right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Should I tweak my list?

zbrown01zbrown01 107 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
Hi everyone. I'm a rising senior and so far I have constructed a college list of 8 colleges:
Harvard
CMU
MIT
Brown
Dartmouth
Tufts
WPI
UMass Amherst

For reference:
I'm a white male from MA, I have a 4.0 UW/4.77 W GPA, 1530 SAT, and i'm intending to major in CS. A lot of people have said I should add schools like Stanford, CalTech, and the UCs but I'm really not looking to go farther than the mid atlantic but even that's a stretch.

Should I add/remove colleges from my list? I know I have a lot of reaches but I threw some matches/safeties in there as well.
22 replies
· Reply · Share
«1

Replies to: Should I tweak my list?

  • aquaptaquapt 1950 replies37 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    No financial constraints?

    Do you have a lot of CS-related EC's? It's hard to get into the tippy-top CS programs on stats alone, even though yours are great.

    In the Boston area, Northeastern has pretty great CS too.
    No interest in the upstate NY schools? (RPI, Cornell, URochester, RIT?)

    For the super-reaches, it will come down to the "extras." And if it comes down to you and a student with identical credentials from Kentucky or Idaho, your local super-reaches will opt for the "geographically diverse" candidate. So, it's hard to say from what you have posted. Your stats won't keep you out of Harvard/MIT/Brown/CMU/Tufts/Dartmouth, but you won't get in on stats alone. If you are good with UMass and WPI as backups then it's a fine list.
    · Reply · Share
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5277 replies1 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The last two look like safeties to me, and are such good schools for CS that to me it makes sense not to bother applying to schools other than ones which you would strongly prefer. You don't need matches if your safeties are good enough.

    I don't know if I would go to Harvard for CS unless they gave me a *great* offer, but I will admit that is based largely on two coworkers that I used to work with (at different times) who had graduated from there a LONG time ago. One wrote the worst software that I ever looked at in my life, which is actually quite an accomplishment (I have no idea how he ever got it to work at all).

    The UCs would be full pay since you are out of state. As such I don't think that I would bother. Stanford is a high reach for everyone and a long way away so whether to apply is really up to you.

    I think that you have a good list.
    · Reply · Share
  • zbrown01zbrown01 107 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @aquapt Thanks for the input! Yeah I do have quite a few STEM/CS ECs. I’ve got programminng team (captain), programming club (founder), math team, some projects like an app i’m working on, harvard’s cs50 (if that counts as an EC, i took it at the extension school), and paid freelance programming work for my CS teacher and an IT business that pays me weekly, with more opportunities that keep popping up as the summer goes along.
    · Reply · Share
  • zbrown01zbrown01 107 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @DadTwoGirls Yeah I know Harvard isn’t well renowned for it’s CS program in particular but after a campus visit/tour and going to a few events for CS50 I found that I really like it there, so I’m applying EA.
    · Reply · Share
  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5118 replies74 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    Just as a point of reference for your search. And as obviously you are strong in math. Here’s the rough equation.

    50 percent of the incoming class is spoken before a non covered application is read from the following.

    Deans and directors list. Faculty and staff allocation. International. Legacy.

    Add another 10 percent for athletes not in the categories above. Add another 5 percent for urm not covered in any of previous categories.

    That’s 65%. There are roughly 2000 admits for the 1680 spots.

    That translates to 700 seats. More than half are female. But let’s say half.

    350 spots for your pool. That’s the entire world. With 37000. Valedictorians in the USA and 37000 scoring above 1500 on sat. You’ve got a lot of competition. In reality your chance of being selected just competing with the pool above is closer to zero than one thinks.. This does not even take into account students with patents research published writing and global type awards. See the math below

    But let’s just stick to Vals which are a proxy for the 4.0 uw crowd and 1500+ for the high performing test takers. Your pool translates to a .009 percent chance of getting in to Harvard. It’s not a lottery to be considered. It’s lottery to be the 1 percent. And the human condition tends to lead us to believe that it might be me.

    And it could. But the expectation should be a great surprise if yes than desolution when you ge the no.

    But as they say you can’t win if you don’t play. But there are other top schools equally as tough and just as great that might make better use of your one ed opportunity in life.
    edited July 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5118 replies74 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    also Harvard is not ea. It’s ed. It’s the only private school you can apply to in that round. Uno
    · Reply · Share
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3851 replies84 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    My oldest went to UMass as a CS guy and he’s doing very well for himself after 2 years out of school. My D is at Northeastern (not in CS) but the CS program is pretty highly ranked up there and that too would be an excellent safety.

    Personally I would just ED to CMU or MIT and call it a day, and not mess with Harvard. Out here on the West Coast, Stanford has the same issues, the odds are just staggeringly low unless you are an athlete or legacy.
    · Reply · Share
  • zbrown01zbrown01 107 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 2018
    @privatebanker Thanks for the percentages, I guess. I know it's a shot in the dark but you can't get in if you don't apply, and I really do like the school. Also here's this: https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/apply/application-timeline/restrictive-early-action though yes it is still the only school i can apply to in the round. Maybe I'll visit CMU and love it more than I think I will and apply ED, but I've visited Harvard for both a tour and some CS50 events and it's my favorite campus so far.
    edited July 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • zbrown01zbrown01 107 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @ProfessorPlum168 Y'know I really was considering applying ED to CMU but the distance is the only thing keeping me from it. Realistically I'd rather go to Harvard or MiT simply because of the distance to home (which is barely an hour drive), and the reason I'd rather apply early to Harvard is because its REA has a higher acceptance rate than MiT's ED. Do you think applying to MiT ED might be better for some reason? (Other than the fact that it's a better CS school)
    · Reply · Share
  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 1249 replies44 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    What about adding Cornell to the RD round? I agree with others that despite your stellar stats and ECs your list is heave on reaches and safeties. It's a numbers game and I'd add a couple more low reach / matches unless you'll really be happy at the safeties.
    · Reply · Share
  • zbrown01zbrown01 107 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @AlmostThere2018 Although I do think I maybe should add some more low reaches and matches, I'm not going as far as New York for anything other than a dream school, and Cornell isn't one for me. Any thoughts on Northeastern and BU for matches, maybe a lowish match for BU?
    · Reply · Share
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3851 replies84 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I suspect that Northeastern has this 1400-1500 yield protection ring for regular applicants ie if you’re above the ring you get waitlisted. My kid was surprisingly waitlisted (he had a 1540 SAT) for CS Cybersecurity, but did clear waitlist and even got a nice merit package. (He stayed with Berkeley). I heard many other high stat folks also got waitlisted.
    · Reply · Share
  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5118 replies74 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Bu and nu can deny highly qualified students. Many people think it’s a yield protrction. I think they sense the candidate considered it a low match/ safety and it come across in the app somehow. And they seem to really dislike that. So be thoughtful. It is a match foand sure. But not a no brainer type
    · Reply · Share
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3851 replies84 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I know nothing about MIT’s admission stats but I am surprised that their ED percentages would be that low. At my kid’s HS (Silicon Valley located HS) we had 3 who got into MIT. Pretty sure 2 of them were ED. The 3rd guy decided to stay home and go to Berkeley. 2 from my kid’s HS also are going to Harvard as well.
    · Reply · Share
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41567 replies447 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Add northeastern and Case Western reserve. Then you're good.
    · Reply · Share
  • happy1happy1 22662 replies2224 postsVerified Member Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    ^^^I'd look at adding URochester as well. Consider applying non-binding EA to Case if possible (if you aren't applying SCEA elsewhere).
    edited July 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • aquaptaquapt 1950 replies37 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Personally I would choose Northeastern over BU for CS, although there are other areas in which BU is stronger.

    Do you have a second area of interest that you'd be interested in combining with CS? NU's combined majors can be particularly attractive. They front-load the CS curriculum so that you are up to speed for co-ops, but you also get depth in another field of interest. https://www.ccis.northeastern.edu/academics/undergraduate/combined-majors/ (Or you can go all-in with CS and go for a BS-MS)

    I understand your not wanting to go all the way to Ithaca or Rochester, but do keep in mind that Troy is a lot closer to the MA border - less than an hour from Williamstown or Stockbridge, or a 1hr flight from Logan to Albany - so RPI might really be a good one to keep on your list. They don't even have a writing supplement - just a few very short questions specific to the school - so it's a low-effort proposition to keep the option open, and it's an excellent school for CS.
    · Reply · Share
  • prezbuckyprezbucky 4320 replies11 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    Chance ranges:

    High reach: 0-5%
    Reach: 5-15%
    Low reach: 15-25%
    High match: 25-40%
    Match: 40-60%
    Low match: 60-90%
    Safety: 90+%

    You are a reach for MIT, Brown, and Dartmouth. You might also be a reach for CMU in CS, but you are an above-average applicant statistically so I'll call it a low reach. Tufts is another low reach. WPI is a low match and UMass (in-state...) is a safety, or very low match.

    Your list has no true matches on it.

    Here are some possibilities (New England/Mid-Atlantic:

    U of Rochester
    Boston College
    Lehigh
    Brandeis
    Boston U
    NYU
    RPI
    Fordham

    You might also consider RIT and Stevens --but, like RPI and WPI, they are very STEM-focused, and they probably aren't as strong in the humanities and social sciences as the others. This affects the quality of the breadth of your education.

    Run NPC to make reasonably sure they are affordable and read about them to confirm fit.
    edited July 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • zbrown01zbrown01 107 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks everyone for the input! To everyone suggesting NY/PA schools; I just don't think it's worth my time putting any of those on my list since I would probably take WPI and maybe even Umass Amherst over all of them. I think I am going to add Northeastern to my list, maybe BU and Brandeis as well.
    · Reply · Share
  • crispapplecrispapple 6 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    edited July 2018
    I just applied for CS in the class of 2022, and I want to warn you about how competitive the college process is for CS majors specifically. I have very similar stats to you (1530, 4.0, 800 M2, summer research, classes at university), yet I was denied/WL at schools that my friends with similar or worse scores/ECs were accepted to. My college counselor, confused as I was, spoke to many admissions officers who said the same thing: CS programs aren't expanding quickly enough to match the increasing number of students applying for CS.

    The CMU SCS, for example, had 6900 apps and a 7% acceptance rate for the class of 2021, compared to 8730 apps and a 5% acceptance rate for the class of 2022 (30% more applications!). I was waitlisted at CMU SCS, but they literally took only 1-3 people from the waitlist due to a higher than expected yield rate. (And they just added an Artificial Intelligence major, so it will likely be even more competitive this year.)

    My advice is to ignore all scattergrams and what people say you SHOULD get into, because truthfully for CS majors even schools that seem to be target/match schools are reaches. If I could do the college process over again, I would have applied ED to CMU. Although you may always wonder whether or not Harvard would've accepted you EA, I would advise that you apply early to a different, more realistic school in an attempt to secure your chances at a great CS program.
    edited July 2018
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity