Where to apply, computer science, ungraded high school, A's in CC classes, no test scores

My son has had an unconventional education. He has attended our homeschool, a California private school. I don’t want to issue grades - seems kind of contrived and cheating. He has taken 9 community college classes (English, maths, computer sciences, visual arts) for letter grades, and gotten all A’s. He has three courses in progress, and 3 more planned. He will have completed typical high school requirements, with half being done through our homeschool, and half being done at community college through dual enrollment. His GPA is 4.0, and will likely remain that.

He wants to study computer science. He is already a fluent programmer.

I’ve been through this college applications thing twice before, but with this one I don’t even know where to start. He wants to go to a “top school,” and can always opt to stay at community college and go the transfer rate if he doesn’t like where he gets in. I just don’t know where to start on choosing schools for him to apply to.

He likes cities, medium to large. He doesn’t like hot weather. Wants to be positioned for top positions in Silicon Valley or similar after graduation. Does not want to go to a very small school. We won’t get financial aid, but merit aid would be great. (But how is that going to happen with no test scores?) We need a school that will come in around 30k per year if he could get out in 3 years with his college credits, or closer to 25k if he needs to go 4 years. It would be awesome if his GPA and computer science skills could get him one of those unique full scholarships you hear about once in a while.

I’m interested in hearing any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on any of this.

If you live in California, UCs and CSUs seem like obvious candidates.

Yes, thanks, you’re right. We are aiming for those. My other son’s at Cal, so that would be amazing if he could get in there. I just don’t know how the UC’s will judge him given how competitive they are. I guess they at least have the essays.

I think he needs to stay in California for those prices. If he is thinking of top privates then UChicago and (at least for this year) all the Ivies are test optional except Princeton. He probably needs to do some research if he is looking at any of those on their CS programs.

https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/admission-requirements/freshman-requirements/home-schooled-students.html is the UC page on home schooled frosh applicants. However, you may have to contact them directly about questions regarding ungraded home school courses used to fulfill a-g requirements, if college course work and test scores do not cover the a-g requirements. https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/admission-requirements/freshman-requirements/subject-requirement-a-g.html describes how college courses and test scores can cover some a-g requirements.

A significant number of college courses (UC transferable and college frosh level or higher, not remedial) with A grades would definitely be helpful in showing academic strength.

https://www2.calstate.edu/attend/student-services/Documents/admission-handbook-2018-19.pdf has some information for home schooled frosh applicants to CSU, but you may have to contact them directly for additional information that you may need.

CS is highly competitive at the UC’s and CSU’s. Since he has no test scores, no HS grades for the a-g course requirements other than the CC courses and is doing so well at his CC, then the CC to UC or CSU transfer route might be the more direct and less complicated option.

You can research all the information given by @ucbalumnus but it may difficult to determine if he would be competitive for “top schools” based on his unconventional education.

Since the CSU’s are test blind this admission cycle and the UC’s are test optional for the majority of campuses, they still would want to see some SAT subject tests or AP exam results for the a-g courses his has taken.

The UC’s offer TAG (Transfer Admission Guarantee) where the student is guaranteed a spot at a participating UC if they meet the GPA and pre-req course requirements. Unfortunately only 4 UC’s offer TAG for CS currently: UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis but all have reputable programs.


For the Cal states, they have the ADT which guarantees admission to one of the Cal states.



Best of luck to him and please post any updated information you receive to help future homeschoolers out.