Chance me UCLA UCB


indian male junior

Large public school in CA, not as competitive as bay area but pretty competitive

Intended major computer science. Income >200k


UW 4.0 W 4.56

35 ACT

school doesnt do ranking

7 aps by the end of the year, 11 planned. (average at my school is 4 by end of year, school allows very few AP’s in 9th and 10th)

ap art history
calculus 1
calculus 2
ap physics 1
ap environmental science
ap computer science principles

ap scores: apah (5) ap psych (5) ap csa (5) (school doesnt offer ap classes 9th/10th)


usaco silver qualifier

ap scholar

district science fair 2 times first place winner

county science fair first place winner

cyberpatriot semi finalist platinum division


team leader for local district cubesat program, sending 3rd nano satellite into space.

CTO for non profit creating applications to detect skin cancer using ML

co host for podcast talking about prominent stem topics

cyberpatriot team leader, training regularly, reached platinum division semi-finals

internship at local company creating training courses for chemists with html CSS JS

volunteering at local soup kitchen weekly

participate in national cyber league annually

managment and logistics for nonprofit making engineering education more accessible to K-12 students

volleyball for 9th and 10th grade, both JV

tutored/taught kids python for volunteering hours

planning on releasing research paper on science fair research study over summer

EDX berkeley data science certification (is this an EC?)

this summer: internship at larger company + very likely summer research program

letters of rec:

one decent from math teacher

one good from physics teacher (teacher really likes me, nominated me for specific school awards and has a phd)

i wasnt sure what my calibre is, but i want to get into UCB or UCLA for computer science

You know there’s a UC GPA.

UC doesn’t look at 9th grade nor do they look at your test score.

I assure you - neither will be an easy in but I’m unable to chance you.

There are lots of fine schools where you can study computer science if these two don’t work out - and like all I implore you to have a list of targets and safeties to go along with these reaches.

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Sorry if I’m missing something, but that is my UC GPA. and yeah, not sure why I included my test score.

Do you know what schools would be in my targets? Also, I don’t mean to sound complaining, I was just curious to know why you cant chance me?

Also, what things do you think are most missing from my application?

Congrats on your achievements.

This is the UC GPA calculator that will calculate all 3 GPAs including weighted, and weighted and capped. GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub

I can’t chance you either, but will say that CS at both UCB and UCLA are reaches for all. Make sure you have a balanced list with targets and at least on affordable safety that you would be happy to attend.

The UC’s consider 3 UC GPA’s and here is the calculator. Please repost your numbers: GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub

UCB is on the only school that will consider LOR’s if invited to submit and the UC’s are test blind.

For UCB and UCLA, CS will be a Reach. You are looking a 3-5% acceptance rates for CS at the top UC’s. Since CS is impacted at all the UC’s, many 4.0+ students have been waitlisted or denied at many of the UC’s, the past few years.

Target schools for CS in California where you would have a solid chance for acceptance are UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, Santa Clara, San Diego State, CSU Long Beach, Chapman University to name a few. UC’s like UC Davis, Irvine, Santa Barbara are no longer target schools for CS due to popularity and impaction.

CS is a very marketable degree so any solid CS program will have a good career outcome. You do not need a prestigious name on your diploma for CS to do well. You will need to apply widely and consider some OOS schools depending upon your budget which appears pretty good.

Some OOS suggestions for a Safety/Likely are University of Arizona, Arizona State, University of Utah, Alabama.

I suggest you start at the bottom and identify at least 2 safety schools where you would be willing to attend no matter what. They can be your local Cal state or if you are the top 9% HS student (ELC eligible) UC Merced or some of the OOS schools if you are NMF.

From there, you can then consider some Target/Match schools which would include several of the UC’s then finally throw in some Reach schools. Since you want to play up your application strengths, you should apply to schools that accept Test scores and LOR’s which are usually private schools vs. the UC’s and Cal States.

I also suggest you read through some school discussion threads and see the qualifications of many of the CS applicants, what their outcome was during this admissions cycle and look at where they ended up enrolling.

Best of luck.

Note that your letters of rec may not play a role at UCs - not part of initial app and only requested for small subset.

Thank you so much! The information is really helpful and I’m going to try to find some targets and matches soon.

Also, here is my UC gpa from the calculator:
Unweighted GPA: 4.00
Weighted GPA: 4.56
Weighted and Capped GPA: 4.44

Also, do you think applying to data science major at UCB would make the competition much easier? I was under the impression that everyone comes into L&S undeclared, so does it not make competition any easier?

With a 4.0, you’d get (at today’s $$s if they don’t change) $35K off at U of Arizona - so tuition $3K.

Read what @Gumbymom wrote: CS is a very marketable degree so any solid CS program will have a good career outcome. You do not need a prestigious name on your diploma for CS to do well.

You are chasing names. If those are your dream schools, then great. But you will find in life that wherever you work, there will be people from various schools sitting next to you - maybe a few prestigious and most not, etc.

If applying to UCB for CS in the College of L&S then it could be an easier admit than EECS. Data Science is also an option however, their may be a policy change for the CS L&S next year in which if you are not a direct admit at time of admission, then you will not be allowed to declare the major later. Check this article: UC Berkeley computer science proposes major declaration process

Yes, anyone admitted to the College of L&S at UCB goes in as Undeclared and then they have to the meet major course requirements to declare. You are a very competitive applicant and there is no reason not apply to UCB and UCLA, just be aware of the odds. UCLA had over 150,000 applicants for Fall 2022 and probably accepted around 14,000-15,000. Those odds are not great and CS is one of the most popular applied majors. The same can be said for UCB although they do not get nearly as many applicants.

The last 2 years have been pretty tough for CS majors applying to the UC’s, so just know what you are up against and have a balanced college list.

Best of luck.

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Thanks! Does that mean if I intend for DS major, the policy change would mean I couldn’t declare CS in the future? I may be misunderstanding the article, but I think it means if you don’t get accepted into CS L&S at your admission decision, you can’t get into CS major later?

Is USC a target school for me?

Also, what do you think is most missing from my application that I can work on?

USC is not a target for anyone. That’s not because you’re not great because you are. But it’s a reach for everyone.

Do you have a budget? You show your income. But - that doesn’t mean your parents want to spend $80K a year. You are clearly very “name” focused - and I ask you to read what @gumbymom wrote. Have you had that discussion with your family - on what your budget is? They may make a lot of $$ but that doesn’t mean they want to spend it.

Your ECs are good - but you might consider a job that can continue into the school year vs. an internship…you might. part time jobs are great.

your LORs are good - but you might consider one from a non- math/science instead to show you do have a non-stem side (so 1 and 1).

The research paper won’t matter unless it’s published/reviewed, etc. The main thing is you want to have activities with tenure, impact (you did something that made a difference - like the soup kitchen), and leadership (not in title but in activity).

You’re a really great candidate - but you’re playing in a field of a zillion great candidates and that’s your only issue - hence you need the balanced list.

Data science is not at the point where you would need a direct admit and again the article linked with the policy has not been approved yet. For Fall 2023 admissions, Data science will probably not have any restrictions other than meeting the course requirements to declare.

If the new policy for CS in the College of L&S does get approved, you would have to list CS as your choice major and be admitted into that major as a Freshman. If you do not list CS as your major, then yes you cannot change into the CS major later.

I do not think you have anything missing in your application, the issue is that there are too many very qualified applicants for the spots available.

USC should be considered a Reach school also but your test scores and LOR’s would be heavily considered which is not something the UC’s will consider in their application review. Like I stated in my original post, look for schools that appreciate your strengths such as ACT score, LOR’s and EC’s.

When applying to the UC’s, make sure you spend time on the EC section explaining each in detail and the awards along with the Personal insight essays. This where you can differentiate yourself from the rest of the qualified applicants.

You may want to buff up your course rigor. If you read the selection criteria for UCs, you can see that it is very heavily weighted towards coursework and performance in coursework, versus other things.

For reference, out of the 3 UCs I applied to, I got in to UCLA and UCSD CS, and was waitlisted at UCB L&S CS (as out of state). My ECs and especially awards didn’t hold a candle to yours (lmao), except for USACO Silver and (non-published) research. However, I had 10 APs + 10 dual enrollments in math and science well above the AP level.

That being said, I got rejected to every single place I applied to that heavily considers ECs and awards (privates). Personally I was very shocked that I even got in to the UCs for CS as out of state, but after reading the selection criteria it made more sense.

I know that course rigor will be hard to change for you as you are a junior, but just be sure to take the highest math and science available to you senior year. For example, as you have already taken Calc 2, try and see if you can take multi either at your high school or a local college if it’s not offered.

You also have to remember that in-state students which make up the bulk of applicants are reviewed in a different admission pool than OOS and International students. In-state students are going to have much more competition.

Here are the 2022 application numbers:

Yeah my parents are very name focused and they have projected it onto me. Also, my parents really want me to go to a UC, and are willing to pay up to 75k a year for any college. Would CSU Long Beach and UCSC be good target schools for me? I like University of Arizona as a safety. How many safety and target schools should I have?

The research paper will be published, and we have had mentors review it. Does this up my application a lot?

One more thing - if your user name is your real name, ask the College Confidential mods to help you change it.

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Yes, CSU Long Beach and UCSC are good target schools. University of Arizona and their Honors college would be a good likely and if you have NMF, there are scholarships available. I would have at least 2 Safety/Likely schools, 3-5 Match/Target schools and then as many Reach schools as you like. Definitely get started on your college essays this summer, since many top schools have supplemental essays to write.

Thanks for the advice! Does that mean UCs don’t look at EC’s that much? Also you were able to get into UCLA CS without many ec’s?

This year I took: Calculus 1 and 2 at chapman, AP Physics 1, Ap enviro, principles of engineering, honors european literature (known to be very hard at my school), and ap computer science principles (didnt take CSA because I already took the test). Is this course rigor too low? I should have taken WHAP/APUSH, but I wanted to get hands one experience with engineering. Will that cost me a lot?

Next year I plan on taking AP Physics C, Ap Stats, contemporary lit, ap chemistry, ap gov/econ and WHAP. I also plan on taking multi var calc and bio over the summer at my CC. Is this good?

Also, does anyone know how useful the summer program UCIxGATI Beam is for college applications and just for learning? Thanks

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The UC’s do consider EC’s that is why I said spend time on your EC/Activity section on the application and put as much detail as possible. The UC’s use 13 areas of criteria in evaluating applicants:

  1. Academic grade point average in all completed A-G courses, including additional points for completed UC-certified honors courses.
  2. Number of, content of and performance in academic courses beyond the minimum A-G requirements.
  3. Number of and performance in UC-approved honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate Higher Level and transferable college courses.
  4. Identification by UC as being ranked in the top 9 percent of your high school class at the end of your junior year (Eligible in the Local Context, or ELC).
  5. Quality of your senior-year program as measured by the type and number of academic courses in progress or planned.
  6. Quality of your academic performance relative to the educational opportunities available in your high school.
  7. Outstanding performance in one or more specific subject areas.
  8. Outstanding work in one or more special projects in any academic field of study.
  9. Recent, marked improvement in academic performance as demonstrated by academic GPA and the quality of coursework completed or in progress.
  10. Special talents, achievements and awards in a particular field, such as visual and performing arts, communication or athletic endeavors; special skills, such as demonstrated written and oral proficiency in other languages; special interests, such as intensive study and exploration of other cultures; experiences that demonstrate unusual promise for leadership, such as significant community service or significant participation in student government; or other significant experiences or achievements that demonstrate the student’s promise for contributing to the intellectual vitality of a campus.
  11. Completion of special projects undertaken in the context of your high school curriculum or in conjunction with special school events, projects or programs.
  12. Academic accomplishments in light of your life experiences and special circumstances, including but not limited to: disabilities, low family income, first generation to attend college, need to work, disadvantaged social or educational environment, difficult personal and family situations or circumstances, refugee status or veteran status.
  13. Location of your secondary school and residence. (Determine SES and resources).

This. Even though my ECs were pretty normal (club pres, team captain, school gov’t, research project), I was able to hype them up and make them sound really cool. So definitely don’t just ignore your ECs.

Also, your course rigor appears to be similar to mine for junior year and I daresay stronger senior year, so UCLA thinks that’s strong (lol). Am committed to UCLA btw so if you have any more questions feel free to PM.