Is it worth it to transfer out of an ok computer science school, Lehigh, and move to a better school if given the opportunity?
Depends upon your financial situation & upon the other school in question as well as your career goals.
Don’t forget the social effects either. Lehigh has a sufficient enough CS program that the marginal gain needs to be compared with the negatives beyond the academic lens.
I would classify this as something where you need a good set of reasons to transfer, and if you don’t have those, then you’re better off staying put. “Prestige” is not a good enough reason.
It looks like you are a freshman who hasn’t even gotten to campus yet, and you’re also doing CS+Business which few schools can beat Lehigh for. I would drop this question entirely and revisit at the end of your first year if you still feel like you want to for some reason.
Why are you leaving? was your experience bad? Once you start somewhere, you should stay committed - unless there’s a reason that you can’t tolerate it.
The reason I have this hesitation is because I feel like I can do better. I also don’t want to be in a school where I am the top 5% of admitted applicants (which I believe I am based on scholarships). Do you believe that the CSB program really makes up for the quality of the CS curriculum?
-Are you happy at Lehigh?
-Does the scholarship allow you to attend a private college with no loans and no hardship for your family?
+Do you enjoy the program (joint business/engineering programs are rare)?
If you answered yes then stay where you are. If you do well at Lehigh you will have many opportunities after graduation.
You didn’t share your stats. But the top 5% at Lehigh probably can go to any school in the country.
And if you are, so what. Lehigh is phenomenal. Beautiful. Smart. And their kids get jobs.
You know. One day you will work for someone, many someones who went to colleges you would deem beneath you.
You need to go to the right fit. Period. Fit includes finances and then all the attributes of a school that are right for you.
My daughter is headed to C of Charleston. Of the 17 she got into its 16th if you go by ranking. She turned down Wash & Lee, Miami, American, UF, UGA Honors and more.
She’s in special programs. The money wasn’t great til after she accepted and $9k more came in scholarships.
The point is…the school size, vibe, location, and programs offered are right for her. You need to spend four years on campus, day after day. It has to be the right school, not the one with the highest average ACT.
Btw my son goes to Alabama engineering. He’s near the top academically of students who came in. Turned down a scholarship to Purdue. Those don’t come easy. At Bama he’s gotten through 2 years. His first ever non-A…a C- and he’s had his butt kicked each semester. He thought like you. He was quickly humbled.
Know you WILL be challenged by profs and classmates at Lehigh. And hopefully you will excel.
One thing not to do…,walk in thinking you are better or too good. I promise you that you aren’t. You are as exemplary as all the rest are…but you all start fresh and it’s time to deliver.
For many students, “fit” of the school is mostly defined as prestige / exclusivity / selectivity of the school. This may include the OP, who seems unsatisfied being at a school where they are in the (assumed) “top 5%”.
I understand. But he will realize the reality I’m 4 years that Harvard students work for people that went to Southern Illinois, etc. Not on average but they do.
He chose Lehigh, a wonderful school btw. Why ??
First of all the top 5% of students admitted to CS at many universities might be significantly stronger than the top 5% of students overall. CS is a very competitive major at many schools.
It is hard to give solid advice without knowing more, such as where you could possibly transfer to and what your budget is. High school stats might also help.
However, my first reaction is that you would be better off keeping ahead in your classes, getting to know your professors, and looking for internship opportunities rather than looking for transfer opportunities. Being in the top 5% or top 10% of your class is going to make it easier for you to be noticed. Being noticed plus getting to know your professors might open up some internship opportunities. Having a bachelor’s degree in CS from a very good university (which Lehigh is) with good references and good internship opportunities is likely to make you very employable in four years.
Or at least this is my first reaction in seeing your post.
My second reaction is that getting a good scholarship will help you avoid debt, which will also be very helpful four years from now.
I want to highlight for everyone again that OP has yet to set foot on campus. This is a prestige chasing worry, and there’s nothing that has been said that’s wrong about fit or anything for Lehigh yet. I’d truly put this on hold until the end of your first year and go from there
This is the wrong framing of the question. There’s nothing wrong with the CS curriculum at Lehigh, it’s likely to be likely to many places you might be thinking of transferring to. The only minor difference is the “name” of the place, which is not that important in CS to begin with since Lehigh has a decent CS program. It’s a small incremental update at best, which is not a good reason to transfer on its own.
If you want CS and Business, then there aren’t many places to go better. So if you’d transfer, you’d likely lose the business focus. If you don’t care about that, why would you do CSB in the first place?
In general I think it is a terrible idea to start one college with the intent of transferring out. This will stand in the way of your making meaningful friendships, developing relationships with professors, and getting involved on campus. Then if your transfer doesn’t work out as planned you will be really stuck. I’d go to the college you enrolled in with the intent of staying all four years. It is fine to throw in a couple of transfer applications but don’t count on it working out.
Dead on - so many young kids start off with, I’m going here for a year and then transferring. The only reason to do that (knowing in advance) is community college.
These students get the guarantee transfer - like BU - which benefits the college, but not the student. They are just filling holes from those who transfer out, etc./ churn. And by the way, these “guarantees” always have minimums required - which a kid would qualify for anyway.
The reason I am concerned is because I am not that great. I had a 1500 sat, 3.7 UW GPA, and took around 11 AP classes. I don’t feel as though I should be the top 5% anywhere.
Additionally I feel like Lehigh might be taking a turn for the worse, and I just bought a multi thousand dollar trip on that ride. The acceptance rate and rankings are slipping, and they recently lost their president. To compound this the CS department apparently imploded in 2018, and I am unsure if the quality has returned. All of this is to say, I don’t feel comfortable with the 4 year outcome of this school. I believe I made a mistake in turning down offers from University of Rochester and University of Maryland.
I understand your concerns about Lehigh. The incoming President is the current provost at Dartmouth college. I don’t think you should write him off just yet. As far as transferring, I’d recommend giving Lehigh a chance. The CSB program is very good and somewhat unique. The employers that hire out of Lehigh aren’t judging whether to hire based on some random ranking. They’re hiring because the kids they’ve hired before are great! The faculty hasn’t changed. The curriculum hasn’t changed. The school maybe having some growing pains. They are implementing a very ambitious strategic plan. They just announced the groundbreaking of the new business building. They’re pivoting to increase diversity and focus more on need based vs merit aid. However, if you’re that concerned you made a bad decision, you can 1. Call either or both Maryland and Rochester and see if they have room for you for this fall, or 2. give Lehigh a shot but plan to apply for transfer to Rochester and Maryland. I think you have a good chance for acceptance at both. Then you can decide how you want to proceed.
You chose Lehigh for a reason, or maybe a few reasons. I’d encourage you go in with an open mind.
First off, I highly doubt you are in the top 5% at Lehigh with those numbers. Or the top 5% at UMD or U of R. Don’t confuse getting a scholarship with necessarily that you are the creme de la creme. Schools “discount” the sticker price - and that’s likely what happened here.
I think you will struggle through life if you second guess your gut. You committed to Lehigh - and frankly, both U of R and UMD are gone - so it doesn’t matter. In fact, UMD sent my daughter an email after April 1st cancelling her app for not sending in her deposit.
Colleges change administration - just like when you get in the working world, companies change bosses. You can’t run everytime there’s new personnel.
I can come up with “fatalistic” reasons at any school to turn you off of them.
Go to college with an attitude of success, not looking for negatives.
In life, everything isn’t perfect - but you will be the one that generally brings your success, so work hard, get involved, and make a name for yourself. Jobs will be a plenty at Lehigh.
So you think they are slipping - I’m glad you think so. I think they’re a great schoo and they’re not. What you and I think - and frankly what US News thinks - doesn’t really matter.
btw - since 2016 their rank is steady (49 today vs. 47 then) and do you even know what goes into rank?
In 2024, 22% of admitted students had a 1500+ SAT.
What would you deem are “better” schools? Rose Hulman is the #1 engineering school in the country (non-PHD). They admit 74%.
You are grasping at straws for no reason. You have buyer’s remorse - and I suspect you’d have the same at UMD and U of R if you chose them.
Anyway, I highly doubt you can change at this time. If you haven’t started, you’re not a transfer - and schools have already withdrawn offers to those who did not deposit by their deadline.
Lehigh is FANTASTIC - if you want it to be.
You will learn in life - not everything goes perfectly, but it’s how you handle it that will matter. This is a lesson right here.
Programmer here. It’s definitely not worth it. CS is an absurdly employable degree where the industry is based entirely on hands-on experience. In about 3 years employers don’t even ask where you went to college, because by that time it’ll be completely irrelevant. Just keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll be fine.
I really appreciate your response. I’ve spent some time thinking about the root of my issues with Lehigh, and I’ve realized that many of them are not as substantial as I thought.
I suppose most of the stress came from the fact that I am currently surrounded by people that have done very well in the college admissions process. I had always considered myself at least somewhat intelligent and able to hang around with those kids. While that’s not necessarily wrong, there is one other factor that sets me apart from them. My willingness to apply myself. I’ve never really been willing to put my full effort in and I always have excuses like “it’s good enough” and “I’ll do better next time”. Now I realize that there might not be a next time. What I do now matters a lot more then what I want to do, and the gap between those needs to narrow. While obviously I cannot say unequivocally that I will narrow that gap while at Lehigh, what I can say is that now that I’ve had this rude awakening I better understand what I need to do to not experience it again in four years time. Whatever I put in is what comes out.
I know this really long and probably something that you don’t even care about, but it really helped me to put it in writing. I’ve had a fog over this topic and now that I’ve put it in writing it’s much clearer. Thank you so much.
Lehigh is a wonderful name that I’d certainly be proud of - and if you take advantage of their offerings, you’ll do just fine in life.
Go, work hard, and enjoy the fruits of your success. Good luck.