DS is a Junior in HS and Im trying to get him to focus on colleges to consider for his planned major in Computer Science. Hes definitely looking for a strong program in a science/engineering environment rather than a computer science program in a purely liberal arts college or in a business school. Hell be a competitive candidate at many colleges but is not MIT or CalTech caliber. Theres no risk that he may eventually transfer out of Computer Science into a different degree program. Hes truly passionate about programming and has been learning on his own since 6th grade.
We arent going to qualify for need based aid but price is going to be a big factor as I have three kids with overlapping college careers. Fortunately as Virginia residents we have some good schools and the IS cost/yr in the mid 20s at Virginia Tech or UVA. The problem is that the only schools that Im getting him to look at in more detail seem to be large state universities. Unless he can gain some merit aid elsewhere Im having a hard time determining whether OOS schools or private schools will be worth the extra money.
We went to the Va Tech engineering open house last November and he liked the school well enough. But, he was not impressed with the level of difficulty for the senior projects of the Computer Science department. He felt, quite frankly, that the senior projects at the local magnet school were more impressive. To be fair the local magnet school is rated the #1 HS in the nation (and DS didnt make the cut when he applied). I was also somewhat concerned that the Computer Science department at Va Tech has a very high student dropout rate (over 40%). I dont know if the rate reflects poorly on the students or the faculty or both.
Hell be visiting UVAs program on March 19th and hes already familiar with Maryland College Park from a summer engineering program.
Its too early for him to decide on a particular specialty in computer science so general strength is better. Does anyone have any particular knowledge of Va Tech or UVA for computer science? Weve looked through their on-line information but Im interested in knowing more from a students or recruiters perspective. Any preferences between the two computer science programs? While I think hell get into at least one of those two schools I dont want him to make only two applications.
Which other schools, if any, would be worth paying the considerably more money over four years if no merit aid (another $48,000 for an OOS state university and $110-120K for private).