COSMOS experience quality?

Hi, has anyone sent their high schooler to COSMOS, or tried to? (is it truly a selective program?) This is the CA state science summer program at various UC campuses. Seems like a reasonable alternative to CTY or similar academic summer residential programs, but 4 weeks is a big time commitment to devote to one topic. I am curious if students feel like it was too confining, they got tired of their subject, they had enough free time, etc. Thanks!

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

My son applied two years in a row and was rejected both times.  This was a few years ago. (One measure of his academics:  SAT 1530)


My son is at COSMOS now at UC Davis. From what I can tell, he's enjoyed it a lot. I think the best part for him (and most other participants) is the social/dorm life aspect of it. As a parent, it's a great opportunity for students to work in small classes with UC faculty - which often doesn't happen unless you're in grad school. I've been super impressed with it.


My kid attended at UC Irvine in 2019. He liked the material/activities. I was appalled how how little freedom they were given — they had to be walked from their dorm to their classroom building, were not allowed to explore campus and or greater area, weren’t allowed to talk with anyone outside of COSMOS participants, etc… My kid was a rising high school senior at the time and had been independently biking/busing/BARTing in Berkeley and surrounds for years. I had hoped he would be given a more true pre-college experience at COSMOS, but they had restrictions more appropriate to 12 and unders, in my opinion. Luckily, that aspect seemed to bother me more than him!