Had a change of heart, what are my chances for cs?

Until just recently I had wanted to pursue math/physics/maybe engineering; however, I recently really reflected on what I wanted out of my career and decided a path like game/software development is where I will likely be happiest. Since I am applying this upcoming fall, I could use some recommendations on where to apply given my profile – I know that CS is super competitive so I know what I’m in for.

I really would love to attend UT Austin, but I also don’t wanna throw away my first-choice major for automatic admission there. Do I stand a chance at getting admission for CS as an in-state applicant?


  • Gender: male
  • Race/Ethnicity: white
  • Residence: texas
  • Income Bracket: upper-middle class (~200k per year maybe?)
  • Type of School: suburban public
  • Hooks (Recruited Athlete, URM, First-Gen, Geographic, Legacy, etc.): no :frowning:

Intended Major(s): cs/math (double major if possible)


  • GPA (UW/W): 4.0/6.4 (very strange gpa system but my average grade is ~97-98, I plugged into UC GPA calculator and it says 4.7)
  • Rank (or percentile): 5/654
  • Number of Honors/AP/IB/Dual Enrollment/etc.: just finished my 10th AP, 15 including senior year
  • Senior Year Course Load: AP gov, AP physics C (both mech and e&m), AP macro econ, AP eng lit, AP research, cs advanced algos and data structures (Java class after CSA), DE calc 3, and another DE math class but likely diff equations

Standardized Testing

List the highest scores earned and all scores that were reported.

  • SAT I: 1540 (740EBRW, 800M)
  • AP/IB: Physics II, US History, Eng. Lang, Seminar, BC Calc (5), CSA (5), Physics 1 (5), Human Geo. (5), European History (4), CSP (5)


List all extracurricular involvements, including leadership roles, time commitments, major achievements, etc.

  1. principal of cello section in school orchestra and cello representative (involves “managing” the section and being in charge of communications with the director)
    1b. cello soloist (kinda tags in with part 1) awarded as a top-scorer at the state-level

  2. math/physics tutoring (mostly in school and online, starting the process to work on schoolhouse.world to teach precalculus and calculus ab/bc)

  3. run a website that provides a ton of resources for students learning calculus 1 and 2 (videos, openstax, other websites, my own notes and practice problems), this takes a lot of my time and still working on it since it covers so much content

  4. school ai club vice president (learn and teach other students how to create algorithms that incorporate ai to solve practical problems and help to host seminars with professionals in the field to teach students about future careers in the field)

  5. independent cs work(top 1% in project euler, starting to advance in hackerrank, plan on developing a game with friends over the summer/other cs project to tide me over until school starts)

  6. science national honor society secretary (plan on hosting lecture sessions next year as a one contribution to the club on different facets of physics whether it be classical newtonian physics or quantum mechanics)

  7. card game enthusiast (once top 1000 player in a certain online card game and consistently highly-ranked now) – I mention this because card games helped me open up as a person and I genuinely believe that interaction at the card shop throughout high school made me who I am

  8. honor society member, community service (nhs, mu alpha theta, and snhs)

  9. work at a very doxxable job (mostly summer, but some weekends during the school year) long shifts with few work days during the week

  10. independent learning (did some classes for credit to accelerate through math/science courses and some through MIT OCW to improve my programming skills and advance in cs), i dont really know if i should list this, there is some proof in my transcript that I did in fact learn on my own to skip courses but no proof for my other ones


List all awards and honors submitted on your application.

  1. national merit scholar (?) (222 index)
  2. ap scholar with honor
  3. 2x time cello all-state area qualifier
  4. received a top score at UIL state solo contest
  5. first chair cello of region orchestra 2019-2020 and member of top orchestra the next 2 years
  6. honor roll
  7. 3x orchestra local award
  8. top 1% award in project euler (global award)

So, do I stand a chance for UT CS in-state even though I have little tangible accomplishments as of yet? I am thinking of applying to the following schools but I am totally open to any recommendations knowing the state of CS undergrad admissions.

UT, UTD, Texas A&M, Purdue (EA), UMich (EA), GT (EA), Northeastern (EA), Northwestern, USC, MIT (EA, know I have about a 0% chance here but applying for ■■■■■ and giggles), Caltech (EA, yeah same here), Cornell, Princeton, Brown

Be careful of Texas A&M. You may get into its first year engineering status, but then you need a 3.75 college GPA to get into the major of your choice. Majors which are highly popular like CS are those which are unlikely to have any space for competitive admits among student with lower than 3.75 college GPA.

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yeah, thats sort of what makes me wary of that university such that I am applying to UTD as well. the whole enter-to-a-major process seems like a pain.

I think UT Austin is within research. You should really apply for the Turing. Spend some time reading up on research by CS faculty at Austin, and write about that in your Turing essay. Also, it wouldn’t hurt some CS ECs.


What’s the budget that your family is willing and able to pay?


oh, I shouldve mentioned in post. my parents have told me that if I end up going to a state school (UT, A&M, etc.) they will have no problem paying so that I can graduate with no debt – hence why I am so pushy towards UT. the oos/privates are a bit different and I would likely have to take out some loans but nothing too extreme (hopefully). they have told me that they can likely work something out if my best option is oos/private so long as I don’t have to pay full price.

I think that you are a very strong applicant and that you are likely to do well wherever you end up.

I think that you have a chance for MIT, although it is a high reach. If you do get accepted there note that they have a “mathematics with computer science” major (18C). This is essentially what I did but unofficially (I was a math major), and it worked out well. Of course if you get accepted to MIT or Caltech they are a LOT of work and you can expect to be suddenly average the day that you show up on campus – which has both pluses and minuses.

I am not sure that MIT or Caltech or any of your other reaches are going to teach an undergraduate student anything that the professors at UT Austin do not know also. You have very good in-state public universities.

Have you run the NPCs on your out of state schools or are you and your parents okay with being full pay?

One way to cut down your list is to run the NPCs and see what they might cost. Another way is to look at what classes are required to graduate. Universities may vary a bit in terms of both what is required for a specific major, and what general education requirements exist for the school overall.

Is Rice missing from your list for a good reason? You would know the school better than I (we live in the northeast). If you want another high reach I might personally prefer Stanford to some of the other reaches that are on your list.


firstly, thanks for the reassuring comment – means a lot right now because im pretty unsure of a lot lol :slight_smile:

I have actually not run the NPCs, so I’ll do that asap and see which ones we cant/shouldnt do, thanks for that advice actually! I’ll also look into the major requirements and stuff, I’d like to actually get credit for my ap courses as well so I’ll also look into where will give me the most there as well. as for Rice, I havent really looked into it and will research it.

thanks a ton for your time and advice!


I would definitely run the NPC’s. With the income you reported getting aid at out of state publics (like Michigan) and some of the highly competitive privates you have listed might be challenging, unless you are awarded merit which is difficult as many of those schools. You and your parents should have an idea of what your likely cost is before you start applying. If they are not able/willing to pay full price there might be a few schools you’ll end up removing from your list.

I also agree that Rice is worth a look. At first I assumed you weren’t looking because you wanted a school like Austin, but then I saw the other schools on your list (some of which are more similar to Rice than Austin). At Rice you are not admitted by major and you don’t have to apply to a major ever (except music and architecture). If you are admitted to Rice you can major in whatever you want and change majors easily.

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Do you do any esports? Theres some scholarships with that if affordability is an issue.

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