Cosmos 2021

Hi Everyone!

I’m a current high school sophomore and I’m looking to apply to COSMOS '21. I’m having trouble thinking about what to write my statement on because I have had almost no activities related to STEM. I also have no AP classes at all, and based on what I’ve seen on here, it seems like that’s almost a requirement… I’m going to list my top cluster choices and my stats below, so any advice at all is super helpful!

UC Davis (Not in any particular order b/c I like all equally):

  1. Future Foods: Sustainable Aquaculture and Aquaponic Food Production
  2. Sustainable Transportation


  1. Blubber, Feathers, and Fur: Exploring Animals on Ocean and Land
  2. The Building Blocks of Life: Molecules and Cells in Biology
  3. I also am interested in the Smart Power one

I don’t really have an interest in any of these


  1. Structural Engineering: Building Better
  2. Climate change

Here are my stats for Freshman and Sophomore:

Freshman: English 1, Conceptual Physics, Alg II with Trig Honors, French 1, World Religions, World History 1 (My school has no honors except math for Freshman. Conceptual Physics is the only science offered to Freshmen. No AP classes for Freshmen. World Religions is required) 1st Sem. I had a 4.03 weighted, 3.95 unweighted. 2nd Sem. I had a 4.08 weighted, 4.0 unweighted.

Sophomore: English 2 Honors, Chemistry Honors, Biology Honors, Geometry with Trig Honors, Religion Class, French 2 (Again, no APs for sophomores, no honors class for french 2, and religion is required.) 1st Sem. I had 4.33 weighted, 4.0 unweighted and I was ranked 1st in class.

Extra-Curricular/Awards (Ik some of these aren’t stem related, but I have almost nothing related to stem)
Violin since I was 5 years old, Local Orchestra for 3 years, concertmaster of the school orchestra, associate concertmaster of the state and county orchestra
Design for the Ocean Program (Made and presented a coded device that regulated energy consumption in houses in order to help conserve the environment)
Teen Conservation Leaders (May or may not happen due to COVID. But this is a volunteer program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for teens to advocate for conservation)
Chemistry Club Member
Model UN, specifically working on solving poverty in rural areas

I’ve done other activities, but it’s all like artsy or humanities-related things…I was reading some other questions people have had, and it seems like their stats are full of STEM-related things, so idk how it’ll affect my chances. I really didn’t mean for this to sound like bragging or anything! Thanks so much in advance for any advice, and thanks for reading my long post lol!

I think COSMOS doesn’t just look for previous experience, I think they also look for genuine enthusiasm in learning about the cluster. Your clusters range from engineering to biology, so I’d think about what really sounds the most exciting to you. Especially since it will be online, you want to be doing something that you can really engage with. And, you’ll be able to write the best essays to support it on your app. Your stats look great, good luck!

If Cosmos is conducted in online only this summer, does it worth it? Cosmos is very expensive. How much do you gain from this experience this year? I don’t know. Good luck!

Thanks! I decided on applying to UCSD for the Structural Engineering cluster this year. I finished writing my cluster-specific essay but I have no clue what to write the personal statement about. I’ve tried it a couple of times, but it just ends up being my cluster-specific essay in different words…Is there something specific I should be gearing it towards?

In a normal year, you’d be in the professor’s class all day, interacting with other students, and in a small group who you are as a person and what motivates you really matters. Obviously each cluster has different professors and they value different things. But here is the prompt:

Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to COSMOS? If there’s anything you want us to know about you, but didn’t find a question or place in the application to tell us, now’s your chance. What have you not shared with us that will highlight a skill, talent, challenge or opportunity that you think will help us know you better?

They want to know you better. In my experience with COSMOS, sometimes they look for students who will get the most impact from this opportunity, and those that display a lot of heart for the things they do. So being light on STEM opportunities is not always a negative. If you love aspects of humanities, describe that, then link to engineering. Making engineering more human is something that many good programs try to do, so I think you likely have some compelling things to say. I see MUN in your description, for instance. Regardless, if you start with what you love the most, you can write with great description and emotion.