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What schools should I apply to for CS?

jonhax123jonhax123 20 replies2 threads Junior Member
Demographics: White/Hispanic Male
First Gen: Yes
Income: ~120K (family of four)
Financial Aid: Yes
School: Small, unranked public in PA
Major: Computer Science

GPA / Class Rank: 4.0 UW, top 3%
SAT: 1490 (700RW/790M) & 1480 (720RW/760M)
SAT Superscore: 1510 (720RW/790M)
SAT II: 780 Math II & 740 Physics
APs: US History (5), Physics C: Mechanics (4), Calculus BC (3), English Lit (3)
Will be taking exams in Biology, Economics, & Statistics, retaking Calculus BC
(I did pretty poorly on AP exams due to extenuating circumstances)

Awards/Honors: National Hispanic Scholar, AP Scholar with Honor, 1st place TSA regional event, Distinguished Honor Roll

Extracurriculars: Family responsibilities (25 hrs/wk), programming side projects/game development (10 hrs/wk), graphic design (5 hrs/wk), SAT/Math tutoring (3 hrs/wk), Science Olympiad, TSA
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Replies to: What schools should I apply to for CS?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79010 replies701 threads Senior Member
    Cost constraints? Are Penn State, Pittsburgh, and Temple affordable to you and your family?
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  • jonhax123jonhax123 20 replies2 threads Junior Member
    My EFC is a little higher than I'd like but my parents are very supportive. The aid packages probably won't be great from Penn State or Pitt (I applied early to both), and I don't think Temple fits well with me. I'm looking for schools that would hopefully be cheaper in comparison to those.
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  • aquaptaquapt 2097 replies39 threads Senior Member
    edited November 12
    How far from home do you see yourself going?
    Are you interested in a more STEM-oriented school or would you be happy at a school that doesn't have Engineering but does have strong CS?
    Are there particular interests/extracurriculars that you hope to pursue at college? Do you want to participate in Greek life?
    When you say Temple doesn't fit with you... can you describe what does fit?
    edited November 12
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  • evergreen5evergreen5 1547 replies32 threads Senior Member
    edited November 12
    Run the Net Price Calculators on the financial aid websites of some highly selective schools to see whether they would offer better financial aid than your in-state publics. As a 1st gen, URM, 1510/4.0, you should put some reaches on your list if the NPC shows they might be affordable.

    If you want suggestions, answer the above questions about personal preferences. Also include size, geographic location, etc.
    edited November 12
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  • Techno13Techno13 305 replies11 threads Member
    It may depend on the school but I don't think you have to report your AP scores on your application. I would not submit anything <4.

    Pitt has a decent reputation in CS but I agree you should look farther afield if there's an affordable option.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2410 replies3 threads Senior Member
    I can name about 4 programs that would be cheaper. At University of AZ, you're eligible for a full tuition scholarship. At Univ of Alabama, you're eligible for the Presidential scholarship, which is almost full tuition. You should also be eligible for a full tuition scholarship at TCU and Baylor as well. All of these have excellent CS programs.
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  • jonhax123jonhax123 20 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I'd like to stay around the Northeast but I'm lenient on location. I'm mainly looking for a collaborative environment with a noticeable CS subculture. Networking is something that I also heavily value in a school.

    I have many friends who go to Penn State and I've heard only great things about Pitt, but I never really felt safe around Temple's campus. I really can't see myself in that area.
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  • aquaptaquapt 2097 replies39 threads Senior Member
    You might run the NPC for Northeastern. They have a whole sub-college of computer science, with both straight-CS and interdisciplinary CS+X majors, and a co-op system which can be great for networking and gaining experience. They meet full documented need by their formula - question is whether that formula yields workable numbers for your family. They give automatic merit for Hispanic Scholars, but that won't "stack" with need-based aid.

    If you like the idea of a co-op program in CS, U of Cincinnati could be worth a look as well - you'd be eligible for substantial merit there https://admissions.uc.edu/tuition-aid/scholarships/cincinnatus/distinction.html

    Lafayette and Lehigh are both looking to improve diversity; you might find that staying in PA at one of these schools would be more affordable than the PA publics. (Or not - run the numbers and see.) Other full-need-met schools in the Northeast with substantial CS departments... Tufts, URochester, CWRU, Union, Wesleyan, Vassar, Hamilton, Colgate...

    Schools that don't guarantee full-need-met aid but might choose to be generous: WPI, RPI, RIT, Stevens, Bucknell

    If you identify a particular favorite with favorable NPC results, and they have an Early Decision II option, consider boosting your chances by applying EDII. An acceptance would be binding only if the financial aid offer meets the expectations set by the NPC. However, if you find that you might do better with merit aid than with pure need-based aid, then it's better to wait and compare offers.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3972 replies50 threads Senior Member
    You really need a number for your budget.
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  • jonhax123jonhax123 20 replies2 threads Junior Member
    What's a reasonable amount of debt for a CS degree?
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  • jzducoljzducol 758 replies13 threads Member
    For OP's profile the tippy tops like MIT and Stanford will actually be more affordable and more probable to get in, and they are great for CS. I would suggest to apply to all top need blind schools that have a decent CS program.
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  • jonhax123jonhax123 20 replies2 threads Junior Member
    What do you mean by "more probable to get in?"
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2550 replies36 threads Senior Member
    jonhax123 wrote: »
    What's a reasonable amount of debt for a CS degree?

    That’s up to you and your family to decide. An undergrad student can take out a total of $27k over the 4 years ($5500 first year, then $6500/$7500/$7500).....which can be a reasonable amount under many circumstances. Amounts over that would be on your parents either directly or as co-signers....and best to not do that.


    What are the school NPCs showing for you?
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9082 replies337 threads Senior Member
    What's a reasonable amount of debt for a CS degree?

    The federal student loans are $27k over 4 years (about $5500/year). How much can your parents pay without borrowing?
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  • jonhax123jonhax123 20 replies2 threads Junior Member
    $30K+ for Pitt, Penn State, and NEU. I checked Harvard's website for kicks and got an EFC of around $15K.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2550 replies36 threads Senior Member
    Is $30K+ affordable? If not what is your max budget? Have you run the NPCs for the other schools that have been suggested?

    Where have you applied so far?
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  • tgl2023tgl2023 193 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Your status of first generation, middle-income Hispanic male with good SAT and GPA, gives you a significant advantage at HYPS and MIT, which can be more affordable for you than Pitt, Penn State and NEU (as evidenced by your result from Harvard's NPC). Perhaps consider the University of Maryland, College Park; its CS department is quite decent, but its COA might be around $30,000 for an OOS.
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  • jonhax123jonhax123 20 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited November 14
    $30K+ I'd say is pushing it, my parents would only pay more than that for an Ivy League-level school. The EFC for the suggested schools have been around $25K-$35K give or take. I'm hoping any merit aid I get can offset the cost.

    I've applied early to Penn State (accepted), Pitt, and NEU.
    edited November 14
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  • evergreen5evergreen5 1547 replies32 threads Senior Member
    With your Harvard net price coming in at half the cost of Pitt etc, I would run the NPCs at several top private universities to see what looks more affordable than your public options and add some of those privates to your list. (For those colleges using the College Board NPC, you should be able to save your info, and then run the NPCs at many of the top 50 privates.)
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