Suggestions to my college list

I’ll be applying to colleges this fall and I intend to study computer science or related majors. I know CS is super competitive and the acceptance rates to these majors are much lower than the general acceptance to the school. This made it very difficult to determine which schools are safeties or matches. So I would much appreciate your comments/suggestions to my current list.

First my stats:
Highly competitive high school in CA
GPA: 4.00 (uw); 4.82 (w)
SAT: 1590
SAT II: math2 (800); chem (800)
AP: 8 5’s (EuroH, Calculus BC, chem, Chinese, Eng Lit, USH, bio, CS A), 1 4 (Spanish), plan to take 4-6 AP tests in senior year

National AP Scholar
NMSF (most likely)
President’s service awards (~250 service hours)
AIME qualifier
Regional awards for creative writing
Multiple local art exhibition
CS related summer internship
Research internship at a local university
V/JV sport
Various school clubs

Here is my current list
U Chicago
MIT (maybe)
UC’s (Berkeley, LA, SD, SB, Irvine)
CalPoly SLO
U Washington
U Mich

Which of these are your safe schools? Your list is very top-heavy.

Also, there doesn’t appear to be any consistency to your list. Are you certain you could be happy at both Amherst AND University of Michigan? Pomona AND USC? Cornell AND Columbia?

I like humanities as well, so I hope a school can offer good opportunities beyond CS. I keep a couple of LACs because I really like the teaching styles that is quite similar to my current high school; but I may not apply to those eventually. As I said, I had difficulty to determine what schools should be my safeties considering the competitive CS major. I was thinking CalPoly, UCSD, UCSB, Purdue could be my safeties; but I could be overly optimistic. Thanks for your comments.

Aside from what @brantly is asking - if you want to study CS, why Amherst and Pomona? Why not Harvey Mudd, as a CS major?

UChicago does not have a very good CS program, compared to any other colleges with that acceptance level, nor does UPenn.

In general, though, looking at your list, you do not seem interested in very small schools of Liberal Arts Colleges, so drop Pomona and Amherst. You should also drop Upenn and UChicago. Perhaps Princeton as well, to reduce the number of your reaches.

Apply to all the UCs, since there will be no extra work, once you’ve applied to those on your list.

While normally UCSB and Irvine would be low matches and UCSD would be a match, CS is a capped major, so they likely have acceptance rates that are too low for them to be considered matches, and my guess is that it is similar for Cal Poly SLO

Acceptance rates to CS at Purdue are also far lower than the average acceptance rates, and acceptance rates to Michigan for OOS applicants are pretty low, and, again, those for CS are even lower

So you need some matches and at least one safety. While I think that Riverside CS is likely at least a low match, if not a safety (for CS), you would need to be happy attending it for t to be a safety.

Good luck - your stats are impressive, but, unfortunately, CS is a very popular major, and acceptance rates are super low, so competitions is brutal.

Thank you @MWolf

I think you’ll be fine with those UCs and CalPoly. but if you want to be completely safe then you could add somewhere like ASU or Utah. Either is likely to be more enjoyable than Riverside or Merced and with your stats will likely be cheaper due to merit.

For someone with so many 5s in APs, it’s worth considering whether to put in an application to UK schools, both as a safety (you can get an answer by Oct/Nov at places like KCL) and as a potential reach like Oxford or Imperial that isn’t so holistic (and unlike US colleges isn’t as dramatically more competitive for CS)

@Twoin18 Thank you. Never thought about U.K. colleges; I’ll do some research

Check out Northeastern University!