Computer Science Student with a Checkered Academic Past

Hi, I’m currently in my 2nd year of community college, with 2 semesters to go and I’m really unsure as to where I should apply to transfer.

I’m currently 24. In high school I was a mediocre student (3.0 GPA) but had a research internship at NIST and was the finalist for a major national award. I got a 1550 on the SAT and a 35 on the ACT. I went to college at the age of 18 and didn’t really show up to class. Dropped out after a year with a GPA of 0.7. I then went on to become a moderately successful pro-player in a well known video game. At the age of 20 I foolishly enrolled in another community college while still playing the game and dropped out with a 0.0 GPA after 1 semester. I decided to go back to school for real when I realized my game of choice was becoming less popular and wouldn’t make a viable long term career. This time I really applied myself and minimized distractions and I currently have a 4.0 GPA after a year. I’m confident I can maintain that in the next 2 semesters.

So my question is kind of a two-part one. First how competitive of schools would I be able to reasonably apply to? I’ve been self-studying python and some basic machine-learning the past year and would love to go to a school that’s cutting edge in AI research. Secondly, are there any schools in that range people would recommend as being especially transfer-friendly? My state school is UMD, but transferring there gives me pause as they don’t take transferred CS credits. (I will have 2 by the time I finish my associate’s) Their website implies that it would take about 6 semesters to finish out my degree there with my current coursework. Given my late start to things, I’d highly prefer to go to a school that I’d be able to graduate from within 2 years of enrolling.

If anyone has recommendations that fit my profile, or insights as to how such a resume would be perceived by admissions officers I’d really appreciate some advice!

You should check each of the state schools. When you say UMD, do you mean just College Park campus? UMBC has an excellent computer science program. Cheap living and flexible requirements have made UMD ES an excellent choice for a number of folks I know. What about University of Baltimore? Cousin graduated from there and doing really well. I believe he majored in CS.

  1. Did you retake any of the courses where you initially earned D or F grades?
  2. Have you checked the policies of UMD and other colleges on how they treat repeated D or F grades during transfer admissions?


  1. At this point I've retaken most of the courses. Some where specific to a different major at my first school so I won't be retaking them.
  2. Looks like UMD allows courses to be repeated once. Thankfully I haven't taken anything more than 1 additional time. Looked at a few other schools couldn't find one that didn't accept credit for a class taken twice. The state schools in California actually seem to allow unlimited attempts!


UMBC sounds like an ok option. They require a discrete math course that my CC doesn’t offer, but it looks like an acceptable fit beyond that.

I’m also fortunately in a position where cost isn’t that big of a factor for me, so also considering out of state schools.

take a look at the Southern Regional Education Board which offers in-state tuition among schools in the compact. Maryland is a member.

What would your college GPA look like for applying to UMCP and UMBC (and other Maryland publics) after applying the repeat / grade replacement policies?

I called a few schools’ admissions departments today with that question. UMBC, UMD and UNC Chapel Hill both said that my GPA would be counted as a 4.0, but that my previous transcripts would be considered. UW-Seattle said that my GPA would be considered the average of my GPA at all previous institutions attended. Guess I won’t be applying there!

Seems like the policies relating to older versus newer grades, repeated courses, and grade replacement policies will be a big factor in which colleges will be realistic for you to transfer to.