Colleges, Chances & Confusion

Hello all,

Please suggest a list of reasonable colleges that I should aim for. I am in Texas and my goal is to get into the best college possible but now I am not sure what I want to do anymore. I used to be very good at math and algebra but did poorly in AP Calculus in 11th grade and dropped it in second semester. I wanted to get into computer science / Engineering program but now I feel I want to keep it open for now. My parents can pay for my college anywhere but they are not very knowledgeable about the college application process. They wanted to hire some company that charges thousands of dollars to help with the application process but I declined as it seems frivolous to me.
As I had posted few months back, virtual learning did not go well for me at all so my 10th-11th grade GPA dropped.
My current UW GPA at the end of 11th grade is 3.4 unweighted 4.4.
PSAT 1230 (took in Oct of 11th grade).
MY NMSC score is 191. Took first SAT 1410. 680 Math 730 verbal. will take it again soon.
Mem Honors society, chess club and volunteer hrs 35. tried very hard to get into some nice summer internship but so far unsuccessful.

I have nobody to guide me and its such a shame that I used to be a good student who was on track but I am not so sure anymore.

Courses that I already took in 9th grade

English 1 Hon
finished algebra 2 Hon and geometry Hon
French 2
Computer science 1
AP human Geo
Biology Hon
Arts 1.

10th grade

English 2 Hon
Precalculus Honors
AP world history
Physics Honors
AP computer science principals
Computer maintenance
Spanish 1

11th Grade
Gifted Talented AP American studies AP Lang AP US history (2 credits combined course)
AP Calculus (passed first sem but dropped in sec semester)
AP Chem
AP Psychology
Advanced computer sciences
Spanish 2

12th grade selections so far

Spanish 3
English 4
Ap US Gov and AP Economics (half credit each)
video programming

I wont qualify for auto-admission to UT Austin based on class rank. what are my chances to get into UT Austin UT Dallas. I am very good in history. Where else can I apply and what would be a good match. I want to stay in Texas or close to Texas.
I have asked for LORs from teachers already. How do people get interviews with the colleges and is it necessary. how about visiting colleges?
Is there something else that I should be doing now?

Thanks for reading this long post

Your stats are only part of the picture. There are FAR too many that you could get into to narrow it on stats alone. You don’t simply want to go to the most “prestigious,” because it tells you NOTHING about your experience and fit. Take Columbia for example. What if you hate the city and cold weather? Not the place for you. Plus, some great schools aren’t very selective, Juniata and Beloit College as examples.

So, lare, medium or small? Urban, rural or suburban? North, south, east, west or midwest? Support for hobbies? major? Etc. What’s important to YOU?


I wanted to Major in computer science Engineering but with poor performance in AP calculus, I got discouraged. I want to be closer to Dallas but if a program is good, I can move anywhere. Ideally want to stay in Texas or closer to Texas. Once I apply to a college, do I need to select a major or they will decide which program I qualify for? When do most people finish with the application process? I want to do at least something this summer, some internship but don’t have anything lined up.

What about Austin College? It’s a small liberal arts college in Sherman, TX. It sounds like you would do well with the small classroom sizes, hands-on discussion based classes and highly approachable professors. Don’t let the sticker price scare you, you would probably get good merit aid. And the great thing about a liberal arts college — you don’t have to know what you want to major in. They encourage you to explore!

(I suggested Austin College because it is a great school and is close to Dallas. You may also like Southwestern (Georgetown which is north of Austin) and St. Edward’s (Austin) which also give excellent merit aid.)


Plan II UT Austin is extremely competitive but sounds so appealing too. I don’t think I have a chance but I would still apply. Is it wise to get in touch with the program coordinator at Plan II and tell her my situation? When applying to UT Austin, Do I have to apply separately to Plan II

This is an either/or decision for the most part. What type of engineering if not CS?

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Don’t worry about getting an internship, just get a job.


Baylor would be an option. UT San Antonio or U of Houston. UT Austin is not an option, realistically, nor UT Dallas, but there are plenty of private schools, including U of Dallas.

Based on Collegevines, UT Dallas is safety with 77-87% chance. Maybe these websites aren’t so accurate.

Any job?

UT Dallas admits based on class rank now. I assume you are not in the top 10% of your class?

Yes top 10% of all graduates get auto-admission but that cant be the only way of getting admission at UTD? please correct me if I’m wrong

There is holistic as well, but that is also used for admission by very strong private school students who are outside the top 10%, athletes, and other institutional needs. Your high school should be able to tell you if they have admits to UTD outside of the top 10%.

Why not schools like Arkansas or Mizzou/ Missouri S&T that offer scholarships to TX residents?


Yes, any job. It show you “play well with others” and can generate another good reference. It very hard for HS students to get internships. For that matter, it’s hard for any student other than a rising college senior to get an internship. There’s minimal skills to offer prior to that.

Back to my original question, you lumped computer science engineering into one thing. There’s computer science (essentially programming computers), computer engineering (designing computers and their constituent parts) and other engineering fields. What is is that you are interested in? I ask because not only can posters give suggestions on specific engineering disciplines that might fit better if you’re a little math tentative, we need to know the major(s) to narrow a list of schools that have said majors.

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One thing you wrote that concerns me is you struggled with math. Yes, the engineering math is not easy. However, if you truly enjoy math, have you considered hiring a tutor or have you asked the teacher for help.

To your credit, you told your parents not to spend thousands to help you apply to colleges. Math is math - and if you struggle at one school, you’ll likely struggle at another. But just because you did, doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause if you really want it. So if you enjoy math, really want this…find a mentor, a tutor, an person who is excited about math, and I bet you’ll amaze yourself.

Don’t give up on a desire simply because of one struggle. Sometime it’s the teacher, content, or delivery - so there’s always a way if you are willing to really focus and get after it.


All great points!

All CS and engineering requires math well beyond where you stopped, typically two semesters or three quarters of Calculus and Linear Analysis at a minimum, even for the non-math heavy disciplines. Math heavy disciplines like ME and AE require even more, differential equations, partial dif eq, tensor calculus, etc.

If you want to do this, you have to find a way to not only get through, but to really appreciate the math. If not, you might consider engineering technology. It’s not as math heavy.

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Research tells us that success in more abstract math like calculus can be a developmental issue. In other words, if you took the same math course when you were a year older, you might very well succeed.

As Eyempg pointed out, different majors require different kinds of math. Statistics, for example, is very different than calculus. So in addition to Eyempg’s suggestion about different kinds of engineering, you could also look at fields that utilize a lot of statistics since you enjoy math.


I think you misunderstood Murray93’s suggestion to consider Austin College. He was not talking about UT, but about the small liberal arts college in Sherman, north of Dallas.


Look at the Common Data Set for the schools you are interested in; they may give you a very general idea where your test scores and GPA place you relative to other recently admitted students at those schools. In the CDS, Section C7 tells you how each school weighs both academic and non-academic admissions factors; Section C9 gives you the SAT and ACT ranges of admitted students; Section C10 tells you how admitted students ranked in their respective high schools; and Section C11 gives you the GPA ranges of admitted students. (NOTE: While all universities and colleges are required to maintain this information, some schools do not have a published common data set.) The information in the CDS is for the overall freshman population, not for any specific program or department – admitted students in computer science and engineering tend to have higher test scores and GPAs than other admitted students.

Actually, you do: your high school’s guidance counselor(s), whose job it is (at least in part) to help you with the college admissions process. If you are in a public high school, you will have to be proactive and work at getting in front of a guidance counselor; but they are there for you so get them involved in this process. And, get your parents talking to the guidance counselors as well. Talk with the guidance counselors - and it will likely take more than one conference – about potential target schools for you; they can probably tell you about what success other students from your high school have had in getting admitted at particular colleges and universities.

Once you have identified some potential target schools, try to visit some of them, if you can, this Fall when your high school is not in session. (Because you should try to visit when your target schools are in session, check the academic calendars for those schools to find out when classes are being held – you want to see the current students there, to see whether you can visualize yourself as part of the student body, whether you like the campus, etc.) If you can’t go in the Fall, then in the Spring colleges and universities usually have “admitted student days” when you can visit if you have been accepted for admission; take advantage off those as well.

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