I was in the 2013-2014 cohort, and I keep seeing really important questions about CS Scholars around FB, and now Reddit. I thought it was just the one or two people I've been messaging, but it seems to be a broader lack of understanding about the program, so I decided to make this FAQ thing, with my various answers copied and pasted. I should mention that I'm not an expert, nor an authority. I'm just going based on what I have observed and experienced myself.
I was in the program, and it's well worth it. Through the program I have gotten quite a few friends (some of whom I've done side projects and hackathons with). I would argue that the best feature is to be able to ask the 'stupid questions' in a safe and friendly environment of the additional sections. I never had concerns about my class schedule because anything I wondered about could be solved easily by asking. Finally, the program puts you in closer contact with amazing teachers and advisors, and makes you feel like you are more a part of the community, which is pretty useful when classes can make you feel like an anonymous cog in a machine
It would appear from Facebook threads that the deadline has passed.
All declaration requirements are the same, whether you're a CS Scholar, a wizard, or a caesar salad. All the requirements listed on the EECS website still apply to you.
It's actually a fairly sad part of the program that such a large proportion do drop off. I'd estimate at least half of my cohort will struggle to meet the GPA cap. A lot have already switched out of CS.
Out of my friends, it seems to always be because of the cap. Even when they decide they don't like CS, the thing that they don't like is the pressure to succeed. I haven't heard anyone say "CS is just so boring and unfulfilling! I want to switch to __."
In regard to the mechanics of failing a class, you do have the F on your transcript until you retake it. The second grade overwrites the first one in your GPA but both show up on your transcript. A way to get around it is to switch to P/NP before the deadline, then you can retake without the GPA issues that come with having an F. Obviously there are downsides to this approach, not least of which falling behind schedule for your degree.
Another obvious conclusion is: "If I failed a pre-req, maybe I'm genuinely not good enough for the major." While you may not perform as well on tests and homeworks, if you love this academic pursuit, you will be devoted to the content and you'll find yourself climbing up the learning curve. If you are willing to take 61A twice, the odds are that you are ready to put in the work required to truly succeed.
Glad you asked! I'm a member (and used to be the manager) of the UC Men's Chorale. It's a fantastic group of men who in some way or another would like to continue singing through college. We recently sung for an audience of 10,000 people at the Engineering Graduation ceremony. Please come visit us when you arrive on campus this Fall! We'll be holding auditions starting in the second week and we'd love to see you there.
We've been sharing some pretty dank memes on our Facebook page, if you're curious to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/uc.menschorale
Feel free to get in contact with me if you have any questions!