Is this a bad college list? Recommendations for more schools?

Hi everyone! I’m new to CC so I’m not exactly sure how this works but I hope I put this in the right forum. I’m a junior this year and I’m starting my college search but have hit a roadblock about what schools I am looking to apply to next year.

I am OOS but have decided that I want to go to California for college (even though I know it is harder for OOS students to get into California public universities). This being said, I have 1 or 2 non-California schools on my list in case California schools don’t open up their campuses in time for 2022 because of Covid.

High Reaches: Stanford, UCLA (definitly lottery ticket schools)
Reach: Colgate
Match: Santa Clara (currently my #1 choice), Pepperdine, Cal Poly SLO, UCSB
Safeties: SDSU, Chapman (are these really safeties?)

For background, I am from an average public hs, top 10 in my class of ~300, 4.0 UW GPA, 4.7 W GPA, 4.26 UC Weighted & Capped GPA (still not really sure how this works), taking the ACT on Saturday and have been scoring 32-34 on practice tests, president of 2 clubs, leadership in 1 other club, 1 varsity sport (tennis, have been on varsity since freshman year), 3 APs so far and taking 4 more this year

What other schools should be on my list? I would prefer smaller schools but am open to anything and cost isn’t a huge factor. I am interested in education/ math education/ math/ liberal studies/ child studies majors.

Any input is appreciated!

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also regarding @ucbalumnus post (,

  1. I will not qualify for need-based aid, but cost is not a deciding factor
  2. pre-education; aspiring to be either an elementary school teacher or middle/high school math teacher and am aware of the credentialing requirements in California
  3. I definitely prefer warmer weather, prefer smaller school but am open to larger schools as well, not religious at all so not looking to attend a college where religion is emphasized (although Pepperdine is on my list so religion is not a deciding factor), would prefer a college where there are lots of things to do on campus but again not a deciding factor, would like to join a sorority but not a big deal if there aren't any on campus
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Are all these schools affordable? The UC’s and SDSU/Cal Poly SLO offer little to no financial aid to OOS applicants. For the UC’s, you are looking at $65K/year and for SDSU/SLO around $40K+/year to attend. If SDSU is not affordable as a full pay student, then it is not a Safety school.

A safety school first and foremost needs to be affordable with little or no debt and a guaranteed acceptance. What is your home state? usually your in-state schools make the best safeties.

Also the Cal states and UC’s are test blind this admission cycle, so there will be a greater emphasis on your major preparation, HS course rigor, and the # of a-g courses taken above the 15 minimum requirements including EC’s and personal insight essays for the UC’s. Do you have a year of a Visual/Performing arts course which is a UC/CSU requirement?

The Cal states also admit by major, so you need to narrow down your interests.

The UC’s will consider all 3 UC GPA’s: Unweighted, capped weighted and fully weighted.

The capped weighted UC GPA is the most common GPA listed on the Freshman profiles for the UC’s and it is also the same GPA that the Cal states use in their admission process.

The admit rate for OOS students is actually higher than in-state since less admitted OOS students matriculate to the UC’s and CSU’s due to the higher costs.

Admission Rates for Out-of-State Applicants (Domestic) 2019:
UCLA: 16.5%
UC Berkeley: 17.1%
UC Santa Barbara: 38.7%
UC Irvine: 44.2%
UC San Diego: 59.6%
UC Davis: 62.8%
UC Merced: 72.4%
UC Riverside: 73.9%
UC Santa Cruz: 85.5%

@Gumbymom thank you so much for the information! Regarding affordability, I have not talked to my parents about this but I definitely will not qualify for need-based aid. I think I will receive some scholarships, but of course there are no guarantees. Yes, I have taken a year of photography. I am primarily interested in mathematics education, but not every school has this major (some list it as mathematics with a concentration in teaching, others list it under child studies, etc.).

If budget is not a factor, then I would also look at Occidental, University of San Diego and St. Marys of Moraga for smaller private schools as an Education major.

Pepperdine would seem to be a poor fit with required religious convocation attendance.

UC’s and Cal states do not give need-based aid to OOS students. The majority of the merit scholarships for the UC’s have a need-based component for in-state students and the most common merit scholarship is Regents.

Here are the dollar amounts for the Regent scholarships for each UC campus:

Awards vary by campus and are not transferable if you transfer to another UC campus.

  • UC Berkley $2,500
  • UC Davis $7,500
  • UC Irvine $5,000
  • UCLA $2,000
  • UC Merced $7,000
  • UC Riverside $10,000
  • UC San Diego $2,000
  • UC Santa Barbara $6,000
  • UC Santa Cruz $5,000

In addition, certain perks are provided to Regents recipients: priority registration, extended library privileges, honors dormitories, faculty mentorship, and others, dependent upon campus.

Number of Scholarships Awarded: Varies annually—students in the top 1-2% of the applicant pool are considered for the scholarship.

Eligible Students: Entering freshman or transfer student who demonstrate academic excellence (based upon GPA, standardized test scores, and other academic criteria) along with personal accomplishments. Must be a US Citizen, Permanent Resident or CA Dream Act Student. Students must be enrolled full time and maintain a 3.25 GPA in order to continue receiving the scholarship.

@afahrer: Expect to be full pay at least for the UC’s and Cal states.

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@ucbalumnus yes, I saw all of the religious requirements when I was researching Pepperdine. I am open to learning about religion and attending church, I just don’t want it to be forced on me… do you think Pepperdine is like this? Santa Clara (which is my top choice right now) is a Jesuit university and they require 3 religion courses (but they offer things such as theology of marriage and other fun classes) but if Pepperdine is more formal then I might consider removing it from my list. Thank you for the reminder!

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@Gumbymom Oh wow, I did not know about the limited number of scholarships UCs give out. Thanks for the info. When I was researching Cal Poly SLO, it says that their OOS tuition is around $26,000. This is significantly lower and makes Cal Poly more affordable than the UCs, right?

If you “definitely prefer warmer weather”, think twice about Colgate. There is a big difference between warmer climates and the harsh winters of Upstate NY. The cold season in Hamilton, NY lasts from early December until mid-March and averages over 7 feet of snow. It is not unheard of to have snow as early as October.

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@helpingmom40 do you have a recommendations for other schools in warmer climates? I live in AZ but do not want to stay in state so that rules out ASU and UofA… maybe Texas? I am not looking to go in the South but I think Texas would be preferable to Alabama, Florida, etc.

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Yes, SDSU and Cal poly SLO’s OOS tuition is less than the UC’s but you need to add housing, food, transportation, books etc… to the tuition costs so you are still looking at $40K+/ year. Running the Net price calculators on all the schools will get you a better idea of costs.

@Gumbymom thanks for the clarification. Also one more question-- do you think it is worth even applying to Stanford and UCLA? I know I will fall towards the 25th percentile for admitted freshmen, so is it worth wasting the time and money to apply?

OP, you need to find out how much your parents can afford to pay each year and do that before making a list. Every year students like you say cost isn’t important, apply to schools based on that incorrect assumption without input from their parents, and then have no affordable schools in March/April.

@itsgettingreal21 yes, thank you for the suggestion! My parents are divorced, so I don’t know if that has any impact on aid.

@afahrer That has a huge impact. Assume no aid for the CA publics. And for the privates, the financial aid will depend on both parents’ incomes and assets and that of any new spouses. Sometimes divorced parents won’t even cooperate with the financial aid process as they don’t want to disclose their financial situation and/or don’t want to contribute to college expenses.

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@afahrer: If your parents are divorced then the Net Price Calculators will not be accurate. I agree with @itsgettingreal21 that you first need to set your budget, then work on your list. Stanford will be a Super Reach and UCLA will be a Reach but I would work on my college list from bottom up meaning find 2 affordable safety schools and then expand from there.

Chapman for example, their Cost of attendance is $69,880. Yes they offer merit scholarships but what I have seen, it will highly unlikely you could get the total cost below $40K/year with these scholarships.

Do more research and have the budget talk with your parents.

@itsgettingreal21 @Gumbymom I did not know that that has a huge impact, so thank you for the info. Both my parents are heavily involved in my education, so I am pretty sure that they are both going to contribute. Both my parents are also remarried, so does that put me at a disadvantage for aid? Knowing that I will likely receive no aid for the public schools, do you think it will be less expensive overall to attend a private university? I am not familiar with the aid and scholarships given by privates. Would I even qualify for aid? Both my parents have very high earning jobs, but I don’t know the specifics (but I think we are middle-to-upper class)

For FAFSA you will include the financials of the parent you live with the most, and their new spouse. Many public schools are FAFSA only, but many do not meet full need.

For CSS Profile you will include the financial information of both bio parents, and both step-parents. Most private schools use the CSS Profile to determine need. There are several schools, including U Chicago and Vandy, that do not require non-custodial parent financial information.

You are going to have to speak with your bio parents and understand what they are both contributing.

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@Gumbymom @Mwfan1921 @itsgettingreal21 I have discusssed with my parents and they said they have enough saved to cover most of my college (and the rest I will just take out in loans). Now knowing that cost isn’t a factor, what safeties should I look at? Or other matches/reaches?