Chance Me: Indian Muslim Girl NJ better EC than Academic

Hi, I’m a rising senior about to apply to college, I’d appreciate some chance mes. I’ve got better EC than academics IMO so I don’t really know what to expect. My dad won’t really let me do safety schools so I know the list seems a bit cocky. I do have a couple low grades and AP scores and I want to know how worried I should really be.

Indian Muslim girl from New Jersey, USA
Large public high school, around 700 in the class

Intended computer science major, bio minor

List of schools:


Georgia Tech
UMich- Ann Arbor

UMD- College Park
Virginia Tech
Rutgers- New Brunswick

4.2 W / 3.7 UW
Class Rank unknown, probably top 10-15%. Valedictorian will have a 4.7.
Took December 2021 SAT only attempt: 770 reading 790 maths total 1560

APs: AP Computer Science A (A, 5), AP Chemistry (B+, 4), AP Biology (A-, 4), AP Calculus BC (C-, 3), AP Language Composition (A, 3), AP Statistics (12th grade), AP European History (12th grade), AP Psychology (12th grade), AP Environmental Science (12th grade)
DCC: Mobile App Development (A), Data Structures (12th grade), Virtual Reality and Game Design (12th grade), English IV College Composition (12th grade)

All other classes were honors/regular and I am generally an A/A- student

TechGirls U.S. Ambassador 2022- highly U.S. dept of state selective program 1/25 US Girls and 1/136 girls from 35 countries/territories
NCWIT National Honorable Mention- Top 11% of girls that applied
1st Place regional DECA Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making
2nd Place NJIT NJ Chemistry Olympics Web Design
Entrepreneurship challenges below:
Blue Ocean Challenge Top 100 Pitches 2x
Conrad Innovator 3x
Diamond Challenge Certificate of Achievement 2x

TechGirls U.S. Ambassador- 3-week fully funded exchange program, took the EMMI course at Vtech and job shadowed at PhET labs, facilitated a community service project upon return home, writing a research paper
Entrepreneurship club president
Girls Who Code Vice President
Director of Events at a coding volunteer organization with 3000+ students
Run an Instagram channel on politics with 2300+ followers
Youngest Teacher at my Mosque Sunday School program, also the founder of the tech committee at the mosque
Executive Member or leadership team in DECA club
Computer Science Honors Society, around 20 people in the school selected for extracurricular/academic achievement.

I mean I don’t know but I know I’m not the best writer, but my essay probably won’t be the worst

I’d appreciate any guidance, even if it is just being humbled.

Is there an ED involved - which will be your best chance at many of these?

Are these affordable - ie are you full pay or have need ? If full pay I assume there is no budget constraint.

My guess is in CS you get Rutgers. UMD and Va Tech will be tough but possible. BU possible ED.

Again this is just one person guessing. I’m not an AO. Would your folks be amenable to schools like RPI or WPI or a strong public Honors College like South Carolina? You have Ivy students going there.

Your record is great but as you said it would help to add underneath. Umass is very well thought of in CS and it’s likely a match in my opinion.

Nail the essays and LORs. Good luck to you. Lots of schools would love to have you.

Edit. There’s lots of experts on this website will tell you CS is crazy employable from anywhere. Some companies require a test. My nephew is starting at Snap. Over $200k. 30 years old. Poli Sci major at Arizona. But he passed their CS test.

Find those chats or comments. Hopefully your family will let you add schools like Pitt, Delaware or other similar that have great reputations, are near assured and that can give you comfort in your religious life.

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thanks for your response!

I’m going to ED at UPenn, and EA at MIT
Northeastern, GTech, Umich, Purdue, Vtech

BU and Duke I’m applying at the scholarship deadline.

I do need some amount of financial aid but depending on the cost loans are acceptable to cover the extra cost.

Parents won’t really budge very much on adding colleges like RPI or South Carolina.

Parents are dead set on T20s.

I added a sentence at the end of the last.

Have they run the net price calculator for Penn and others ? Will you get any aid ? It’s $340k over four years.

No loans are needed. A female in CS you are golden….at the right schools.

Have them run a net price calculator. If you ED and get in can they pay ? Make sure it shows they will get grants. Otherwise prestige or not, it’s a HUGE MISTAKE. Budget trumps anything else. Loans …especially in amounts over $27k which is the federal max …are ruinous.

Most the schools you list have no merit aid. Some do but it will be hard to get, especially the out of state publics as they support in state students.

Also, what is the plan should you get in nowhere?

I know immigrant families chase prestige but I truly believe in this case, unless they have more than $300k in the bank, this plan is unwise.

I hope things work out and hopefully your parents can study more on the subject. Btw Rutgers would be a fine get for you.

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And what’s the plan if none of them admit you? (Given that they all have a low single digit admit rate and you have no hooks)

“At the right schools” being the critical phase here. Definitely not at the T20s and probably not at the T50s. There are simply too many highly qualified applicants to CS for gender to move the needle.

Also, @user_623058 if you don’t apply EA to UMD then don’t bother applying at all?


Will run the price calculator soon, plans are still forming so I will definitely consider this.

Also it’s extremely unlikely for anyone from my high school to be rejected from Rutgers so I’m assuming that’s the plan if I don’t prefer/get in any other school.

CS is a math heavy major. That C- in calculus is worrisome. Also, most of the schools on your list will expect 4 years of a foreign language.


@DadOfJerseyGirl is correct. Check the deadlines for schools. UMD must be EA. They fill the class so anyone late has near zero chance. Not on your list but I believe UF and UIUC are similar.

Not sure what hs u go and no one gets rejected to Rutgers and hopefully you won’t. But CS changes that equation vs say a journalism or poli sci major. @neela1 son is headed to Rutgers CS and can add a lot of great perspective on your entire chat.

When I said could be golden I meant schools like a CMU (you have) , RPI, RHIT that may have a male skewed campus but that might not be what u seek forgetting your parents.

Edit. Hadn’t seen the grades. Yes the C- and 3 will be problematic for sure even at lesser programs in that math builds. Any plans to redo and get a huge grasp of the materials ?

Interested to see what others think.

CMU has a 50-50 gender balance in CS.


Got it ….just on the phone. I know others had pointed that out in other chats . I should have checked.

My main point is there might be some schools…I shouldn’t have thrown names…that have a gender imbalance.

But a parent may be uncomfortable with that and I assume OP wants a school where she can be comfortable practicing her religion if she chooses to do so. I think Rochester and CWRU but neither top 20 and I think @bouders is likely right on the c- from an admission and futures achievement POV.

I took until Honors Spanish IV, but I’m not taking Spanish senior year.

I have a very good record in my CS classes and while math is my weak point I would hope my EC and academic achievement in CS would make up for that. I don’t know how AOs would see that though

They won’t. There’s are studies - engineering but will hold true for CS - 40-60% of kids change majors to non stem. It’s hard. Now Penn will have less than Rutgers, etc but nationwide.

People choose, I imagine for myriad reasons - job prospects, assumption of high salaries, pushing parents.

Is CS your choice ??

Will wait for others but yeah I think you will spend a lot of time on apps that won’t come through. The C- in a fundamental course is an unecessary risk for them.

Loans…you can get a $5500 Direct a loan in your name. Anything over that amount would need to be either co-signed by your parents or take out by your parents.

Strong ECs do not make up for grade issues.


Congratulations on your hard work and many accomplishments!!!
If rankings are important for your parents or you, I think it would be helpful to expand thinking to different rankings/list categories … top 40 overall colleges, top 40 in undergraduate computer science programs, top 40 in a computer science specialty you’re interested in. Some colleges may overlap across the lists, but others may not. Looking beyond the top 20 overall rankings may lead you to high-quality assured admissions/matches at highly ranked computer science or specialty area that would meet your educational needs and also click computer industry prestige box.

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A C- in Calc BC and you are going to EA MIT? How much have you actually researched what doing CS at MIT involves?

You say “math is my weak point”- have you looked at the math requirements for CS at (say) Georgia Tech? They include Differential Calc, Integral Calc, Linear Algebra, Intro to Multivariable Calc and Applied Combinatorics- and most of your prospective classmates will see math as one of their strong points.

Be sure you know what you are signing up for.


Your family needs to decide how much it is willing and able to pay without taking out any loans. Then it needs to run the Net Price Calculator (NPC) at the schools on your list to see what the schools determine is your family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If the EFC is within your parent’s budget, great! If not, you need to find schools where you can get merit aid to bring the cost in line with the budget.

I understand the importance that many families place on college rankings, especially those from U.S. News and World Report (USNWR). I would certainly show your family the many success stories that arise from students who do not attend a T20 school. But, at the moment, considering those are his requirements, here are some USNWR Top 20 liberal arts schools (and their admissions rates) that are noted for good CS programs/placements (source) that you may want to consider:

  • Carleton (MN), 18%
  • Colgate (NY), 17%
  • Grinnell (IA), 11%
  • Middlebury (VT), 13%
  • Smith (MA) – women’s college, 30%
  • Wesleyan (CT), 19%

Additionally, should you change your mind and choose to major in a different field, these schools have a plethora of strong majors and allow students to change their majors without having huge barriers placed in front of them.


I think this is a very, very reach heavy list. Grades are much more important than ECs and I agree with the other posters who pointed out that your math grade is going to be a big red flag for your intended major.

Your parents being set on T20s could be a recipe for disaster for you. You need to expand your list and have realistic matches and safeties.


Your only match in comp sci on that list is Rutgers NB, and if they look at the C minus in Calc BC, they might not take you either. You really need to also apply to an additional, safer in-state public school for comp sci.

Your grades are very good, but you’re not in top 5% of your class. Your SATs are great. Your ECs are very nice. That C minus in Calc BC implies that you might be hitting your limit on higher mathematics, which are required for Comp Sci. That’s what’s got me worried for you. Even without that, most of the schools on that list would have been high to virtually impossible reaches. With that, I think that you’re way over-reaching for tippy top schools and T20s.

Show your father this thread on CC. Show him the acceptance rates for comp sci for all the schools you’re applying to. There’s nothing wrong with going to Rutgers or even a lesser in-state for Comp Sci.

I’d pare down the reaches on that list. I’d not bother with Penn and Princeton. ED on Penn is very likely to be a wasted ED. Make sure that your U Md app goes in very early, before Nov 1st.

Have a serious talk with him about money. Better to have this talk before you apply, so that it can shape your applications.


Why UPenn? It’s really not known for CS, and it seems silly to apply ED. Also, being a woman applying for CS will not provide any benefit for you at UPenn, since they do not admit by major. Moreover, if we’re talking top schools for CS, CMU is far ahead of UPenn.

In all honesty, I don’t see why UPenn is really on there. Every one of you other high reaches are better choices for CS.


I think Rutgers will happen. Not sure about the other places. Small chances with BU, Virginia Tech. Maybe Northeastern as a reach. The rest of them are very difficult. GPA and the Calc BC grade will be constraints. The math grades are more important for a CS admission than the CS grades.

I understand the school mix :-). It is a list of what you’d be willing to pay 75k for if it is not going to be Rutgers.

Agree your ECs are strong.

If you are going to throw in all these school into the mix, you should throw in U Mich into the mix as well and take your chances. You should apply into LSA at UMich and pitch to them your multiple interests – CS and (politics or public policy or something similar). You might be able to use your broad set of interests there.

I would have thrown UW Madison into the mix as well and suggest the same approach as I suggested for UMich above, but I suspect it won’t make the cut for your dad :-). UW Madison could happen.

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