Waitlist schools: what to choose over UCLA CS? Anything?

Hi all,

I’m looking to decide between waitlist colleges. I’m accepted into UCLA for Computer Science (which I’m very happy to attend), but am looking for some advice on some colleges that have put me on the waitlist (I only really have 3-5 days to decide if I do get off the waitlist, so I’m looking for info just in case). After visiting the UCLA’s campus and attending the engineering fair, I really like it, so I’m mainly trying to see if any of my waitlist colleges should slot higher in my mind than UCLA.

The waitlist colleges I’m currently considering are: Brown, CMU (Comp Bio), UC Berkeley (L&S CS), JHU (BME)

I’m looking to get a Bachelor’s in computer science/computational biology/bioengineering, and then go in to higher education after that (either Ph.D. or med school), so job placement isn’t a huge concern for me.

I’m looking for some general advice on the cultures of the schools themselves (and for Berkeley what my chances would be of getting in to CS via the L&S pathway, as I want the flexibility provided by the BA). I’ve heard negative things about depression and cutthroat culture at CMU and Berkeley, but these could just be rumors.

Any advice on these specific programs at these schools or just tidbits about the schools in general would be much, much appreciated! Thank you in advance!

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Here’s a reddit post that was on an other CC thread recently. I am not sure how true this is and I can’t find the CC thread, but it’s still something to consider or try to research on your own.

You don’t get to choose one of your waitlist schools. The decision has already been made, and for now, it’s no.

I will be blunt: getting off WL at any of those schools will be extremely difficult. Assume it won’t happen. Why gather all this information? Would you really attend any of the other schools over UCLA?

Do you have reason to believe that you have a shot at getting off WL? Has your guidance counselor put in a call to one of these colleges and made a case for why they should admit you? If so, and the college was responsive, maybe that could be helpful. Did you add relevant updates to your LOCI that boost your app? Maybe it’s possible you’ll get off a WL, but honestly, I wouldn’t dwell on learning the specifics of options that are unlikely to come through.

You are in to UCLA. Focus on learning more about what UCLA offers, not what’s offered by colleges you aren’t attending.

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UCB CS in the College of Letters and Sciences requires a secondary admission process. Also the Reddit article will not be in effect for in-coming Freshman since the process has not yet been approved. Usually the UCB CS majors have around a 50% success rate of getting into the major. CS like the majority of majors at UCB are competitive and I have heard of the “cutthroat” culture but I also have heard from other people just the opposite.

You are admitted into a top CS program at UCLA. Why stay on any waitlist lists if UCLA fits your needs? UCLA is a research institute so there is no reason not to accept your spot and move on.

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I’m confused - you can stay on the waitlist of any and all - or am I missing something?

Just know that a waitlist is a no, a rejection - but a hedge for the school in case they misinterpret their yield. Fall in love with UCLA after sending in the necessary docs. Do it if you want - but assume you are going to UCLA and forget about the others.

Congrats on a great admission.

You may find more of it at JHU, because there you will be in a major with lots of premeds.

UCB L&S CS requires a 3.3 GPA in three CS courses, and about half of the students in them earn B+ or higher grades (not graded on a curve). However, the overloading of the department means that they are trying to find some other way of regulating enrollment (already rejected were raising the GPA needed and doing direct admission). So there is a risk of some change that is unfavorable.

But, as others state, wait list = reject in nearly all cases.

You should not be considering them until they consider you.

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This. The number of students accepted off any of these waitlists ranges from 0 to a couple dozen- and thousands are offered places on the waitlist.

Lots of good advice posted here already. But I wanted to specifically address this…

The simple answer is “no”.

You already have an excellent acceptance. The others have not accepted you so they shouldn’t shot higher in your mind. You should fully embrace UCLA and make plans for your 4 years there. In the unlikely event one of the others offers you a spot, you can think about it at that point.

Even the title of this thread worries me. “What to choose over UCLA” implies you’re thinking of the WL schools as real options awaiting you in the future. That’s not a good way to think about these schools. Fall in love with UCLA and move on. Maybe even re-evaluate whether any of the other schools are worth waiting on.

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The other you listed them is the correct order:

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I put CS as my intended L&S major, so I don’t think that should be an issue with the CS 70 restrictions, and I’m fairly confident that I can get a 3.3+ because I’ve done so at a similarly competitive uni in 2nd/3rd year math classes. The main catch for me is the fact that the CS department is supposedly “crumbling”: I can hardly understand what the article was trying to say by this.

Thanks, I do know that any of the waitlists are extremely unlikely to happen. I’m just trying to give info in the event that I do get off of a waitlist and have to make a decision in 72 hours between that school and UCLA.

Mainly that the department does not have infinite capacity, despite being willing to have classes get very large (even at the upper division level that is gated by the L&S CS entry requirements). CS is getting so popular that demand, and the number of students meeting the L&S CS entry requirements, keeps growing, even though the department cannot increase capacity as quickly.

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Perhaps we interpreted the original Reddit post and whole thread very differently. I took it that Mr. Weaver thinks the L&S route may close up very soon.

Two things that stood out:
First, this section of Mr. Weaver’s original post: “And if this proposal is somehow circumvented or rejected by Letters and Science, it would be natural to restrict CS 70 to “declared EECS and Letters and Science students only” in 2023 --and, since a student can’t declare in Letters nd Science until they take CS 70 first, will kill the Letters and Science major entirely.”

Second, this side convo started by AggravatingNail7400: "And it shouldn’t affect admitted L&S students who put CS on their app, right?

No_Bag_1272
5 days ago
I think it does. You are undeclared for L&S. You still need to declare CS by end of sophomore year. But you can’t if you can’t get into CS 70. It’s nearly impossible to get into that class unless you were admitted CS direct thru EECS."

I may be wrong about this, but I don’t believe putting CS as your intended major on your application is the same thing as actually declaring a major when you’re an attending student. It really sounds like if you’re not a direct admit to EECS, you could get cut off.

UCLA is a fantastic school and you’re a direct admit to CS. Would you choose Berkeley over UCLA if you knew you couldn’t get into CS there? Is the Berkeley name worth the risk of not getting into CS?

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Hi @JAF09,

Thanks for the clarification. After reading it again, I think your interpretation is more correct than mine. And after thinking about this a bit more, if there will be no L&S CS for me down the road, it would certainly not be better than UCLA.

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Know that it is okay to take yourself off of a waitlist, too. It can be empowering and can clear your headspace.

It sounds like you have a great option and your energies need to be focused there. Start making your plans.

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In most years, the odds are worse on the waitlist than they are for general admission. For example, CMU admitted about 10% of their applicants last year, but only about 4% of those offered spots on the waitlist. The waitlist culls all of the weakest candidates, so it’s really even more competitive than the numbers suggest.

Go Bruins!

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I’m glad you took the time to look it over more. Maybe Mr. Weaver’s prediction won’t come true, but it could really suck if you go there and he ends up being right. Wherever you go I hope you love it and do well.

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Maybe this will help sort things out for you…
Can you list what is most compelling about each of those WL schools that makes them more desirable to you than UCLA?

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I agree with others. Computer science is the most impacted major, and they accept more kids than they enroll. That means it is not likely to get off WL. Besides, I don’t think there are a lot of academic differences in CS education among all UCs, at least for the undergraduate level.
Also, remember UCLA for example is ranked high in the happiest students, while at the same time ranked high in the most stressful school.

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