Chance my son (Rising Senior) to CalTech/Stanford/UCs/Cal Poly SLO


  • US Citizen
  • California, Bay Area
  • Public High School
  • Male, ORM

Intended Major(s)

Majors: Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Political Science

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores(Roger Hub UC GPA calculator)

  • Unweighted GPA: 4.00
  • Weighted GPA: 4.50
  • Weighted and Capped GPA: 4.29
  • Class Rank: 2 out of 400
  • ACT/SAT Scores: SAT 1420 (730 R & W, 690 Math), Planning to retake in August

** For Cal Poly SLO

  • 7th: Advanced Math, Spanish 1A
  • 8th: Algebra 1, Spanish 1B


  • APWH (5)
  • Chem Honors


  • APUSH (5)
  • AP Lang (5)
  • AP Psych (4)
  • PLTW CIM Honors
  • Physics Honors


  • AP Calc AB (BC not offered)
  • AP Lit
  • AP Micro
  • AP Stats
  • Honor Physio
  • Honors Gov (AP Gov not offered)


  • Eagle Scout
  • American Legion Boys State Delegate
  • James E West Fellow (Scouting)
  • Model UN Best Delegate X3
  • Varsity Letters (Volleyball, Swim, Track)
  • AP Scholar with Honor (didn’t get yet but qualified)


  • Scouting Regional and District Leadership
  • Site Council (School Campus)
  • Student Advisory Committee Chair (School District Education)
  • Student Rep for Education Foundation
  • Symphonic/Marching Band (Since 6th Grade, Alto/Tenor Sax)
  • Lifeguard/Swim Instructor of 3 Years
  • STEM Camp (Assistant Coach 2 Years)
  • Scouting Various Service Projects (90 Hours Per Year)
  • Congressional Art Competition


  • Essays 8.5/10
  • LORs 9/10 (Two from my engineering teachers, 2 from non stem teachers)

Cost Constraints / Budget

  • Ok for UC and Cal Poly


  • Planning to apply early for Stanford (REA?)
  • All UCs except Merced and Riverside (Is ELC eligible, will use if needed only)
  • Cal Poly SLO, Pomona
  • SJSU
  • SDSU

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).

From OPA – University of California Berkeley , choose the Academic Indicators tab. “Last updated on October 22, 2021” for the “last 3 complete application cycles”.

GPA appears to be weighted, not capped. Calculate using GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub

Admission rates only:

3.800-4.000 6.3% 2.7% 4.5% 11.5% 8.7%
4.001-4.199 10.6% 3.9% 8.2% 23.7% 14.7%
4.200-4.399 21.8% 8.8% 17.5% 38.9% 29.1%
4.400-4.599 34.8% 16.4% 33.3% 53.0% 39.5%
4.600-4.799 40.9% 21.4% 39.6% 52.4% 49.4%
4.800-5.000 41.5% 20.7% 36.2% 46.1% 43.0%

Your son is definitely competitive for all the UC’s and Cal Poly SLO but so are many of the applicants that apply for CS or ME.

Based on your post, the Capped Weighted UC GPA is 4.33? What about the Fully weighted UC GPA based on the Rogerhub calculator posted above? SLO uses 9-11th grades with the 8 semester Honors point cap, so what is his SLO GPA?

SLO shows a target 210 Freshman students out of 6784 applicants. The overall College of Engineering had a yield rate of 28% in 2021 so looking around a 10-11% admit rate for CS.

For ME, SLO target for Freshman students is 230 with 3349 applicants giving around a 24% admit rate.

Based on the UC admit rate table provided by @ucbalumnus, he has a good chance at the majority of the UC’s with UCB/UCLA being Reach schools based on his academics. SLO will be a Reach school also but he is with the academic range. UC’s have been extremely competitive for Engineering/CS with no guarantees other than for ELC eligible applicants.

Although academics are a huge portion of the UC application, no one can see the complete picture of any applicant. Other than saying he looks like a great applicant and he is in the ballpark for admission for these schools, there is no way to predict. I am sure he will have several schools from which to choose, just make sure he will be happy attending any of the schools on the list which includes UCM and UCSC? I would also include UCR unless he has not intention of going if admitted.

Best of luck to him.

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Thanks for your feed back.

For SLO his GPA would be:

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 4.0
  • Weighted HS GPA: 4.27
  • Weighted & Capped HS GPA: 4.27

He will also apply to SJSU & Cal Poly Pomona as backups.

For SJSU, his score is 5064(Math is 1600 and Impact score is 800*4.33).

Note that SJSU CS uses the basic index (800 * GPA) without the math addition. The most recent threshold for CS was 3480, equivalent to a 4.35 GPA if the student does not have any additional points (+200 is the main one, for those who will graduate high school in Santa Clara County).

Mechanical engineering (with the math addition) had a threshold score of 4500.

Good luck to your son! One thing that stands out is the relative lack of science APs (particularly in relation to language and social science APs). Not sure if his school offers them, but for MechEng it might be beneficial, albeit not necessary, to take AP Physics C in senior year concurrently with Calc AB if the school allows it. Just a thought.

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Please check the calculation of weighted capped and fully weighted gpa. In general if you have more than 8 semesters of honors/AP courses the two gpas should be different.

Stanford sounds like it would be a good fit for your son, provided that you can afford it. Have you run the NPC?

Unfortunately, the same is probably true of something like 85% of the applicants to Stanford. They accept closer to 4% of applicants. Being “ORM” (which I take to mean Asian) will not help either. It is definitely a high reach. Of course, with a demanding university on the quarter system classes go fast and students need to make a strong effort to never fall behind, but this sounds like what your son has already done all along.

I think that it is worth an application, but you definitely need to focus on schools where admissions is more likely.

It does sound like your son will do well wherever he ends up. I work in high tech with many CS graduates from many universities including Stanford, MIT, U.Mass Amherst (we are in the northeast), and many other universities including many public universities and many universities in India. Almost no one cares where anyone got their degree.

He gave this number: 24 semesters(10&11th) and 8 Honors. He got all A’s in all the classes.

He is at a Public HS where not many AP classes are offered. He took Physics Honors, Chemistry Honors which were available (Got A in both). He took the most challenging classes available in all subjects.

I stand corrected then.

For SJSU CS, his score would be: 3600. For Mechanical: 5200

Thank you for your comments. I ran the NPC for Stanford and its affordable based on our family finances.

I would like him to apply with him knowing that chances for an ORM are very low (He’s OK with that).


He should have more than 8 semesters of Honors since you have posted 4 AP classes taken 10-11th grade along with Chem and Physics Honors unless these are not UC approved.

You can check his HS here for which courses will get the Honors points: University of California A-G Course List

For Stanford, you may benefit by working on the essays and moving them from what you listed - 8.5/10, to something like 9.5/10 or better… :grinning:

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The school doesn’t offer any AP science??? If he wants to going into a STEM field, I agree about replacing physio with an AP science.

Does he have any CS extracurricular activities?

Since you are filling out the CSU application anyway, have you considered including SDSU and Cal Poly Humboldt?

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You are correct, I was adding only 8 where he has 14 honors classes(semesters).

New GPA:

Unweighted GPA: 4.00
Weighted GPA: 4.58
Weighted and Capped GPA: 4.33

Only AP science class offered is: AP Biology and he’s not interested in it.

CS Extracurriculars are: Worked as Assistant coach for Robotics Camp and was selected for Robotics summer camp from his HS twice (Got a new laptop for this work which he had to return and a cool Robot kit to keep)

I will ask him about SDSU and Ca Poly Humboldt (this is new and don’t have much information about CS/ME courses).

He’s a good writer and will be getting his essays reviewed by his AP English teacher(His HW for summer) and it might make it 9+.

My younger son graduated from SDSU 2018 as a CS major. Very happy with the CS curriculum and loved his time as an Aztec. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

SDSU offers a MyMap which gives a 4 year overview of courses for each major. Here is the link: My Map

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