Current Upperclassman at Carnegie Mellon: ASK ME ANYTHING!

@HSquared2 helps robots not run into things. She is a current upperclassman at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science, majoring in computer science and robotics.

@HSquared2 is our Guest Student of the Week so make sure to ask her anything about admissions, student life, rigor, internships, etc. She’s here to help shed a light on this complex process!

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How good is Carnegie Mellon’s financial aid? It is a really expensive college and they also discontinued merit scholarships. Do most people end up paying the $70,000+ or is that the sticker price? Do most people get a decent amount of financial aid? If so, what’s a good estimate of the average amount of financial aid students usually receive from CMU?

Thanks for starting this thread.

What is your quality of life like? I have heard the CMU can be intense and that SCS can be even more so?

Hello! I think my quality of life at CMU is pretty darn good; it’s a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding. I’ve made so many close friends through struggling through homework together, late night talks, and on-campus clubs. Spontaneous food trips in downtown Pitt and adventures to the Waterfront have been some of my favorite memories. It’s incredibly humbling to be here and I’m often reminded of how lucky I am to go to this school and do what I really love. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the response. What area of CS are you focusing on and what kind of opportunities do you get to do undergraduate research?

I’m a computer science and a robotics double major, so I’m really interested in autonomous robot path planning. CS wise, I’m focusing on algorithms and computer vision! I am so fortunate to have a lot of opportunities to do undergraduate research; I’m currently working in a robotics lab building an autonomous soil sampling robot. I’m in charge of the path planning; the robot has to autonomously plan where it should and shouldn’t go (obstacles it should avoid or hotspots it should sample).

Take a look at this:

It will give you a good idea of how much financial aid you can expect to get.

What do you think are the chances for an international student to get accepted from the PWL?

Hi! I’m not an international student so I can’t really say that much about chances. Here are our admissions stats: [CMU Admissions](

I wish you the best! I know that waitlists are a time of uncertainty and it sucks (I’ve been there myself). But know that whatever happens, happens, and to bloom where you are planted. :smile:

Hello @HSquared2 …parent of an incoming freshman here. My question is about student/dorm life. My son is a great kid, but definitely leans heavily to the quiet/introverted side. My hope is that he’ll connect with some other kids and break out of his shell a bit. Is it fairly easy for this type of personality to find “their people” at CMU? He’ll be a math major, and he’s already found a few clubs online that he is interested in. Would love any input with regard to which type of housing might work out best for a quieter personality. I’m a little worried that bustling dorm life will be a big adjustment for him. Any other recommendations for new students that lean toward being introverted?

Thanks so much!

Hi @LupineChild, sorry to hijack his thread, but I’m a CMU upperclassman as well and I think my experience with housing would be helpful for you. For my freshman year, I was in the dormitory called Henderson house. It was a pretty small dorm, in terms of the community, so we will knew each other relatively well. The community was very close with many weekly events. My RA also planned activities just for the freshman floor. I knew all of the freshman on my floor and a lot of them are among my closest friends to this day. The dormitory also have a wellness theme, meaning strict alcohol policy. So you don’t have to worry as much about your son hanging out with the wrong crowd. Overall, I think this dorm would be a great fit!

Another dorm I recommend for introverts is the Welch House. This dorm have a quiet theme so people living in this dorm usually aren’t very loud. Hope this helps!

Awesome…thank you so much for the input @idkName . I’ll have my son take a look at Henderson and Welch. Quick follow-up question: if you choose Henderson with the wellness theme, are you expected to be into any sort of health regime? I think my son would be good with the no alcohol policy, but I don’t know that he wants to go vegan anytime soon, lol!

@LupineChild I would like to second @idkName! My freshman year dorm was also on the hill (Henderson, Boss, McGill, Hamerschlag, Scobell, Welch). It was really nice because I didn’t need to cross a major road (Forbes Avenue) to get to campus. Personally, I never actually spent a lot of time in my dorm- I’d rather go out and explore Pittsburgh, or find a new place to study than sink time in my dorm.

However, Henderson and Welch have wonderful communities with their own theme of wellness and quiet, respectively.

Your son is definitely not expected to be into any sort of health regime! The overall focus for Henderson is the strict no-substance policy and Welch has 24-hour quiet hours.

Here is more information on [url = <a href=“Henderson House - Housing & Residential Education - Student Affairs - Carnegie Mellon University”>Henderson House - Housing & Residential Education - Student Affairs - Carnegie Mellon University</a>] Henderson House.

Here is more information on [url = <a href=“Welch House - Housing & Residential Education - Student Affairs - Carnegie Mellon University”>Welch House - Housing & Residential Education - Student Affairs - Carnegie Mellon University</a>] Welch House.

Hopefully this was helpful!

Terrific…thank you @HSquared2 for the info!

@LupineChild Of course! Welcome to CMU and tell your son I said congratulations!

Hi @LupineChild, I would also like to second to what @HSquared2 said. Any dorm on the hill is good (although Scobell has questionable room sizes haha). For Henderson, the only strict policy they have is no alcohol in the dorms. You absolutely do not have to go vegan. It is wellness themed, so they will have optional activities revolved around that. Other than that, the dorm is just like every other dorm. people there definitely aren’t health nuts either, so don’t worry! Same with Welch house. It is quiet themed, but people there aren’t like whispering to each other either. You just won’t have people playing loud music that you can hear across the hallway during daytime. Hope this helps and congrats on your son’s successes!

Thank you for the helpful info @idkName ! I’ve passed it on to my son and he’s mulling the options. All the dorms seem great and we can’t wait to see the school in person in August.

Hi @HSquared2,

My son is a high school junior, very interested in applying to CMU. Can you please share your insights on what GPA/SAT/ECs would be considered impressive by CMU admissions. Also, ED vs RD does that make any difference in terms of chances of getting in?

What are the opportunity for SCS student for the paid Internship/COOP.,? Is it good enough to take care of their living expenses ?
How long and when they can do? I appreciate your experience and feedback.Thank you.

@friscosm I’d love to tell you more about CMU! Even though admissions is still a black box, here are some statistics that we provide on students we’ve admitted: [url = <a href=“Undergraduate Admission Statistics | Carnegie Mellon”>Undergraduate Admission Statistics | Carnegie Mellon</a>] CMU Admission Stats . There is a section on average GPA/SAT scores that we admit, although there are always exceptions.

I also don’t believe in doing ECs just to get into college! Everyone is different, so no one EC or list of ECs is going to guarantee admittance. Your son should pursue ECs that he’s passionate in and that passion is exactly what colleges (including CMU!) are looking for. :slight_smile:

I actually didn’t ED into CMU (because I was scared of commitment :lol:) but it does look like a higher percentage of people get admitted ED vs. RD. (Again, definitely check admissions stats).

Hopefully this was helpful!