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

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.

I would say that any courses that are in the a-g Course List for UC/CSU would be counted for the UC GPA. Your HS obviously wouldn’t be listed since it is out of state, but you can type in the generic name of the course to see if other in-state high schools get credit for it or not. Look here: https://hs-articulation.ucop.edu/agcourselist

So courses that wouldn’t count would be things like PE or Weightlifting or Golf. But most everything else probably would count, whether it be a certified HS online school or at a community college. Even courses like Beginning Dance, Ceramics and Auto Repair would count. The courses you took in college probably would be considered weighted (I think) as well.

So it sounds like you’re more closer to 24-28 semesters in 10th and 11th grade, as opposed to 16 semesters. Which would be better for you if you got As in all of those extra classes. Also, some of the college classes that was taken as one semester might count as two semesters for UC GPA calculation purposes for certain classes (not sure which ones they are).

College courses would be weighted if they are UC transferable. Also classes like Health, some Religion classes etc… would not be an a-g course, not included in the UC GPA calculation and not listed on your UC application.

Your example of AP Stats A and B is just a year of AP stats. Could you list all your classes taken 10-11th which CC posters could help with your UC GPA calculation and which courses would satisfy the a-g course list.

The UCs won’t see your actual HS transcript during the application process or what your school “reports”.

Instead, you enter your grades and courses on the application. You include each institution attended: regular HS, online HS, and community college. If you are accepted and decide to enroll, you will send your actual transcripts from all institutions, and the university checks that you entered the grades correctly.

If an AP class is a one semester class, that class would receive 1 honor point. If the class, like AP Stats, is a two semester course, that class would receive 2-honor points. For calculations, it’s 1 extra point for each grade received in an AP or college class up to a maximum of 8.

For example, if you took 3 AP classes first “semester” and 3 AP classes second “semester”, you add 6 honor points for calculations.

When my kids went through the UC application cycles 2014, 2016, 2018, college classes counted twice for fulfilling a-g requirements and grades counted once for GPA calculations.

For example, a semester of Art in community college fulfills the 1-year/2 semester VPA requirement but the grade is counted once in the GPA calculations.

Also the UCs require 4 shorter essay responses. It’s likely you can use a version of your common application essay as one of the responses, but will need to write responses to the prompts.

In addition, from my experience in 2016 and 2018, only UCB looks at LORs. Except not everyone has an opportunity to send. UCB accepts LORs by invitation only. When one son applied in 2016, he was invited to upload a LOR. My other son in 2018 was not invited. Both got in, but are attending another UC.

Thanks for the detailed info - I created my UC application and its clear what courses are considered and how to add multiple high-schools/college credits (my earlier confusion was from mixing things from my school gpa calculations with UC calculations). I recalculated using a-g courses/grades from (graduatingHS + onlinehigh_school + college).

My final UC stats
UW 3.85
W-capped 4.25
W 4.55 (this could be 4.6 based on how they weight college classes - I just assumed they are weighted same as AP’s).

Seems, I am right at the average for UCB - so assume my chances are on par with other OOS students (which is reach) - I know the chances are low teens at best;

will apply to L&S CS with the knowledge that major will not be guaranteed (I actually like Math more anyway so that would be my fallback if I don’t get in CS).

Thanks to @ProfessorPlum168, @Gumbymom and @svlab112 - you explained this to me more patiently than my GC would have :smile:

At 4.25 and with such a high SAT, you’re in that gray area where you need to decide whether to apply for EECS or L&S → CS as far as Berkeley goes. You probably have a ok chance for EECS and I think you should be a good chance for L&S.


Dance and ceramics would be under the visual and performing arts (f) category. Looks like courses like automotive technology, culinary science, and welding could be in the (g) category, as shown at https://hs-articulation.ucop.edu/agcourselist/institution/372 . But it looks like courses like health, leadership, life skills, and yearbook may not count in any a-g categories.