Admissions Chances at Good Tech Schools - Biracial Female 22´

I´ll keep it short and sweet. I´m a female in the class of 2022 graduating HS. How my friends would describe me is resourceful, innovative, and ambitious. I want to enter a field at the intersection of CS, Ethics, and Entrepreneurship.

Demographics: Eurasian (Female, White/East Asian)

  • US domestic (US citizen or permanent resident) or international student
  • State/Location of residency: Massachusetts (state is important if you apply to any state universities)
  • Type of high school (current college for transfers): Public, suburban, athletic-heavy, small (around 200 per grade)
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity (optional):
  • Other special factors (first generation to college, legacy, athlete, etc.): Cousin went to Cornell

Intended Major(s): Computer Science, Business

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores: 3.8 GPA, Class rank unknown, 1510 on SAT on 1st try

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.8
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system): 4.1
  • College GPA (for transfers): N/A
  • Class Rank: Unknown
  • ACT/SAT Scores: 1510 on SAT 1st try

(AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes, AP/IB scores for high school; also include level of math and foreign language reached and any unusual academic electives; for transfers, describe your college courses and preparation for your intended major(s)): AP Environmental Science in Sophomore Year (received 5), AP Chemistry (Junior Year), AP Statistics (Junior Year), AP Computer Science A (Self Study in Junior Year), AP Computer Science Principles (Self Study in Junior Year)


  • High honors freshman and sophomore year
  • Finalist in International University level Design Competition
  • 2021 Massachusetts NCWIT Winner
  • Best Visual Award at hackathon
  • 2nd Place at hackathon
  • Poem published in bestselling anthology of diverse perspectives

(Include leadership, summer activities, competitions, volunteering, and work experience)

  • Founder and editor in chief of school newspaper
  • Graphic designer and French Lead at international club
  • Member of magazine club and book club
  • Associate at university tech startup w app on mental health and LGBTQ+ community
  • Operations member at nonprofit promoting womxn in STEM
  • Previous LaunchX attendee (2020)
  • Founded platform that reached 800+ people in 3 months
  • Mentoring youth in the community
  • Past community service teaching Python for a nonprofit

(Optionally, guess how strong these are and include any other relevant information or circumstances.) Very strong. Personal story about interning at business development at startup

Cost Constraints / Budget
(High school students: please get a budget from your parents and use the Net Price Calculators on the web sites of colleges of interest.) $50K per year

(List of colleges by your initial chance estimate; designate if applying ED/EA/RD; if a scholarship is necessary for affordability, indicate that you are aiming for a scholarship and use the scholarship chance to estimate it into the appropriate group below)

  • Safety (certain admission and affordability) Boston University (80% of kids from my school who applied got in) - ED, Northeastern University (people from school got accepted)
  • Likely (would be possible, but very unlikely or surprising, for it not to admit or be affordable) UCLA - ED
  • Match UC Berkeley - EA, UCLA - EA, Cornell - EA, USC - EA
  • Reach MIT - ED, UPenn - EA, Brown - EA, Stanford - EA

I think your matches are reaches. Any Ivy is a reach. OOS for CS at a top UC is a reach too. ED could give you a slight bump but still tough.


You may want to take the UC’s off of your application list because they don’t offer any decent merit or financial aid to non-resident students.

You would be full pay, at these public schools, whose priority is to provide resident students with a quality instate education. The costs to non-residents are $65,000 a year. Expect these fees to go up. If your parents don’t have an issue with paying this kind of money, then apply. Because of state laws, the UCs cannot consider ethnicity/race for admission.

The UC’s also don’t have early action or early decision. Who advised you that they did?

Please consider your parents’ finances. I’m concerned that some of the schools that you’ve chosen are above your budget-like USC- it is going to run about $72k to $80k a year after expenses. Boston U is also pricey.

I am concerned that you also have no real, affordable safeties. This year, and in many years past, a number of students applied to reach schools, with no real safeties and didn’t get in anywhere, or were rejected based on inaccurate assumptions.

At least, add in your in-state schools as safeties.
Many students are currently waiting for the NASAC list to come out on May 1, because they didn’t get in anywhere and their only other option, right now, is a community college which a lot of students, for some reason, won’t or can’t accept.

There just are too many strong students from all over this country, and internationally, applying to the same “name brand” universities. There are only so many seats at the schools; the numbers are finite. (Berkeley does have one of the largest weed out classes with 1000 students and the largest lecture hall has only 750 seats- so they have to use an overflow lecture hall.)

Review your list and research the schools before you assume that they have early decision or early action. Then make a list of in-state schools that you would not mind attending if you didn’t get in to your top picks. Go over the list with your school counselor. Ask questions. Advise your parents that some of these schools are going to be over their college budget. Will they be OK with them taking out extra loans?

Edited to add: A 3.8 unweighted GPA is not competitive for CS at most of the UC schools. CS is impacted at the UC’s. That means that there are more qualified applicants than there are seats available in the department and you may be rejected because of the major request. Test scores, although strong, will be evaluated in comparison to your GPA and holistic review.


Cornell does not have early action, only binding early decision. Most of the Ivies don’t have EA but Restrictive EA which limits where else you can aplply. Unless you qualify for need based aid Cornell will not come in at your $50K/year budget. Also, for sure not a match but a reach.

Safeties are school that you will for sure get into and are affordable. BU and Northeatern both have a sub 20% acceptance rate. These two schools aren’t safeties for anyone. Please note that competition for CS is much more competitive than other majors. For any school that admits by major, did deeper than just the overall acceptance rate.

IMO, this is a very, very reach heavy list with no real matches or safeties.

FWIW, my D had higher stats than than you and considered any school with a sub 30% acceptance rate a reach. Her safeties had 75+% acceptance rates. The in-betweens were the matches. Look up the common data sets for the schools you are considering. You’ll see the stats for admitted students and acceptance rates.


As everybody else is saying, your list is seriously out of whack, in terms of admissions and affordability:

BU, NeU: probably not safeties for admission; and are you certain that they are safeties financially?

UCLA, UC-B: reaches for CS, not affordable on a $50K budget

Cornell, MIT, UPenn, Brown, Stanford: reach for anything, but esp for CS. Meet need, but have you done a NPC to see if it will come in under $50K?

You have listed 3 ED schools. Aside from the fact that not all of them even have ED, you can only apply to 1 school ED (or SCEA).

Your list looks like a grab bag of famous names. You need to do some more homework- starting with the most likely places, and building up to the fantasy names- to find schools that will suit you, your profile and your budget.

And as always: start with your budget. $50K/year is a healthy budget, and you can have a good range of choices- but first you need to know what the schools think your budget should be. Run the NPC first with UMa-A, then Northeaster, BU, and a generous reach (say, Cornell or MIT). That will give you an idea as to what your choices can be.


UMass is highly rated. Especially for AI. Great in-state option.

Georgia Tech would be around $50k for OOS. I would probably say reach to low reach.

NC State would be a nice match. OOS limits but usually don’t reach it. Add Virginia Tech too.

Maybe some Florida schools.

You need to run the NPC for your schools.

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Other ideas for matches/low reaches:

A student with these stats would get enough merit at RPI and probably Case Western if there was enough demonstrated interest.

Purdue OOS tuition is $40K/year although CS is getting more competitive.


Hello, thank you for the feedback! This is the first time I’m posting on CC, so forgive me if some of the information seemed off. I’d like to know, what do they mean when they ask about a “match” school?

Thank you very much for the feedback. This is the first time I’m posting on CC, so I didn’t realize what a “match” school was (I assumed it was a school where you thought you’d enjoy :joy:). I’ll go back and edit that part. I’ll also look over my college list, as there seems to be quite a bit of editing to do.

Thank you very much for the feedback. This is the first time I’m posting on CC, so I didn’t realize what a “match” school was (I assumed it was a school where you thought you’d enjoy :joy:). I’ll go back and edit that part. I’ll also look over my college list, as there seems to be quite a bit of editing to do.

About BU and Northeastern, you bring up a good point. Reason why I chose both of those as safeties was because I looked at their profiles on Naviance. They have a graph that shows dot plots of students’ GPAs versus their acceptance, and you can see where you are relative to everyone else. It looks like most people who applied from my school (which isn’t a top school, but is decent in academics) got in. And my GPA was within that range. I personally know one person who took AP courses and didn’t score that high, with very little extracurriculars, who was accepted into BU this year. That’s why I’m putting both of those as safeties, to clear it up.

Thank you very much for the feedback. This is the first time I’m posting on CC, so I didn’t realize what a “match” school was (I assumed it was a school where you thought you’d enjoy :joy:). I’ll go back and edit that part. I’ll also look over my college list, as there seems to be quite a bit of editing to do.

What do they mean by budget? Is this how much students have to pay up front? I am certainly applying for financial aid.

Will take a look at those. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are already on my list, but I’ll take a look at UMass too.

Interesting. I’ll edit my list above to reflect what’s more realistic. How competitive, in your experience, is CS at Purdue?


Looks like I can’t edit the post anymore. Oh well :((

What I wanted to add was that when I was writing this post, I didn’t know what they meant by “reach” school. So here’s the real list.

  • Safety: UMass (adding it in cause it’s a state school, people from my school with a pretty low GPA have gotten in)

  • Likely: BU (look at Naviance below), Boston College, William and Mary (they have really good financial aid available)

  • Match: Northeastern (based on feedback, also know one person who got in around where I’m at in terms of GPA and awards), Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech

  • Reach: UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cornell, MIT, UPenn, Brown, Stanford, UMich

I also wanted to add that this year I’m organizing a hackathon with friends and I’m directing their outreach. We got 350+ participants for last year’s hackathon. How could I have forgotten projects, silly me! My friends and I are building off of the project that we built that won all of those awards. We’ve applied to an accelerator called Replit Ventures to gain mentorship and guidance on building our project further into a functioning app on the App Store.

As an update on the financial situation, according to some calculators online, looks like I’ll be paying anywhere from $45 to $80k per year. In that case, I’m going to say to anyone who’s reading this to look into a $65k range annually max.

These are still low reach possibly high match, particularly BC and William & Mary.

You might want to look at the Common Data Set for the schools you are interested in. Section C7 tells you how each school weighs both academic and non-academic admissions factors; Section C9 gives you the SAT and ACT ranges of admitted students; Section C10 tells you how addmitted students ranked in their respective high schools; and Section C11 gives you the GPA ranges of admitted students. (NOTE: While all universities and colleges are required to maintain this information, some schools do not have a published common data set.) Reviewing this information can give you some idea of how you might fit in, statistically, in recent admitted classes at the schools you are interested in.

I had my children apply to 9-10 schools: 2 that were safety schools (admission would be a slam dunk, and which were affordable); 2-3 reach schools where admission is a crap shoot, no matter how good your stats are (e.g., most Ivies + MIT + Stanford); and the rest being match schools, where your admissions chances are in the median 50% of accepted students, and where you would have a good but not guaranteed chance for admission. (NOTE: These are my informal definitions; other people will have definitions that will vary, and some posters have given their own parameters.) You should sit down on multiple occasions with your high school’s guidance counselor and discuss admissions strategies; since your high school uses Naviance and you are familiar with the scattergrams in the Naviance program, continue to look over where you fall on those plots compared with those of other students from your school who have applied to the schools you are interested in. Although it’s been a few years since I was looking at those scattergrams, I seem to recall that the plotted data were for the most recent 5 years or so; and your guidance counselor might be able to tell you whether the plots for more recent accepted/rejected students might be trending in one direction or another (i.e., whether it takes higher GPAs and test scores to get admitted now than it did 5 or more years ago).

I concur with the poster who suggested applying to UMass-Amherst; you might also take a look at Worcester Polytechnic Institute as another possibility in Massachusetts. I also think that you should consider Purdue, as @momofboiler1 suggested, as well as NCSU and VA Tech as suggested by @chmcnm. (GA Tech can be difficult for OOS to be admitted; most of the OOS students whom I know were admitted there were either class valedictorians or salutatorians.)

Further, visit schools in person if/when you can between now and this time next year, and try to do it when there are students on the campus – so that you can visualize whether you would fit in with the student body.

Also, one more update about class rank. I am definitely Top 5% in terms of class rank. I’ve won academic awards in the past for certain subjects, including in bio and web design courses.

Purdue has a link to something called the “Data Digest,” here: If you go to the links for “Student Enrollment,” “Applications, Admits, and Matriculations,” and “New First-Time Beginner Profiles,” you may find some useful information available.

Your budget is the amount your parents can and will pay plus the ~$5-7K/pa that you can borrow on your own. Your first post indicated that that amount is $50K.

There is a NPC (net price calculator) on the website of every college. If your family situation is straightforward (parents are married to each, don’t own their own business or own a lot of real estate) they can be reasonably accurate in telling you what your actual cost to attend that school will be, including your EFC (expected family contribution).

Since you are looking for financial aid, be aware that there are two types: need and merit. Colleges that say they “meet need” (most of yours do, but note that public universities often don’t promise that, and of the ones that do promise, most of them do not meet need for out of state (OOS) students) meet what they define as your need, not necessarily what you / your parents think your need is. Merit money is effectively a trade: they knock off some of the cost of attending and you bring your high (for them) stats with you. That typically means schools that you see as less glamorous. Tippy tops give few or no merit scholarships- they don’t need to tempt strong students!

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Makes sense, thank you! A lot of things have changed between a couple of years ago and now because of COVID.