Low GPA High Scores CS Chances

12th grade student from PA, straight white male
Looking to apply CS Regular Decision to CMU, UIUC, UMich, UMD, and Purdue

SAT: Math 800 EBRW: 720
ACT: 34 Math: 36 English: 35 Reading: 32 Science: 33
AP CS: 5
AP Physics 1: 4

Unweighted: 3.49
Weighted: 3.78

Honors Geometry, Honors Biology, Honors Wind Ensemble (top level band, 4 years), Honors Algebra 2, AP CS, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Calc AB, AP Psych

Marching Band 4 years: Quad Captain
8 hours a week/21 weeks a year
Indoor Percussion 3 years: quad captain
14 hours a week/22 weeks a year
Software Engineering Internship 3 years
30 hours a week/12 weeks a year
Concert Percussion 3 years
4 hours a week/15 weeks

Letters of Recommendation:
CS Teacher (10/10): she knows me well and is really impressed with my abilities and knowledge in CS. She had a friend who needed a website built and recommended me to her as a freelancer
Band Director (9/10): I don’t know him super well, but he knows how much of a commitment i made to the band programs and we are on really good terms

Grades Curve (I don’t know what to call it):
I had a decent 9th grade year 50/50 As and Bs
Big drop in 10th grade some As, some Bs, 2 Cs
Big rise in 11th grade all As except one B with 2 APs and 2 Honors classes that year

My dad got his masters from UMD and PhD from Purdue (computer engineering)
My mom got her BS from Purdue (speech language pathology)

I applied to Michigan State as a safety (RD) and got accepted 8 days later. I think it’s a good sign, but i just hope my drop in grades doesn’t hurt me too much.

High or unrealistic reach for CS at CMU and UIUC.

Purdue fills the majority of their class in EA. I think an RD acceptance is going to be a reach there too.

do you have a link to where you got that?

"If you’re a high school student, you should apply early in your senior year; admission will be much more competitive if you apply later. The freshman application is available beginning August 1 .

“* Priority application deadline for computer science, nursing, professional flight technology (Priority means we will continue accepting applications after this date only if space allows — if applying for one of these programs after November 1, check the closed programs page first.)”

Note that CS is already showing as “closed” for Fall '21: Closed Programs - Undergraduate Admissions - Purdue University

I just checked on deadlines and I believe the only one of these schools still accepting RD applications for Fall 2021 admission is Michigan.

I don’t know if your applications were already in. I do think that most are reaches for you. Rest assured that if you come out as a Comp Sci major, or better yet a double major Comp Sci plus Math, even if it’s from the least competitive state college, you will have more job offers than you know what to do with, and after that first job, it’s your work history you’ll be judged on, not the school you went to.

Did you apply to Penn State?

Ya I did and all of my applications were in before their deadlines. I just left out my safety schools. If it matters I also applied to Ohio State, Penn State, NC State, Boston University, Pitt, and Case Western.

I guess it was misleading when i said “looking to apply”. My bad, guys

Have you been accepted to any schools other than MSU?

No. I only applied regular decision, and the next decision release isn’t until mid february

I don’t think any of the those schools can be considered safeties for Computer Science. Best of luck with the upcoming decisions.


I will be a little more optimistic and give you a reasonable chance at Maryland and Purdue. I am seeing your transcript, though, as a combination of A’s, A-'s and B’s - no C’s. BU and Case are not safe IMO - at least as hard as UMD. The other safeties feel appropriate. Good luck!

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small update: rejected from uiuc and accepted into ohio state

Congratulations on Ohio State. Have you heard yet from Pitt (rolling) or Penn State (modified rolling)?

Keep us posted. No word from the others?

No other decisions yet. The next wave will be in mid to late march, so I’ll update you guys then

good luck!

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If you can afford Michigan State, I would just go for that. If you managed to get into these other places, that’s only half the battle. Their CS programs are so ridiculously competitive, that you could end-up double screwed if you go there and get rejected for CS. Right now, you’re already in a great school and a reasonable assurance of getting into the major you want. BTW…CS is ridiculously employable.

That’s dark. IDK why you’re treating a teacher like that my guy.