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Any CS Colleges I should consider applying to?

CS123CSCS123CS 6 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12 New Member
Going into senior year and am looking for colleges to apply to. I'm from Chicago and would like to stay within the midwest, however not in Chicago. I for sure want to major in CS.

GPA: 3.1 unweighted, 3.6 weighted
SAT: 1400
Almost completely AP or honors curriculum (All AP classes for senior year)
2 clubs and was a part of track, however only for sophomore year

Colleges I'm thinking of so far:
Far Reach: UIUC, UofWisconsin-Madison, UofMinnesota-Twin Cities
Reach: Purdue, Virginia Tech, Michigan State
Safety: Iowa State, University of Iowa
12 replies
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Replies to: Any CS Colleges I should consider applying to?

  • inbostoninboston 58 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    You could also consider Indiana. Have you had the finances conversation at home? That could change the whole picture.
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  • CS123CSCS123CS 6 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12 New Member
    edited June 2018
    Ill look into Indiana, and yes I've already gone over the finances with my parents we should be able to get a lot of aid from the FAFSA.
    edited June 2018
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  • aquaptaquapt 1948 replies37 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,985 Senior Member
    CS programs are typically more competitive than the university as a whole. At a lot of the schools you're looking at, most CS admits are going to have unweighted GPA's much closer to 4.0 than 3.1, so that's likely to constrain your options a bit. However, the fact that you want to be in the midwest (vs. joining the stampede to east coast and west coast CS programs) is a help. Your safeties certainly sound realistic, and your matches are worth a try. UIUC is going to be tough for CS. Wisconsin and Minnesota wise, you might do better with the non-flagship campuses, which would also be a far better deal financially because they are on the Midwest Exchange whereas the flagships are not. https://msep.mhec.org/ Iowa doesn't participate at all, and the main Purdue campus doesn't either, but look at UMinn Morris, UMinn Duluth, UW Stout (and other UW's - I don't know off the top of my head whether they all have CS)... the Purdue branch campuses and UIPUI... with all of these, if you excel at a branch campus and find that the course offerings are going to be limiting, there's probably potential to transfer to the main campus after two years, and at least you'd have gotten two years at the discounted Tuition Exchange rate.

    Other MSEP possibilities are U of Akron (STEM-oriented public U), and the Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri schools.

    What's your financial situation? Would you be able to afford a private school like Rose-Hulman, if you didn't get merit aid? Because that could be a terrific option academically. (And merit could be possible, but not enough to bring it down to a state-school level out-of-pocket. They offer financial aid but typically don't meet full documented need.) Case Western Reserve U is probably too much of a reach but maybe worth a try, if you could manage it without merit aid. (They do meet full documented need.)

    SUNY Buffalo has excellent CS and could be worth an application if you can afford the close to 40K OOS cost.

    Another midwestern option just outside of the Exchange territory is U of Cincinnati, which has a great co-op CS program that would allow you to graduate with substantial work experience. https://ceas.uc.edu/current_students/curriculum_information/computer_science.html I think you would qualify for in-state tuition; you would have to clarify, because your weighted GPA is above the threshold but your unweighted isn't. (Not 100% clear whether both must be... but your scores are way above the cutoff so hopefully you'd qualify.) https://financialaid.uc.edu/cincinnatusprogram/nationaloutreach.html
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  • aquaptaquapt 1948 replies37 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,985 Senior Member
    P.S. The FAFSA determines how much aid you *qualify* for, but the individual school determines how much they will actually give you. Public U's typically don't offer much if any need-based aid to out-of-state students. That's one reason that the tuition exchange programs can be a better way of getting costs down than relying on financial aid. However, if you do have a low Expected Family Contribution, I'd recommend at least giving Rose-Hulman and CWRU a try and see how much aid they give you. On average they meet 75% of documented need, which isn't wonderful but it could still end up being more affordable than the non-MSEP OOS publics. Al depends on the particulars of your financial situation. Run the Net Price Calculators for the schools you're interested in to get a baseline.
    https://prod11gbss8.rose-hulman.edu/BanSS/RHIT_NPCALC.P_Index
    https://case.edu/financialaid/resources/net-price-calculator
    and so on.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6261 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,296 Senior Member
    I second adding U. of Akron and Cincinnati to the list of options.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6261 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,296 Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    I second adding U. of Akron and Cincinnati to the list.
    edited June 2018
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  • aquaptaquapt 1948 replies37 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,985 Senior Member
    (^ my edit was unclear above - CWRU meets full documented need; RHIT meets, on average 75% of documented need)

    Also you might want to look at Clarkson University, which is not as close to the midwest as you probably want (actually closer to Ottowa than to any major US city, so it's not really "east coast" either), but it's an excellent private STEM school that is a match for your stats and meets, on average, 89% of documented need, so it might really be worth putting on your list.

    Also, you would qualify for this OOS merit discount at Michigan Tech https://www.mtu.edu/admissions/national-scholars/index.html
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3742 replies77 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,819 Senior Member
    So for sure you want to leave home? No DePaul or IIT? Both certainly have decent enough CS programs given your GPA. DePaul in fact has one of the bigger CS programs in the Midwest.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3742 replies77 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,819 Senior Member
    So for sure you want to leave home? No DePaul or IIT? Both certainly have decent enough CS programs given your GPA. DePaul in fact has one of the bigger CS programs in the Midwest.
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  • CS123CSCS123CS 6 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Thanks, I'll definitely look into these, and yes I'm sure I want to leave Chicago, I've already visited both IIT and DePaul and the campus and lifestyle don't appeal to me as I want to experience something new.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 1934 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,936 Senior Member
    If you have to take out any more than $27k in student loans, you can't afford it. Debt adds up quickly, and it can easily sabotage your career. You're better off staying in-state. For CS, the school you go to really doesn't make much of a difference as long as you have your degree and come out with some proficiency in a good mainstream programming language
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  • tk21769tk21769 10596 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,623 Senior Member
    I've already gone over the finances with my parents we should be able to get a lot of aid from the FAFSA.

    What you seem to be saying is that according to FAFSA standards your EFC is relatively low. Your demonstrated need is high. But ... as @aquapt has suggested ... most schools do not meet demonstrated need. Only about 60 colleges even claim to do so, and most of them are too selective for your GPA (https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2017-09-21/colleges-that-claim-to-meet-full-financial-need).
    State universities typically don't even come close to meeting demonstrated need for OOS students.

    Your GPA is too low to qualify for big automatic merit scholarship programs, unless perhaps you consider much less selective schools in distant states. http://automaticfulltuition.yolasite.com/

    So your best balance of quality and affordability may be at an in-state public university, perhaps (depending on your situation) at one within commuting distance.

    Considering your scores, some of the Colleges That Change Lives (https://ctcl.org/category/college-profiles/) may accept you with enough need-based aid to make them affordable. Many of these are small, private liberal arts colleges in the Midwest. They are good schools that usually feature small classes and a lot of personal attention, but in some cases their CS course offerings are rather limited. Lawrence University (Appleton, WI) seems to have some strong STEM programs. Their average entering GPA is 3.45UW (per 2017-18 CDS). According to USNWR, on average they meet 94% of demonstrated need.
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