CMU ED for an instate California Student who applied UCB LSA CS

I’m currently considering applying to CMU ED for SCS (I know its after the deadline but I’m considering switching my regular decision application to an early decision application). For some context, both are reaches/dreams for me. I’ve already gotten into UMassAmherst with a really good scholarship and honors college as well as Santa Clara (since those are the only two decisions I’ve gotten so far). I am instate California student. Paying for CMU will be extremely difficult for my parents but they say they can make it work if its worth it. I am personally very scared about declaring CS at UCB because of the GPA requirement. In addition, I’m honestly just really scared about UCB being really toxic. For CMU, honestly the tuition is just super daunting. I definitely like the school, but I’m scared that the students there will just be so smart and I won’t be able to keep. I’m applying CS to both places. In addition, I have applied to tons of other really prestigious CS schools but these are the top two (the others I applied to were UMich, GT, UT Austin, UWashington, Purdue, UIUC, UCLA, UCSD) and considering its just a CS degree and ranking honestly doesn’t matter, I’m not sure if its smarter to just go to one of these lower ranked (but still amazing!) schools since its cheaper and the starting salaries are all the same. I would really appreciate some advice! I also think there is a good chance I will get my GT ea decision before the deadline to switch to CMU ED.

The ED deadline was 11/1

Does “extremely difficult” mean that they would have to take (parent) loans, raid their retirement savings, and/or limit the amount that they could spend on college for any younger siblings you have?

What in particular do you believe to be toxic?

As UMass Amherst, were you admitted directly to the CS major? If not, you need to meet some college grade requirements to get into the CS major: Major Change to CS - Revised | College of Information and Computer Sciences | UMass Amherst

I am by no means an expert on your situation but CMU is a great school and I will be applying there RD. I wish you the best of luck and maybe I will see you on campus next year! You got this!

Ps. I don’t know your stats, but If you are applying to schools like UMich and UCLA you definitely have a decent shot at CMU so do make sure to consider your financial situation before switching to ED.

You’re concerned about UCB’s gpa requirement and its competitiveness, but you want to go to CMU SCS?

Not only was the ED deadline November 1 but the ED Notification Date was December 15. Results have been posting in the Carnegie Mellon ED Class of 2025 thread for two weeks.

Do you have some confirmation that you can retroactively apply ED? And why would you? The RD deadline is in a few days and would allow you time to make a decision, should you be accepted, even if you can somehow retroactively do this.

CMU allows Regular Decision Applicants to change their Application to Early Decision before Jan 15.

CMU has a very intense student vibe, especially in CS.

If you are worried about UCB being toxic, you should also be about CMU.

If money is a concern, I would not try to move your RD application. IMO, it’s not worth the increase cost.

This is really CMU’s version of ED2 (not the usual ED).

That’s weird. To my final question then, “why would you”?

If you didn’t apply ED, it’s obviously not your first, preferred, I-will-undoubtedly-go-there school. And RD apps were already due, so it’s not really any “earlier”. I can’t imagine there’s an admission decision benefit to “you weren’t my first choice but now I’ll say you are” over regular admissions. And you lose all decision making flexibility.

Especially if it means throwing away a “really good scholarship and honors college” acceptance.

I’m sure the implication is that an applicant who change to ED (effectively ED2) will have a higher likelihood of acceptance. The downsides are a) potential financial risk, and b) forfeiture of all other college options.

OP’s thread starter strikes me as very random. There should have been more certainty sooner and some sense he or she can match the programs and competition at UCB or CMU.

We have no idea of OP’s chances, nothing to go on.

Both! I think they would probably have to raid retirement and limit a younger siblings future college expenses

Thanks! I wish you the best of luck as well!

LOL I know CMU SCS is supppeerr hard, but I guess the fear of somehow not being able to major in computer science since and risk compromising on what I want to do is daunting

Yes! They have a form to switch your RD application to an ED application, like someone below said, similar to ED2.

As to why I would think of doing this, I am supppeer interested in artificial intelligence, which is the most important benefit of going to CMU. It is one of the only schools that would allow me to pursue a BS in AI.

It would be a bad idea to damage your future relations with your parents and siblings this way.

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There’s another thread you should read about someone wanting to pull out of their ED decision to CMU because the financial aid wasn’t what they expected. Before you decide to go and switch to their version of “ED2” I would seriously consider what it would cost you, especially if you have never visited because it is TINY! It takes a certain kind of student to love CMU and it is definitely not for everyone. We loved it and my oldest loved it, but not my other 3 due to it’s size. My son even felt Wash U was too small and this is even smaller than that!

Additionally, they are skimpy on financial aid and their COA numbers alone are about $77k just for this year. That doesn’t even include travel, entertainment, extra food, miscellaenous, etc. I have a child at a school who’s COA is just slightly higher, and all I can tell you is that all in it is at least 5k more than that even. So expect for your parents to make it work, it will be more than $82k a year and probably more. The travel can really be a killer too. Also if they require their own health insurance plan as that’s sometimes not listed in the COA and then thrown at you that could be another few thousand.

You’re already in somewhere decent with money. You’re better off staying RD and maybe getting on a waitlist as opposed to being in a binding decision or only the admit/deny.

There are other CS programs with AI you can find if you wanted to. But if it’s a sacrifice to your parents, then definitely don’t do that to them.

You are already in at U.Mass with a good scholarship. I do not think that it is worth taking on significant debt to attend CMU instead. You also have great options in-state in California and I am guessing from your post that you have not yet heard back from some of them.

I do understand that CMU is excellent for CS.

However, I have worked for years in high tech. I know quite a few computer science graduates from MIT and Stanford (as strong as CMU) and also graduates from U.Mass Amherst. We work together as equals and no one cares where anyone graduated from.

There is a story that I will repeat from a year ago because it is relevant: I am currently mostly retired but do a bit of consulting. I consult to a company I worked at for 20 years and therefore know a lot of people there. I was given a VERY hard problem to solve, looked in detail and thought “this is tough”. I went to one of the very top experts in the world in this very detailed specific area, who is an MIT graduate (as am I) who I have known for 40 years. His immediate response: “You have to talk to X”. I went to X. He answered the question very well, we discussed related details, and we went to lunch. At lunch we started talking about where our kids were going or would go to university. It turns out that X is a U.Mass graduate. This does not stop him from being the guy that an MIT graduate goes to for advice on something that is really hard. His boss (who is excellent) got his master’s at U.Mass.

CMU is great. I would not take on significant additional debt to go there if your options are U.Mass Amherst with significant scholarship and some of the public universities in California with in-state tuition.

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@nicedoggy - hi! Current upperclassman at CMU SCS right now, and I have to agree; I have a few friends who got into UCB for CS but chose not to attend just by the fact that you have to fight just to get into your classes/major. CMU CS you are guaranteed a major in SCS (whether it be CS, Comp Bio, AI, HCI, etc.) and it’s honestly way safer. It is incredibly rigorous (I’m not going to sugar coat this) but honestly so worth it. Let me know if you need any other hot takes :slight_smile: