I survived admissions season. Yay!!
I’ve narrowed my choices down to three schools now, and need help making a final selection.
I want a college that has a great CS program and a strong reputation with employers. After graduation I plan to work either in the NYC area or Silicon Valley.
Here are my choices and the pros and cons from my perspective. I got merit $ and honors at all 3 and they are all affordable.
Rutgers - Pros: in-state so super cheap, decent reputation (I think?). Cons: too close to home, too many kids from my high school going there. I want a real college experience not high school 2.0
UMD College Park - Pros: well reputed CS program, good honors living and learning community, I liked the newer CS building. Campus felt safe. Cons: not sure if I’d have as many good job opportunities as compared to being near NYC. Yes, it’s close to DC but I don’t really want to work for the government or a defense company
Stevens - Pros: really liked the location across from Manhattan, students I met when I took the tour looked like they really enjoyed being there. School is giving me lots of love
Cons: not as well known as Rutgers and UMD. My mom worries if it’s a safe location. The campus seemed fine but it’s small so students go out into Hoboken a lot.
Thank you so much for reading all this. Any wisdom or guidance would be super helpful to me!
Would you be living on campus or commuting from home? Rutgers is large enough that you are unlikely to see your high school classmates there that often, except maybe those in the same major. So it is unlikely to be like “high school 2.0”.
Academically all three of these universities are very good. Also, computer science is a major that makes it quite easy to find a good job. I have worked with software engineers from both Rutgers and UNC, and all of the above were very good. I do not recall working with anyone who had graduated from Stevens but that is probably just a coincidence based on not working in New Jersey and the school being relatively small. I have heard good things about it.
Academically I think that you are fine whichever way you go. Plan to work hard, attend all classes, pay attention, and keep ahead in your course work wherever you go.
In terms of “Rutgers being like highschool 2.0”, no. Rutgers will not be like high school. You will find strong professors, strong students, and many opportunities that you never had in high school. I do not think that you attend a high school with more than 40,000 students. Among all of those students and professors will be a lot of very good ones. I have met quite a few graduates from Rutgers both in my job and in graduate school and they all made Rutgers look quite good.
If you live on campus, you could be attending a university that is 5 or 10 miles from home and it would still feel like you are living in a completely different world compared to high school. However, if you need help or have a difficult break up and want to go home for a long weekend it will be nearby.
Personally I think that when choosing among three options all of which are very good, “inexpensive” and “near home” are big pluses. However, I do not know what your family’s finances are like.
Which leads to the obvious question: Will you need to take on debt to attend any of these universities?
UMD would be the strongest program. Financials would influence the choice between that and Rutgers, IMO. And your feelings of how well you fit in, assuming you visited them all.
You should not be concerned about job opportunities with a CS degree from UMD.
Thank you so much!
I plan to live on campus. So I guess it might be ok
Thanks so much for the detailed and helpful reply!
Happy to hear your feedback on Rutgers. And yes I agree with the pluses. I guess in my head I know it’s a pretty good school but so many kids in my school talk it down. So I wasn’t sure.
No I don’t need to take on debt at any of these. UMD and Stevens will cost about the same due to the merit scholarships. Rutgers is a lot cheaper but the other two are fully affordable as well.
If your parents are OK paying the extra cost, I’d choose UMD for CS.
Thank you so much. Do you think UMD’s CS degree is well known on the west coast as well? Or is it mostly here on the east coast?
Yes they are ok with it. I was aiming for T20s and didn’t get in to any of those. RIP
UMD will be half as expensive as any of those. So they are totally on board.
I think a CS degree from UMD will be well regarded anywhere but the key is getting good summer internships while you are in school!
If they’re all affordable, then the decision is really subjective. I like one flavor of ice cream, but you might hate it, because your tastes are different than mine. Just go to the school that speaks to your personality.
Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts.
I have committed to UMD
Hi how is experience so far with UMD ? We are facing the same dilemma UMD vs Rutgers honor ? If you can share your experiences at UMd that would be great.
Deleted. I didn’t pay attention to the date of the original post.