SAT-equivalent score. Should I submit my 33 or retake and aim for a 35? Would it make a considerable difference in my admissions?***
-AP tests: three 4’s, two 5’s (AP Scholar)
-Three courses at a local college, all A’s
-I took the most rigorous classes available per year (4 year-long honors classes, completed 6 AP’s and will be taking 5 more AP classes this upcoming year)
-Multiple awards for academic honors from my school

-11 years of piano, multiple awards from local/state level piano competitions
-Vice President of county-wide leadership board
-Social media manager for a local racial justice nonprofit
-Studied abroad in Asia twice
-6 years of mock trial up to the state level, 4 years of involvement in a school-wide political club, 4 year National Honors Society member, various other clubs
-Founder of club about racial equality
-Multiple FFA public speaking competition, placed 3rd/4th at state with my team
-Volunteering at local library, food bank, and symphonies (but no awards to show for it unfortunately)

My acedemics fall somewhere around the 50-75th percentile for these schools. I am worried that because my EC’s aren’t outstanding (no national/incredibly prestigious awards, didn’t start my own business, haven’t cured cancer yet, etc.) my application is weaker. What are your thoughts? Also, what are my chances for other selective schools (Pomona, University of Michigan, Stanford, UPenn, Columbia)? Do you have any recommendations for (preferably CA) universities that I might be a good fit for? Please leave your tidbits of wisdom below. Thank you in advance!

CS at UCB can be found in the College of Engineering (EECS) and in the College of Letters and Sciences. L&S does not admit by major but you need to meet a GPA requirement in the pre-req CS classes before declaring the major.

2019 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 4.20 or above capped weighted and not major specific:
UCB: 38%
UCLA: 35%
UCSD: 71%
UCSB: 73%
UCD: 84%
UCI: 55%
UCSC: 85%
UCR: 97%
UCM: 98%

2019 UC capped weighted GPA averages along with 25th-75th percentile range:
UCB: 4.23 (4.15-4.30)
UCLA: 4.25 (4.18-4.32)
UCSD: 4.16 (4.03-4.28)
UCSB: 4.16 (4.04-4.28)
UCI: 4.13 (4.00-4.25)
UCD: 4.11 (3.96-4.25)
UCSC: 3.96 (3.76-4.16)
UCR: 3.90 (3.69-4.11)
UCM: 3.73 (3.45-4.00)

25th - 75th percentiles for ACT composite + language arts
UCB: 28-35
UCLA: 29-35
UCSD: 26-34
UCSB: 26-34
UCD: 24-33
UCI: 24-34
UCSC: 24-32
UCR: 21-30
UCM: 18-26

You are a competitive applicant but consider UCB and UCLA Reach schools but attainable Reach schools.

How UC’s admit based on intended major:
Division (L&S, CNR, CoC, CED, CoE) matters for admission selectivity.
Within CoE (but not the other divisions), major matters for admission selectivity. Changing majors within the CoE after enrolling is not guaranteed, unless one is CoE undeclared.

    Note that L&S admits students as undeclared; admission to capped            majors (e.g. CS, economics, psychology, ORMS, statistics, art practice,         and a few others) is by college GPA in prerequisite courses (and                portfolio for art practice) after attending for a few semesters.

    The business major is in a separate division and admits students in a       competitive holistic process. Frosh intending business majors begin in      another division (usually L&S), take the business major prerequisites,      and apply (usually in their second years). They also need to take               prerequisites for a backup major in case they are not admitted to the       business major.

All students who apply to UC Berkeley and select a major within the College of Natural Resources are evaluated based on their application, not on the particular major they select.

Alternate majors not considered.

Admission decisions are made based upon the qualifications of the applicant pool and the number of available spaces within each academic area:
• College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences admits by college
• College of Biological Sciences admits by college
• College of Letters and Science admits by division within the college
• (Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies; Mathematics and Physical Sciences; Social Sciences)
• College of Engineering admits by academic department
Students applying as “undeclared” or “undeclared/exploratory” are considered within the college/division to which they applied.

Applicants are encouraged to list an alternate major, but not in the
same area as the primary major (e.g., Computer Science Engineering with alternate Computer Science in the College of L&S). Occasionally, we admit to the alternate major.


  • Freshman Selection:
    UCI admits into the University first and then into the major. In the case that UCI is unable to accommodate all qualified applicants in their first-choice major, those students who indicate a valid alternate major may be offered admission in that major or Undeclared.

For the College of Letters and Science, the applicant’s major is not considered during the review process.
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science admits students by declared major, with more emphasis on science and math programs.
The School of Nursing also places more emphasis on science and math programs and requires the submission of an additional supplemental application.
The School of the Arts and Architecture; Herb Alpert School of Music; and the School of Theater, Film and Television admit students by declared major (within the school), and put more emphasis on special talents through a review of portfolios and/or auditions, which are the most significant admission factors for these schools.

UCLA only guarantees review of an applicant’s first-choice major.
We typically do not admit to the alternate major

The campus does not admit students on the basis of academic major or choice of UC San Diego undergraduate college. Alternate majors are considered and capped majors are highly competitive. Also note: Capped majors require additional pre-req courses and specific GPA to be able to qualify if changing majors. Also if applying to a capped major, select an non-capped major as an alternate.

College of Letters and Sciences: 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. Both majors require applicants to complete an audition in late January or early February.

College of Engineering: Students are selected by major for all engineering and computer science majors. Only applicants with a solid background in advanced high school mathematics will be considered for admission to engineering. This includes high grades in all math courses through grade 11 and enrollment in pre-calculus or higher in grade 12. A student not selected for their first choice major will be reviewed for admission to an alternate major outside of the College of Engineering if one was selected.

College of Creative Studies:
Applicants to the College of Creative Studies submit a supplementary application in addition to the general UC Application, which is reviewed by Creative Studies faculty. Students are selected within Creative Studies majors only. Applicants not selected for Creative Studies will automatically be considered for admission to the College of Letters and Science.

Important Note for Prospective Engineering Students: Choice of major does not influence the selection of first-year students, except for those applicants interested in a major offered by the Jack Baskin School of Engineering (BSOE). Freshmen who are interested in a BSOE program should be sure to indicate a BSOE proposed major. Students who do not indicate a BSOE program or who apply as undeclared might not be able to pursue a BSOE program.

Admission by major but alternate/2nd choice major will be considered if applicant does not need their first choice admission standards.

For Business: Freshmen students must apply to Pre-Business under the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS). The College breadth requirements and the prerequisites for a Business major are completed during the freshman and sophomore years. An application is submitted at the end of the sophomore year. Upon acceptance, students become Business majors and are then advised in the Business Department. Students from any academic major may also complete a Business minor.

Best of luck.

At UCB, L&S admits all frosh as undeclared. Those who want to major in CS need to earn a 3.3 college GPA in CS 61A, 61B, 70 (about half of students in these courses earn B+ or higher grades). Changing into EECS in the College of Engineering is essentially impossible.

At UCLA, CS is only offered in the engineering division; changing into it requires competitive admission, with a minimum 3.500 college GPA to be eligible to apply.
It is better to apply directly to CS at UCLA if you really want to study CS.

At UCSB, changing into CS after enrolling is also a highly competitive admission process:
It is better to apply directly to CS at UCSB if you really want to study CS.