Help with son's college list - NE, Mid-Atlantic, CS Major

Would appreciate any feedback on a college list for my son - a current senior at a big public high school in NE.

GPA is a 4.0 UW and a 4.35W (school doesn’t rank but probably in the top 4-6%). Got one B+ freshman year, rest As. Honors and AP courses - three AP courses done - two fives and a four on the three AP tests. Currently taking three more AP courses.

SAT - took them twice and superscore of 1560 (800 math).

Some ECs but many - volunteer assignments, couple clubs but no leadership positions. Currently starting a job at a software company as a grunt intern.

Did not fill out FASA, expect to be full pay (but any merit would be nice).

His first choice for major is Computer Science but he is not 100% set on that. He is 100% caucasion and both of us parents went to college.

Schools under consideration: UVA, William & Mary, Pitt Honors, RIT, Rochester, Boston College, Northeastern, Villanova, our State school, Wesleyan (bit smaller than what he thinks is his size match), Brown (long shot I assume).

He is more comfortable in a mid-sized school not in a big urban area.

Any and all feedback on this list would be greatly appreciated, as well as names of other schools to consider.


How far away from New England is he willing to go?

Is he likely to be NMF?

If you are willing to look at UVa and William & Mary, what about Virginia Tech? (Unless that is too large for his taste.)

New here and can’t think of what NMF is.

V-Tech is too large.

Trying to get him to consider G-Tech if he is really serious about CS. Twisting his arm to look at CMU too but that CS school has an extremely low acceptance rate.

NMF = National Merit Finalist.

Georgia Tech is not a school that is “not in a big urban area.” It’s also an extremely tough nut to crack for OOS applicants.

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How about Case and RPI?

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He is not an NMF. He got a 1440/1520 on PSAT I believe.

On G-Tech…yes, right in Atlanta is definitely an urban setting but it is such a good school for CS that I would think he has to think hard about applying there.

He crossed off Case. RPI is a possibility.

Thank you.

Consider UNC-Chapel Hill: highly rated undergraduate CS program, and a similar undergraduate population to Pitt (which is on your son’s list). Like Georgia Tech, however, it also is a tough nut to crack for OOS applicants.

How much merit are you looking for? Would you consider going further South or further West?

Luckily no merit needed. As much as it frustrates me I don’t think he wants to go further South or West. But, he is going to college, not me right? Got to remind myself of that sometimes, lol.

We are throwing around UNC - Chapel Hill and possibly Duke if he wants another long shot on the list.

Thank you.

Northeastern isn’t a school for people who don’t like urban settings . Tufts (still somewhat urban but not in the way Northeastern and BU are) might be more to his liking, and also good for CS.

UMass Amherst is excellent for CS, has a great honors college, and is in a great non-urban college town(s) type area. (Maybe that’s the in-state option you allude to; if so it’s a very good one!)


I think when you combine Wesleyan with the fact that it is close to a pretty diverse downtown, it gives off a busier vibe than its size might indicate. The foot traffic is fairly constant and watch out when the clock strikes the quarter hour: suddenly, every footpath is full of students switching classes. It took me quite by surprise the first time I witnessed it. Academically, even without an engineering program, DS may want to take a look at its offerings in Math, Physics, Life Sciences (Molecular-Bio-Bio-Chem), Economics, and its minor in Data Analysis:
Data Analysis, Wesleyan University - Wesleyan University

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Lehigh has over 5K undergrads, in a rural/suburban setting, and has engineering, business, and design options in addition to CS and the usual arts & sciences. Probably a low-match with his stats (he might get merit $) and it seems like the vibe may fit what he’s looking for.

We actually visited Lehigh. Beautiful campus but the surrounding area didn’t seem like it had much to offer just yet. Bethlehem seems to be making a comeback but it did put us off a bit. Is that too harsh of a criticism, are we totally off base here?

WPI? Good for CS and mid-sized. A match for your son.


I think your list is great. As good as G tech is, if he doesn’t like urban there’s no point in suffering. Tufts may work ?? Wake. Brandeis ?

Your list is solid and adding a WPI will give you another option. I threw the others out as more names but the list is fine. It has reach, match and safety.

While you don’t need merit, do you want to spend $320k if you can spend $100k or less ? You can take advantage of his success at a school like UAH for example.

GT is very urban. OOS acceptance is around 15%. Cost for OOS is around $50k which isn’t bad. Being full-pay might give you a bump. With lots of AP credits 3 years is doable.

Apply EA2 I believe. EA1 is in state but check. It’s changed since my son applied. He attends now. Plenty of direct flights.

NC State, Maryland and Pitt would be nice options. I think Northeastern is one of those schools you like or hate. S20 liked it. He also liked the co-op option. Pitt isn’t a huge school. Around 18k undergrads and somewhat urban but lots of green.

There are two sections of Bethlehem. The side across the river from Lehigh is very gentrified with restaurants, upscale housing etc. The side of the river with Lehigh is much more urban in feel and working class. However, it’s vibrant and has many restaurants and shops for students to access. It seems to me that the side closest to Lehigh is up and coming. I will say we felt safe in all areas walking around day or night.

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Thank you for this insight. Definitely appreciate it.