Chance me Cornell ED CoE CS

Hi everyone! I am a senior at a top 10 New York City private high school. I will be applying to Cornell ED.

Intended major(s): Computer Science (CoE)
Ethnicity/Gender: White Male
GPA: 3.77/4 (UW). I have taken all of the hardest classes offered.
Class rank: N/A
SAT/SAT II: 1470 (710 EBRW, 760 Math). Math II: 760.

Coursework: My school doesn’t offer AP classes. Instead, the offer AT (advanced topics) classes to juniors and seniors. I took AT Computer Science, AT English, Science Research, Advanced Precalculus, and Nuclear Physics junior year. I am taking AT Calculus 1&2 (B/C), AT Physics, AT US Gov, Advanced Science Research, and Accelerated Biology during senior year. I also took Advanced Geometry, Accelerated Physics, Advanced Algebra II, and Accelerated Chemistry freshman and sophomore years.

Awards: NYCSEF semifinalist, JSHS semifinalist, Child Mind Institute Rising Scientist Award Nominee (results released later this month), science research award recipient.


  1. Psychiatric VR Development at Weill Cornell (three year long internship). I develop virtual reality simulations to help treat psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, social phobias, and depression. I have written two research papers, and I am presenting at Cornell’s Immersive Media in Medicine Symposium.
  2. iOS Application Development. Two self-published apps, developer of school’s newspaper app, paid developer of school’s survey app, assistant developer of school’s student body app. Miscellaneous work for several start-up companies.
  3. Independent Study in Quantum Computing. I conducted an independent study on quantum computer during the second semester of junior year and throughout senior year.
  4. Paid and Pro Bono Computer Support. I provide computer support to residents in my apartment building and several other clients throughout New York.
  5. Swimmer & Captain and Ultimate Frisbee Player. Varsity swimmer throughout high school. Co-captain senior year. Varsity ultimate frisbee player throughout high school.
  6. International Travel Experience. I went on a school trip in Cambodia (10) and on a group hiking trip in the Alps (10).
  7. Summer Program at Columbia University. I participated in a course surrounding big data, machine learning, & applied analytics. I earned a 97% in the class.
  8. Club Participation. I was the leader of my school’s computer science club. I am a member of my school’s physics club.
  9. Guitar. I have independently played guitar (with weekly lessons) since the 3rd grade. I have also been a member of numerous bands.
  10. Miscellaneous Work Experience. I have worked as a lifeguard & swim coach at The Creek Country Club in Locust Valley, NY, and I have assisted my father at his office in Manhattan.

Essays and LORs:
Common App: 8.5-9/10. I am writing about what I learned about myself while developing my first iOS app.
Rec #1: 10/10 – nuclear physics teacher. We have a great relationship, and he already told me that my rec will be excellent. I am also conducting an independent study on quantum computing with him.
Rec #2: 9/10 – pre-calc teacher. He is the head of the math department, and we got along very well last year.
Rec #3 11/10 – science research mentor. She LOVES me. Her recommendation will be stellar, and she REALLY wants me to attend Cornell. She is tenured at Weill Cornell, and her son is currently enrolled as an undergraduate.
College Counselor Rec: 9.5/10. I have been extremely proactive throughout the entire college process, and she really seems to like me.
Supplemental essay: 10/10. I’m discussing my work at Weill Cornell and how its intra and interdisciplinary collaborative environment has allowed me to thrive. Specifically, I am discussing my experience as presenter at Cornell’s Immersive Media in Medicine Symposium. One of my mentor’s close colleagues runs the Virtual Embodiment Lab at Cornell, and I am mentioning how I would be able to continue my research and maintain contact with my current mentor. I am also discussing how I used the Cornell Sun’s iOS application to help me develop my school’s newspaper app.

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If you are at a top private school, the best person to ask about your chances is your guidance counselor. They will know who has been accepted to Cornell from your school in the past and how your GPA/scores align.

I’m the first person the ED to the CoE, so it’s a little trickier.

I would say that your ECs look great but GPA/test scores are a bit low.

Be sure to spend as much time and energy on your match and safeties too.

Yeah, I agree with that. However, my school calculates GPA with the following scale:

A → 4.0
A- → 3.67
B+ → 3.33

To be perfectly honest, your ECs give the first impression of privilege, which isn’t a good thing at an engineering school, and the lack of substance. Trips to Cambodia and the Alps? Working at a country club and your dad’s Manhattan office? Independent study in quantum computing with your HS nuclear physics teacher? It’s not a topic you’re equipped, or even your HS teacher is equipped, to study beyond googling.

I’m just taking full advantage of the opportunities that are available to me.

My nuclear physics teacher actually designed the class and studied quantum physics in college.

Why would utilizing my school’s assets reflect poorly on me? Why would it look bad for engineering in particular?

Also, why would you say that VR development at Weill Cornell and 6 years of iOS development lack substance? I think it shows my investment in computer science.

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^Taking a quantum mechanics course or two in college is far from sufficient to study quantum computing. What aspect of quantum computing are you studying? Quantum cryptography, quantum communication, quantum algorithms, quantum computing devices, or something else? Many issues in quantum mechanics, including quantum entanglement that underlies quantum computing, isn’t even fully understood by physicists:

Your programming experience, including iOS app development is fine but it won’t be a tip for admission to engineering school in general or CS major in particular. There’re simply too many applicants with similar experiences.

Your HS activities are also fine and you probably benefited from such activities. But, again, they aren’t helpful with college admission. If you bring them up, the colleges would think people with your means and access would/should accomplish more.

What about the Cornell internship and rec?

^That will be helpful.

Your prep school GC should be able to advise you. Isn’t there anyone from ur school who applied to Cornell CoE ?

At first glance, your scores seem quite low for anyone, who presumably did test prep.
I think Cornell CoE requires 2 SAT subjects and your Math II scores seem to be low.
Also, CS is a very popular and over enrolled major.

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People seem very, very critical. Seeing all these “Chance Me” posts makes people want to be critical of everyone.

No your test score is not low. It’s not the highest it could be because you seem smart enough to take advantage of opportunities but the 25th percentile LAST YEAR was a 1400 at Cornell. You are just below average. For ED applicants, your test scores will not make much difference at all I believe.

If on your transcript you have mostly A’s, a GPA of 3.77/4 should be fine. My school makes it so you get a 4.0 if you have straight A’s, which is very easy for those in mostly honors. The weird school system where there is no AP’s will make it difficult for adcoms to review your transcript, but your EC’s say it all.

A rec from a Cornell Tenured researcher/professor will help tremendously. Being from a private school in NY will help tremendously. (You get cheaper tuition, I envy you). 34% of Cornell students are NY residents.

I honestly would not harp on the “international experiene” or mention that you helped out with your dad’s office unless it was in CS and you played a good role… don’t let them know you’re priveleged.

The Swimming and Ultimate Frisbee + Lifegaurd + Guitar will give some variety to your application, but by far adcoms will be impressed by a dedication to CS. Overall, at a 20-25% acceptance rate for early decision and as an NY resident, you have a very very solid chance.

I do worry that comp sci is an insanely hard major… and Cornell may think you don’t have what it takes to do well if you don’t have top scores in Math in classes and standardized tests… but that’s speculation.

I’d be suprised if you don’t get in to be honest. It’s def your top choice, so apply ED.

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did you get in? my DS will be applying this fall … similar profile