SJSU vs SCU vs Berkeley vs UCI - CS comparisons

Would love to get your feedback if you have evaluated the programs. Appreciate any feedback on the comparisons of the schools in terms of CS curriculum, job prospects after graduation in Silicon Valley, and any relevant factors for each school. Best wishes to all! Thank you!

They all excellent on all of those fronts. They are also pretty selective, has you kid been admitted? Is he/she a freshman or transfer? What kind of student experience are you looking for? How do their net costs compare?

I was looking for general feedback on the CS programs. This would be for an incoming freshman though would like to get a perspective for a transfer student as well to Berkeley and UCI. At the moment, costs are not a consideration. Quality of professors, the ability to interact with peers and professors, collaboration, in addition to what is requested above is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!

For the costs, I was able to find this:
UC Irvine: Expenses, Tuition, and Fees < University of California Irvine

UC Berkeley: Fee Schedule | Office of the Registrar

Santa Clara University: https://www.scu.edu/media/offices/bursar/2021-22-Tuition-&-Student-Fees-Schedule-UG-and-Graduate-Programs-April-2021.pdf

San Jose State: Tuition and Fees

I think you’ve got the cart ahead of the horse - All 4 are selective enough that they aren’t realistic targets for most students. I wouldn’t spend too much time fixated on specific school and learning the nuances of programs that probably won’t be relevant.

This doesn’t break it down my major but, as you can see even with a 4.2+ GPA, UCB’s admit rate is under 40% - even Irvine its just 60% for 4.2+. CS is one of more selective majors at all of the UCs - the odds are actually worst than that.

step one - apply a bunch of places - include a couple reaches, a couple matches and a couple safeties. step 2 - see where your kid gets in and what the net cost of the program. Step 3 decide between the admits by evaluating the program, student experience and other factor you note above.

The good news is that there are lots of very good CS programs reasonably available to CA students - even less qualified ones. With his stats/qualifications and other interests we can help identify reaches, matches and safeties.

1 Like

I will give you my perspective about CS programs in general. First I like to check the ABET accredition website to see if the programs are accredited. This is not necessarily as important for CS vs. other Engineering majors, but it indicates that each program “ meets the quality standards that produce graduates prepared to enter a global workforce.”

Second, I look at the CS curriculum for each school to see if they are some CS electives that are more of an interest to the student. ie. Artificial Intelligence, Game Design, Cybersecurity etc…

Santa Clara due to size and being private would probably have the best student to professor interaction depending upon class size. The UC’s and Cal states require the student to be proactive and meet with professors during office hours so more up to the student to advocate for themselves.

Regarding internships and post grad jobs, the location for UCB, SJSU and SCU are helpful for the Silicon Valley but many employers recruit widely throughout the US. Each school’s career center will determine which employers recruit on each campus so I suggest looking at the schools websites.

Again, much is up to the student and no one is going hand them an internship or job on a platter.

After a year or two post grad, it will make little difference where the student attended Undergrad since job experience will out weigh other considerations.

My younger son attended SDSU as a CS major (not considered a powerhouse in CS) but was able to land 2 internships in Cybersecurity (his emphasis) on his own during his Undergrad. Found a job right out of college and 2 years post is working for double his original salary at his dream job.

A CS degree is highly marketable so the best CS program would be where your student feels he fits in best (financially, academically and socially).

Thank you for your perspective! Really appreciate you including the UC fall freshman survey, that is quite interesting to see and compare. This provides a fuller appreciation for the competitiveness of the UCs.

Thank you @Gumbymom! I appreciate the thorough and thoughtful response and also the info about the ABET accreditation site to check on specific programs – an excellent resource!
The factors you mention about the curriculum offered, size of school comparisons with the level of interaction with professors, class size, “personal fit” all weigh in on the decision for which schools.

I am very happy to hear about your son’s success post-graduation! How wonderful that he found his dream job!! :smiley: Cybersecurity will increasingly grow in importance given the nature of our online world.

It is reassuring to hear that it is their job experience and performance that can be a key determinant for their second job.

I am very thankful for this forum for sharing with students, parents, and the community what resources are available to help students ultimately choose what is best for them when they chart their path to college. Thank you & all the best!!

1 Like

@Gumbymom, my son was accepted to SJSU for CS back in February and waiting to find out the waitlist status as a CS major from a couple of UCs and SCU. For UC transfers I understand it would be most advantageous to transfer from a California Community College.

My son just asked me for transfer advice after 1 or two years if he decided on attending a private university or non-California public university. Do you have any advice on whether it would be better to transfer from San Jose State or from a community college? He is specifically interested in UW, Stanford, and possibly USC for a CS degree. He also plans to check directly with those schools though wanted to also ask on this forum. Thank you!

First off, if a student goes into a college program with the expectation of transferring later, they do not become invested in their time there and will not take advantage in forming meaningful professor and student relationships plus not taking advantage of the academic environment.

That said, it would be best to check with each individual school to determine if staying at SJSU or attending a CC would be the most beneficial for transfer. The CC transfer pathway is a well proven for CSU’s and UC’s but might have disadvantages for the target schools he is interested in applying.

1 Like

Thank you @Gumbymom, always have appreciated your insight!!

It’s possible to transfer in to USC but not easy. I would not count on Stanford or UW CS as realistic transfer options given how few students they take.
He can get plenty far as a CS major from SJSU and, if he really feels the need, he could always pick up a CS masters later. Life doesn’t end after undergrad.

ABET-accreditation isn’t important at all for CS. Neither Stanford CS or CMU CS are ABET-accredited, for instance.

USC does take a significant number of transfer students from both California CCs and CSUs, but is generally a very competitive school for admission. Stanford takes very few transfer students, and appears to emphasize non-traditional students (e.g. military veterans) for its small transfer intake. The various UWs, if they take many transfer students, may have their own priorities.

Thank you very much @Gumbymom, @PurpleTitan, and @ucbalumnus on your input. Hope to return the favor to other students/parents in the future :grinning:also seeking info. Have a wonderful day!!