CS and ME Suggestions

D has interest in, and has done quite well in STEM classes. Is tentatively planning on ME based on classes she has enjoyed in HS.

But because she was unsuccessful getting into a summer program to sample ME (side note: who gets into Curie??? ANY program at Stonybrook???) she can’t be certain about ME, and is considering CS as a #2 option. Suggestions for schools good at both?

Home state is NY. Budget mid 50s. SAT 1510 (Math 780). Will have 9 APs by graduation (both Physics, Calc BC etc). Hispanic. Mostly sports related EC’s- nothing over the top STEM.

Related- any suggestions to help her gauge her fit for CS or ME? These summer programs would have been great, but…. I am hoping she can get a better sense of fit to answer her “why”, because you don’t transition slowly into ME. It gets intense right from the start.

Most that start in ME or CS won’t finish - so a university with lots of choices will be best. I take it she’s a rising Senior?

You may check with Rose Hulman to see if you can get into the last session of Operation Catapult. Link below.

Your GPA is more important or equally as a test score - so you should list that.

Your budget won’t be an issue in-state and likely out of state depending on GPA - tons of great choices. But need more info.

Operation Catapult | Rose-Hulman

Purdue! In budget and very strong in ME and CS.

Has your daughter done any SWE (society of women engineers) summer programs? My daughter loved their programs and got a lot out of them.

Do you have an Mech Es in your friend circle? Could your D shadow them for a week?

Check your local colleges to see if they are offering any non competitive STEM summer programs.

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Consider also how difficult it is to change major between these majors at each school.


However, isn’t changing from FYE or ME to CS difficult, and changing from CS to FYE or ME also not trivial?

She will have lots of great opportunities available for her. I am sorry the summer options did not work out.

Run the net price calculators for colleges to see where you land. And then look at where she will receive merit. You should land within or well below your financial target if she keeps her options open.

Colleges with engineering and computer science within the same college may be helpful if she goes in as one major and wants to switch to the other.

Look at WPI, they have a strong mix of majors for her in a supportive, small learning environment. They do have summer programs - and they may not be filled yet. My son went to one in high school there and it helped him fine tune his interests.

For college tours, have her look for the invites that highlight STEM days or special tours. Otherwise you may never step into an engineering room or CS classroom.

As far as majors, have her look at the required courses for different majors and dig into the prerequisites. Sometimes a class looks amazing, but there are 3 pre rec classes to take in sequence before they get to what they thought would be a first year class. The courses offered and the options within the majors will be very strict in engineering (to finish in 4 years) and somewhat so in computer science. Even at Brown or UMiami where they are known for being flexible, engineering is the exception.

With her athletic involvement and STEM interests, the military academies would also be very interested in recruiting her and are worth consideration. West Point is in NY and you could go visit. Free with a commitment of a certain number of years of service after college.

My D21 just finished her freshman year in engineering, you are welcome to message me with questions. She decided on UNH from several great and higher ranked options because of the opportunities for her there and the people she met. She is very happy with the decision.



Has your daughter taken AP CompSci?

OP’s D would have to choose which college to apply to with Purdue. There is a Computer Engineering major within the CoE.

If CS is still a strong interest, it would be easier to transfer to CoE from CoS than the other way around.

Correct me if I’m wrong. Do we know more about the student than an SAT b4 we recommend colleges ?

One B+, rest A or A+ through end of junior year. Took AP CS and really enjoyed it.

A few tiers to look at, based on my older daughter graduating ME and younger daughter just starting in CS:

The obvious MIT, Stanford, CMU on the high end.
Georgia Tech, Cornell, Michigan not far behind, still reaches for almost all.
Maryland, UIUC, and Wisconsin can be solid matches for strong students.
Safeties depends on geography. Penn State and Ohio State for my daughters. Virginia Tech is borderline.

Cite? As Purdue is mentioned, they show a 72% graduation rate in Engineering among admitted engineering students.

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Very good suggestions! I second these.

Not Purdue. Nationwide. Depending on the study 40-60% of engineering students finish in a different major. I’d assume the ‘top’ schools do better but don’t know.

I’ve linked one of many articles with similar data. They’re not all the same but directionally so.

I know many really smart kids get their butts kicked so it makes sense that at schools with easier admissions, a higher percentage would struggle because the content will be similar. My stud academic kid will hopefully get through….1 more year…but he’s withdrew and repeated with an A two classes and got a C+ last semester. Still a 3.5+ so maybe not alarmist as I seem. He’s always studying…no work/life balance unfortunately. But if a kid like him…top 10 in hs class, 34 act, 4.6 gpa…lots of AP, etc struggles I can understand the rate being so high.

Another interesting fact I’ve read…no way to know if true but I’ve read 75% of STEM don’t work in STEM jobs. My son’s internship required an abet meche with 3.0 and he’s doing zero with engineering. So I can see that being true…perhaps the way one thinks is relevant to various processes…not in an Ie way but other areas. Last summer, same company, they wanted a Meche but his internship was more IE. Many of my counterparts have STEM degrees. My last sales Vp was an aerospace engineer yet ran a car company’s sales division.

Who knows how much of this info is true, etc but it’s published - the first stat- pretty widespread.

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Virginia Tech engineering can be very tough these days, even for high stats instate students.

Completion rates in engineering correlate to admission selectivity, because stronger students (who typically show better high school academic credentials for college admission) are more likely to be able to handle the rigor of an engineering major or CS.

It would be a mistake to say that the student in this thread (all A/A+ grades except for one B+ grade, 1510 SAT) has a 40-60% chance of not completing an engineering major, if there are no additional barriers. Such additional barriers would be running out of money, or attending a college where there is highly competitive secondary admission to the desired engineering major(s), but these can usually be avoided if the college application list is made with such things in mind. For example a student interested in CS and ME would have a higher risk of not graduating in one of those majors at Texas A&M (3.75 college GPA probably needed to enter those majors) than at Michigan (2.0 college GPA needed to enter those majors).

Your link includes this graphic:

For the purpose of this graphic, psychology and social sciences are “STEM” majors. But note also that health care, management, business and financial, social services, legal, and education are not “STEM” occupation groups. For engineering and CS specifically, it looks like about half are working in engineering or computing, with the rest scattered about other categories, including management.

Note that the source appears to be Where do college graduates work? , where the fine print indicates that it counts people age 25-64 with a bachelor’s degree. So these counts could include (for example) engineers who later moved into management. It is not just about what kinds of jobs graduates are working in shortly after graduation.


Pitt is a school that sometimes flies under the radar. They have a strong engineering school and a separate CS school that they started about five years ago. Pitt offers Rolling Admissions, where you can apply early and get a decision ahead of the EA and RD rounds. Also, based on your D stats, she could qualify for honors and merit.


Pitt is great. Just remember not many get merit but those that do apply early.

They do have the cathedral of learning scholarships. If I remember the student is Hispanic and those might happen.

Best part about Pitt in regards to admissions. It’s rolling. Get the app in early and get an early decision, good for the confidence as you’d have a solid admit b4 applying elsewhere.

Price wise if no merit and it’s less likely than likely you’ll get…you’ll be at your limit $ wise.

Is this student from another thread ? Your best merit so to get you well below will be schools like Arizona, Alabama, Ms State, FSU, UAH, WVU…all in the $20s all in which is y they attract strong kids. The Purdues, UFs will be in the 40s if no merit. UMD, like Pitt, at budget. The great SUNYs, of course, will prove to be excellent. Lots of options in that price range…from much less to less to at budget. Some privates like CWRU and Rochester may come on ok or Col School of Mines. Being female will help at some schools.

Don’t forget many schools have an engineering surcharge on top of normal fees. Same with honors. There may be more but Bama pays an extra $2500 to you with that SAT. So the scholarship will be better than they show which would be $28k on $32k or so tuition last I looked.

Good luck.

Thx for breaking the graph on the placements.

. Yes I fully realize and noted a kid at Purdue likely has more academic bomafides than say a name your state school. And no matter where you study CS or Meche it’s gonna be hard so the stud kids are more likely to succeed but they also need to have interest in the classes. My son’s school is too much theory for him and wishes he had more hands on. We didn’t know at the time but that might be something kids should study as well beyond the normal stuff they look at. . I’ve read many on here note that WPI and CPSLO are more project driven , etc.

Yes- I have posted on other threads. I have received alot of good feedback over the past year- such that the original list I naively started with is probably 95% changed at this point, for the better.

With the application process for my rising senior D upon us in a few weeks, I am looking under every rock to see if I there isn’t an angle or school I haven’t considered (there will be). Keep in mind these are my suggestions- D will have her own ideas, but I want to come to the table with thoughts. My D will listen. She knows I do my homework.

This is as good a time as any to get some last minute list critiques: D, Hispanic, would prefer warmer weather but is realistic that budget (55-60K/year) might not allow unless merit is involved. SAT 1510/UW 3.97, 9 AP’s by graduation- mostly science and math. Major will be Mechanical E (CS is a possibility). NY resident. Two varsity sports, captain of both. Other EC’s are less involved. Liberal. List I will propose:

Safety: Arizona State, SUNY New Paltz
Match/Fit: Santa Clara (with merit), SUNY Binghamton, U of Miami, SDSU (or CPSLO)
Reach: G Tech, U of Southern Cal (with merit)

I ruled out several for reasons based on short discussions with her: Alabama, UAB, Rose Hulman, Purdue, Pitt, RPI, Stevens, UMD (I might take another run), Case, H Mudd,

Just for fun- this is what is looked like before I had the benefit of your feedback. VERY different:

Georgetown (legacy)
John Hopkins

Boston College
UT Austin