Chance and/or Match Me - CS/Econ

Hey everyone, hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrate! Just an anxious senior here looking for some advice. :slight_smile:


  • US citizen
  • State/Location of residency: New Jersey
  • Type of high school: Public
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity: Asian female
  • Other special factors: Legacy for UD (dad got graduate degree from there - will this help me?), sibling legacy for Columbia (sibling, undergrad, already graduated)

Intended Major(s): CS and/or economics

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.56/4
  • Weighted HS GPA: 4.24/5
  • Class Rank: 43/258
  • SAT: 1550 superscore (790 ERW/760 Math)



  • Chinese (5), Lang (5), APUSH (not reporting), CSA (3, retaking this year)
  • In progress: Calc AB, Lit, Econ (macro & micro), French

All honors classes whenever possible, except for freshman year (only took 2 honors classes that year)
Taking a class teaching the discontinued AP Computer Science AB exam curriculum this year
Only 3 years of science classes (will this significantly hurt my chances?); 4 years of English, math, CS, foreign language, social studies, and band classes


  • USFSA Gold Medalist (figure skating award, basically means I’ve passed all 8 levels of a standardized skating test)
  • AP Scholar (does this help at all?)

Extracurriculars (not in any particular order)

  • Marching band - section leader for 2 years
  • French Honor Society - president senior year
  • Tri-M Music Honor Society - member senior year
  • Volunteered at my local ice rink this past summer, was a counselor for a beginner camp
  • Pit orchestra - 4 years
  • Played piano for ~12 years, played flute for 7 years, figure skated for ~10 years

Just average or below that, I think - counselor and teacher recommendations are probably very generic, and I find my essays cliché/boring despite constant rewrites

Cost Constraints / Budget
Not a huge deal, but my parents and I have agreed we’re less inclined to applying to OOS colleges because we’re not too keen on the tuition

Have already applied to Rutgers, University of Delaware, and Northeastern (all EA)
Likely applying (RD):

  • Lehigh (CSB program, did campus tour)
  • Boston College (will probably apply for econ if I do decide to apply there; attended a campus tour and loved it)
  • TCNJ & NJIT - safeties


  • UMich - concerned about location (far away from home), weather, and low OOS acceptance rate
  • NYU (computer science & economics) - don’t feel like the “campus” is a good fit for me
  • Columbia - yeah okay so there’s no chance, but my sibling went and loved it, I also love the school/surrounding area. Probably not applying though

So yeah, I guess that’s a pretty decent idea of the schools I’m applying to/am interested in, any help with additional colleges in any category (safety/match/reach) for RD would be greatly appreciated! I believe I have at least a semi-decent shot at getting into the colleges I’ve already applied to/am considering except for BC, but feedback on those is also welcomed - please be brutal with me lol

I guess one thing to note is that I’m not a great student as far as work ethic/study habits/etc. go (as my GPA shows), so I’m hesitant to apply to schools I know will put myself in a more competitive/challenging environment. I’m also worried going to a larger college will make me more likely to struggle and fall behind, as I believe I really benefit from having more teacher/professor attention. At the same time, I feel like if I don’t challenge myself in college, I’ll never have a good chance to - so I’m not really sure what to make of this?

Anyway, thanks so much for reading and thank you for your time!

Your list has a lot of reaches for your GPA and major, I do think you will get accepted at your in state schools and UD. You might get merit from UD, my son had a 3.6 and got some, I was shocked. In previous years it was largely based on test scores, but TO changed things up.

While your SAT scores are outstanding, this is offset by your rank (2nd decile). Ordinally this would be a great place to be in, but for Columbia, I think it will be difficult. Good that you’ve acknowledged your tendency to fall behind. So going to a gunner-type school for CS/econ may be counter-productive. Going to a smaller place might be better for your learning style. Good news is that there is super-high demand for CS grads.

You should add Stevens to your list. Very close to NYC, has strong STEM programs, and places well into jobs. Similar story for Baruch College. There is another in-state option which is quite affordable: Rowan University.

What is UD = University of Delaware, University of Dayton, University of Dallas?

I think they mean University of Delaware, the closest UD in this area.

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Speaking of UD’s, have you looked at University of Denver? If you’re interested in a business-y Econ/CS program, the Business Analytics major in the Daniels School of Business might be a good fit. It’s a great place for musicians (Lamont School of Music) and figure skaters Future Pioneers - LEARN MORE Great access to a major city without the campus area itself being too “gritty,” lots of direct flights, and pretty nice weather for much of the year. It would be a low-match/safety and you’d probably get merit.

Another school with great music and figure skating, and academic strength in your areas of interest, is St. Olaf in Minnesota. If UMich is too cold, you might not love Northfield… but it seems like a potential fit in other ways so maybe worth a look.

Thank you! I am hoping for some merit aid from the NJ schools/UD, so fingers crossed for that.

Also, I’m sure this is something really obvious that’s completely going over my head, but what did you mean by “TO”?

Test optional, before last year some schools based merit on ACT/SAT scores.

Thanks for the insight! Stevens is one I’d been looking at, but I have a family friend that went there who said it was way too expensive for the quality of education they got and regretted going there. :sweat_smile: My parents also think it’s not worth the cost. I will look at Baruch and Rowan, though!

And yes, UD was referring to University of Delaware. :slight_smile:

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Thank you! I’d been going into applications not having much hope for skating or good music programs, so that’s definitely a huge plus. They’re both quite far but I will definitely take a closer look at them!

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Ahh yes I totally missed that, thank you for letting me know!

If you look into U of Denver, also check out their cohort-based honors program, the Pioneer Leadership Program. Pioneer Leadership Program | University of Denver

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For schools with a focus on undergraduates, as well as opportunities in music and skating, look into any LACs with strong econ programs that may appeal to you: Economics rankings: US Economics Departments at Liberal Arts Colleges | IDEAS/RePEc. Several of these colleges offer excellent CS programs as well.

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OP - congrats on your record. You’ve accomplished a lot - band, skating, orchestra…that’s awesome.

In regards to costs, you say not a huge deal but you wouldn’t apply OOS due to tuition but you do know, I hope, there are many OOS schools that are extremely generous. For example, you’d go for dirt cheap at Alabama and being as you want to be in colder climates (not as cheap) but look at Miami of Ohio.

I think Rutgers is a match (not safety for business), Delaware is a yes, and Northeastern will likely be a no.

Lehigh a likely but not assured.

BC, Michigan, , NYU and Columbia are unlikely.

You might look at Miami of Ohio and Pitt (although it’s getting late for scholarship consideration).

You seem to have chosen cold weather schools - but you’d qualify for $28K off of $31K at Alabama - and lots going from the NE, so that might be worth a look. Inexpensive thanks to your SAT. WVU would be another for merit.

I always worry when someone says money isn’t important - but then they point out - well maybe it is.

Good luck.

Out-of-State Freshman Scholarships – Scholarships | The University of Alabama (

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Thanks for the feedback and information!

My parents are mostly just concerned about their “tax dollars going to waste” at the most expensive OOS public universities (i.e. UMich), if I can even get in; they think the huge tution would be better spent at a private university. We can afford any college, but I would like to lessen the strain on my parents/my future self if I can since they’re both retiring in the coming few years and I don’t qualify for aid. I wasn’t anticipating there would be OOS schools that generous with scholarships, though – I 100% will look at the ones you mentioned!

With your #s you won’t do better than Bama. A Miami of Ohio can be decent. If you are a Senior, you have to move quickly. You can always apply - so you have them done - they’re easy apps. Both have Honors programs too.

I agree with the part about helping them as they get closer for retirement.

So instead of a Michigan, why not an Ohio State…which has merit…wonderful large school. Or for a smaller state school, a Coastal Carolina or College of Charleston or a URI or Maine that matches in state tuition.

You have 20 common app slots - I’d suggest you use them - there are many schools that are free to apply - google niche + no app fees.

Then many won’t have an extra essay so if you’ve done common app, find some that might fit and apply.

Not sure that privates are necessarily more expensive -you’ll find plenty with merit. Lehigh is great but maybe a Bentley could be a substitute with aid. Or if you went smaller an Allegheny, Hofstra (you can see your scholarship on their NPC), or Quinnipiac. Lots of LACs will have aid - from a Kalamazoo to a Hobart to many more - if small was your thing.

It’s ok to reach - but you’re going to pay full pop on your 3 consider schools and at BC. Likely at Lehigh but they have $$ but if you go down a notch - there’s definitely money to make it less- both public and private.

Good luck to you.

PS - what’s your ideal school - size wise, location/weather wise, city/rural, etc., sports, etc. Let’s find you an affordable list. Sure I mentioned some that work but I’m sure there’s many more as well.

Very sorry for not getting back to you sooner! I’ve been busy with, predictably, college applications, lol

I am a senior, and I will look at all of those! Merit scholarships are definitely appealing for me, and thank you for the tips for finding schools without application fees/no essay and extra names.

I guess the ideal college for me would have <15k or so undergrads and be within 4ish hours from NYC, obviously with decent comp sci and/or econ programs (preferably both). As far as weather goes, not too hot or cold? I’m used to getting up to a foot of snow at once, but I think the amount of snow in places like upstate NY and the Great Lakes area is truly terrifying lol. Location doesn’t matter too much to me, although I wouldn’t want to be in the middle of nowhere (i.e. nothing of interest around the campus/have to drive to get somewhere populated), and I would prefer an actual campus (not like NYU) but that doesn’t matter much. Sports aren’t a huge deal for me, and I highly doubt I’ll be involved in Greek life.

I think those are the major, but I am very flexible since I don’t see the harm in applying to more colleges first and then narrowing down the list.

Thanks again for your help!

OK - smaller - one other crazy one with merit - UAH - Alabama Huntsville - mainly a stem school in a growing and really smart city - basically Nasa’s 2nd home.

Huntsville has around 200k people. The reason I’m thinking of it is it’s midsize, growing in popularity and it’s a hockey school - ice!! You may look into that anyway!!

It looks like tuition is about $24K and your scholarship would be $19.9K. So with tuition, room and board, you are $20K ish. It’s a safety and there’s a boatload of jobs in Huntsville - many related to aviation and space - or shall we say aerospace - if that’s an interest.

I’m looking at a list of great schools for skaters. Check for scholarship deadlines - some may have passed.

Indiana is a safety - but likely expensive.

Miami Ohio which i mentioned.


Let us know how you finish.

OK - all these aren’t 4 hours but…again, show me the money :slight_smile: And UNH isn’t horribly far. 4.5 hrs

Good luck.

If you want to be 4 hrs from NY, then consider Middlebury College. I know it has an excellent economics program with placement similar to Boston College. Not sure about the CS program.

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Thank you for the list!! I will update with decisions and whatnot when all of this is over, thanks for all of your help!