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Where Should I Apply

pawpaatrolpawpaatrol Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
I am a rising senior who needs to know which colleges to apply to. I recently decided to switch to computer science or engineering because of what's in demand in the job markets. I want to enter an engineering faculty but how hard if you don't have AP Calculus, Math Level 2 or science subject tests, or STEM extracurriculars. This is a new interest that I plan to develop over senior year and in the beginning of college.

I live in Virginia, so if someone could give me in-state colleges that will accept me. I'm not planning to go to college in the US, but I have to apply to give myself some options. I am also looking at universities in the UK, Australia, and the Netherlands.

Here are my stats:
3.6 GPA
1310 SAT (retaking next month)
720 US History subject test
Taking World History and Math Level 1 in December
Senior classes: AP Gov, computer science, honors precalculus, geosystems, AP Micro/Macro, band, english
AP Exams: APUSH (4), AP Psych (5)
Extracurriculars: marching band (no section leader), about to become an Eagle Scout, track & field (grades 9-11), Model UN (grades 9-11; may rejoin this year)
Summer activities: NSLC program in Singapore
Hooks: African-American

Replies to: Where Should I Apply

  • gandalf78gandalf78 Registered User Posts: 1,876 Senior Member
    What about George Mason? Look at the Common Data Set and see where your statistics place you.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 3,024 Senior Member
    UVA college of engineering
    William and Mary 3 and 2 program with Columbia
    Howard Unviversity School of engineering and architecture
  • HapworthHapworth Registered User Posts: 438 Member
    UVA and VT are tough admits. George Mason (mentioned above) and James Madison (very popular recently) and VCU might be worth taking a look at.
  • ilovebillyjoelilovebillyjoel Registered User Posts: 155 Junior Member
    VT has a pretty high acceptance rate. You have great stats! If you arent applying to Ivys or 2nd tier (Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Rice, Emory) then you probably dont need subject tests. If your subject test is less than a 750 it seems like a moot point to report.
  • emorynavyemorynavy Registered User Posts: 306 Member
    @ilovebillyjoel @pawpaatrol
    As a URM you want to aim for the 25th percentile for the schools you are applying to unless it's an HBCU or other minority serving school. For subject tests I agree less than 750 don't report. The ivys and Rice, Vandy etc. can be good reaches. First find schools that have you major, then refuse that list to schools that are where you would want to live. Then reduce that list to schools that are in your test range.
  • GVNAliceGVNAlice Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Up here in Rochester, we have the famous RIT(Rochester Institute of Technology) I toured there recently and it is a beautiful campus and since it is private, it is expensive regardless if you live here or not, and Rochester is an amazing city to live so you would never be short on things to do. it ranks top 10 on every list you could imagine and is respected nation and worldwide. I say RIT also because it has campuses around the world that they expand and invest in yearly, so knowing you don't wish to stay in the great USA, you could be accepted here but study in on one of their many campuses. Just a thought.
  • aquaptaquapt Registered User Posts: 1,705 Senior Member
    If you're really eager to go overseas *and* to apply to engineering/CS, another option you might consider is applying to a program like AFS to do a super-senior year of high school in one of your target countries. This would allow you to test the waters overseas and get acclimated before potentially starting college there, and it would also give you the opportunity to get calculus and physics under your belt, thus positioning you better to apply to competitive STEM programs. (Plus, assuming you do well this year, having your senior grades and honors/AP-weighting count toward your GPA when you apply would help too.)

    Not saying you can't successfully go straight to college, of course, but that was where my mind went, reading your post, so I thought I'd run it up the proverbial flagpole. You could accomplish some important STEM classes as well as having a bit of a trial run overseas before committing to your whole college education there.

    That said, VA has a great range of state schools, and you can surely get into your desired major at one of them. VT-wise, you can use this tool https://irweb.ir.vt.edu/webtest/FreshmenSummary.aspx to compare stat profiles by college and major (can also split out gender and URM status), which could be helpful in deciding which major to apply to. (Example from CA where I live - at Cal Poly SLO, it's harder to get into CS than Computer Engineering. Without taking the time to delve into the data, I assume similar differentials exist at VT.)
  • inbostoninboston Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    As a comment on a suggestion above, aiming for the 25th percentile wouldn't work for someone who isn't comfortable being below average. On the other hand, the proposed approach might pay off for an applicant who prioritizes getting into the "best" possible school.
  • pawpaatrolpawpaatrol Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    @aquapt I was actually looking at foundation programs in Australian and Dutch universities. They are meant for international students who don't meet entry requirements for their majors. Degrees there are very specialized (completed in 3 years) because high school better prepares them for college. I plan to do this to gain the background knowledge.

    In the US, is it possible to be rejected for engineering but admitted for a less competitive major, but then transfer into the engineering school? Or if I go to a less competitive school, can I transfer into a better school such as Georgia Tech or CMU after a year.
  • coolguy40coolguy40 Registered User Posts: 1,856 Senior Member
    I'm seeing a few holes in the logic. First, "good" or "better" is entirely subjective. ABET is the engineering accreditation standard and VTech meets that criteria. You can find an excellent entry level job as easily as GA Tech without paying triple the tuition going out of state...assuming you'd be able to get the private loans to go to GA Tech.

    Second, a 3 year overseas degree doesn't mean students are better prepared at high school. It means that you're earning a 3 year degree and paying a LOT more money for it. When an American employer sees an entry level applicant from "University of Sydney," that says Non-ABET accredited AND visa sponsorship costs. I know that's not the case, but that's going to be the impression they will get looking at your resume. They have a large stack of applicants from Americans from ABET accredited schools, so it's likely your resume will end up in the garbage. You're better off staying put.
  • aquaptaquapt Registered User Posts: 1,705 Senior Member
    You have to look at the individual school, vis-a-vis switching into engineering. A few allow you to switch at will; many make it quite difficult, and at some it's nigh-on-impossible. As you might suspect, the schools with the greatest flexibility are often more wealthy and competitive institutions, as inflexibility is more cost-efficient for colleges!

    Is your 3.6 GPA weighted or unweighted?

    Since you have funding, you may want to look at more expensive private U's where being URM will give you more of an advantage. (Most public U's aren't allowed to consider race in admissions.) Think about applying to Lehigh's Diversity Achievers fly-in program when the application opens https://www1.lehigh.edu/admissions/undergrad/visit/dap They're working to recruit more URM students - might be a great school to give you the start on engineering that you're looking for. (Plus it's also strong in liberal arts, business, and art/architecture/design so there would be many options if you should change your mind.) Clarkson and Union in Upstate NY would be great places to apply. Drexel and RIT both have terrific co-op programs. WPI and Rose-Hulman are both smaller schools with project-based approaches.

    More diversity fly-in programs that you might want to apply to:
    Bucknell (LAC+engineering) https://www.bucknell.edu/journeytobucknell
    Union https://www.union.edu/admissions/visit/getting-to-know-u/
    Trinity (CT) (LAC+engineering) http://www.trincoll.edu/Admissions/campusvisit/pages/preview.aspx
    WPI https://www.wpi.edu/c/discover-diversity
    Miami of OH (so-called "Public Ivy" with good engineering) http://miamioh.edu/admission/high-school/bridges/

    As for transferring to a better school - some schools take a lot more transfers than others. State flagships often plan for a lot of incoming transfers because of community colleges feeding into them, and some private U's take a relatively larger number of transfers (Northeastern, USC, Cornell). Other elite schools take only a trickle of transfers, because they don't really expand the class over the four years, and not very many withdraw. With engineering, there's also the issue of getting programs to align so that you don't end up having to repeat required courses.

    Another route you could take is an established 3:2 engineering program - 3 years at a liberal arts college with a transfer path to a top university to complete the engineering degree in another two years. The plus side is that this would give you more time to ramp up in math and science, as well as time to explore other interests, before transferring, and many programs guarantee transfer admission if you meet GPA guidelines. The downside is that those GPA requirements can be quite high (3.5+ in pre-engineering classes in some programs), and a majority of aspiring 3-2 students don't end up transferring, either because they change their minds about engineering, or don't meet the GPA requirement, or don't want to leave a year before their friends graduate when they could just finish their BA/BS where they are. But, it's an option that could give you the ramp-up time you need and give you an established path into a university like Columbia, WashU, Dartmouth, etc. Here's one example from U of Richmond, which also has a 3-1 program with UVA, in addition to it's 3-2 and 4-2 programs https://preengineering.richmond.edu/dual-degree/index.html
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