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Good schools for music and comp sci?

finnmysticfinnmystic 1 replies3 threads New Member
I'm looking to major in computer science with a minor (or maybe double major, depending on the school) in music. So far I'm looking at UW Madison and Lawrence so any input about those schools would be appreciated as well. I have a 34 ACT (35 superscore) and a 3.98 uw gpa but I still need to go to a school that will give merit aid as I won't qualify for need-based aid.
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Replies to: Good schools for music and comp sci?

  • compmomcompmom 11528 replies81 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2019
    First, I wonder if you have read the essay entitled "The Double Degree Dilemma" posted closer to the top of this music forum. It details the different ways to study music. BM, BA or BS, double major, major/minor, and double degree. You can also major in something else entirely of course, and continue lessons and performance via extracurriculars.

    Can you clarify what you want to do within music? Performance? Composition? General Music major?

    Often a BA in music is a liberal arts degree with theory, music history, ethnomusicology, music analysis, composition, technology etc., possibly with some performance component but performance is often in the form of lessons or extracurriculars, sometimes for credit. A BA would be 1/4-1/3 classes in music, usually with gen ed requirements.

    A BM performance degree is usually 2/3-3/4 classes in music and is immersive and intensive.

    If you do a BS in computer science, that is also a pretty intensive and sequential major. It can be hard to combine with another intensive and sequential major but you can look at the curriculum and degree requirements and see whether a double major or major/minor can work for your schedule and fit within your desired time range.

    You could also consider a double degree BS/BM if you want a performance degree as well as CS. Lawrence would certainly be a great choice for that and merit is a very good possibility. Others might include Oberlin, Peabody/Johns Hopkins, or maybe Carnegie Mellon, given your CS interests.

    FInally, music and CS intersect in interesting ways for composers, so if you want to write music, look into courses that combine your interests.

    Generally a BM will mean an audition, and for a BA or BS program you probably wouldn't audition for admission but would submit a music supplement with recording, music resume, and letters of recommendation from teacher(s) or director.

    If you describe your interests in music study, perhaps we can be more helpful.

    Editing to add: are you sure you won't get any need-based aid? You could try an Ivy, where aid is given to families with incomes up to $180k. Long shot for everyone but a music supplement can help with admissions in some cases.


    edited November 2019
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  • finnmysticfinnmystic 1 replies3 threads New Member
    I’m certain I won’t get need based aid, and I’ve read the double degree dilemma. I’m only going to double major (BA) in music if I go to a lac where thats achievable in four years, otherwise I’d like to minor in music. Basically, I’m passionate about music but don’t want to pursue it professionally, hence the CS degree.
    Tl;dr Im looking for a school that gives opportunities in music to people who arent 100% focused on music and also has a good CS program.
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  • songbirdmamasongbirdmama 475 replies23 threads Member
    edited November 2019
    Tagging @TiggerDad and @SpiritManager for info on Princeton and Bard.
    edited November 2019
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  • buoyantbuoyant 157 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Hello @finnmystic - A CS degree from Madison is very strong and you’ll be able to eventually pay off any student loan debt you have to take on, assuming you are paying instate tuition. With AP credits and good planning you can add a minor and still get out in 4 yrs.

    Merit scholarships at Lawrence top out at roughly 50% tuition and you can’t stack awards between the college and conservatory.

    With your stats have you looked at the merit scholarship threads on college confidential? Very competitive, but you might find a school that fits your interests.
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  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2104 replies74 threads Senior Member
    Tagging @TiggerDad and @SpiritManager for info on Princeton and Bard.

    Princeton and the rest of Ivys don't offer merit based scholarships. They are all need based.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 2085 replies21 threads Senior Member
    “I still need to go to a school that will give merit aid as I won't qualify for need-based aid.”

    It’s really important to clarify if your budget is (say) $20K per year or $50K per year and how that compares to your EFC. Are you instate for Wisconsin?

    If you can afford your instate public then that’s an obvious target. If you need a full tuition scholarship (or more) then that requires a different set of target schools. Either way there’s little point in considering places that only offer need-based aid if you can’t afford to pay your EFC.

    FWIW the University of Utah offers full tuition and full ride merit scholarships to high stat applicants (though the priority application deadline was Nov 1) and has strong CS and Music programs. It’s certainly possible to do a double degree in four years as there are no hard limits on how many credits you can take each semester (my D is doing a BFA and a BSc)
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  • techmom99techmom99 3513 replies6 threads Senior Member
    My D's fiance attended Tufts where he majored in CS and did a lot of performing. He's an amazing musician. I don't think he double majored after al, though I think he might have started out with that in mind, l but he did enjoy the music program. He now works as a computer something or another at Google.
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  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager 2841 replies68 threads Senior Member
    I see no reason to get a Minor in music unless that just happens naturally with the number of courses taken. One would still be able to take courses and participate in ensembles.

    Almost all programs with strong CS will offer music courses, and have ensembles. And, yes, I think you should be looking at the merit aspect first, then the strength of the CS program, and then, lastly, the music offerings. So many high school students who are strong in STEM also have taken music lessons and wish to continue in college. MIT, for instance, has a great music department. Cornell is strong in music. And on and on...

    To get a Double Degree at Bard College & Conservatory takes five years - and is supported financially. However, one can do a double major in CS and Music in the College alone - and that takes four years. However, merit in the college is need informed. There's substantially more financial support for the conservatory students. But admission to the conservatory is as difficult as for all the top conservatories. It would be a rare uncommitted musician who can gain admission.
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  • compmomcompmom 11528 replies81 threads Senior Member
    In your situation, find the best CS program you can afford. There will be music courses and performance opportunities at most schools. Find out whether lessons are provided, and if they are funded. Find out if lessons and performance get any credit. But otherwise, there are many many schools that will meet your needs.

    Tufts, Carnegie Mellon, Brown, MIT are all great schools for CS but expensive. We found that our state university was actually more highly ranked. And they do offer merit. There may be privates that do as well, so you will have to research.

    All in all, find the CS programs you want and go from there. Good luck!
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