Choosing Major

For UC and State schools, is it ok to apply undeclared (assuming applicant is not interested in impacted programs like CS)?

It is fine if you aren’t sure of a major. Do you know what broad area of study you are interested in?
Some schools allow you to apply undeclared-social sciences / undeclared-engineering / etc…
However, undeclared majors might have harder admission standards for some schools.

Leaning toward liberal arts. Yes, I am also guessing that undeclared may have a higher standard.

There are several CSU’s that do not offer Undeclared as an option. You also need to check each school’s website on their policy on how to declare a major since some majors are very difficult to switch into if you do not have a direct admit.

Here is the CSU impacted matrix so you can see which CSU schools offer Undeclared. Also note, that Undeclared can be just as competitive or sometimes more competitive than selecting a specific major especially for the CSU’s.

You will also see that most Undeclared programs at the CSU’s are impacted.

Similar considerations for the UC’s but Liberal Arts type majors are usually not an issue. It is the STEM majors where a direct admit may be required.

generally, you are fine applying undeclared - and you should apply to the major you actually plan to study. But, it varies more than you might think. Depending on your target schools and qualifications. One example, SJSU, they publish last years admissions threshold by major (linked below). notice how Liberal Studies had an EI of 2950 while undeclared was 3800.

So, research your target school …