Non-traditional transfer student struggling to find targets (reverse chance me)

Hi all,

I have a pretty unusual background and I’m having some trouble with figuring out what reasonable schools to apply to are. I’m interested in studying computer science, with a potential dual-major in math. I’m fortunate that cost is close to a non-factor for me.

I had a 2.9 GPA in high school and then went to a 4 year-state school and dropped out after a year with a 1.0 GPA in 31 credits.

After a 4 year hiatus I went back to community college and have a 4.0 over 2 semesters. I think I will be able to maintain it for the next two, and will take a lot of the most difficult classes I can, including every higher level math class the CC offers (through differential equations). I’ve also taken Discrete Math as a non-degree seeking student at the local state flagship and will take algorithms and data structures there in the fall semester.

As far as extra-curriculars go, I mainly had one. I was obsessed with a video game throughout high-school. Once I flunked out of college I was able to play it professionally for several years, and was likely one of the top 5-10 players in North America during my peak. I kind of lost my passion for the game over the years though, and decided to pursue a more traditional career while I still could.

I’ve done one major project outside of that, where I worked on a forecasting model for a different esport, and made over 50,000$ profit betting betting on the model over the past 2 years. I’m not sure how valuable this is, as it’s hard for them to verify, but if I’m applying to a college that interviews I can go into detail about how it worked.

I’m on track to graduate in the fall of this year and am looking at schools that accept spring transfers. This means that when I’m applying for schools my cumulative GPA will be about 2.7 counting both institutions. Fall classes could bring it up to ~3, but they won’t have the grades for those yet.

I really have no idea how my extracurriculars will be perceived and how much my pretty awful academic past will be held against me.

My current list is:

NYU (Legacy)
UMass-Amherst (Probably a reach for CS right?)
NC State (Their website lists a 3.0 GPA requirement for engineering school transfers so maybe not worth applying?)

Virginia Tech
In-state flagship

In-state tier 2

I’d definitely appreciate any ideas people have, especially for targets and safeties!

You may want to contact the schools in question to find out the following:

  • Whether they will disregard or deprioritize your several year old record of 1.0 GPA in favor of your newer record of 4.0 GPA.
  • If you repeated (not necessarily at the same college) any of the earlier courses where you earned D or F grades, how the schools you are applying to treat that for GPA purposes (i.e. do they allow for grade replacement in calculating GPA?).

Spring transfer admission may be less predictable at colleges where most intake is in the fall.


The best thing to do is put your story on the essay. That gives you a killer comeback story, while explaining the grade trend. They’re going to see what you’re doing now first and foremost and see that it’s a 4.0. And your essay will put everything else into context.