COSMOS 2022 - Need Advice

Hey all,

I’m currently a junior applying to the UC COSMOS program this year. I am debating whether to apply to the UCSC or UCSD campus. My current predicament is that I will probably not be a competitive applicant for COSMOS. I have no STEM extracurriculars, but since I’ve always wanted to go into healthcare I do have some medicine-related ECs (don’t think that will help much, since it’s not really science).

I have an interest in Biology, since I am taking AP Biology this year and it’s been a pretty eye-opening experience, and I’d really like to be able to explore the subject in more detail with COSMOS. Here are my choices:

1st choice campus: UCSC

  1. Cluster 9: The Building Blocks of Life: Molecules and Cells in Biology
  2. Cluster 7: Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology

2nd choice campus: UCSD

  1. Cluster 7: Synthetic Biology
  2. Cluster 9: Music and Technology

The issue is, I have no extracurriculars relating to biology, which probably would not help with my admittance to Cluster 9 at UCSC. I had a brief 3-month summer internship with my city government, where I researched wildlife populations (native/invasive species, their effects on the city and on each other, etc.), so that potentially would help with Cluster 7.

At UCSD, I know Cluster 7 is extremely competitive, and I’d probably have zero chance to get in, but for Cluster 9, I actually think I have a solid chance, judging by my current ECs. But I’m not actually interested in Cluster 9, even though I could probably write a decent essay on it, but I feel like I could get in.

If I want to maximize my chances at getting into COSMOS for the college app, since it’s my last year possible, I would apply to UCSD, but I really want to explore my actual interest at UCSC, where I would likely have a lower chance of being admitted. Can someone give me some advice here? What should I do?

(Also, not sure if it matters, but I got a B+ in AP Calculus AB last semester, and I know COSMOS expects top-level performance in STEM classes, meaning straight A’s. However, my teacher is very demanding and teaches beyond the curriculum at a very fast pace; for example, we finished the Integrals unit in November. Something like 35% of his AB students and 70% of his BC students get 5’s on the AP exam every year. I hope that the B+ will not negatively impact my chances. I did get an A in AP Biology and AP Chemistry though.)

Thank you all in advance!

I got in last year without any STEM extracirriculars- your essay responses matter a lot though! UCSD is harder to get into than UCSC