College exploration

Student Profile

School: Private
UW GPA: 3.75
UC Fully Weighted GPA: 4.18
SAT: 1400 (unable to retake in Senior year)
SSAT Math: 800, trying to take SSAT Bio but has been cancelled three times

Freshman - Junior Years
AP classes: AP Calc AB (4), AP Stat (*), AP Physics (5), APUSH (4), APHuG (5)
Self study AP Exams: AP Calc BC (5), AP Bio (5), AP Psych (5)
IB: 3: IB Math HL, IB Bio HL, IB Phych SL

Senior Year
AP Classes: AP English, APES
AP Exams planned: AP Stat, APES, AP English, AP Comp Sci
IB: 3: IB Math HL, IB Bio HL, IB Phych SL
Taking 2 other advanced honors level classes in STEM

EC: Robotics, music

Academic interest: Biology / Life science
Preferred location: Northern California, but OK to consider the other west coast schools
School type: Prefer smaller colleges, but considering UCs and USC

Schools considered: UCs, USC, USF, SCU, Reed, Oxy, LMU
Financial consideration: Flexible

Should we expand the college application list? Any other good schools to consider?

Career interests with Biology/Life science major?
Cal Poly SLO, University of the Pacific and St Mary’s of Moraga could be options. Depends upon how flexible the budget will be.

Reed is in Oregon. So is your child okay going out of state? Or is it the only school under consideration that isn’t in CA?

Thank you @Gumbymom and @Lindagaf. Student’s career interests are in medicine, genetics research, and public health, but still contemplating other options in life sciences. Are Cal Poly or University of Pacific good choices for Bio / Life Science major? So far Reed and JHU are the only Universities considered out of California. Other reputed Universities will be OK, but we are unsure if his academics and GPA are strong enough to get accepted in top universities. Do you have any feedback on the student’s academic profile and target Universities outside California?

I cannot really recommend any OOS universities but Arizona State Barrett’s Honor’s College might be an option although not on the coast.

UOP and Cal poly SLO have perfectly fine Biology programs. SLO also has a Public Health major so that might be of interest. Both are smaller in terms of the UC’s and USC.

For Medical school, where most students attend for Undergrad is not a consideration. High GPA, HIgh MCAT scores and access to Medically related EC’s are what will be important. The best thing to do is see where he will thrive academically, socially and financially. Medical schools are looking for students who are not just top students academically, but also interesting, well rounded individuals with specific social competencies and leadership skills.

For Genetic research, a smaller school setting with access with his professors will help in finding research positions but even at the large UC’s, students that are motivated can participate in research. It is not as much about where you go to school, but if you are able to advocate for yourself as a student.

You are going to be competitive for most but not all of the UCs - and this is going to be a weird year so, be sure to include UCSC and UCR. In addition to those listed, I’d consider SDSU and CSULB as safetys with honors programs that might interest you.

good luck.

Thank you @Gumbymom and @Lindagaf.

The student has received acceptances from the following Universities: UCD, UCSB, UCR, UCM, UOP, USF, St Mary’s, Cal Poly Pomona, Chapman, Reed. UCI and UCSD are wait listed. Still waiting for the decisions from a few “reach” schools. Most private schools have given merit scholarships to make their fees comparable to the state universities. The student is interested in research and possibly medicine. I will appreciate any suggestions from @Gumbymom, @Lindagaf and @NCalRent on the University selection process. Separately, if you can point to a good list of criteria to consider for selecting a University, then kindly share it or point to it.

The UC’s are very Research oriented so UC Merced, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara offer research opportunities in Genetics since that is what was mentioned in the previous post.

UC Merced might be of greater interest since they are a much smaller UC campus, easier to get research opportunities and greater interaction with the professors.

If Medical school is in the future, then GPA and MCAT scores are far more important than the name of the school.

If possible, I would try to narrow it down to at least 3 schools and schedule a visit. On paper many schools look promising, but visiting can seal the deal.

My immediate thought is that Reed is a superior school compared to the others. She will have top notch instruction from professors and a lot of student interaction. That said, she needs to be sure she will be happy in the intense academic environment of Reed. She should do a bit of research on Reed. Look at Fiske guide, Niche and Unigo.

If that’s too intense and she wants a more relaxed atmosphere and a more typical college experience, my thought is to go for Chapman or UCSB.

Congrats! that’s quite a list!

Unless you have specific preferences, I’d ignore the waitlists and then eliminate some just by looking at a map and the school profile - or some other basic criteria (size for example) I’d probably cross Merced, SF, Stockton and Riverside as places I’d prefer not to spend 4 years - but, use your course filter, not mine.

I’d visit the rest of them, spend a half day on/near campus, talk to some students about their experience and I bet your choice becomes clear pretty quickly.

There’s no wrong answer here so, follow your student’s gut and enjoy the process.

If Medical school is still a consideration, then she might want to look at the Early Assurance program at UC Riverside.

Thank you very much, @Gumbymom, @Lindagaf, and @NCalRent, for your feedback and suggestions. We visited a few campuses during the weekend, and these visits were indeed very helpful. We loved the UCSB campus. UCSC and UOP also have beautiful campuses.

We are researching on the resources offered at each of these school for MD/PhD aspirants. Accordingly, the student hopes to strike a balance between research opportunities and pre-med support (knowledgeable counselors who can help with the med school application process, study groups for MCAT preparation, hospital affiliation and community service options, and hopefully some grade inflation :slight_smile: ).

Downtown Orange is cute, but the overall caliber of students is significantly higher at UCSB than Chapman. Some may consider that an advantage, others a disadvantage.

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I would agree with that statement when comparing Chapman and UCSB, especially for STEM majors. Chapman has grown a lot in the past few years but their pre-health programs are relatively new. The Keck Center just opened in 2018. Their health advising site acknowledges that they are using materials from Ohio State and I’m not sure if they have hired a new advisor for science and engineering since the previous advisor left a year ago.

You have several good options if the student is interested in research and medicine. Congratulations on the acceptances!

Thank you @lkg4answers and @Twoin18.

The student got accepted at UCB and USC. After visiting the campuses, and agonizing over the last four weeks, the final decision is to enroll at UCB. The student is excited about the decision. As @NCalRent advised, we followed the student’s gut. We are grateful for your support and guidance.

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Great! I hope the student is happy and successful at Cal. Thanks for coming back and updating us.