CS at NE, RIT or UTD?

Son accepted to Northeastern, RIT and Univ. of Texas - Dallas and has National Merit Finalist status. Wants to study CS. Any advice or reviews of these schools? Not sure how to pick when we haven’t been able to visit any of them…

we love RIT, but both RIT and Northeastern have great coop programs. UT dallas will have the better weather. Other than the desire to study CS, what type of kid is he?

We’ve heard good things about RIT and its coop program! Son is on the quiet side, musician, deep thinker. He’s looking forward to being around lots of other tech folks who understand what he’s talking about!

Sounds like my son’s roommate. The difference between Northeastern and RIT is that Northeastern is in Boston (RIT is “suburban”),. RIT is also not bit on partying/lot of social activities, but yes there are tons of clubs and before covid lots of opportunity to meet others. UT-dallas seems totally different than the other two choices. I personally love RIT and pre covid my son was thriving. With Covid, he has some in person classes, but has been a bit isolated, but this would be the case anywhere. They have handled things very well . Also the school does a great job including the “family”, with newsletters, and we even had parent forums. Not sure about the other schools. BTW the CS program is pretty challenging.

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See if your son can get accepted in Computing Scholars at UTD. For S20, Computing Scholars was a clear winner over RIT. UTD is certainly a STEM school, more on the geeky side. The main complain is that there aren’t enough parties which some like my son actually appreciate.

I suggest you compare the curriculum, AP credits, etc. Look at both the core classes and required cs classes. Another thing to consider is a priority registration. CS classes tend to be in high demand, and it’s a great perk to have.

Not sure if money is an issue, but even the best RIT merit is much less than NMS in UTD.

You are so right that the National Merit package at UTD is hard to beat! Do you know how hard it is to get into the Computing Scholars program? I looked at the website and was a little confused about how new first year students might get into it.

Your son can contact Dr. Page and ask about the programs and see if he can take the entrance exam. Dr. Page will give him a sample exam to get a better idea what to expect. Everybody who passes the exam is invited to the program, but the number of students is capped at 30. Fell free to PM if you would like more information.

You may also want to check the dorms. UTD freshman dorms are hard to beat.

I chose between two of these myself when I was picking schools and chose Northeastern, and would 100% again. Northeastern’s co-op program is slightly more mature and has a bit more name recognition outside of the northeast compared to RIT, but the bigger factor for me was probably Boston vs Rochester and the academic diversity of Northeastern, so I would emphasize here that fit is important and all three of these have solid CS programs.

I won’t speak as much to UTD as I don’t know it specifically, but based on my experience in the industry I don’t see many people from there in CA/SV or NYC/Boston. My guess is a lot go to Austin’s tech scene, not for lack of choice but for preference. Where you want to be postgrad though might be helpful as well as a data point.

in sum, the considerations I’d recommend here:

  • Cost, if significantly different or any loans are involved. If some but not all have loans over 20k, eliminate the ones with loans IMO
  • City vs suburban preference
  • Where your son wants to be postgrad
  • Fit: Tech school vs diverse city school vs UTD (I don’t know enough here, so I default to others to give a description of fit)

To throw my biased alumni cap on, Northeastern has a very specific approach to CS that’s IMO a big differentiator at the student experience level: Developing Developers

I’d also say it has the best industry rep / name of the three, though I’d emphasize that these are very close and outcomes will generally be comparable here.

Thanks so much for your reply! Your personal experience with Northeastern and your experience working in the field is very helpful. Cost is definitely a factor for us - UTD would essentially be a free ride. It’s a lot farther from where we live, however, and your point about considering where he wants to be postgrad is well taken.

What is the cost of Northeastern/RIT? How much can your family afford per year? Any other younger siblings to consider?

My suspicion is that UTD for free will be hard to beat. Unless there’s some negative fit factor or comparable price from the other two, I think it’s probably going to make a lot of sense!

My son is also NMF and is currently weighing Northeastern and UTD for Computer Science…with UMass in the mix as well. Northeastern is by far his preferred choice, but he did not receive as much initial merit as we were hoping and so we’re worried about the total cost, since it seems that the National Merit will only be a small amount more than that. We were able to visit Northeastern and it looked great. We’ve also done some admitted student sessions online that were helpful - you might want to check those out if you haven’t already.