What are my chances at UCs, CSUs, and other similar universities ? Human Bio/Nursing major


  • US Citizen, Utah Resident
  • Public high school
  • Gender/Race: White female
  • Dad attended college but dropped out, mom got a GED but no further education. Mom is deceased, raised by a single dad, low income family.

Intended Major(s) Nursing, Human Biology, Health Administration, or similar majors

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.997 (one A- on the quarter system)
  • Weighted HS GPA: my school doesn’t do weighted GPA. Don’t know if UC/CSU weighted GPA applies to me as an out of state, but if so I believe I am about a 4.35 weighted using online calculators.
  • Class Rank: 19 out of 382, top 5%, I believe everyone above me has a 4.0
  • ACT/SAT Scores: 30 composite, 32E, 28M, 29R, 31S. I take it a second time in July.
  • Still waiting on AP scores but I expect AP Lang (3 or 4) AP US History (3)

Freshman Year:
Honors Biology, Honors Secondary Math 1, Honors Geography, Honors English 9, Spanish 1
3.5 additional credits/classes of regular electives or required classes

Sophomore Year:
Honors Chemistry, Honors Secondary Math 2, Honors World Civilizations, Honors English 10, Spanish 2
3.75 additional credits/classes of regular electives or required classes

Junior Year:
Honors Secondary Math 3, AP US History, AP English Language, CNA course through local technical college, Regular Physics, Regular US Government
4 additional credits/classes of regular electives or required classes

Intended Senior Year:
AP Psychology, AP Statistics, AP Biology, English 2010 (college intermediate writing), Spanish 3, Medical Anatomy & Physiology, & an internship (if I am not able to do my internship I will replace it with AP Calculus)

No super notable awards, just a few small awards locally and at my school

HOSA (future health professionals) council officer - Historian (10th) Co-Vice President (11th) applying for President for 12th
Drama Club council member - Secretary (11th) Deck Manager in spring play (11th) Historian (12th)
Inducted into International Thespian Society (11th & 12th)
Gay Straight Alliance council member - Co-President (11th & 12th)
NJHS and NHS member (9th through 12th)
Educational Talent Search (ETS, college advising) (8th through 12th)
Choir (3rd through 10th)

Applied to be a Volunteer Blood Donor Ambassador through American Red Cross, should hear back within the next few days

Smaller Extra Curriculars I’ve Done:
Music Manager in Honors Choir (9th)
Public Relations in Musical Theatre class (9th)

Still brainstorming but am looking at UCs and CSUs & will apply to University of Utah as my in state university. Am looking for any suggestions on other match, reach, and safety schools as I am still exploring my options. I know out of state will be expensive, but am not crossing anything off purely on cost, although it is kept in mind. Want to stay west coast although I am open to anything.

The CSU’s and UC’s are test blind for this admission cycle so your ACT will not be considered. All Nursing programs are impacted at the UC’s and CSU’s and all the direct admit BSN programs have under a 5% acceptance rate. The 2+2 BSN programs are also impacted and there is no guarantee of getting into a program after completing the Nursing pre-req’s. California is a highly competitive state for Nursing and there are just not enough spots for well qualified applicants even for in-state students.

What about affordability? CSU’s and UC’s offer little to no financial aid to OOS students so figure on $42K/year for a CSU and $65K/year for the UC’s. Being low income, you need to focus on the private schools where need and merit aid will be available. I would cross off the UC’s and CSU’s.

Overall you look like a competitive applicant so if California is your target state, look at Azusa Pacific University and University of San Francisco for a direct admit nursing program instead which could garner some merit aid. Also consider Arizona State for a direct admit BSN program or some schools in Oregon like University of Portland. I would check into schools under the WUE and see if Nursing programs are available for the WUE tuition discount.

Regarding your GPA question for OOS applicants, only AP/IB or DE courses (UC/CSU transferable) count for the extra weighting and the CSU’s and UC’s only use 10-11th grades in their GPA calculation. Also note 1 year of a visual or performing arts course is a UC/CSU requirement.

Here is the UC GPA calculator: GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub

UC’s will look at all 3 GPA’s: Unweighted, Capped Weighted and Fully Weighted while the CSU’s only consider the Capped Weighted GPA.

Based on your listed classes, only AP US History and AP English will get the extra honors points for 4 semesters. OOS Honors courses are not weighted.

You have better chances at the UC’s and CSU’s as either a Human Biology major (UC’s) or Health care Administration (CSU’s) but if Nursing is your ultimate goal, then a direct admit is the best option and paying over $160K for the CSU’s and $260K for the UC’s is crazy if not unrealistic.


Being low income and out of state, you cannot afford California public universities; they are off the table. Affordability needs to be a top priority. Look at the University of Utah and at private universities in any state that offer substantial merit and/or need-based financial aid.


U if Utah is a good school and is certainly worth an application.

Nursing in CA is absurdly competitive, if that’s the direction you want to go, you should probably focus elsewhere.

For Bio, there are a number of CA publics on the WUE list. Chico, CPP, Sonoma and UCM are all worth a look. Maybe CO State, UNR and Boise State as well. With an UW GPA 3.97 So Cal privates like USD, LMU and Chapman will offer merit aid that will probably make them affordable.

Apply broadly and good luck

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The F requirement often trips up OOS non-residents for California schools. You mentioned Choir in your vitae, but I don’t see a course listed for it. You would need a yearlong graded course in choir. Subject Area F: Visual & Performing Arts

You seem to be really focused on the competitive and expensive California publics. From their website:

Visual and performing arts

UC-approved high school courses
One yearlong course of visual and performing arts chosen from the following disciplines: dance, music, theater, visual arts or interdisciplinary arts — or two one-semester courses from the same discipline is also acceptable.

Exams & coursework that satisfy “F”
(Subject requirement (A-G) | UC Admissions)

AP or IB Examination

Score of 3, 4 or 5 on the AP History of Art, Studio Art or Music Theory Exam;
score of 5, 6 or 7 on any one IB HL exam in Dance, Film, Music, Theatre Arts or Visual Arts

College courses

Grade of C or better in any transferable course of 3 semester (4 quarter) units that clearly falls within one of four visual/performing arts disciplines: dance, drama/theater, music or visual art

Subject requirement (A-G) | UC Admissions

Both the CSU’s and the UC’s hold firm on this requirement such that if it is missing, it is an automatic rejection.

If your heart is set on California only, then you need to do research on the private colleges.
Presuming that the limited scholarships at the publics, will help defray the costs, is not going to help you. The UCs/CSU’s are funded by the State of California.

  • The State doesn’t have a lot of spare money to fund non-residents.
  • Taxpayer dollars partially fund those schools.
  • Scholarships to these public universities average about $2K.
  • You need $42K -$65K per year.
  • Working in California wont give you that kind of money.
  • Living in California, while attending school, wont gain you instate resident tuition during those 4 years.

Also, California is very expensive. People tend to forget that it is a VERY large state and that public transportation is deemed poor with the exception of some Bay Area public works. Many students have cars to get around. Driving in Southern California is almost a given.

Many of the private schools, that may provide funding, may also have religious affiliations or requirements, so you need to gauge what is required and how that will affect and impact your needs.
Some of the privates:
Stanford (Santa Clara County-HUGE REACH)
Santa Clara University (Santa Clara County)
University of San Francisco (SF)
University of Southern California (LA County)
Loyola Marymount (LA County)
Chapman University (Orange County)
University of San Diego (SD County)
Pt. Loma Nazarene (SD County)
Scripps and Pitzer Colleges (wider LA county)
St. Marys (Contra Costa County)
Azusa Pacific (LA county)
University of the Pacific (nowhere near the ocean, but near lots of farms in Stockton, CA)
California Lutheran (Ventura County)
Mt. St. Mary’s (LA county)
ETA: Gas, and maintenance, for driving around California is expensive, but what will really affect and impact your dollars will be both the health insurance costs as well as your car insurance.

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Idaho State. UNLV. U of New Mexico. U of Wyoming.

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okay yes I took a full year of choir in 10th grade so I believe I hit all their requirements and my recalculated weighted GPA through their system is a 4.19 if I got it right. Thank you !!

How realistic do you think USC would be for me ? I know it would be a reach for any applicant, but I’ve been looking into it because I would like a private university for cost reasons although any religious affiliation (which many privates have) is almost an automatic no just since I’ve been surrounded by a predominant religion in utah forever and favor the idea of a diverse campus. USC is a top college and I don’t know how competitive my application would be.

Did you receive a grade, and were you given exams? That’s what the UC’s and CSU’s want to see.

As for USC, it’s a very expensive reach. Assume $70-80K. I just listed it because it is a private. The school likes National Merit Scholars and winners, musicians for the Trojan band and National level athletes. They offer significant funding to NM winners. (My son was offered admission but as a URM, he was also an athlete, as well as a National Merit winner. He didn’t want to do sports in college so they only guaranteed him ½ tuition (about $36K for NM) and we would have been responsible for the other half of tuition, as well as his room and board. He got better funding at UCLA and other tops schools, so he declined USC.
If you need funding to attend USC, you need to have a hook to be admitted: URM, recruited athlete, legacy, large donor, celebrity status.

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For choir I got straight As all year, there were no major exams, mostly graded on class and concert attendance with occasional quizzes.

Some UC GPA data (based on the capped weighted GPA) and not major specific:

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)

Some BSN nursing stats for SDSU direct admit and UCI direct admit (note test scores are listed for the 2020 data) since no 2021 data is posted yet:

SDSU: https://nursing.sdsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/FTFAdmissionProfile_2016-2020.pdf

Number applied: 4883
Number admitted: 78
Acceptance rate: 1.6%
Average UC Capped GPA: 4.03

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I don’t think your choir class will meet the minimum requirement because they may be concerned that it is not equivalent or sufficient to what the California High Schools are teaching for the F requirement.
The requirement is strict; from the UC website:

Courses meeting the VPA (F) subject requirement will:

  • Provide opportunities for students to participate in all aspects of the artistic process, including creation, presenting, producing, performing, responding, critiquing, and connecting.
    • They will also, as relevant, offer opportunities to discuss artistic ideas with other students, read texts within the art discipline studied (including art works but also written critiques, etc.), and write clearly and coherently on artistic topics.
  • Include activities or assignments that ask students to document and summarize their work in an appropriate written format, especially if the course is teaching a specific set of skills that must be developed outside of class time (e.g., portfolio/performance preparation, instrument practice, research projects, and/or critical listening/viewing).
  • Include a variety of assessments of conceptual artistic understanding as well as mastery of creative practices, skills, and artistic literacies. These measures could include, but are not limited to:
    • Authentic performance and/or exhibition opportunities, discipline-appropriate creative projects, collaborative projects, student portfolios, written exams, research and written projects, and multimedia presentations.
  • Incorporate culturally relevant topics and activities, real-world problems, and applications that are appropriate for the context of the school community and the course content. Maintaining a balance of theoretical and historical/cultural context with skills-based content is essential, especially in production courses that primarily serve school events (e.g., newspaper, yearbook, broadcast).

Acceptance of the F requirement depends on if the publics accept your OOS course description that matches the above standard and that you’ve met the AP equivalent for the course. A number of students take AP’s in the Art History & Music Theory to meet this requirement. This is what can trip up a non-resident.

The point is moot if you get into UC’s because you need to pay.

How will you pay nearly a quarter of a million dollars to attend???

There is no special funding or a secret stash of money. The UC’s wait for the government via California taxes to pay the bills. If you aren’t a resident, you don’t qualify for Cal Grants, the MCS or anything coming out of California public dollars.

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