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Anyone Think Being Female Boosts Chances of Admission at Any Top CS Schools

WalknOnEggShellsWalknOnEggShells 592 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 619 Member
This is for my daughter. She's not looking for ANY top CS school. She's interested in specific schools, but I didn't want to list them all in the title. She's not hellbent on top schools either. She's very interested in a bunch of schools that aren't known for CS at all, and aren't super selective. But she's considering adding a couple of high reaches among the schools that have strong reputations for CS.

A few that she has some interest in are Cornell, Georgia Tech, UCLA, UPenn, Rice, Duke, Dartmouth, UVA, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, and Northwestern. Would anyone responding please do me a favor and help me keep this on track. I don't want this to turn into another debate about prestige. I realize the main thing these schools have in common is selectivity. She realizes that too. It's not her biggest concern, but she wants some prestigious schools on her list. Period, the end... I hope :-)

Anyway, here's my main question. I've written about this kid before here. She has a high GPA(somewhere in the 96 - 98 range for unweighted) and test scores - 1540 - 800 Math and 740 EBRW. Her ECs are fairly limited for a kid with those stats. She has ECs, but just not the type of ECs that most kids applying to the super selective schools have. She took AP CS this year(Junior) and did well, and she'll be taking another CS course next year.

I've been reading that some of the top CS and Engineering schools are making a big effort to recruit girls for their programs, but I'm wondering about a couple of things:

1)In general, can being female, having good stats, and having a demonstrated interest in CS overcome ECs that would normally disqualify a kid at a super selective school?

2)Does anyone know of specific schools that are aggressively pursuing girls for CS and are more likely to make the kind of trade off I mentioned in question 1 above?

And just to reiterate, if someone says Prestigious School X is doing exactly that, but it's not a school my daughter can see herself at, she's not going to drop all of her current favorites and apply ED to school X because it's prestigious. If it's a school she likes, she'll apply, but if it isn't, she won't. I realize people here are just concerned about kids being swayed too easily by prestige, but this kid has her head on straight.

OK, I think the dead horse has been beaten :-) Sorry, I've just been through this too many times :-)

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Replies to: Anyone Think Being Female Boosts Chances of Admission at Any Top CS Schools

  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3689 replies76 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,765 Senior Member
    UCLA does not consider gender (or race) for admissions.
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  • WalknOnEggShellsWalknOnEggShells 592 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 619 Member
    Interesting. I didn't know that. I guess I knew about race, but not gender.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1213 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,221 Senior Member
    The non-UC school may consider her more closely because she's a woman, but they may not. It's likely that it will help, but there is no telling how much. After all, a 50% "boost" seems big, but it just brings a 5% chance to a 7.5%. A 95% chance for rejection is not substantially different from a 92.5% chance. So when she applies, it is better that she not assume that her gender will give her a boost.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22092 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 22,106 Senior Member
    I'm not sure it will help at the big schools. Big schools try to maintain a 50/50 ratio but UVA can make it up in other departments. Some of the small STEM schools have a big discrepancy and they do seem to want to attract more female students. WPI and RPI have been rumored to do so.

    Colorado School of Mines tried to do it a few years ago and accepted many more females than they had traditionally accepted. It didn't really work out very well and I think many of those women decided a STEM school wasn't for them. I got this information from female students and that was their view, that just trying to accept more females doesn't work. I do think the schools try to accept all the qualified females and maybe even put the thumb on the scale when handing out merit aid.

    It certainly doesn't HURT to be female.
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  • osuprofosuprof 424 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 452 Member
    Cornell engineering had 18% acceptance rate for women and 6% for men one year (class of 2022?). UIUC is a top CS program and does favor women to get a more balanced class.

    In general, if the admission for computer science (or college of engineering, and computer being in engineering) is separate, there will likely be a gender advantage (UCs may be an exception). If the admission is not specific to a college or major (or if CS is in art and science), you will not see an advantage.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6164 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,199 Senior Member
    There was another thread a while ago, which I would link if I could remember the title, that had some data showing that women tend to be more qualified when applying to more selective colleges. So, even though the admit rate might look higher for women, they are the stronger applicants within the pool.

    Look at the schools on your list’s male/female percentage. The closer to 50/50, the less likely there will be a bump. Cornell is 50/50 now in the COE

    I agree that it’s usually the smaller STEM schools where the bump is more real, not the schools on your D’s list.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28275 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,331 Senior Member
    Yes, many do.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 1883 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,908 Senior Member
    edited June 21
    It can be difficult to come by numbers specific to CS--whether acceptance rate or gender ratio/target.

    Being female can probably help at some schools where the gender ratio is imbalanced, for example, UIUC School of Engineering (and CS specifically) has a greater than 3:1 M:F ratio. http://www.dmi.illinois.edu/stuenr/#CDS
    What we don't know is the degree (if any) that schools will give on stats, ECs, etc. to get more of a female balance.

    Some public schools are relatively more stats oriented (less holistic) than highly selective privates tend to be, meaning ECs may carry relatively less weight. I have only heard of WPI and RIT specifically stating they would like to increase female enrollment in CS, but I am sure there are more schools with that goal.

    edited June 21
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1066 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,093 Senior Member
    Of course it helps. Any STEM-focused colleges, as well as engineering and CS-specific schools that require separate applications, have an imbalance of applicants in terms of gender. Many more males apply than females. In addition, the yield for female admits is significantly lower. These two factors together mean these schools would have to accept far more female applicants than male applicants, if they want to achieve a rough gender balance within their colleges or departments.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 1883 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,908 Senior Member
    edited June 21
    These two factors together mean these schools would have to accept far more female applicants than male applicants, if they want to achieve a rough gender balance within their colleges or departments.

    But that's just it, some schools don't care about gender balance by department/major, college or even overall. And as someone stated upthread, some schools use other majors that are predominantly female to balance those that are predominantly male.
    edited June 21
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6164 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,199 Senior Member
    Here's one of the articles I was looking for: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/03/13/want-an-edge-in-college-admissions-see-the-schools-where-women-and-men-have-an-advantage/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7886df4c480f

    This is specific to MIT but: “The data don’t show that it is easier to be admitted as a woman applicant — that would only be true if our male and female applicant pools were equivalent. But the women who apply are a more self-selecting group."
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1066 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,093 Senior Member
    edited June 21
    ^^Most colleges and departments within these colleges do care about gender balance these days. Either the optics of a mostly male CS department and a mostly female English department just doesn't work, or a STEM-focused college likely doesn't have a comparable sized humanity/social sciences departments.
    edited June 21
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1066 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,093 Senior Member
    edited June 21
    I agree that female applicants to MIT or Caltech are more self-selected than their male counterparts. However, these female applicants typically have more options, and once accepted, they, more often than male admits, tend to choose Harvard or Standard instead for a number of reasons. To account for the disparity in yields, STEM-focused colleges would have to admit more females applicants.
    edited June 21
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6164 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,199 Senior Member
    OP- of your D's list of schools, I think she'd get the most boost from GT. They are working hard to close their gender gap: https://www.news.gatech.edu/features/unstoppable-tech-women-are-changing-game

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  • SincererLoveSincererLove 735 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 756 Member
    Is CS your application strategy or her demonstrated interest? I only read that she is doing AP CS class. That alone seems to be pretty weak. Any summer camps or related ECs? How is her math level and skills? SAT subject tests?

    I think almost all the top CS, Engineering schools are looking at ECs and everything else the same way, holistically. Trying to find a major to get better treatment for admission might not be a good strategy if your D lost interest or could potentially struggle in CS. Our D17 is CS premed junior at Vandy and also a TA. She has seen a lot of girls struggle, amazingly, they tend to find the very few female TAs without accents. She usually gives them more advice on studying, professors, etc besides the particular coding assignment. Lol
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