Carnegie Mellon or Columbia (for CS)?

<p>I got into both as a computer science major. </p>

<p>I know that Carnegie Mellon is undoubtedly the better option if I'm going into CS. What I'm worried about is the fact that people at CMU are so overworked and that the social life is nonexistent. The latter fact doesn't bother me much, but I'd still like to be able to go out and enjoy myself even if it's only once a month. I'm also scared that, because I'm not as experienced in CS, I won't be able to maintain a high enough GPA to get into graduate school. I plan on studying a lot over the summer, but I'm not sure it'll be enough compared to people who have been prepared for this their entire lives. </p>

<p>Getting into Columbia was entirely unexpected. What appeals to me about Columbia is the location, the prestige, etc. Columbia isn't that great for what I want to major in, though. Its computer science program falls far behind CMU's. If I were to pick a school regardless of major, however, I would go with Columbia.</p>

<p>Can anyone help me decide what to do? I'm going to visit both schools near the end of the month and decide for sure after that.</p>

<p>Are you dead set on Computer Science? A lot of people’s interests change during college. Columbia might be the better option if there is a possibility of changing majors down the line.</p>

<p>I’m a CMU CS student and I really love it here. I definitely don’t feel really overworked, but when I came in I was probably in the top 5-10 percent for math knowledge, so that helped. However, I don’t think anyone here is really unable to go out and do something fun once a month, unless they’re taking a ridiculous schedule. I’m more interested in the subject matter than most people, so I enjoy what I’m studying, but I don’t feel overworked. I spend most of my time on homework, but I still have a reasonable amount of time for other things. It seems to me that about half of the most time consuming classes are optional (e.g. Intro to Robotics, OS, compilers), if you want you can always just not take those classes. Most of the really busy people I know knew what they were getting themselves into but did it anyway.</p>

<p>Also I think math experience, not programming experience, is the best indicator of how difficult you’ll find the core curriculum in CS. There are some very difficult systems courses here, but they’re not required, while there are several required math/algorithms courses that many people struggle in (including one course usually taken in the second semester that seems to take the average student about 15-30 hours per week). This is something to consider in evaluating how busy you’ll be.</p>

<p>I think most CS majors I know are happy here: I know I am. If you didn’t do lots of math competitions or advanced math in high school, there will be some time-consuming courses, but overall I feel like the workload isn’t totally unreasonable. I visited Caltech, and that sounded pretty ridiculous: my host was tallying how many hours of sleep he got that week on his door, and I think it was like 20 hours. CMU isn’t like that: we work hard, but I feel like there’s still a balance.</p>

<p>I am an aspiring CS major who is junior in HS. Hope to apply to CMU for admission next year. Could you please post your Stats. I am curious to find out if I even stand a chance.</p>


<p>Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply. I’m visiting soon so hopefully I’ll get more of an idea of what it’s like to be a student at CMU.</p>

<p>@RaRaRa59 You can check my post history for my stats.</p>