Target schools needed for future CS major [3.8, 1510, maybe D3 track]

It would be a drive to Tahoe to ski but Santa Clara would be a good target. Lehigh would be my other suggestion for CS and it’s near several recreational ski resorts.

SCU could be a nice fit academically, but it’s D1 for sports.

Grinnell could be good for CS and D3 track/XC. There’s XC Skiing there - students even talk about skiing into town on the weekend in winter - but not much downhill nearby as you might imagine.

And my response was that many of the small schools that the OP is looking at are fine choices for a student interested in CS.

Thanks for the suggestions. Great schools to check out.

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Yet Colby, Middlebury, and Colorado College don’t pop on any USNWR or Niche rankings for CompSci. If the OP wants to go to a small school that is not focused on STEM, yet still has a reputable CompSci program, maybe he should also look at Williams (#44 Niche), Dartmouth (#43 USNWR), or Swarthmore (#49 Niche).

If you are going to look at Skidmore, I would add nearby Union College as a LAC known to be strong in STEM majors.

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Albany area works. I was thinking based on skiing :).

Of course if I was a true skier, I’d be out west - not in NY, VT or Maine :).

That makes a big assumption…that those rankings are valid based on what the OPs student is looking for. What are their methodologies?

I’m generally a rankings skeptic. I prefer to look at College Scorecard and LinkedIn.

The programs don’t have enough data for College Scorecard, but many don’t.

I only pulled up Colby on LinkedIn and their top 4 employers are strong: Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple.


In the Niche ranking you mention, Middlebury is #56, Colby #99, Colorado College #160.

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Exactly. Not exactly setting the world on fire, especially compared to Williams, Dartmouth and Swathmore, or the small STEM schools I mentioned in an earlier post.

I think the Niche rankings are the worst I’ve come across. They rank Harvard and Yale #7 and #8 respectively for engineering, with CMU #15 and Michigan #17. They rank Cal poly Architecture #27, while the architects have it perennially in a battle with Cornell for #1. That ranking system is worthless.

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For my information, can you discern from LinkedIn whether companies were hiring from those schools for CompSci or other majors like business, technical writing, etc.? While people think of programming and CompSci when they think of Google, Amazon, etc., they employ hoards of people in other functions ranging from marketing and finance to HR.

In LinkedIn you can select what they studied and then look at that slice of alumni. If the major you’re looking for isn’t one of the options, put that major in the search bar and then look at where they work. It’s not guaranteed that was their major, but it’s the best that system can do.

It should not be surprising that lots of colleges’ CS graduates’ most common employers are big ones that recruit widely.

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I think part of that is because Niche weights student feedback heavily in their ratings, so schools that are student friendly (Harvard) rank higher than schools that are less so (CMU).

I learn something new every day. Thanks.

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A better way to check CS departments at small schools is to check their faculty rosters and upper level CS courses offerings (including how frequently). Also check if there are any availability or rationing issues due to too many students wanting to take them (e.g. at Swarthmore and Pomona).

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Or schools that are more popular or perceived to be more prestigious by college students?

As a tech hiring manager I know which the strongest CS schools are, and I’m surprised to see Berkeley (a top CS school) down at #26 way behind Duke and Chicago, neither of which has a particularly strong CS program. And Berkeley is followed by Northeastern at #27 :thinking: while UT Austin is several spots lower.
As an industry insider, I can’t take these Niche rankings seriously.


You can’t just walk in the door at any of those places though. They have rigorous vetting procedures.

Okay, I’ll give you that for Colorado College and maybe Colby, but you think there’s a huge gap between #49 (Swarthmore) and #56 (Middlebury)? Especially considering that this ranking includes LACs and large universities? CS has quickly become one of Middlebury’s most popular majors.