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How will a 28 math sub-score on the ACT affect my chances as an intended CS major?

mrstatmrstat Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
Hey guys. I took the ACT in September and just got my scores back. I got a 34 composite (36 English, 28 Math, 34 Reading, 36 Science). I plan to apply to UT-Austin, University of Washington, UCLA, and UCSD as a computer science major... but I'm worried the math sub-score will really hurt my chances. Also, since my programming experience is limited (I've self-studied CS some and am doing an elective course right now in JavaScript), I would think a high math score would be very important. What do you guys think?

By the way, I took the ACT last April and got a 31 composite (32 English, 32 Math, 31 Reading, 30 Science). I'm taking the SAT on Saturday and am really going to try to get a high math score. I took the Math 2 subject test and got a 710, and I got a 5 on the AP Calc AB exam if that stuff matters.

I will also apply to Stanford and Rice as my most selective schools -- will the 28 in math matter a lot there? I believe it won't hurt as much because they are liberal arts universities at their cores. On the commonapp, I will say that I intend to study computer science as my first choice, though.

I also know that Univ. of Washington doesn't admit based on major but it would be nice to be directly admitted as a CS major because I could always switch if I wanted, plus, getting into their CS department as a sophomore is difficult. At UCSD I think they limit enrollment to the CS major, and if I don't get in then I might consider another school where I know I'll be able to study CS and be able to switch if I want.

Replies to: How will a 28 math sub-score on the ACT affect my chances as an intended CS major?

  • uclaparent9uclaparent9 Registered User Posts: 1,277 Senior Member
    edited October 2015
    Whether a school is liberal art in its core... to care about "Math" is irreverent here when you are talking about a math related field such as CS...and worse when that school happens to be Stanford (or even Rice)!
    The good thing is that your earlier ACT shows a 32 for math, so that can somewhat heals the deficiency in the second try. But the fact that your Math 2 is a mere 710 can hurt you again.
    Among Cali schools I think you could have a chance for UCLA and more for UCSD if your GPA can offset that, but your UWGPA should be 3.90+ for UCLA and perhaps 3.80+ for UCSD and enough APs to demonstrate a rigorous course work (9+ perhaps). I do not think Stanford is reachable.
  • uclaparent9uclaparent9 Registered User Posts: 1,277 Senior Member
    edited October 2015
    Rice is also low reach!
  • 1golfer11golfer1 Registered User Posts: 630 Member
    Given that the ACT section scores have a +/-2 variance, your actual math ability is probably at 30.
    I do not see why you took the SAT. In my view, a high SAT score will add little while a mediocre score could be detrimental. Your ACT is sufficient.
    I suggest that you study for and retake Math II if time permits. Your less-than-stellar (but still very good) math skills will likely be noted by admissions officers but I highly doubt that math alone would be enough for you to be rejected.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,588 Forum Champion
    Do these schools superscore the ACT?

    You haven't mentioned your GPA or your UC GPA? What are they?

    As for the OOS publics, they are expensive....are your parents fine with paying the high OOS costs? or are they expecting you to get aid or merit (not likely forthcoming except for maybe Stanford).
  • mrstatmrstat Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    edited October 2015
    @mom2collegekids Stanford is the only one that superscores the ACT I believe. MY UC GPA is 4.5. We won't be applying for financial aid at any school.
  • mrstatmrstat Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    @1golfer1 I took the SAT because of National Merit reasons. The 710 in Math 2 will stay. Thanks for the help!
  • mrstatmrstat Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    @uclaparent9 Thanks for the help. My UC GPA is 4.5. My dad went to Stanford so I figure that could definitely help my chances some.
  • DrGoogleDrGoogle Registered User Posts: 11,047 Senior Member
    Did he go to Stanford as an undergraduate? Because Stanford legacy is very weak factor. Too many on the West Coast.
  • aunt beaaunt bea Registered User Posts: 9,568 Senior Member
    edited October 2015
    ^^^^^Exactly what @DrGoogle has stated.
    Legacies, for Stanford, are a dime a dozen on the west coast. It adds very little. (DS was a legacy and was waitlisted with higher scores than your reported scores here). Stanford is a crapshoot for everyone.

    The UCs are $55k per year, so if your parents can afford that, then apply. California needs the money.

    Your ECs matter, so you need to have a nice passion in something that is evident, along with strong essays.

  • mrstatmrstat Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    @DrGoogle Yes he did go to Stanford as an undergrad. And I didn't really consider that but good to know.

    @aunt bea My parents can afford the UCs or any other school without applying for aid. Will this maybe help me considering the UC system is broke?
  • DrGoogleDrGoogle Registered User Posts: 11,047 Senior Member
    edited October 2015
    UC is crowded but not broke. Intro to computer science at Stanford is 600 plus student and so is Berkeley in the 1000+ for intro classes.
    But if your parents are willing to pay big bucks then try for Michigan, UIUC, Purdue, UWinsconsin and Washington.
This discussion has been closed.