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

What was your personal statement about?

I’ll chime in here on the importance of your essays. COSMOS also exists to provide opportunity, so don’t worry about not having the deep ECs.

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Should I write my personal statement about something related to STEM or non-STEM? Since I really don’t have anything STEM to write about because I don’t have experience. I wrote it about something that I had that’s a talent, but it’s not STEM related. Wondering if I should change it since I still have some time left.

Your personal statement should tell them something about who you are, so if you wrote about something you love doing, that probably is good. One of my kids wrote about ballet in her personal statement, although she did tie it in to her interests in STEM. If your personal statement is more focused on personality, just make sure your cluster essays are pretty specific.

Thank you! I talked about music and my experiences as a musician. I also included how performing for Alzheimer’s patients at retirement communities sparked an interest in both healthcare and science after I did research on the effects of music on people :slight_smile: I hope that’s alright!

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This will come in handy for future years and is based on what we heard during the parents session at the UC Davis Cosmos at the start

  1. Average acceptance rate was ~25%, with some sessions having a higher acceptance rate and others having a lower one (for instance, Cluster 8 was 20%).
  2. Most acceptances were rising seniors and juniors, rising sophomores were 10% of the group, so acceptance rates vary by grade level.
  3. About 220 in all across 11 clusters
  4. It seemed there was a 15% percent decline rate so on the average, 3 people got off the waitlist per cluster
  5. They try to build diverse pools per cluster
  6. It seemed that the UC professors responsible for the cluster make the decisions on whom to accept.
    All of this is approximate so don’t take any of this as written in stone but might help someone down the road.

Hello, if you don’t mind, can I ask if you ended up joining UCSC cluster 9 last year? And how was your experience. Thank you!