Match/chance me for CS at MIT/Stanford/UCB/UW, looking for matches and safeties


  • US domestic
  • Washington state (so WICHE tuition exchange applies)
  • Public high school
  • Male ORM
  • No hooks

Intended Major
Computer Science

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 4.0
  • UC GPA: 4.29
  • No rank or weighted GPA
  • ACT score: 35 (36 Math/Sci, 35 English, 34 Reading)


  • 4 junior APs, 6 senior, 10 total
  • AP scores: (5) CS (exam only, didn’t take class), Calc AB, APUSH; (4) Physics 1, Lang
  • Level 4 foreign language


  • Winner of a competition hosted by one of the biggest US tech companies
  • USACO Silver
  • AP Scholar with Distinction
  • Finalist team at a big hackathon


  • Developer of commercial mobile app with 70k+ downloads, which comes with responsibilities like a part-time job. Covered by international tech news.
  • 2021: CS contract work for a non-profit project. Built two flagship features from scratch that have attracted a lot of users. Covered by tech news.
  • 2022: CS research internship at Stanford. Expecting to submit paper co-authored with Stanford, MIT, and Berkeley to a respected conference by December. Rejected two industry internship offers.
  • Maintainer of 70 open-source (free & collaborative) code projects on GitHub with 300k+ users and 6k+ stars of interest combined, including reusable packages to help other developers.
  • Lead developer of a family of open-source projects with thousands of users
  • Coding club officer since this year. Coordinated effort to join a network of clubs, and now organizing projects and workshops.
  • Recently launched a commercial service and website aimed at developers, but not as successful as my top activities (yet).
  • Self-driven research in a relatively obscure field somewhat related to CS. Developed a novel algorithm not published, but used as the tech behind some other projects in this section.
  • Contributed to 100 open-source projects, including ones maintained by big tech companies (volunteer)
  • Helping other developers in a community to give back (volunteer)

More ECs (not on application due to lack of space)

  • Passion projects with AI and other useless but creative technical experiments, mostly not published. One covered by international tech news.
    • Should I replace other activities with any of these?
  • Discovered and responsibility disclosed a security vulnerability to a big tech company
  • Participated and won in a big hackathon (as a team)
  • Competition mentioned in awards section, plus a little bit of USACO but nothing serious.

Additional info

  • Several of my projects covered by US (>15) and international tech news outlets
    • Would this fit better in another section?
  • 100+ donors supporting my work
  • Built an online audience around my hobby work
  • Also tied all of my ECs together with a small summary of progression through computer science (hobby turned business, etc.) in the additional info section.


  • Essays: 7-8/10
  • Teacher recs: 7/10 (highlight) humanities, 10/10 (“once in career”) STEM
  • Supplemental rec from Stanford CS professor

Cost Constraints / Budget
No constraints. Merit aid/scholarships would be nice to have but not critical. Not likely to get much need-based aid, but will probably apply regardless.

(RD unless otherwise specified)

  • Safety: ?
  • Likely: ?
  • Match: University of Washington, ?
  • Reach: Stanford (REA), MIT, UC Berkeley

Criteria and candidates

  • Candidates I’ve looked at: CMU, Purdue, Harvard (smaller CS dept), Caltech, RIT, UC Davis, UC Irvine, Cal Poly Humboldt, Oregon State, CMU, Utah State, Northwestern, UIUC, Georgia Tech, and Brown.
  • Aiming for a total of ~11 schools at most, but I’m open to more or fewer if needed.
  • Location matters somewhat to me. I’d prefer the coastal states so Utah isn’t particularly high on my list, but I guess I can’t be so picky about this.
  • Having a hard time deciding what to look for other than location. Not sure about size or other preferences, but I really need more matches and safeties. AP credit transfer would be nice but not a deal-breaker.
  • Also interested in merit scholarships, but colleges are higher priority for now. Teachers offered to adapt LORs for scholarships.

I realize this is a bit late so I’m trying to figure everything out ASAP, but I’ve already submitted Stanford REA and started several other applications. I was also a bit vague for privacy so feel free to ask for clarifying details. More interested in matching than chancing, but both are appreciated!

From a financial POV, I’d say Arizona - but it’s not “coastal”. I have a hard time, someone who is applying to MIT and Stanford, also applying to Humboldt, for example (sorry Humboldt fans).

Cal Poly Pomona…not really coastal is WUE. So is Hawaii and the WWU is in-state.

Not WUE but San Diego State, Cal Poly SLO,

Not coastal per se but how about a U of Florida. Close to the coast would be U of Miami.

Oregon State isn’t coastal either but it’s a fine choice if you fall into it.

If you are willing to pay for UC, then add to your list - Irvine, San Diego, Santa Barbara, etc.

You’re super strong. But you are only applying to the creme de la creme. Hopefully one works out.

Good luck.

UC CS admit rates for 2021/2022:

If applying for EECS, it was 4.5% . CS in the College of Letters and Sciences was 2.9% (2022)

UCI’s 2021 admit rate for CS was 7.1%. For 2022, the admit rate was 5.8%

If you want more of a Match or Likely UC’s for CS, then UC Santa Cruz (71% for 2021) and Riverside (36% for 2022). UC Davis is definitely possible also but not a solid Match and unfortunately I have no CS major specific data.

You have excellent credentials and since the UC’s give little to no merit or need-based FA especially to OOS applicants and are test blind, there are plenty of similar schools where your stats will garner decent merit aid.

Best of luck.

Thanks for the suggestions. To clarify, I’m not strictly looking for schools near the coasts—coastal state is good enough—and I’d be willing relax that for better matches/safeties. Same goes for the financial side of things.

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states come in all shapes and sizes - so add U of AZ/ASU (it’s close enough to the coast, Virginia Tech (coastal state), UMASS, UMD.

Good luck.

UMD and Purdue had 11/1 deadlines for early action. CS in RD will be reaches now, and no merit $ or honors.

Take a look at RPI and Case Western. Both are strong in CS and would be matches for you.


I would pick the University of Utah over Utah State (and most other west coast safeties), you should also get great merit (~full tuition) with your stats. It’s not coastal though you can see salt water from the dorms :wink: But more seriously, if you like the outdoors, it is hard to beat, especially for skiing. You need to apply by Dec 1 for merit.

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You’re right - totally missed the calendar. Thanks for that.

He wants coastal states - so RPI touches the cost, Ohio doesn’t.

RPI isn’t near the coast - but that’s semantics :slight_smile:

For any added schools, OP will have to note who has had EA - and does that impact the acceptance rate at that school. OP may need to schools that have only ED/RD or no deadlines.

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I would definitely highlight this one in your EC section. It says a lot about your skills and your character and is something that even non-CS people can understand the significance of.

In terms of matching you, I’m assuming that you want suggestions beyond the candidates you’ve already looked at. With that assumption, I’d look at:

  • U. of Massachusetts
  • Rice (TX)…it is along a coast
  • North Carolina State
  • Virginia Tech…seconding that suggestion
  • Worcester Polytechnic (MA)
  • Wentworth (MA)

Congrats on your achievements.

Commenting on your activities that didn’t make it on the app…I would create a resume with all of your accomplishments, and send that to the schools that allow it.

UIUC EA had a 11/1 deadline, RD will be next to impossible for CS. Same is true for Purdue and UMD as momofboiler mentioned. I would probably not even apply to these, at least leave those last if you choose to still apply.

You also missed WPI and NC State EA deadlines. CS in RD will be unpredictable, but I would still try for these schools.

U Mass Amherst has an EA deadline of 11/5…can you make that? (you should to maximize your chances, again, CS in RD will be tough)

VT EA - 12/1, make that deadline.

I think Oregon State is a great idea, Oregon as well (but you missed the EA and honors deadlines for Oregon).

What about landlocked U Utah (12/1 EA deadline)?

You might also consider UC Boulder but obviously they are landlocked too (11/15 EA deadline)


Looks like the biggest takeaway for me is that ED makes a significant difference in acceptance for some schools. I might’ve applied to some public ones along with Stanford REA if I was aware of that beforehand, but I guess it’s too late now…

Will definitely apply to Oregon State and Virginia Tech, and look into the later EA/ED deadlines for schools that REA doesn’t exclude. UMass Amherst EA is a bit tight—I think I can make it, but one of my recommenders is ill right now so that may be a bit challenging.

Per the UMASS website, they require a letter of rec. If you’ve applied to Stanford REA, you’ve already got two - assuming you used the Common App. So there’s nothing to do there.

I do worry that you’re applying to “names” without knowing anything about the schools - but I guess you can suss that out later after you get in.

I know others mentioned WPI and RPI - both fine schools but obviously not “traditional” schools - but may be others to look at.

Good luck to you.

Rice, Maryland, Rutgers, and NC State? Northeastern if you like Boston. UCF is strong for CS. CMU and GT would be worth an application.

UT Austin Turing Program Turing Scholars | Department of Computer Science and UCSB CCS Computing Computing | UCSB College of Creative Studies would both warrant a look for someone so hyper-focused on CS.

I have letters, but the issue is that one of them—the stronger one—has Stanford-specific wording and needs to be tweaked, and the teacher who wrote it is ill. I’ll try to get it figured out ASAP.

I’m also worrying about fit, which is part of why I made this matching thread. I’ll have time to look at other candidates more carefully, but UMass looks good at a glance and I don’t have much time to look into it.

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As mentioned by other posters above, the EA deadline for Maryland has passed and RD CS is very, very hard.

Rutgers - the priority deadline (for honors consideration) has also passed and I wouldn’t recommend Rutgers without honors to OP.

I’m personally not a fan of Northeastern, but even leaving that aside it’s not worth the cost for CS, IMO.

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If the Stanford specific teacher’s LoR is what’s holding up some apps (especially if it can’t be fixed until past some EA or merit deadlines), I would encourage you to let that concern go and send it to other schools…colleges see that not uncommonly.

For schools that only require one LoR, you do have a second one, correct? In that case, you could send that one to UMass (if that school looks good to you), because you should apply by 11-5 for the best chance of admission and merit aid.

Missing the other EA deadlines was 100% my fault for not knowing that it can make such a big difference for some schools, not because of LORs.

I’ll apply to UMass EA for sure, and either keep the specialized letter (because it’s stronger) or remove it depending on whether it can be edited in time.

Out of curiosity - how do you know this?

The teacher told me that it mentions Stanford specifically.