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Looking for suggestions - computer science - small schools


Replies to: Looking for suggestions - computer science - small schools

  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils Registered User Posts: 2,989 Senior Member
    edited July 14
    Re: WPI's website - I would make sure he gives WPI a good look still. The correlation between CS degree quality and school website is about zero.

    I'd also second Rice and RPI, and dissuade against Mudd. If Rose was too prescribed I'd hate to see what he thinks of Mudd.

    In the same vein of many of the schools mentioned I'd add in Northeastern. It's a larger school but offers good undergraduate CS teaching focus and an entire college devoted to CS and related majors. The co-op program is a big focus, so make sure to check that out. Big positive for some, not for others.

    Here's a great essay on the program by the creator. Check the acknowledgments for other schools who use a similar curriculum. You'll find WPI on there as well. Brown also seems like a great fit but likely too far of a reach it sounds like. Still, I would consider the Hail Mary application depending on test scores etc.


    Check out RIT as well, especially if he is into robotics for beyond high school.
    We're also looking at liberal arts colleges. Lots have CS programs, but it would be nice to know about any that are particularly worth looking at.

    While there are some LAC's that have good CS programs, it doesn't sound like a LAC's curriculum would be a match at all. I think tech schools are your best bet.

  • kiddiekiddie Registered User Posts: 2,655 Senior Member
    Just thought of Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston next door to Northeastern - small, tech focused, with a co-op program.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,164 Senior Member
    Agree that money is a primary consideration unless $70K a year is not a problem. If it is, then run some NPCs to see what you might expect in need-based aid and if that's zero, look only at schools that offer merit aid or are public or low cost.

    That said, an open curriculum like at Brown or Amherst would work well if he's OK with the CS offered (in the case of Amherst there is the opportunity to take advanced math classes at UMass or elsewhere in the consortium though that might not be ideal). Both are reaches in any case.

    Some schools have *near* open curriculums, Rochester I think?
  • mackinawmackinaw Registered User Posts: 2,619 Senior Member
    edited July 14
    If he wants to get in on the ground floor of a new CS program at an excellent LAC, he might take a look at Reed: http://www.reed.edu/reed_magazine/sallyportal/posts/2016/reed-launches-computer-science-program.html

    Reed's overall program is very comprehensive, rigorous, and demanding. But it is among the top colleges in the country in producing future PhD's across a wide range of disciplines including math, physical sciences, life sciences, psychology, and the humanities. https://www.reed.edu/ir/phd.html

    (I am an alum.)
  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils Registered User Posts: 2,989 Senior Member
    Brown actually has a very comprehensive and well known CS department overall and has the open curriculum too, hence the mention despite being a far reach. A school where you end up taking CS classes elsewhere isn't likely ideal in this case.

    Second for U of Rochester, good suggestion.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,164 Senior Member
    ^ Understood @PengsPhils but Amherst has its own CS department. I was saying if OP wished to go beyond what Amherst offers in advanced math there is that option at UMass.
  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils Registered User Posts: 2,989 Senior Member
    edited July 14
    Ah, didn't see you said math, thought you meant advanced CS. Not familiar with Amherst's program.

    Edit: Looking at their website now, their offerings are relatively sparse and many classes aren't offered even yearly. For someone with what seems like an acute focus on CS, that seems pretty limiting to me.
  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer Registered User Posts: 181 Junior Member
    Regarding the WPI website:
    By using the search engine in the upper right hand corner, I was able to locate important elements discussed above.

    WPI does not have a traditional program of studies. This requires more time as parameters are very different. I hope you will find these three addresses helpful.

    1. Project based learning at https://www.wpi.edu/academics/undergraduate/project-based-learning.

    2. Humanities and arts can be found at https://www.wpi.edu/academics/departments/humanities-arts.

    3. Detailed specifics on actual placement including salaries, companies, and graduate schools by departments.

    I am a WPI alumnus who was working in the admissions office at the time of very major program changes. My job was to explain these major changes to guidance counselors, students, parents and alumni. As a graduate of the old system, I had to work with students and faculty on projects in the new project based approach. Believe me, the systems are not the same!

    WPI believes that both the humanities and interdisciplinary learning are very important, particularly in the STEM fields. MQPs, IQPs, and a thematic approach to the humanities are partners and important vehicles for this process.

    I hope this is helpful. It is possible that this vehicle does not run on fossil fuel!

  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 29,550 Senior Member
    If he thinks the Rose Hulman CS major is too prescribed, he likely would be unhappy with the core at Mudd if he does get in. Those low humanities grades you mentioned could keep him out, too.
  • 123txmom123txmom Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    Others have mentioned Rice. I will too. My D was a CS major there and did well. The small size was a great appeal to her. Rice does require 12 hours of what they call flexible distributions hours. My daughters took courses that varied from Astronomy, Psychology, Rise and fall of Slavery, and Yoga. If your son likes music, Rice's Shepherd School of Music has courses for non-music majors.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,164 Senior Member
    @PengsPhils Amherst students only take 32 courses total over 4 years, with few exceptions. The CS major requires only 9, so the specific # required is 10, including the frosh seminar everyone takes, leaving a ton of room to explore other interests or do grad-level or more specific CS courses at UMass or one of the other 3.

    That said, I don't have a good sense of how strong the CS department is there in comparison to other LACs. But it does meet the stated criteria of "small school open curriculum" and matches stats as put forward here.
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 12,285 Senior Member
    That said, I don't have a good sense of how strong the CS department is there in comparison to other LACs. But it does meet the stated criteria of "small school open curriculum" and matches stats as put forward here.

    My impression is Amherst College's CS department isn't regarded as particularly strong judging from how no one from my STEM-centered public magnet HS who applied/matriculated there were aspiring CS/technical science majors and from remarks about the quality of Amherst's CS department from a few relatives/family friends who were engineering/CS majors and/or faculty.

    Those aspiring to CS who wanted to attend LACs/add them as options tended to gravitate to LACs like Swat, Reed, Wellesley, Carleton, Harvey Mudd, Smith, etc.

    Incidentally, if any relative...especially ones based in Massachusetts wanted to study CS and voiced a desire to attend Amherst College or one of the others private colleges in the 5 college consortium, their parents would likely tell them to apply/matriculate directly to UMass-Amherst as a CS major and take courses at the private LACs if desired.
  • MatzoBallMatzoBall Registered User Posts: 186 Junior Member
    Take a look at Grinnell. Open curriculum.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,164 Senior Member
    @cobrat it's possible things have changed in the last 30 years or however long it has been since your HS friends were applying to college. In fact I am not sure Amherst HAD a CS major when you graduated from Stuy, the oldest thesis on their site is from 1997.

    UMass has a very competitive and well regarded CS program, that's still true.
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 12,285 Senior Member
    edited July 15

    FYI, I was still an undergrad in 1997 and the engineering/CS faculty relatives/family friends were teaching well after that period....definitely much more recent than 30 years ago. And I am certain Amherst college had provision for a CS major well before 1997....especially considering those completing senior theses in that year tend to be graduating seniors so it must have been around for at least since 1993......

    Also, not all senior theses completed are listed on departmental/college websites due to various factors.
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