Help me find the college that are perfect for me!


I’m from India, so yes, an international student. I’ve always been passionate about studying in the US, not because it’s US, it’s because the quality of study is far more better than what we get in India. Anyway, I’ll be specifying my likes/hobbies/achievements and i hope that would be enough for you to provide relevant colleges for me.

So, right now I’ve shortlisted following 5 colleges: Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton and Stanford.

My Hobbies: I’m passionate about technology and programming and have thought to take Computer Science in the college. I can currently code in HTML, PHP, CSS, MySQL, Ajax, Javascript and C#. I’ve developed websites and mobile applications for “a few” clients. I also maintain a blog, Youtube channel (with over 120000+ views) and like to do photography in free time.

Some “major” achievements are: I’ve been writing in India’s top technology magazine since almost 2 years. A few years back I stood second in a reality TV show based on mobile app development. I’ve also been covered in over 20 newspapers, once on radio, twice on television and around 5 times on online media.

Co-curricular activities: Red Belt holder,Taekwondo player with Gold-Medal on State level. ~ And other things that I won’t prefer to discuss :wink:

What I want to become in life: I want to help the world by creating some revolutionary technology; in short, entrepreneur.

Currently I’m in Grade 11th and my CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Assessment; CBSE Board) in class 10th was 9.2 out of 10. I haven’t yet taken SAT or any other similar exam but will be taking them during early 2016.

I hope the above could help you know about my personality. So, can you please suggest me what colleges would be perfect for me? I’m looking for something that would promote experiments and practical knowledge rather than just/partial theory. And BTW, how good is princeton and stanford when compared to the rest three?

Those schools are all quite selective and difficult to gain admittance. Perhaps you should buy a guide to colleges and start looking through them to see if you can find some other universities that might spark your interest. Also, consult with your parents about finances as there are school fees associated with going to college in the US and if you have not saved a lot on your own from your client fees, then you might need their support.

Good luck.

I forgot to add that. There’s no financial problem :wink: I just need the colleges that would be relevant for me.

Stanford actually sounds really perfect for what you want - it’s become known as something of an incubator for entrepreneurial technology enthusiasts. Another (Canadian) university that’s well-known for that is the University of Waterloo; I’ve read several articles that included quotes from top tech firm executives that Waterloo has turned out really great students. They have an excellent computer science program and apparently are of some note for entrepreneurship in technology and CS.

The University of Washington also has an excellent computer science department. They just secured a $40 million gift from Microsoft to fund a graduate school program; although it’s for the grad school, some of that will trickle down to the undergrad side (especially if they use it to recruit new faculty and build buildings - and they are building a new CSE building on UW’s campus). UW apparently is a big supplier of talent to Seattle-area tech companies - that’s why MS gave the money. UW also has a center for entrepreneurship, so you can combine your two interests.

Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, and MIT are other good places for tech-minded kids with entrepreneurial dreams. The University of Southern California, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wash U, University of Maryland, University of Arizona, and Lehigh all have centers for entrepreneurial studies.

Babson College is a small liberal arts college focused on business; they have a concentration in technology, entrepreneurship, and design. You may be able to cross-register for coursework at MIT, but that’s 25 minutes away so I wouldn’t rely on that. If you really want to more emphasize the computer science side over the business side that might not be a great choice.

For some more match colleges, you might check out Syracuse’s program in entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises, Northeastern’s program in entrepreneurship and innovation, Baruch College’s center for entrepreneurship, Miami University (often called a “public Ivy”) and their institute for entrepreneurship, Temple University’s innovation and entrepreneurship institute, Clarkson University, and DePaul.

@juillet Thanks for such a valuable insight into American colleges.

I have 2-3 more questions and i hope you don’t mind answering them as well. :slight_smile:

1 I've heard a lot about 'caltech', is it good with computer science courses and 'related' researches? And where would you place them among the five colleges that I've shortlisted i.e. Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton and Stanford?

2 I'm 100% sure that Harvard & MIT are my first choices but I'm kinda unsure that whether Yale, Princeton and Stanford are as good as Harvard & MIT or not? (In terms of quality of education, research work, college life only.)

And not a question exactly, but in your opinion, what do you think that will I be accepted in those colleges or not, considering the achievements and hobbies I mentioned in the first post? (and I also understand that there is no magic-formula to tell me that whether I can be accepted or not but still do you expect to see kids like me in top colleges?) :wink:

And of course, thanks for all the help. :slight_smile:

Juillet gave you a great set of choices…I am less keen on Babson. I would add UT Austin and maybe Ohio State to her list to research.

To answer your question, If you want to study computer science, CalTech is among the very best. I would put it with MIT, Stanford and Carnegie-Mellon (which you did not mention).

But more generally, I am wondering if you equate being the Ivy League as being the best at everything. You might google search “best computer science undergraduate” and “best graduate program computer science” or similar. There are several lists out there to review.

One issue is the size of any school, and that includes the Ivies, some of which are smaller. You’ve taken enough CS already that you will want to go beyond the basics. Go look at the colleges’ own websites and see how many classes are actually offered in the Fall, winter and spring catalog from this past school year. Or how many professors are permanently on staff in computer science, remembering that a couple of them might go on sabbatical in any given year.

Finally, some universities have certain specialties. University of Maryland, mentioned by Juillet, is especially known for its cyber security.

All of the schools you mentioned so far are highly, highly selective. We cannot predict whether you will be admitted. While you have some strong accomplishments, there are many students with great grades, accomplishments and test scores who don’t get admitted.

Juillet gave you some other colleges that are still very strong but more likely to admit you. We call these matches or even “safeties.” Please review and apply to some of these. I also recommend you apply to a range of schools in India.

  1. Caltech is excellent for computer science and related fields. Where I would place it is subjective; if we’re talking strictly about computer science experience I would place it ahead of all of those schools (but only slightly ahead of MIT and Stanford, and it’s a matter of opinion). If we’re talking about overall college experience, it kind of depends on what you are looking for. That said, Caltech is just as competitive as the other colleges - I think the acceptance rate from last year was 9%.
  2. Yes, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford are just as good as Harvard and MIT in terms of all of those areas. MIT and Stanford are better known for computer science and technology-related careers, but you have excellent prospects coming out of any of those schools.

I can’t really offer comment on your chances of acceptance. On the one hand, yes, there are lots of kids like you at these top colleges (assuming that your SAT scores are in the 2200+ range). On the other hand, these schools have single-digit acceptance rates and turn away many qualified students every year. There are amazing students (domestic and international) that get rejected from them all the time, just because so many amazing students apply.

That’s why I suggested some matches - some schools that have higher acceptance rates that you are more likely to be accepted to, and that will match your qualifications. Carnegie Mellon, for example, is a simply excellent school well known for their prowess in tech- and science-related fields, but their acceptance rate is a much more reasonable 25%. Georgia Tech has a 33% acceptance rate. The University of Washington actually admits more than half (55%) its applicants, but I did read somewhere that the acceptance rate to computer science & engineering is more like one-third. Still, 33% is way better than 6%, and their CSE program is excellent!

@juillet @Picapole

Thanks for all your help and suggestions :slight_smile:

So after doing some research and checking other relevant information, I’ve decided to add: Caltech, Carnegie-Mellon and University of California, Berkely + the 5-colleges-list that I mentioned earlier.

1 BTW, one small (silly) doubt: Most colleges specify that cost of attending their college would be, say $55,000. So is this cost for the whole 4 years or is it for 1 year out of 4 (which would be ~55K * 4 for four years?) I guess it would be for 1 years, isn't it?

2 And one more thing, in India, we get a degree known as "B.Tech" when completing any engineering course from any college, similarly what is the name of the degree that I'll be getting from the US colleges?

And any comments on Duke University? (asking because, there are people in India who would boast a lot about their son studying in it).

I wouldn’t rely on that number. CMU admits by department and comp sci is surely one ifit’s most competitive departments along with drama. Last year for the CMU drama school, CMU had well over 2000 applicants for just 20 spots.

Also a lot of these schools have soft quotas for international applicants. For example, Harvard only admits about 5 indians per year out of how many applicants. Maybe a 1000 or more?

@arwarw May I know that from where did you got details about “quota for international applicants”?

Till date, I didn’t heard about it and that’s why I’m curious to know more about ‘quota’.

EDIT: This page of harvard says exactly opposite of what you said.
Please correct me if i’m wrong anywhere.


My assumption of a SOFT quota for international applicants is based on inference from data published by Harvard:

But I could be wrong. Look at the data, and you may conclude differently.

Based on what you said I’d. remove Yale. and add Harvey Mudd for a double degree with mcKenna plus UWashington Honors + cs

My main concern for you is that you are only looking at the very top schools, but don’t really know if you have the stats to get into them yet. What is your class rank? Do you have any idea how people at your level from your high school have fared in admissions to these top schools? If you are not ready for the SAT yet, try to do a practice one to get an idea of where you are. These will help you know if you these schools are really appropriate for you.

If you are considering Carnegie Mellon, make sure you check CMU’s admissions statistics webpage. Some of CMU’s colleges have the lowest acceptance rates in the country. The admitted students (even students admitted to CMU’s colleges with higher acceptances rates) have very high SAT’s averages.

@arwarw Yep, now I get your point.

@MYOS1634 Sorry, I’m not interested in Harvey Mudd but is there any specific reason to remove Yale?

@me29034 Well, I’m from India and over here you would rarely find any kid who would be aspiring to study in US. The situation over here is very very weird. Over here, there’s an exam called as “JEE” for which 1.3 Million kids appear! And out this around 100K students are selected for “JEE Advanced” and out of this, the top 10K get into IITs. While CS course ends up at almost 2K. So you need to get under 2K rank out of 1.3 Million kids in order to study CS in India in a reputed college.
What I’m trying to say is this, the kids over here have more IQ than anyone else in the world but creativity is almost zero! Nobody here aims to do something that would affect lives of people, everyone just wants to work in a big MNC like google.
Now think of those kids (1.3Million minus 10K) ~ So, are these kids worthless? Apparently this happens! The family hardly supports the kid and would JUST expect them to get into IIT or else they see the future blank. Had they inspired creativity instead of just learning the ‘formulas’, those kids would be at a better position. Anyway, this isn’t the topic to talk about here. :wink:

tl;dr: The selection process into colleges in India is very poor!

@ItWorks Definitely, I’ll check it out. Thanks for letting me know :slight_smile:

‘over here you would rarely find any kid who would be aspiring to study in US’

Clearly you are not in the right circles. It’s rare nationally but not so in many circles. Indeed, India sends one of the highest number of students to the US every year.

A Bachelor in Science or Bachelor in Arts degree is common in the US. It doesn’t really matter THAT much…

Please read the posts here from all of the other students from India and notice a common theme.

The common features and synopses from your countrymen, that I have noticed, are:

  1. Applying only to the HYPS/Ivies (so that the families can “boast”?-I find this to be sad and pathetic).

  2. Clueless that it will cost $250k for the 4 years.

  3. Applying as CS majors with coding experience and with minors in medicine.

  4. Overrepresentation, with thousands of countrymen competing against each other, applying for a few spots. Unaware that each peer has the same resume and that only a handful from each country is admitted.

  5. Unwilling to look beyond, and at, the other 3000+ great universities in the U.S. because these are not on some Indian-approved list. Then, when rejected from the Ivies, asking about how to reapply to the same uni’s, if they take a gap year.

  6. Not having a clue about where the HYPS universities are located, and how winter may impact the school’s schedule. Boston had a record average of 9 feet of snow, for months. ABC news reported that in this July week, that the Boston snow pack had finally and completely melted. Hint: Boston has at least 2 of those elite schools.

7). All wanting to major in disciplines for medicine or engineering and being unaware that there are General Education requirements and courses needed to graduate with an American diploma. Also, a false assumption that a degree will gain them American employment status.

So, be aware that your situation is not unique and that you need to apply widely if you hope to study at a US university. We have amazing schools all over the country, not just at the Ivies.

With all due respect, I think your current college list - Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT etc… - indicates a lack of creativity - and insight.

@MYOS1634 (along with others) offered you creative advice to perhaps get a second-to-none Comp Sci/liberal arts education in the United of States - which if you were to obtain the grades and test scores needed, might actually become a reality. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it.

There are well over 100,000 education US Visa’s currently issued to Indians. Many, many Indians want to attend the name-brand US schools like Harvard. Maybe 5 will get in to Harvard next year. How many Indian computer jockeys like yourself will apply? You could well be competing against other Indians with diplomatic ties, Bollywood connections, Olympic skills and aspirations. World class Indian swimmers, tennis players, soccer players, etc…

If you truly want to come to America, and get a fantastic education, broaden your search. If you just want to play the lottery and go to school in India if things don’t pan out, stay the course - you’re on the right track (there’s nothing wrong with that).

Sincerely, best of luck!

@International95 Well, India has a huge population and it’s possible than out of 1.2 billion there would be 5-10K students who also aim to study in US. But still these are in very minority as compared to 1.3M competing for IITs.

And I was asking the degree’s name out of curiosity only and no other idea was behind it. Seriously.

@“aunt bea” I’m fully aware about all the points that you’ve mentioned. In fact in the early posts of this thread, I did mentioned that “there is no financial problem”.

BTW I didn’t quite get your 3rd point. And as a “safety schools”, I’ve already shortlisted “tons” of Indian Colleges. So I’m prepared even if I get rejected by US colleges.

“So, right now I’ve shortlisted following 5 colleges: Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton and Stanford.”

Obviously, you’ve done your research.