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CalPoly or Rutgers Computer Science

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Replies to: CalPoly or Rutgers Computer Science

  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 5,014 Senior Member
    Honors colleges are very important at giant schools like Rutgers. They allow students to get an experience that approximates a smaller school. The thing is, EVERYONE at Cal Poly gets the type of experience that only students in the HCs can get at the giant schools. Unlike Rutgers, every Poly class is taught by a professor, even labs and discussions. Classes will be smaller than they are at Rutgers. You classmates on average will be smarter at Poly. All in all, most schools honors colleges are there to try to attract highly qualified students away from far more selective institutions in order to boost their USNWR rankings. The advantage to the student who chooses that route, usually it's a better financial deal. I'm not trying to be snide, but if that's what your parents think, they clearly don't understand the way US colleges and universities work.
  • idstudentidstudent Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    @eyemgh My parents and I clearly do not understand as much as you do so I appreciate your comments. Can you help clear up issues about the low 4-year graduation rate at CP? $38K a year is a lot so I would like to graduate in 4 years.
  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 5,014 Senior Member
    Their 4 year graduation rate is thrown off by several things. First and foremost, roughly 25% of Poly students are engineers and most of the engineering curricula are more than 4 years. CS and most other degrees are 180 hours, but engineering is 200 hours. Architecture is a 5 year degree. That throws it off too. Combine that with the fact that classes used to be hard to get and you have a low 4 year rate. Now scheduling is easier. If you don't dodge specific professors or time slots and pass all your classes, you should be right on target for 4 years. That's 15 hours per quarter. That's assuming you don't bring any hours from high school in.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 39,635 Senior Member
    Engineering typically takes 5 years so that throws the graduation rate off. In addition, engineering is very hard and many American students give up and switch to another major, so since they applied for one major and followed that path, they have lots of classes to take to "make up" for it.
    I agree that scheduling has become easier.
    Cal Poly however doesn't accept any foreign credits, even if all other schools in the country do. They only accept APs.
    That'd be a plus for Rutgers, along with Honors College (Honors isn't a gimmick: Rutgers is trying to create an elite experience to retain all these high-achieving NJ who try to get out of their home state to Penn State, Temple, UMass Amherst, even SUNYs, and privates all over.) However, for CS, weather, campus, general environment, Cal Poly has the edge - for comfort of learning, dorms, class sizes in Honors, foreign credit transfers, Rutgers has the edge.
  • iulianciulianc Registered User Posts: 126 Junior Member
    Looking at the strict time to graduation is a red herring. Look at the experience and value in its entirety.

    You can certainly graduate in 4 years or less in engineering, especially with AP credits. But there are a few other things to consider. You have to take a relatively heavy load of hard classes. It is better to take a lesser load and study more in-depth, which should make you a better, more marketable engineer. Additionally, some students get behind a quarter or two by taking a quarter/semester abroad or going into an extended coop program, which again are very valuable.

    The silver lining is that these opportunities will certainly make you a better, more marketable engineer. Don't just look at the extra few thousand dollars spend for the extra quarter of two. Many engineering majors come with opportunities for well paid internships/coops and the long term earning potential provided by the experience will more than make up for the extra time spent. This is especially true if you manage to get an internship after your sophomore year.

    Take your education seriously, focus on how well you learn, and your entire college experience and don't focus only on the 4 year number. You can certainly be much better off taking a little more time to graduate.

    I have no clue of opportunities for internships at Rutgers in CS, although I doubt they're lacking. I can tell you for sure there are quite a few such opportunities at CalPoly with the Bay Area so close and the school having such a solid reputation.

    It comes down to where you want to live after graduation. If you want to stay on the West coast, CalPoly is by far the better deal, East coast very likely Rutgers, if you'd like to go back home, just figure out which school has a better reputation. Good luck.
  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 5,014 Senior Member
    @MYOS1634, I agree wholeheartedly that honors colleges are not gimmicks. They are great ways to attract bright kids to state schools that are affordable. They do vary widely though, from what coursework is required and whether or not it's replaces degree hours or adds to them, to class size, to housing. A lot of what they do though is, as you said, create the elite experience with smaller classes, taught to all high achieving kids, by professors. That IS the Cal Poly experience. There is a gimmick angle. Schools are businesses. They attract more students if their ranking is higher. Having an honors college may seem altruistic, but they are there, along with the big merit most students who get into them receive, to increase the average admitted student GPA and SAT/ACT.
  • idstudentidstudent Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    Thank you so much for all the inputs. I will try to learn more about both schools especially the CS curriculum. My school does not offer AP, will check if I am able to take the tests in May.
  • NTKS17NTKS17 Registered User Posts: 549 Member
    I became friends with quite a few international students who were studying abroad while I was at Cal Poly. They came from all over the world, Brazil, India, Germany, France, but they all really liked SLO and Cal Poly. So much so that they all wished they could move to California permanently. Obviously each person's individual experience is different, but they were all from very diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, and they were all studying different things, but all of them were very happy with the school and town.
  • idstudentidstudent Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    Is UW Madison worth $10K more than Cal Poly?
  • Yomama12Yomama12 Registered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    I just want to add that contrary to a prior comment that it is hard to fly out of San Luis Obispo, because it is not served by any large airports, there are daily flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix and from there to anywhere you need. (True, the airport is not a large one). I live in the area and the only thing you need to worry about are the very last and second to last flights that are frequently cancelled due to fog. There is also a mid-sized airport in nearby Santa Maria, with flights to San Francisco.
  • NLinsanityNLinsanity Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    I would like to clarify that the reason Cal Poly has such a low 4 year graduation rate is because the metric counts people who graduate in 4 years and 1 quarter(most engineers) as a 5 year graduation rate.
  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 5,014 Senior Member
    And to add to that point it's because engineering curricula aare as much as 20 hours longer than the average 180 hour CP UG degree.
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