Computer Science at CMU

<p>Can anyone tell me how they like the School of Computer Science and CIT?
Is CMU for undergrad worth the cost vs. going to another university with a lot of merit aid?</p>

<p>The cost benefit analysis is really up to you, however here are the results of a recent survey of salaries and placements of graduates:</p>

<a href=""&gt;;/a>
College</a> of Engineering - Post-Graduation Survey Results - Information for Students and Alumni - Career Center - Student Affairs</p>

<p>My son seems happy with SCS, he's never had to work hard in school before and now he is. For the first time in his life he's doing things like going to office hours.</p>

<p>I don't remember the thread (it had to do with whether or not high priced colleges made up for it in salary) but someone who seemed to know what they were saying included CMU in a short list of schools that did pay back. Certainly the national reputation is high- not everyone knows the school, but if they do, they understand its excellence.</p>

<p>Based on our own experience (DS is a sophomore) and feedback from others at the school, SCS is very invested in its students. It handpicks each class and wants every student to succeed. The staff is very involved and helpful (both within the academics and in campus life). I've met a few instructors and heard others speak and they really do care. I've heard secondhand that SCS is considerably better than CIT in this regard but don't know personally.</p>

<p>I can't speak for my son as to "liking" but do know that he believes he's getting a top education. Like Mathmom's son, it was a change for him to accept as a freshman that he might need help via office hours - and no more starting assignments at 11:00 pm the night before they were due! The programming classes are challenging - the problem sets do not always supplement the lectures but may stand on their own. Beyond the input DS gives on difficulty, he has noted many exciting (and amusing) assignments. He is excited about such things as taking a class from a McArthur genius, cheering on the victorious DARPA team, meeting C3PO, seeing Bill Gates live, etc.</p>

I've heard secondhand that SCS is considerably better than CIT in this regard but don't know personally.


<p>I think it depends more on the department within CIT than the college itself. I was a student in Materials Science department in CIT, and I can't imagine having a greater group of professors. They were all super friendly, easy to get along with, great teachers, and willing to help with any problems you were having (be it from non-MSE classes, general school issues, etc.). Finding research in our department was as easy as possible. Just drop into a few offices when you see the door's open (almost always) and ask if they'd be willing to have an undergraduate researcher. During my time there I worked for three different professors (one over a summer, one during a school year, and one for nine months after I graduated) and I still talk with all of them via e-mail.</p>

<p>I agree only you and your family can determine if CMU is affordable, and worth it. I can, however, look backwards at my son's SCS education, since he's been out over 2 years now, and say unequivocally it was surely worth it. </p>

<p>Workload can be intense at times. I remember him reporting that he could spend all his waking hours on ONE specific course during a particularly trying semester, so be prepared to work, regardless of how "smart" you are. But then there are times to cruise, whole semesters that weren't too bad. He didn't break a sweat in hs so agree with the other parents this is quite a change. </p>

<p>One way to determine if it was "worth it" is to consider the first job out of CMU. In son's case, it's exactly what he'd envisioned, working in financial industry in Manhattan. Salary and bonus are very high, much more than he (or I) had anticipated. He is strongly of the opinion going to CMU in particular is directly responsible for him landing this job.</p>

<p>Many thanks to all of you for your intelligent and informative responses. I really appreciate it. Are your kids at CMU happy with the over all college experience (Pittsburgh, campus food, making new friends, etc.) or is the highlight just the strong academic component?</p>

<p>Pittsburgh's a great city. There's a ton to do if you can spend the time to investigate it. My girlfriend and I were bored one night, so we went up to Schenley park. It turned out they had an open-air ice skating rink during the winter, and we were able to go out skating (well, she skated, I fell) for a few hours for only a few bucks. The bus system will take you downtown with no problem, so you can do anything down there (my favorite was going to Pirates games for $8).</p>

<p>Campus food sucked and was way expensive, but at least there's a pretty decent variety, they keep great hours, and they're all over campus. At least you can move off campus or off of the meal plan after freshman year.</p>

<p>Making new friends is easy if you leave your door open at the beginning of the year. Odds are your best friends will come from your hall, so try to meet as many of them as possible and don't be a jackass the first week so you wind up being the odd guy out.</p>

<p>I notice that you are from California. Do you think CMU is much better than the university choices in California (Berkeley, USC, etc.) for computer engineering? i.e. did you want a change of pace to move to another part of the U.S. or did you feel CMU is just so much better than staying in state?</p>

<p>I'm actually a Pennsylvania native (Philadelphia region), just in California for grad school (and planning to move back east as soon as I'm done here).</p>

<p>I've heard pretty bad things about Berkeley's undergrad program, not such much that you don't learn things, but it doesn't have nearly the personal touch that the graduate program it's famous for does. Stanford I have no idea about, a few friends are there for grad school and they're having an alright time. I visited UCSB and didn't like the atmosphere at all, but I imagine that's more due to me not fitting into the culture out here than anything else.</p>

<p>RancinReaver, that explains it!!!</p>

<p>I'm from Los Angeles and headed to CMU this fall. I saw that you're from Pasadena, so I was a little suprised to hear you talking about how great Pittsburgh is.</p>

<p>But you're originally from that area, so naturally you'll like it.</p>

<p>I too felt Berkley had some real drawbacks for undergrads. Overcrowded classes and lack of housing being the main two. For out of state it definitely wasn't worth it (IMO especially adding in travel costs) in-state however it might well be.</p>

<p>I'm from the East Coast (more or less) - I spent most of my childhood overseas - I loved Pasadena -lived there for three years - (even before it got all spiffed up) and LA in general. Pittsburgh has lousy weather, but it is a *much *nicer town than I expected. Lots of great restaurants, a nice museum, attractive parks, five colleges.</p>

<p>Pittsburgh is a great city. VERY affordable to live in as well. Make sure to go to Primanti Bros. if you live there. They have the BEST sandwiches.</p>

<p>Homesizzle, I actually didn't like Pittsburgh a whole lot for the first year or two while I was there, but when I started looking at grad schools and where many of them were located, I realized that it really wasn't that terrible of a place.</p>

<p>Also, my girlfriend (Socal native, lived in Pasadena, Anaheim, and currently attends UCI) just visited Penn State last weekend. She had spent a summer with me working at CMU and hated Pittsburgh. However, upon visiting Penn State her opinion of the northeast underwent a total reversal. "Ugly old buildings" turned into "historical" locations with a wonderfully different feel than the cookie-cutter houses you see out here. While she still doesn't like Pittsburgh a whole lot, she said she has no problem seeing herself living in a different area of the northeast sometime (hopefully soon) in the future.</p>

<p>What do you think of Computer Science at CMU vs. Computer Engineering at USC? USC gives half tuition scholarship for NMF. I hear it is hard to get merit aid at CMU.</p>

<p>In my opinion, nothing compares to Carnegie Mellon's CS program or its possibilities (such as being Microsoft's main feeder) other than MIT or perhaps a free ride to Stanford.</p>

<p>USC does not compare.</p>

<p>Do you feel the same way about Carnegie Mellon's CS program vs. Engineering at Cornell? Many thanks for your input.</p>

<p>It's hard to compare those 2 that way. I'd say CMU engineering=Cornell engineering. CMU CS>Cornell CS though Cornell CS is ranked highly.</p>

<p>Pittsburgh is fairly unique as opposed to other east coast cities. Topographically it's more like Portland (Oregon, ie). It's a small city so you can get around fairly easily, compared to a big sprawling dump like Phila (I spent 4 years in grad school there at Penn and am to this day not a fan though OK there are a few decent areas it's basically a giant ghetto imo), Pittsburgh actually has some charm and charisma, although a lot of buildings are old and not terribly attractive.</p>

<p>btw CMU has fraternities and sororities if you're so inclined. S was in a fraternity, loved it, his best friends were in there. It was a good refuge from the academic load at CMU and heaven knows he had a very good time there :).</p>

<p>We thought the neighborhood adjacent to CMU is much better than the area around Penn.</p>

<p>What is a lot of merit aid? What is worth the cost? </p>

<p>CMU or any school or any future employer or any future perspective spouse is going to ask, "What makes MDCISSP worth the 'it' ? </p>

<p>We have only one. But even if we had a dozen, each child would have their own choices. We were a full pay family, with 5K of outside scholarships in 2002. S got a merit scholarship. We thought 'it' was big, but others may think 'it' small. </p>

<p>As parents, We think 'it' was worth 'it'</p>

<p>Have more confidence. You are worth 'it'</p>

<p>Good Luck.</p>

<p>I seriously considered USC's half-tuition offer - when I visited, the campus seemed nice, there were students outside enjoying themselves (improv group performing in front of the building), they seemed very interested in getting good students, and in offering good students various special things - guaranteed research, honors dorm, etc. But after I visited CMU, I knew it was the right choice - I have to say that I like the geekiness, and while I'm sure some exists at USC, the prevailing culture there is not that of geek.</p>

<p>I recently was at a conference, and I talked to many students from other schools about their programs. One girl I talked to in particular, from Rice (which does have a very solid CS program!), commented that they rarely have recruiters show up, presumably because their program (~30 undergrads/year) simply isn't large enough to justify their presence. In contrast, this semester at CMU, Google was around for about a week sponsoring multiple events including a talk by Kai Fu Lee (president of Google China), Microsoft sponsored another tech talk and had a women's event, Amazon sponsored a lecture last night, and VMWare and Apple both gave presentations about their opportunities. I'm sure there are other companies that I'm forgetting about; on top of that, I know that Mozilla, IBM, Facebook, Pixar, and were interviewing on campus in addition to all the companies that had larger events. More companies had a presence at the job fair. My understanding is that other schools just don't have this sort of recruiting presence on campus.</p>