UC chances of OOS student planning to major in CS (or CS+math)

Appreciate if you can chance me for Univ of Cal - am planning to apply UCB, UCLA, UCSD. Plan to apply for CS major (either in college of science or as EECS).

CA residency: Out of state
UC GPA - capped weighted - 4.19
UC GPA - uncapped weighted - 4.6
UC GPA - unweighted (10-11) - 3.74

School GPA - unweighted (9-11) - 3.8
School GPA - weighted (9-11) - 4.88 ← this is what school officially reports

Rank - top 5% (think I am around 20 out of 450)
Rigor: most rigorous with 15 AP’s by end of senior year. Mostly 5’s in completed AP’s.

SAT1 - 1580 (800m+780ebrw; 7-6-7 essay) - single sitting
SAT2 - Math2, Math1, Phy - 800
SAT2 - Chem - 780

Decent EC’s - consistent participation/leadership roles in 4 school-based clubs/activities plus outside activities like volunteering/research-internship/club-sport - all of them I have a long record including all of high school years - some awards/prizes at state level (math competitions - state level first/second awards - state science olympiad/sciencebowl top-3 placements - one national math meet top-10 placement - 2xAIME qualifier - AP National Scholar - wins in local hackathons - CS research with a college prof but not published - state science fair CS subject award; attended couple free summer programs with 15% admit rates - something like governors schools etc). NO national award / published paper.

My common app essay can be rated as average as of now - still working on it but am not satisfied yet. teacher reco’s will be good.

What are my chances in CS at UCB, UCLA and UCSD in that order. Anything that I need to highlight in my application to get noticed at UCB? (am still confused in how to order my activities and honors for example). TIA

PS: I haven’t yet seen the UC application.
PS2: school sends around 4-5 students to UCB every year.

Requesting input -
@Gumbymom @ProfessorPlum168 @ucbalumnus

The UC application opened on August 1st so I recommend you make an account and start inputting some of your information.

You have an excellent test scores but your capped weighted and unweighted UC GPA are a bit low for these competitive schools. Overall you are a competitive applicant but UCLA/UCB will be Reach schools regardless of your qualifications.

OOS admissions are higher than in-state admissions for all of these schools, but that is due to the costs. Many OOS admits are unable to afford $65K/year with little to no financial aid to attend so make sure this is affordable.

Your best chance would be UCSD and since CS is a capped major, I suggest you consider an alternate major in case you are not accepted into CS.

Some UC Statisical data below and not specific for CS. Expect lower admit rates and higher required stats.

2018 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 3.80-4.19 capped weighted and not major specific:
UCB: 10%
UCLA: 9%
UCSD: 34%

2019 UC capped weighted GPA averages:
UCB: 4.23
UCLA: 4.25
UCSD: 4.23

2019 Data:
25th - 75th percentiles for SAT totals:
UCB: 1340-1540

UCLA: 1330-1550
UCSD: 1300-1520

Admission Rates for Out-of-State Applicants (Domestic):
UCLA: 16.5%
UC Berkeley: 17.1%
UC San Diego: 59.6%

Best of luck.

For Berkeley, it depends on whether you apply for L&S CS or EECS. EECS is uber competitive as you know, and the typical EECS freshman applicant is around 4.3 UC GPA/1550+ SAT. It might be an uphill battle there since the UCs tend to be GPA-focused, but aside from the GPA, the other academics looks good. For L&S, you have a better chance, as your SAT probably should compensate for the GPA a lot, since it will be well above the average. With L&S, you do need to take an extra step and get a minimum 3.30 GPA in your first 3 required CS classes before you can declare for CS. But beyond that, both programs are pretty much the same.

UCLA’s CS is more or less the same situation as the Berkeley EECS, admissions-wise.

There’s nothing these schools could offer that you’re not already getting in your home state, especially for a degree as ridiculously employable as CS. It’s seriously not worth paying triple the tuition to go to California. I would look seriously at more cost-effective options.

@coolguy40 - OOS cost at UC’s are high - but my instate Univ is virtually unknown (in terms of rank its something like 125-150+). Sorry to rake up the ranks but it is important in one way - I want to go to a college where I am challenged and where I should feel excited/proud to go. Not getting that vibe with my instate. My other options are either privates or oos flagships like UC. that is my current rationale but I could change :smile:

anyone who mentions that all schools are the “same” never went to a top school. I can tell you the curriculum at Berkeley for CS is light years harder than other schools in the area (i.e. San Jose State), and San Jose State is actually very well regarded for CS. Not picking on San Jose State, but if you look at the HackerRank rankings (link is below) for school in terms of knowledge preparedness, you’ll know which schools really prepare their students well (hint: there aren’t many of them). So if you are looking for a challenging CS school, you should compare curriculums and syllabi of the various schools you are looking at.


@ProfessorPlum168 - thanks for sharing that link, its a different perspective from all other college rankings.

@clgApp20 Being a programmer myself, I can tell you that employers don’t care about what college you went to. They’re interested in how well you can code and how much experience you have in it. I went to a small “unranked” university myself. In my last job search, I’ve interviewed at Amazon, Google, GA Tech, USAA, Universal Studios, Stanford, and plenty more. I took a job with the state of Texas. None of them asked where I went to college.

I wouldn’t get caught up in rankings. They aren’t reliable. What you get when you graduate is an entry level job, no more no less. The higher employers go on salary, the easier it is to hire an experienced professional to do the job. That’s economics 101. The “big bucks” out of college idea is a myth. You don’t want high levels of debt when you’re starting a new career. You need to be able to pay your bills as you gain experience. Once you gain some experience in a specialty, you’re worth as a professional goes up exponentially.

An 80k starting salary sounds nice coming out of UC, but you’re in California. That’s barely paycheck to paycheck, especially if you have a mountain of debt to pay back. A starting salary of $55,000 in Texas, for example, actually goes further, especially if you have sustainable levels of debt.

Based on past UC admission rates by GPA (see previous replies):

UCB: reach for L&S, high reach for EECS
UCLA: high reach for CS
UCSD: reach or high reach for CS (but low reach for the school

Need 3.3 college GPA in three CS courses to enter L&S CS major.
If not directly admitted to CS, need 3.3 college GPA in CS prerequisites and then enter a lottery for the CS major.

you also mention a unweighted GPA of 3.74 and a capped weighted of 4.19. That’s pretty much impossible. Make sure both are calculated for 10-11 grade. There should be a gap of around .30 between the two, especially since you’ve taken a lot of AP classes. So if you have a 3.74, your capped weighted should be very close to 4.04. Or if you have a capped weighted of 4.19, your unweighted should be around 3.89.

Also, $80K salaries are what people who don’t go to elite schools make in the Bay Area coming out of school. The average CS grad starting for Berkeley is $110K, and if you get the right internships, the total compensation can easily double that. There’s is a reason why people work hard to go to the best schools and not just any school, and this is just one of the reasons…

But is that because of the school, or because the students were stronger students to begin with (i.e. treatment effect versus selection effect)?

I’ve interviewed for several jobs in the bay area. College graduates don’t come out of school making $110,000 unless they already have 3-4 years of outside programming experience. An entry level Berkeley graduate would not be qualified. Such a job would be posted for an experienced professional. The market economics are identical from region to region.

@ProfessorPlum168 said:

Thanks for the explanation - I used the same 10-11 grades for UW and W but made a mistake; recalculated using the rogerhub calculator. The correct UC UW and Weighted capped are: 3.75 UW; 4.25W and capped.

The difference is 0.50 (not sure why you thought this always should be 0.30). We have semester system with 4 blocks for a total of 16 grades (+2 over summer, health and art classes which are not counted in the GPA): 4.0 for for A’s and 3.0 for B’s - W is capped at 8 AP credits (I took total of 12 AP credits). I earlier made a mistake and capped W at 7 instead of 8. The correct W and Capped GPA is 4.25

Anyway, it may not make too much of diff as UW GPA maybe the main criteria (?)

Berkeley will look at all 3 GPAs, UC unweighted, UC capped weighted, and UC uncapped weighted. The UC capped weighted is the one usually we talk about most, since that’s what the publications use.

The usual student will have around 22-28 grades between 10-11 grade. That’s 5.5 to 7 courses per semester for 2 years, which may include any summer classes plus any community college classes. The only classes that are excluded from the calculation are PE classes. At 22 grades, the diff is .36, at 28 grades the diff is .29. 16 is low, since that would mean an average of only 4 classes a semester.

Yes that is right, we have a max of 4 classes a semester (if you are taking AP/Honors courses - all my courses are either AP or Honors - so that max I could take are 4 per semester). If UC adds Health/Art classes - where I got all A grades, my unweighted improves.

Thanks for the explanation.


FWIW - here is one specific example that I know - my brother is graduating from a well rated CS college (close to Berkeley but a few spots lower than UCB in CSrankings.com). He already got an offer to start after graduation: 120K+stocks+sign-on. His job location is in CA - that is the reason parents are OK with me to go there, if I get in at Berkeley. My brother is good but not a genius (though he likes to believe that :smile: ) and tells me that many of his classmates got similar offers. He interned at the same company for last 2 summers though. He is the one actively encouraging me to try hard to get into top CS colleges even if the fees is high - lets see how it goes.

interesting…just to belabor the issue a bit more, usually top students will have 4 years of math, science, English and probably social sciences, plus 3-4 years of a foreign language. And usually a couple of classes of art/music. Plus electives. You must have skipped something surely?

No didn’t skip any of the core - but I get confused with this years/semesters terminology. So here is the full gist: we have a total of 32 semester courses in 4 years. Note that there are some 2-semester courses - they are treated as 2 courses (AP-Stats-A; AP-Stats-B for example). School rule is to complete “at-least” 4 semesters of each core subject (English, Science, Math, Social/Humanities) + 2 semesters of FL + 2 semesters of electives + 4 semesters of required but non-core like PE/Art/Health/Music. The remaining 8 can be anything. This for honors/ranking.

I took everything (6 semesters each in English, Math, Social; 8 semesters in Science; 3 semesters in FL and electives). What is skipped in school are PE, Art, Health, music - they are required for grad though and so were taken through online public high school (btw, its just not I - many other students do the same every year in/around our school district). I also took 2 math college courses at a local college too after exhausting all school courses. All these online and college courses appear in the transcript with letter grades but they will not be counted towards school GPA (not sure how schools like UC that recalculate, treats them though - if they include grades from all these courses, its big plus for me - my GPA will jump to 3.86 as you suggested)

The problem with our fewer class model is - one B can trip up your absolute GPA. That is the reason, in our school the people with 4.0 are one or two (for context I am in top 5% - despite of my 3.86UW GPA from 9-11 grades). Unless colleges know this - they may not interpret the gpa in our local context.