4 years ago
Admissions Advice

Will applying to a certain major affect my chancing in a university?

Hi! I am a Latino female interested in majoring in Astrophysics and Economics/Mathematical Economics. I'm determined to do a double major, but I know that several universities ask you to select one specific college or specific major when applying through the Common App.

For Tier 1 universities like Harvard, UPenn, Cornell, and Caltech, how would my chancing change if I applied for Astrophysics or Economics/Mathematical Economics?

After changing my intended major in College Vine from Economics to Applied Mathematics (because this is one of the ways to study Mathematical Economics) or to Astronomy and Astrophysics, my chancing jumped A LOT for universities like Cornell (37% to 70%) and Harvard (12% to 29%). Could this be a mistake?


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3 answers

Accepted Answer
4 years ago[edited]


4 years ago

The chancing jump you're seeing is likely the boost in chancing that women applying to STEM majors receive — which is a significant boost at universities like the ones you're mentioning. It is quite real and reflected in the data that CV uses. Econ is a social science and won't provide that boost, but Applied Math, Astro, or any other STEM major will boost your chances in that way.

Another consideration here is whether the two majors you want are actually offered in the same college. For instance, if Astrophysics is only offered through a College of Engineering and Econ/Mathematical Econ is only offered through Arts & Sciences or Business, you likely would not be able to double major in them. You'd have to do a longer and more complex dual degree program. If they're in the same college, I would choose a major that fits your high school profile well (because your choice on the application is not binding), that is in the correct undergraduate college for the majors you ultimately want, and that fits under STEM so you can take advantage of that boost.

4 years ago


The reason this may have occurred is because for several of these top schools which you're looking at, economics is an incredibly common major. Since it's such a popular pursuit at these traditional colleges, it's significantly more difficult to get in for in economics program. Therefore, your chances would be significantly higher in the other major you were thinking of.

Hope this helps! Best.

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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