Cosmos '21

Hi everyone!

I’m a sophomore applying to COSMOS this year, and I have a few questions regarding the clusters that I’m interested in. If anyone has participated in these clusters before/has gotten into COSMOS/knows the answer to any of these questions, your input would be greatly appreciated!

I’ve heard that the bio clusters are the most difficult to get into, but all the clusters that I’m really interested in happen to be bio-related. So I’m wondering if someone could rank these clusters in order of difficulty of getting accepted, or elaborate on some experiences that you’ve had with them if you got into/attended them.


  1. Cluster 11: Future Foods Sustainable Aquaculture & Aquaponic Food Production
  2. Cluster 7: Introduction to Plant Microbiology


  1. Cluster 3: Climate Change


  1. Cluster 8: Marine Mammals and Oceanography: From Prey to Predators
  2. Cluster 3: Blubber, Feathers, and Fur: Exploring Animals in the Ocean and on Land

Thank you in advance! (And general advice is welcome too). :blush:


Hey I’m a sophomore applying to UCI. Anyone got any tips for the essays? 200 words isn’t a lot to narrate a complete story.

What do you most enjoy and love? Write about that, and finish it up by connecting it to your interest in learning about STEM. I think the personal statement is 300 words, the cluster-specific one is 200 words. The cluster essay should be more subject and COSMOS specific.

Ok, thank you!

I’ve heard that it’s good to write essays in the narrative style. Should all of my essays be like this? I have ideas for stories, but I’m not sure whether they are looking for a story for the cluster-specific essays.

I think that style lends itself well to a personal statement. For the cluster essays, you only have 200 words, and they do need to be more targeted. So you could use narrative if a story fits well into describing why that cluster, but I don’t think it has to be, and I wouldn’t try to force it.

Which clusters?

I’ll probably go for one of the CS clusters at UCI. I think I have pretty good grades (3.86 UW, 4.16 W) and extracurriculars to go with my application. What about you?

nice! I’m not too sure yet. Which is ur first choice cluster? I’m assuming cluster 2 is the best for cs

Yea cluster 2 would probably be my first choice. That would probably be the most competitive one though, so I might apply to another CS cluster as my first choice, and put cluster 2 as my alternate.

I’m a freshman applying with a 4.0 uw GPA.
Is Cluster 12: scattering and diffraction of materials in UCSC competitive or not? I’m trying to choose between that and UCD computers in biophysics + robotics, mathematical modeling of biological systems, and Irvine’s computation and machine learning.

Does anyone know how to get a transcript from their middle school?

I chose UCSC!!

I just emailed one of the office attendants at my middle school and then they emailed me a file of my transcript.

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In the references section, it asks for the teacher’s title. Is this referring to things like Ms., Mr., Dr.? Or is it asking for something like chemistry teacher?

I put “biology teacher” or “math teacher”, but I can’t guarantee if that’s correct.

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Has anyone taken UC Davis cluster 5 or 9? (Computers in biophysics + robotics, mathematical modeling of biological systems). Any advice would be very appreciated!

Or scattering and diffraction of materials.

Those are the exact clusters I’m interested in for UCD!

Hopefully we both get in and get to meet each other (even though it’s gonna be online).

I literally don’t know what to write my essay on; I genuinely feel so lost right now and we only have a little over a week.

I heard that essays are like the “killing point” (most important part) of the app… and it should be personal and creative. I’m really neither creative or good at writing, so this isn’t going to be too good.

If anyone has advice on the COSMOS essays that would be great. :slight_smile:

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Yea I heard the essays are the most important part of the application. I’m a little lost on the cluster-specific essays as well. Advice would be good.


Mhm, I just finished the personal statement, but I’m struggling with how to make the cluster essays personal.

Apparently the cluster specific essays are reviewed by the professors that teach those clusters…

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I’m in the same boat as you. My writing skills aren’t the best and I’m struggling to come up with what to write. But don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll do great! Also, what grade are you in, I’m in ninth grade.

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