UC Santa Cruz / UC Santa Barbara Competitiveness

Hello! I am current Senior in high school who applied to UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, and UC Davis for computer science. I have a 4.5 weighted GPA, 3.95 UW GPA, 1510 SAT, and 800 math 2. My two dream schools are UC Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara, and prior to schools shutting down due to corona, I was confident I would be admitted. However, after looking at the preliminary data that was recently released by the UC’s, I am very concerned about my chances. Applications to UC Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara increased by around 15%. On top of this, UC Santa Cruz made a statement last week explaining that over 200 freshman were able to defer their enrollment to fall 2021. Looking at past data from UC Santa Cruz, they accept around 27,000 students each year, but since applications increased and a lot of people are technically already admitted, I’m expecting UC Santa Cruz’s acceptance rate to drop to around 35-40%. I haven’t heard of anything from UC Santa Barbara regarding enrollment deferral, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing happened. Since UC’s are no longer accepting test scores as an admission factor, I am very stressed over how competitive UC’s will get. I don’t have the best extracurricular activities and wrote pretty average essays which leaves my strongest suit being my GPA. I know the average GPA at UCSC and UCSB will increase this year making admission more of a lottery, but what would you say my chances are? I am very stressed because of this and the fact that computer science is by far the hardest major to be admitted to at the UC’s. I had a friend last year who was waitlisted to both UC Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara for computer science with stats higher than mine. Sorry for making this seem like a rant. I am very stressed about this whole situation and would love to hear feedback/reassurance to get my confidence back. Thank you so much.

Computer science at the UC are about the most competitive areas. If you haven’t, you should apply broadly to even UCR and UCM or the CSU’s. Apply to private schools if the costs are not a financial burden on you or your parents. Your stats appear to be excellent.

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What is your capped weighted UC GPA which is what most of the UC statistical data is based upon?


Also the UC’s are test blind this admission cycle so your excellent SAT will not help your chances although the Math SAT of 800 will be considered.

CS as noted is very competitive for all the UC’s. I believe you have a very good chance at UCSC. UCSB has a small Engineering school so for CS it could go 50/50.

UC’s have always been very GPA focused so your GPA, HS course rigor and essays will have the most impact on this admission cycle.

Here is some UC admit data, not major specific so for CS admits the rate will be lower but you can see where you have the best chance based on your Capped weighted UC GPA:
2020 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 3.80-4.19 capped weighted and not major specific:

UCB: 14%

UCLA: 8%

UCSD: 39%

UCSB: 40%

UCD: 55%

UCI: 38%

UCSC: 82%

UCR: 90%

UCM: 97%

2020 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 4.20 or above capped weighted and not major specific:

UCB: 37%

UCLA: 38%

UCSD: 78%

UCSB: 81%

UCD: 86%

UCI: 60%

UCSC: 92%

UCR: 97%

UCM: 98%

2020 UC capped weighted GPA averages along with 25th-75th percentile range:

UCB: 4.22 (4.13-4.30)

UCLA: 4.25 (4.18-4.31)

UCSD: 4.16 (4.04-4.28)

UCSB: 4.15 (4.03-4.27)

UCI: 4.11 (3.96-4.26)

UCD: 4.11 (3.97-4.25)

UCSC: 3.94 (3.71-4.16)

UCR: 3.88 (3.65-4.11)

UCM: 3.68 (3.40-3.96)

Do you have any safety schools on your list besides the UC’s that you have listed?

Do you have any idea why all the published data uses weighted capped UC GPA when it seems like weighted uncapped UC GPA may be a more important factor?

Apologies to the OP but I will answer this one question.

The UC’s consider all three GPA’s when evaluating an applicant. The UC Capped weighted GPA was intended as an equalizer for CA applicants that have no access to AP/IB or DE courses.

UCB and UCLA do list their Fully weighted GPA admission information on their website and I have seen new articles about other UC campuses which quoted the Fully weighted UC GPA in the statistical data presented in the article.

I appreciate the feedback! Based off of that GPA calculator, my UW GPA is 3.96, my weighted GPA is 4.5, and my weighted and capped GPA is 4.13. I really wasn’t expecting it to be that much lower than my weighted GPA. I guess I’m within the averages for both UCSC and UCSB which is good. I also applied to SDSU (already accepted), Cal Poly SLO, and Arizona State (already accepted). I applied REA to Cornell and got rejected.

Unfortunately the UC application is already over and I can’t make any changes to it. Even if it was still open, I wouldn’t apply to UCR or UCM because I don’t see myself living in those areas. I didn’t mention it in my original message but I also applied to Cal Poly SLO and SDSU. I already got accepted to SDSU which I am grateful for but would be my last choice out of all the other schools I applied to.

I think you will get into UCSC but, (for CS specifically) the rest of the UCs are going to be a coin toss at best. Same for SLO. You will probably get into a couple but which ones is anyone’s guess.

Good luck.


My younger son attended SDSU as a CS major and was happy with the program. He is still living and working in the San Diego area and was able to find a good paying and interesting job right out of college. If you have any questions, do not hesitate and PM me.



I was waitlisted to both UCSC and UCSB for CS. I got into Cal Poly SLO for CS and will most likely commit there. If I get off either waitlist, I’ll be sure to come back here and make another update. Just a little tip, don’t consider UCSC to be a safety school. Apply widely to schools and add a few you know will get accepted to. Good luck everyone.


congratulations on being accepted in CS at Cal Poly SLO!

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Thank you so much!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to come back here to say that I got off the waitlist at UCSC and UCSB. I declined both spots and decided to stick with UCLA. Good luck to all future applicants!


Congratulations, excellent choice!

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