College Help

Its College Apps time! but I don’t know which college to apply to.
Seems like this forum is full of helpful students and parents

Here are my stats:
General: Hispanic, Male, Low Income(free lunch, SAT waiver)(will apply Questbridge)
Highschool: VA, competitive- not TJ
GPA UW:3.7, W:4.3
AP-current 9, by graduation ~15 many overlaps though, AB/BC, Macro/Micro, CSA/CSP
4 5s, 1 4- rest haven’t taken

Hackathon( 1 placement, 2 honor rolls)- local, not wellknown
AIME qualifier

work 15 hours a week(since freshman year), 50 hour ww during summer
varsity captain basketball team
don’t know if this counts but I have a few github projects,

College Preference:
location: doesn’t matter, I’ve lived in urban and suburban areas, doesnt need to be instate
price: hoping for scholarships, financial aid- if else full student loan(parents can’t assist)

class size/ structure: preferably small

intended major: CS- not too stoked though about generic face in the computer jobs, would like to meet people

will def apply to UVA, Vtech, NOVA CC, GMU(have good idea, close to home, instate tuition, have friends/ family members)

would like college suggestions, career suggestions:

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You can only take $5,500 in student loans the first year, increasing slightly in later years. Loans beyond that will require a cosigner. You can also contribute money through work earnings part time in the school year and in the summer; typical expectations are a few thousand dollars.

So you probably want a net price of $8,000 to $10,000 or lower after subtracting grants and scholarships from the college’s list price.

Check the net price calculator on each college you are interested in to see what its financial aid may look like for you.

Are private loans an option?

They would require a cosigner.

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Regarding the financial component of your search, this site can be especially convenient for estimating costs:

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Virginia Tech,NC State(try for the Park Scholarship)

Computer science enrollment in some schools is outpacing the hiring of faculty for it, so be on the lookout.

Since your applying questbridge, look at all the QB partner schools that have your major(most should). Narrow it down by specifications important to you like school size. My son and I found it helpful to do a spreadsheet since there are so many QB schools and only 12 max you can apply for the match. He winded up going the Computer Engineering route instead of CS so it helped narrow down schools even more.

You can also apply EA to schools while also doing the match if you are trying for scholarships to that particular school.

Run the NPC on any schools you are interested in to see about costs. Low income, parent unable to help, with good grades and excellent test scores- you might want to look at private schools, they will generally give you the best aid. The competition for that aid is high.

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Run the NPC on Lafayette, Bucknell, Union, St Olaf, Harvey Mudd, Pomona, Holy Cross, WPI.
Disregard other factors as of now, your goal as a lower income student is to find an affordable college (don’t worry, all of the above are excellent but they should give you a range of prices and if you’re admitted to 10 topnotch colleges that give you a near full ride, you’ll be able to nitpick all you want :wink:)
An idea out of the box: UCincinnati for high-paying co-ops in CS (they’re the pioneers of the co-op system), applying early to the Cincinatus scholarship (you’re a shoo-in for that) and the further “honors within honors” full rides.


A factor not to disregard would be CS offerings. At least one of the above (Holy Cross) has what may be just the bare minimum CS offerings that may be unsatisfying if you want to explore CS in greater depth or in subareas not offered there.

True, once it’s been established the college is affordable, then it’s important to cross out colleges that don’t offer sufficiently advanced courses in the major. But size, weather, etc, should be secondary considerations. And even if a college has fantastic offerings, there’s no point in placing it on a list if it doesn’t offer sufficient aid. So, first task, figuring out what colleges will “work” financially.

In terms of safeties, run the NPC on Mulhenberg, Kalamazoo, Beloit, Lawrence, Allegheny, Clarkson
More reaches to run the NPC on: Lehigh, Wake Forest, URochester.

Cull the “affordable ones” based on your academic interests.
All of these are very different in terms of vibe and location and we can help in describing them if you wish.

On finance after running the numbers, most colleges will charge around ~7k per year which I can cover with Loans/Work/Scholarship.
Which college is new? My main target/safety Vtech does not have AC in their dorms.
I would also prefer nerdy but open colleges.

Should I even apply to top CS schools? I feel like in the offchance I get in I would struggle.->could someone compare me to graduates or current students so I can get a general field

Does anyone have more information on U of Waterloo CS? There acceptance rt is similar to the colleges you guys recommended. Their school partnered “ranking” internship program really interests me because work experience is highly valued in CS fields.

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Why do you think you will struggle? While looking at schools,make sure to look at any special programs they might offer, or resources.

For example, Duke (a QB partner), has a co-ed Learning Living Community(LLC) called Spire. Its for students that don’t traditionally take STEM fields, like some minorities, woman, first generation college kids, etc. The LLC provides support such as extra tutoring for any class you may need in addition to the social aspects of an LLC. Duke is hiring more faculty for the CS major since it is growing fast.

I am unfamiliar with U of Waterloo so cant help in that regard

Also, check out fly-ins -schools pay to fly you to their school. (Pre-pandemic) not sure what it’ll look like this fall, but still worth looking into.

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Best to use each school’s Net Price Calculators, as they are often far more detailed than MyIntuition calculations. It’s ok to use MyIntuition when the school’s NPC is outdated or overly simple.


Once you have 2 affordable safeties you like and a few affordable matches, aim high. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t :smiley::muscle::muscle::muscle:
However, like when climbing a ladder, make sure both feet are firmly planted on a safe rung and one hand is holding on to something right above your head before you start climbing.
Btw it’s as hard to get into an elite college as it is to fail out of it. They admit you because they believe you can do the work. If you need a little push or some help at some point, most do. Asking for help, recognizing you need help, requires maturity and it’s a very important quality.

Waterloo CS is awesome indeed but highly selective; you have the grades&scores they want but they take other components into account.
Make sure to apply by the merit scholarship deadline. It may not be affordable otherwise (and even if you win a scholarship it may mot be but they who don’t try don’t win.)

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Have you run the NPC for Northeastern? It sounds as if you might like the co-op model, and also the wide array of combined majors that would allow you to blend CS with another area of interest: Khoury Combined Majors < Northeastern University The curriculum front-loads the core CS sequence so that you’re prepared for your first co-op, but then gives you time to delve into your other concentration as well.

I don’t know if you’d prefer a blended program to straight CS, but your concern about “generic face-in-the-computer jobs” made we think you might like something more cross-disciplinary while still acquiring a strong CS skill-set. (Northeastern of course has straight-CS too, and Data Science, and BS/MS programs.) Co-ops give you the chance to try different kinds of work and steer your experience in a direction you like, while still in school.

Other examples of interdisciplinary programs:

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Thank you guys so much for helping.

On the financial side, I’ve been given mixed advice to take out credit card debt. Should I do it? What do I if I need to buy something like books? My credit score is low around ~620. Is it possible to take out a loan for living costs?

Also what tax reports do colleges look at? 2019-2020 my family was doing fine, but they went bankrupt after the pandemic.

Credit card debt is generally very expensive.

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Stay away from credit card debt.

Email all Financial Aid office from colleges listed on this thread. Ask the same thing:
Dear Madam, Dear Sir,
My name is … … and I’m a rising senior interested in your college for Fall 2022. Until 2019 my family was doing fine financially but they went bankrupt in 2020 due to the pandemic. What financial documents will I need to send you and what will you take into account for financial aid?
Thank you very much,
… …


A 620 credit score is right about the start of the subprime area. You also will need income to secure a loan.

As others have said, stay away from credit cards for school costs. Not a good idea at all.

Total cost for attending school includes books. When you look at a schools net price calculator the cost that is expected for you and your family to contribute is after scholarships and loans. Ways to pay for this can include working while at school, outside scholarships, private loans and parental support. As has already been said private loans would require a cosignor.

Ultimately you want to finish school as close to debt free as possible.(or at least minimum debt) So the first step is looking at AFFORDABLE schools. If contemplating credit card debt, the school you are looking at is not affordable to you.

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sorry for the hiatus, just finished with AP’s

I’ve noticed the general trend for financial aid given correlates with school endowment and ranking.

I would be paying more instate @Vtech (~15k) than Ivy(~8k).
Knowing this should I increase the number of reach schools so that I have a better chance of affording college?

I was also just accepted into Mathroots @ MIT. Don’t know if anyone has info on that.
Also are there any coding/IT internships available for high school seniors?

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