Which if any UC schools might be a good fit for my OOS daughter? Any other CA suggestions?

My D likes SDSU — she’s not into parties, but it has that reputation. She loved the vibrant, spirited campus and the football team, the beach and the city. They have an honors program and honors housing, which would be a must for her there.

My daughter is not religious but did not balk at the idea of taking theology classes at a Jesuit school. Often options include world religions, ethics or philosophy which interest her. And, she likes their their community service bent.


LMU is a Jesuit school, but there isn’t much of a religious vibe even with that requirement. At the very least the OP should check it out in order to gauge their level of comfort.

Also, the OP expressed a desire to avoid party schools, and by reputation at least ASU and SDSU certainly fit that bill. But again, the OP should try to gauge their own level of comfort with either or both.

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Some of those acceptances rate seem a little odd. Chapman’s overall acceptance rate from CDS is 56%, Occidental is a 37%, USD is 49%. The others seem more in line, so you may need to dig into those numbers a little more.

I don’t think they have released the detailed breakdown like the one that GumbyMom posted, but this is the class of 2025 (last year) admit overview for UC.

I don’t know your family budget but for the UC your child may possibly have a shot at, I don’t think it’s worth the money (and I’m in CA and a huge UC fan) for the major she wants to do. She may want to explore CA but not knowing the budget, I’m not sure if it’s worth it to even attend the private schools for a chem major if your state school provides for that for her and has decent grad school or job placements. Chem curriculum is chem curriculum and you get into cool specialization in grad school or if you go to a more well-endowed undergrad school, there may be oppty to work with professors with their research.

Again, I’m erring on the side of practicality since I don’t know your financial background. I have a Chem Engr degree and help recruit for a major corporation and no many fellow recruiters in the industry. If your daughter is looking for a job after college, the private schools listed on CA (other than maybe LMU) aren’t really the places we go to for recruitment of chem majors. We would likely hit the UC and CSUs first. But I’m thinking CSUs are expensive for OOS. If she plans to go to grad school, the private schools should fine. Good luck!!


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With the Honors Colleges and the variety of life on campus, you can find game night or parties. No different than at LMU or SCU or USD.

With OPs stats, they can definitely get merit at many schools in the South and Midwest but sounds like the west must win.

SDSU is surprisingly reasonable OOS. About $44k. Of course all colleges cost more than they state…well the overall cost will be generally a few thousand more I’ve experienced.

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Thanks @theloniusmon. There were very few students from her class applying to Chapman and Occidental, so those numbers are probably off.

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thanks @tbna and @mamaedefamilia. U of A is on the (original) list, and the options there look great to me, but she was looking to also add some CA. This was very helpful in rapidly narrowing things down for us as California is a mystery to me. USD and SDSU are quite different from each other?

We are Catholic, but she is not "into it’. Though does care about community service, the environment and some social justice issues.

Which area is safest (i.e. less likely to be on fire, flooded or without water) in the next five years?

University of San Diego is a private school and San Diego State University is a CA public school (it’s a great school). Some will turn up their nose on CSU (SDSU) and choose UC but I think they are both great systems in CA. We are def lucky to have great public school systems.

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All of the schools have emergency preparedness and procedures in place. That being said, no one here (in California) can predict when an area is likely to be on fire, to be flooded, or to be without water. California tries to conserve energy and water. California is a very large state. We have a little bit of everything here: Mountains, deserts, agriculture, rocky and winded beaches, etc.
All of the California schools have parties but the student can choose not to participate. SDSU has gotten a bad rap about being a party school. It’s so large that you can choose to do whatever you want and there’s no pressure to “party”. SDSU also happens to be very tough and competitive to get into, so, high GPA’s are expected of its admitted students. Given the quoted UW GPA, I don’t think the poster’s daughter will be at an advantage.

A number of California schools that have not been mentioned that might fit the bill including Chico State, University of the Pacific, Fresno, San Jose, the consortium colleges (Scripps, Clairemont McKenna, Pitzer, etc.) University of LaVerne, Whittier, etc.

Your daughter needs to specify what areas of California are of interest. Most of California isn’t the “beach” scene.


@aunt_bea gave great reco on the Scripps colleges but make sure to check GPA. I’m not sure if the GPA is within range of what they normally select.

Make sure to check with your school counselor to see what goes on the school report they submit to colleges. While colleges do not expect students to take all of the available Honors and AP classes, they gauge average AP/Honors classes taken by students, what the schools offer and they assess how your child stacks up based on the school report, also. High test scores are also not everything (not trying to be a downer but just setting expectations since I just lived thru this with my son and his friends who all have high stats, ECs, and test scores). The colleges look at the entire body of work from 9-11th (and senior year course rigor), ECs, LORs, etc. Other than maybe CSU’s, they will look beyond the stats.

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USD is small and on on a hill if I remember from my youth growing up. Jesuit schools typically value service.

San Diego State is your large, sprawling public school. It’s further inland. I don’t have stats in largest out of state but after Coly Poly SLO it’s second most selective of the CSU schools. It’s the one school, outside of Cal Poly, arguably with the largest CSU brand name although that’s in parts sports related.

It’s worth a look for sure….specifically Honors.

I mentioned U of Pacific earlier. But it is No Cal. Very good school not withstanding. Redlands worth a look as a non religious school.

The Claremont Schools are great…Scrpps/Pitzer but would all be high reaches based on their low acceptance rates. Also it’s 40 miles or so inland from LA and hemmed in by mountains so it’s hot and smoggy. But great schools if you are fortunate enough to attend.


I don’t think you should dismiss UCSC — it’s not SoCal but Santa Cruz is coastal and great. The campus is woodsy with a hippie vibe, not rah rah. If she comes to the state for a “California” experience, she will not find it in Stockton (UOP), Fresno or Chico ( although I think Chico is a great college town). Maybe CSU Long Beach? No idea about physics offerings there though.


SDSU has had the “party school” reputation branded permanently on them but no where near the party school of the past. Greek life is definitely part of the school experience at SDSU and when you have Greek life, you have parties. If she is not into parties, there are many like minded students on campus so she will be able to find her tribe.

SDSU may not be a Match school based on her GPA (average 2020 around 3.96 Capped weighted) but the Physics/Chemistry departments have around a 50%/43% acceptance rate for 2020. I would look at the course offerings for both departments since the # of enrolled students has been low. 12 enrolled in 2020 for Physics out of 123 accepted and 52 enrolled in 2020 for Chemistry out of 534 accepted.

Definitely worth an application but still you are looking at around $43K/year to attend.

SDSU had record applications for Fall 2021 and is one of the most applied CSU’s behind CSU Long Beach.

Both younger son and niece had great experiences at SDSU and are Aztecs for life.


My kid is a Santa Clara University grad. There is a religion requirement but there are well over 100 courses from which to choose. My not religious at all kid actually loved her religion courses. She took a Women in Religion, and an ethics course…I don’t remember the third course.

Like your kid, mine was a sciences and engineering major. She said the religion courses she chose were a nice compliment to all those sciences.

The school is a Jesuit school, and very ecumenical. Lots of emphasis on community service, and reaching out to the less fortunate in general.

As parents, we can’t say enough really good things about this college…and our daughter agrees.


@FairfaxMomof3 I sent you a private message. You can’t start them yet, but you can respond!

The usual table:

Fall 2020 admission rates by campus and HS GPA range from Freshman fall admissions summary | University of California :

Campus 4.20+ 3.80-4.19 3.40-3.79 3.00-3.39
Berkeley 37% 14% 2% 1%
Davis 86% 55% 16% 7%
Irvine 60% 38% 9% 1%
Los Angeles 38% 8% 1% 1%
Merced 98% 97% 95% 88%
Riverside 97% 90% 65% 30%
San Diego 78% 39% 8% 1%
Santa Barbara 81% 40% 9% 2%
Santa Cruz 92% 82% 59% 26%

These are for the whole campus. Different divisions or majors may have different levels selectivity (usually, engineering and computer science majors are more selective).

Based on her 3.6 weighted-capped HS GPA, UCSC and UCR are probably admission matches, and UCM is likely, while the others are reaches. But are you willing to pay the OOS price?

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The CSUs (California State Universities) are less expensive than the UCs. However, most of them are commuter-heavy. Those which are more residential (at least in pre-COVID-19 times) are (percentages are frosh living in campus housing in the 2019-2020 common data set section F1):

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (99.7%)
CSU Chico (60%)
CSU Monterey Bay (86% in 2016-2017)
Humboldt State University (88%)
San Diego State University (71%)
San Jose State University (56%)
Sonoma State University (86%)

Note that most of these are in smaller cities surrounded by more rural areas. Only SDSU and SJSU are in major cities, and SSU is in a more suburban area.

CPSLO is a reach based on its published frosh profile. SDSU does not publish HS GPA information for its admitted and enrolled students. SJSU admission selectivity is highly variable by major, but physics and chemistry have historically been among the least selective majors. Most of the others are likely admits for a physics or chemistry major with a 3.6 weighted-capped HS GPA.

The other thing that OOS frosh applicants to UCs and CSUs need to be aware of is that a 1 year HS art course is required (or alternatives such as a semester college art course or a high enough AP art score).


Do you happen to know if there is any way to find these numbers broken down by in state vs OOS?

Admit rates can be broken out by in-state vs out of state vs International. The most recent data is for 2020 but you can only select Residency or HS GPA data (not both) so this is just overall admit rate. The specific UC GPA admit ranges are for all accepted applicants.