Chance Me (HS Senior -> CS at Purdue, GA Tech, Rose-Hulman, etc.)

As others have said, you definitely need to rework your list. Purdue, VT, UT Austin, and GT all share the attributes of being 1) unaffordable for an OOS low-income student and 2) extra-competitive for CS, when in fact your math/CS scores and EC’s are not the strongest part of your application. OSU could be possible if you could win the Morrill - - you could be a candidate for this, but it depends how extensive your community service & research work has been. U of Cincinnati (where you’d be eligible for almost-in-state tuition via their reciprocity rate for KY students) also has a large diversity scholarship, among other merit scholarship opportunities Incoming Freshmen Scholarships - About UC | University Of Cincinnati and an excellent co-op model CS program.

Are you at least going to apply to Berea? They do have math and CS majors, and it’s guaranteed to be affordable; great alumni network for internship opportunities, etc.

You need to be looking at schools that will meet full need, or come close to meeting full need and fill the gap with merit. If you want math/CS, you don’t necessarily need a college that has engineering; and you’re a stronger applicant for schools where you don’t have to apply specifically as a CS major. There are many good options!

How far from home are you willing to go? It’s understandable if you feel you need to be close enough to get home if something comes up with your mom. I’m sorry to hear about her illness.

Some good suggestions have been made already. In MN, in addition to Carleton, look at St. Olaf, which is a slightly larger LAC in the same town, which also meets full need and has very strong math and CS. Run the Net Price Calculator for St. Olaf - could be a great option if affordable. (FWIW they have a very high Early Decision admit rate.)

Denison (just outside of Columbus, ~35 miles from OSU) meets full need and is particularly committed to diversity. In addition to math and CS, they have an excellent Data Analytics major that might be of interest.

Lafayette and Lehigh, rival LAC’s very close to each other in PA, both have engineering programs and strong CS. Both are trying to increase diversity, and give a significant “bump” to URM applicants.

U of Michigan meets need for low-income OOS students; run the NPC to see whether it looks feasible financially. You can do math/CS in Arts & Sciences - no need to apply to the engineering school.

In the southeast, possible full-need-met reaches include U of Richmond, Wake Forest, Washington & Lee, and U of Miami. Miami has a large diversity scholarship as well, and W&L has the full ride Johnson scholarship. Wake would probably not be in reach unless you applied ED.

Consider Centre College, Rhodes College, Hendrix College, Sewanee, College of Wooster, and maybe Beloit if it’s not too far. None of these meet full need, but all would be reasonably likely to fill the gap with merit and give you a full-need-met offer.

Have you had a paid job during high school, and have you been helping out more at home because of your mom’s illness? Both of these count as EC’s and should be detailed on your applications.


Great! So you have at least Univ. Of Louisville as an affordable backup. Your stats would give full tuition scholarship there. So get that application in quickly.

For the rest, it seems your family situation will play a role. You would need to put a lot of the advice given here in that context.

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You need a full ride (tuition, fees, room, board) or a full ride+ (with funds for transportation, books, and miscellaneous - similar to what Questbridge offers).
As you’ve understood from the thread, most of your list will be unaffordable.

Unless the university doesn’t allow it, apply test optional.
(If you reach 30 on the math section, you would have 32, so if you apply to LACS for another major than CS you’d be okay applying with scores).

Start a college notebook. One page per college.

UKentucky and ULouisville are safeties as long as they offer you full rides (they do not “meet need”, ie., they don’t care whether you can afford to go, but your stats and profile should work for the many special programs they offer: apply early and spend time on those apps).
ULouisville could even be a safety if you “only” get a full tuition scholarship and can use your Pell for books, transportation and other costs associated with commuting.
Add Berea since it’s close to home, an academic safety, and it’s sure to be affordable.
I am very sorry for your mother. It must be terribly difficult for you emotionally as well as for her.

Will someone else take care of the 7 year old when you go to college?

Having at least one (preferably more) affordable choice near KY would probably be a good idea in case you want to stay close to home, but of course apply widely.

Questbridge should definitely be something you spend considerable time on. It’s the most likely option for you to combine a top program with a cost that will not add to your mother’s burdens.

Register now on the “request info form” or “join the mailing list” for all universities on the QB list, plus “meet need” colleges listed above - skip the price OOS or universitiesthat don’t meet need for now. Add UMichigan, UVA (both “meet need” for OOS lower income students, the only public universities to do so), and UWisconsin.
UWisconsin, a topnotch CS program, has a special scholarship program you may want to apply to:

@aquapt has already listed the tOSU and UCINCINNATI scholarship options. Register your interest there too :slight_smile:

Registering thus will “count” as “interest” and will put you on these universities’ radar. Use a dedicated college email and open the emails systematically (it’s tracked), click on the link(s) you find most interesting(also tracked, also “counts” toward “interest”), and actually read what they send you, taking short notes when something matches your academic or personal background, your skills, your interests, etc.

Look into Data Science and the possibility to combine that with Economics or Environmental Science.
Also look into the CS+X programs (Northwestern, Cornell CALS…)

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Yes, OSU (THE Ohio State University) is a reach. It’s one of the top public schools in the country and you want to study CS.

You have as a safety - it’s a high match/low reach maybe…I don’t see you getting in but I think not submitting your test score will help you here.

Also, I think when you don’t have residence in a state, and you have no funds, it will be that much more difficult for you. Top schools generally prioritize residents. And OSU is a top school.

Denison could be a really great option - close to the OSU sister, solid math/CS/data analytics programs, full need met aid, test optional, and no need to apply to a specific major/division. OP should run the NPC and see how the $ looks.


My analysis is simply on admission. Sorry to hear about your family - and that’s super incredible yo uare helping them - and if you have to sacrifice and go cheaper/closer, you will realize in ten and 20 years that you made the right choice!! You, not the college, will make your success and I can already see you will be a huge success!!!

There are, I believe only three publics in the country, that meet need. UVA, UNC, and maybe U Michigan. Any other OOS school, unless they share reciprocity with KY, should be eliminated - unless they are dirt cheap - W Carolina, Cincy, UAH (you’ll score a great deal), Southern Illiniois, etc.

You have rigor and that’s great. But if you submit a test score I believe it will greatly hurt you.

The only ones on your list I see you getting into admission wise are Louisville, UK, and maybe Rose Hulman - but it’s very pricy. btw - UK and Louisville are both solid schools - and UK has a growing reputation.

You have as a safety but I don’t see you getting into OSU - but it would be next. I think UIUC, Va Tech, and Purdue, in CS, are a reach. If it was math and not CS - then you’d get in all three.

You really need to look at schools that meet demonstrated need - even if you have to take care of some folks - well especially if you need to because it will be the only way to afford.

So you need to look at QB like others have said - or schools like Miami (Florida). And not out of state publics because they will not help you financially. If you do look, look at 2nd tier schools - who will have much lower tuition.

Note that some schools are need aware - so if you have too much need - they can turn you down so they don’t have to pay. The top schools are need blind - meaning they don’t look at your need when deciding to admit you.

I think for any top schools you need to apply without a test unless it’s required (Florida schools).

Here’s Every College That Offers 100% Financial Aid (

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I know these would be some distance from you, but what about HBCUs like Xavier U in NOLA or Benedict in SC?

Most of us here felt OSU would be out of reach for you financially . However, -since your sister is attending - did she get a very generous scholarship? Are you hoping to get something similar, if that’s the case. If so, we may need to rethink our advice. FWIW, ACT midrange is 28-32 for OSU, and you’re at the higher end of that. I believe you would be competitive for many of their programs, but perhaps not CS. I don’t think they accept directly into the CS major.

On a separate note - congratulations to your family on being so accomplished!

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:+1::+1: in fact, wouldn’t this student be a top contender for a full scholarship at Howard? (Those are now competitive and students need to apply very early to have the best shot at one, but rhis student wojld certainly be who they want to attract).


Wrt tOSU
Freshmen and sophomores are now required to live on campus.
You’d have to get the Morrill though.
Majors to optimize your odds if you dont reach that 30 math/32 average superscored:


Full ride possibilities:

Yeah, she received a full ride through the Morrill scholarship (should’ve mentioned that earlier). She’s majoring in Molecular Genetics, and her ACT superscore was a 30. Her GPA was lower than mine and she took less AP’s compared to me, but she had better EC’s.


Data Analytics is something that I’ve actually been interested in a while. I would be completely happy with majoring in it, as I enjoyed AP Stats (despite getting a 3) and I enjoy research.


It’s inline with your AP Research project and I think it’s a better fit for you given what you wrote in your original post. It does require a secondary application, though. Just wanted you to be aware. Applying to the Major | Data Analytics Major

So a plan of action may look something like this:

  1. Safety apps to UK and ULouisville, and Berea. Make sure you hit the scholarship deadlines well in advance. BTW, all are very good universities and would give you a very fine education. Do you need other in-state safeties?
  2. Apply to OSU , with an eye on the Morrill Scholarship. I think you can use your AP research project to highlight your commitment to social justice issues .
  3. Apply to Questbridge to aim for the LAC’s which meet your preference for staying close to home and which you feel would be a good fit for you.

Given your siblings’ records of being able to obtain (2) and (3), I think you can reach for those as well. Its not an unrealistic expectation, but of course (2) and (3) are more competitive. Do you have someone at your school to help with reading your essays etc.?

I have both of my siblings, plus my two rec writers, who are both English (AP Seminar and AP Research) teachers (I’m not sure if this’ll hurt me, considering that the courses they teach aren’t really related to my major).

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My daughter had a math and seminar teacher. It worked ok but most say to get two core teachers and seminar is not core. Many schools don’t accept the AP or do so as elective credit but counting toward nothing. My daughter’ school gave her English credit but she had that from AP Lang. It’s a wonderful class and two year experience but I’m not sure it’s well received in the main stream yet. Research was not worth anything.

I would think, given your major, you want a math or science teacher.

I’m curious to see if anything has changed with my new ACT scores. I somehow managed to get a 34 on the math section (poggers) for the most recent ACT, boosting my composite superscore to a 33. Does this change how competitive I am for scholarships at CS-strong schools?

I still intend to go through QB.

Apologies for the necrobump.


so you went from a 31 to 33? Congrats. If you’re going through QB, you should match.

If so your list is moot - but UK and Louisville are for sure, OSU match, likely Va Tech and Illinois - possible but unlikely - especially UIUC.

UTA and Ga Tech - nope and Rose Yes.

But if you are doing QB, then don’t apply to public schools outside your state as you won’t likely get aid unless there are special programs. Pitt as the Cathedral of Learning for example.

Congrats on the bump up - I see good things for you.

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