Rejected by GaTech. What went wrong? Please help

OP, if your student is evaluating various schools for CS from the RD pool, here is some data you may be interested in:

Haven’t read through the entire thread, but I know of multiple students at our school who were either rejected or deferred from Ga Tech but then get accepted by one or more HYPSM schools. And at the same time, lower ranked kids from our school get acceptance there.

One of the deferrals I remember had published research in a peer-reviewed journal, made USAMO multiple times, and founded a pretty impactful club. He was accepted into Stanford, Harvard, and MIT, and currently attends MIT.

Whenever I see “Chance Me” threads that mention Ga Tech, I tell them admission there seems to be a complete crapshoot.


I’m very skeptical about this Reddit post. We hire regularly from most of these schools and I find such a large variance in median salary hard to believe. Something is off here.


For CS. Less of a crapshoot for a Chem major, Applied Math major, Civil Engineering, Industrial/Product Design, etc.

You cannot look at overall acceptance rates and who gets in where if you are looking at an over-crowded major. It doesn’t work that way. MIT cannot run a university where EVERYONE is a CS major. Georgia Tech cannot run a university where EVERYONE is a CS major.

“Fit” means how does a particular university meet my needs AND how do I fit the institution’s needs. Stoneybrook? Fine choice for a CS major. U Mass? Fine choice for a CS major.

OP, I’m not picking on you. But you’ve gotta help your D pivot- and fast- to falling in love with her “safety”. Best case she tells them no in April and has a few lingering regrets. Worst case she ends up there- and you don’t want her trudging off in August like she’s been sentenced to four years in Sing-Sing.


Reddit- GIGO.

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It seems that the main issue was the OOS status of the student. I agree with others. The safety wasn’t well thought out (because OP said of course, her child isn’t happy about it) and the list is very reachy. Rankings aren’t the best way to make a list, but I suspect this student will get into at least a couple more schools.

This thread might provide some food for thought.


This is where the data is from:

You can click on a university and major combination, and scroll down the page to find the median number 3 years after graduation.


I got rejected fron georgia tech, similar stats although no big awards (make up for it with a lot of internships though) but got a full ride at UNC as OOS. College admissions are so variable that I dont think there’s any one thing your daughter was lacking.


I think the large variation probably is accurate, and representative of the geographic location where grads end up. Midwest and south salaries aren’t going to be as high as CA, MA, etc.


Thanks, I’ll take a look. Was looking for the source. The information posted in the Reddit post goes against years of observed data (by both myself and friends who are senior leaders at FAANG and other tech companies). And of course, it appears to ignore region and industry differences.

But more than that, I am alarmed by this statement:

Pretty useful info for people deciding whether to take on more debt to go to a higher ranked school.

Because it’s based on a dangerous idea - that taking on large amounts of debt is justified to go to a higher ranked program.

Anyway, both points are off topic to this thread so I’ll leave it at that. We can have a separate thread if needed.


There are several contributing factors. One is that CollegeScorecard only includes grads who are in the federal database (usually Pell grants) for a small number of years (may be only single year). This leads to a small sample size at many colleges, which is not representative of the full student body. This can artificially create a larger variation in median salary than actually occurs. The small sample size leads to some colleges being reported much higher than actual, and others being reported much lower than actual.

The 2nd and often more influential factor is CS salary shows a large correlation with location. The colleges that have the largest portion of students working in very high cost of living areas, such as Silicon Valley or Seattle, tend to have the highest starting salaries. At some colleges, nearly all grads move to very high cost of living areas after graduating. However, at most colleges, a good portion of graduates do not choose to work in very high cost of living areas, which contributes to why they show lower salaries.

I’ll use Brown and GATech as an example. Brown shows the 2nd highest CS tax reported earnings on the list at $185k, while GATech shows a much lower $110k. I think most would say GATech is a better college in CS than Brown, and GATech students probably have better experience on average than Brown with one the highest rates of co-ops in the US, probably the highest. So why do GATech grads have so much lower earnings than Brown grads?

Looking at their respective post-graduate surveys, GATech’s survey shows by far the largest portion of CS grads work in the state of Georgia – 149 in the most recent year. Florida is the 2nd most common location at 11. However, the number working in California is too small to list for privacy reasons. None work in Seattle. GATech grads tend to be Georgia residents who have family/friends in GA and prefer to live in GA after graduating. Few choose to move to very high cost of living areas like Silicon Valley or Seattle after graduating. ’

In contrast looking at the Brown post graduate survey, nearly every CS grad chooses to work in very high cost of living areas – Silicon Valley, Seattle, NYC, or Boston. For all practical purposes nobody chooses to remain in state. The comparison might be more similar to Brown’s >$150k (small sample size boosts some colleges and hurts others, Brown likely was a boosted college) for grads that choose to work in very high cost of living areas vs GA Tech’s $110k for grads that choose to remain in Georgia.

This can have implications on a student’s goals after graduation. If the student would like to remain in Georgia, GATech is probably going to better assist with that goal. For example, there are going to be a lot more GA companies at career fairs than would occur at other colleges, more opportunities for internships or special networking at GA companies, etc. In contrast, if you want to work in a very high cost of living area (SV, Seattle, NYC, or Boston); Brown is likely to have a good representation of companies at career fairs and may have special connections at out of state companies.


It’s a little deceptive to talk about “in state” and Brown.

Rhode Island is a tiny state with a very sparse tech presence in the commercial sector. Not so in Life Sciences which is pretty robust, and it’s a known destination for VC’s looking for early stage companies which are bio or bio medical. But not in CS.

So it means looking to Boston (a 45 minute drive) where there IS a robust tech industry. I think most students can handle interviewing for jobs 45 minutes off campus.

I would also dispute your assertion that GA tech “probably” have better experience on average than Brown. Based on what- coop? Students at Brown don’t coop because the culture is for “four years and out”; there are ample internship opportunities for the summer (so a 12 week experience gives future employers a way to evaluate prospective employees). And a student who is interested in a strong CS program AND wants to so interdisciplinary work (CS and Life Sciences which is exploding; CS and Applied Math- which is a strong department at Brown; CS and virtually ANYTHING humanities based) is going to have a significantly easier time doing that at Brown where interdisciplinary is the name of the game. I interviewed a Brown CS/Psych major a few years ago- WOW. Cutting edge research in both disciplines which would blow your mind.

So I’m pushing back. There are three handfuls of undergrads at Brown who go there with the intention of staying in Providence (the only major city in the state). And virtually all of them are interested in Poli Sci and Education, since the Brown campus is close to the State House (tons of opportunities) and both the Pawtucket and Providence school systems have been collaborating with the university for decades.


I’m pretty sure students with any form of federal loan are included, not just Pell, which is a grant. Still, it is a limited sampling.

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DS, who got into Case EA last year visited over the summer, attended an in-person meeting at a hotel in NYC, signed up for the interview. He’s not a social media person, so I followed them on instagram and opened all the emails. It was worth it - I learned a lot about Case (and still sort of feel like it was one of the two that got away - luckily I have another kid who tagged along on our first visit and loved Case and Cleveland … so we’ll see).

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GeorgiaTech has what the website calls “the largest voluntary coop program in the United States.” A large portion of GATech grads do a 5-year program with alternating semesters of working full time and attending classes full time. Enough students do coops to reduce GATech’s 4-year graduation rate to 51%. Many GATech students who do coops also do summer internships. It’s not a choice of only one or the other. The extra year of work experience provides more work experience than occurs for typical grads from other colleges.

There is no pushing back or disagreement. This is essentially what I wrote in my original post. GATech CS grads are more likely to prefer to remain in Georgia. Brown CS grads are more likely to prefer to leave the Rhode Island area. I did not imply that CS students go to Brown with the intention of staying in Rhode Island.


We did a lot of analysis of the outcomes when we applied to CS/CE programs last cycle. Median salaries don’t really mean much for all the reasons outlined in this thread and elsewhere. We also didn’t put too much stock into major specific salaries.

Instead, we:

  • Made of list of target job types of interest (quant trading, consulting, internet etc.)
  • Create a list of target employers within these segments (Citadel, MBB etc.)
  • Checked career fair and company site info to ascertain that the school is a “core” school and that there is a dedicated campus recruiter
  • Quantified the number of alumni at these companies (and where they started out of undergrad)
  • Identified if there is an ecosystem of clubs and courses and what type of recruiters they are able to attract to club events
  • Check how many students (across majors) were placed at these target firms in recent years

S22 had a lot of varying industries of interest, so this was a cumbersome, but in the end a very rewarding exercise.


I was just commenting on the origin of the data, not its utility.

I think all of the analyses that you did were probably very helpful. It’s the sort of DIY ranking I recommend everyone do. :+1:

As an aside, I think the College Scorecard is useful, if properly contextualized.

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Yep, we used college scorecard too. Mainly we used that and the various rankings to create an initial list of target schools. We ended up having to make a tough choice between some really good schools and that’s where this type of custom analysis came in handy.

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Which relates to why I said “usually”. In 2019, 36% of students attending 4-year public or private not-for-profit colleges received a Pell grant compared to 18% who took a federal loan without a Pell grant – “usually” a Pell grant.


That’s 54%, which is pretty significant amount of data. Granted, it doesn’t include everyone, but it’s a larger subset than I realized.