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WPI, Purdue, Case Western Reserve or U of Toronto for Computer science?

Ams1518Ams1518 2 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4 New Member

I just got accepted into the U of Toronto - St George in University College, Purdue University - West Laffeyete, WPI and CWRU and I'd like to receive some of your recommendations.

As much as I love the city of Toronto and the popularity of the school and its program, I am worried about what I've read about the UoT: very hard, huge classes(60000 undergrads), not easy to get involved in the community and lack of possibility to approach professors.
However, my goal after graduation is to work in a vibrant city in the US so is U of T able to provide me with such chance? Or should I attend the one of the other three instead to get a job in a big city in America? Else, if I can stay in Canada, is Toronto as vibrant to work in as cities like Chicago or Boston?

I am an applicant from Vietnam who expect to make the best out of my time in colleges to study CS, have an experience working for a few years and ultimately go to graduate school.

I wonder what school would provide me with academic qualities and graduate employability for my track.

Contribution is not the problem here anw. Thanks xD
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Replies to: WPI, Purdue, Case Western Reserve or U of Toronto for Computer science?

  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1002 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,004 Senior Member
    "As much as I love the city of Toronto and the popularity of the school and its program, I am worried about what I've read about the UoT: very hard, huge classes(60000 undergrads), not easy to get involved in the community and lack of possibility to approach professors."

    This observation says a great deal. Check your sources before you conclude its accuracy. With one exception, I don't personally know very much about Canadian schools. I do have difficulty believing that undergraduate schools with such large enrollments and very large graduate schools have a lot of time to bond with undergraduate students, but it is not impossible.

    All three of your remaining admits are well suited to place you in CS jobs with large international corporations which recruit on their campuses and pay well.

    Purdue is a very large research university with an outstanding graduate school in CS and engineering.

    Case Western and WPI are similar in size and quality of programs. Either program will prepare you for jobs and graduate school. Neither school is in a city as exciting as Toronto which is one of the most highly rated cities in the world. See a description of city of Worcester at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worcester,_Massachusetts. For Cleveland Ohio see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland. Cleveland is a much larger city.

    WPI is not a traditional program. I am an alumnus who feels that the project based education gives it a design advantage. It is based around undergraduate research projects which find solutions to real problems where students work in teams. There is no way you will not develop a lot of contact time with faculty as an undergraduate. You will be put in situations where it is necessary to cooperate in your work with others. Please view https://www.wpi.edu/project-based-learning/wpi-plan.

    WPI also has over forty off-campus project centers where this work can be completed. These centers are spread all over the world including Thailand. A student is prepared in the classroom for the project experience and then moves to the project location for seven straight weeks where all they do is design and report on a solution to the problem. This is just one example, you could be in Switzerland, etc. Classes are preparation for these experiences. They are not your typical "capstone" experiences.

    The latest data from 2016 reported an average income of $85,456 (BS), $90,238 (MS), and $122,500 (PhD) for CS. Because of the high BS salary, most students do not go to graduate school directly after graduation. In 2016 seven (8.5%) went on to graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University, University College London and WPI. For more data on WPI CS job placement see: https://www.wpi.edu/student-experience/career-development/majors/career-outlook/computer-science

    If you are looking for a more traditional approach, consider Case Western. I could not find their placement data, but suspect it is very close. Ask them.

    NOTE: Your immigration status may affect your employment opportunities. I do not know how this works, It may be a good reason to go directly into graduate school from your undergraduate studies.

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  • TTGTTG 1662 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,676 Senior Member
    ^^^ Very helpful. Congrats, you have some wonderful choices! You can get a top-notch education at all of them.

    I know these US schools well, Toronto not so much.

    Purdue--This is one of the premier state (public) STEM universities. It is a large state school with big-time sports. Home football games will be a big deal on fall weekends. Basketball is big too. Of course, you can ignore all of that if it hold no interest for you. It is in a college town, so a lot of the local economy is geared around the school, the students, and the faculty. Many of the students will be in science, engineering, math, etc., so will be on same page with you.

    Case Western, or CWRU (pronounced Crew)--It is a medium-size national university. It's in a very nice part of Cleveland, which often gets put down in the US, but is, in reality, a pretty nice city. CWRU used to be two schools (Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve College), so the campus is really two merged campuses, with Euclid Avenue splitting them. Euclid has had a lot of redevelopment in recent years, and there are many restaurants, bars, coffee places, etc. geared toward students. Little Italy is just a few blocks off campus and also has some good restaurants accessible to students. There are a lot of cultural institutions right around campus--art museum, symphony hall, history museum, etc. Most freshmen live in a cluster of dorms on one side of campus, and then on the other side of campus sophomore year. Greek life seems pretty mild to me compared to other places--that is, not too crazy.

    WPI--This is also a medium-size national university. We loved the campus--it was really one of our very favorite out of very many. It's in a nice area of Worcester (pronounced Wus-ster or Wus-ta by locals), and Worcester has been improving greatly in recent years. As noted above, it is unique in its hands-on, project-oriented approach. A large % of academic credit is earned working on projects. So that would be a big question for YOU--is that preferable, or would you prefer more of a traditional classroom approach to learning, although computer science is pretty project-oriented anyway. Also, students take 3 classes at a time, rather than the 4 or 5 that is standard at almost every other college/university. The classes move faster but you have less to juggle.

    I'll also note that WPI has been working toward achieving great gender balance in the last couple of years. The vast majority of US college students are females. However, STEM schools like all of these typically have a larger % of male students. WPI has really closed the gap. You could check, but I think CWRU and Purdue might have larger % of male students.

    Good luck!
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  • geraniolgeraniol 163 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 163 Junior Member
    Toronto is definitely a vibrant city. Its becoming one of the best places in the world for deep learning and machine learning research, and there are some venture-backed startup incubators in the area taking advantage of the knowledge from UofT, UWaterloo, York, Ryerson, etc.

    But yes, UofT is a huge school and has a reputation of being quite competitive and having really tough courses. Majors and required courses can be hard to get into unless you have a high GPA. It also has a lot of students who grew up nearby, and know each other from high school. Even at a big school, it is possible to get a good college experience, but you have take the initiative to get out and find your community. If you’re more shy or need time to adapt to living away from home, it can feel really lonely and difficult in the beginning.
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  • boudersbouders 2417 replies166 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,583 Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    There are 56000 undergraduates at U of T, but that is spread across 3 different campuses. There are 45000 at the St. George campus. I always see this number mentioned about U of T, but no one ever says that the University of California has 217000.

    @Ams1518 As a student at U of T St. George, your registration, billing and dorm life will be handled by University College which has 4500 students.

    @geraniol Courses at U of T don't have a GPA filter for enrollment. Some majors and specialists do. CS definitely does.

    Intro CS classes sizes can range from 60-240 students. Upper year courses are in the range of 75 students.

    S14 is graduating from U of T this year. He took some CS classes, but did not major in it. He was able to "bond" with his professors, simply by going to office hours or speaking to them before or after class, even in classes with 300 students. He had research positions in his second and third summers. He could have one for this summer, but he is taking some time off before grad school. He has never found U of T competitive, nor did I nor his other parent when we attended. Nor did any of us hang around friends from high school. I'm a very shy person and easily found my tribe at U of T.

    @Ams1518 I lived near Boston as well for many years and found Toronto to be a much more vibrant city, but I don't see where you have any schools in Boston or Chicago on your list? WPI is in Worcester and is 50 miles from Boston.

    I would look very carefully into whether or not you will be able to stay in the US after you finish school. Canada and the US have very different policies in that realm.
    edited March 2018
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  • Ams1518Ams1518 2 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thanks for your advices :D
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