Funny. Ok, so if she is not into the “geek” thing, she will not want to go to CMU. It’s literally tiny an well full of said geeks. The one cool thing there though is they allow you to take a certain number of credit hours at Pitt since they’re a block away from each other, and likewise Pitt students can take the same number of hours at CMU. If money is an issue though, then CMU is outrageously expensive. I can’t remember if they’re one that is generous with meeting need or not. I believe there is a thread on CC about them.
UIUC is just like any other Big 10 large campus. Social if you want it to be, anti-social if you’re not that type. Big sports, big greek life, but not a necessity. I know plenty who have had nothing to do with Greek, yet my daughters friends are in greek and love it. There is truly something for everyone. It is a campus in the middle of no where and Champaign-Urbana is a true college town. It’s not like one can drive to Chicago for the night if they feel like it. There are buses that go back and forth and lot of kids will come home for a weekend or what not and kids love it that go, but they are going for the school an academics, not for the beauty of it.
GT in the past had a very low rate of females. They are working on that and have come a long way but still not quite there. My kid’s cousins from GA went there and because they could go for free, that was the best school in state to go to, however, they did not love it for the lack of diversity on both the female side (they’re females) and again there was too much of a geek factor for them. An, while UIUC is a total college town university and rural, GT is quite the opposite in that it is totally urban, in Atlanta and not in the greatest neighborhood. I love Atlanta but if you don’t like a city school and that type of setting, it may not be for you. Some think that about CMU, but I didn’t get that kind of vibe there at all.
When my son would interview students graduating from CS programs, they often overlooked MIT grads. THe reason was because they couldn’t solve the problems they were given. So while MIT may be at one of the top for CS, there’s a lot that one needs to look at in programs. Are they cut throat, are they collaborative, what kinds of projects will you be doing? What kind of internships and companies hire? What about minors or double majors and other courses not to mention clubs, etc? If you’re interested in Greek (or not)? It’s not all about whether a TA or Professor teaches a class. Fine if it’s a TA but you want to make sure whoever it is, will give you the time. It can be a Professor but that’s no good if they don’t give you the time. Last semester my daughter was in a CS class, the dreaded architecture course that everyone hates. The TA’s had lousy office hours and you only had 15 mins of time with one and then you had to go back to the end of the que. If they didn’t get to you again then that was it. This was all remote office hours. They didn’t have ample office hours, they weren’t on weekends, etc. My daughter learned the hard way that she took too hard of a course load and when she fell behind in the course the professor wanted to meet with her (the class btw, was taught by the professor not TAs). My daughter had already decided to drop before then, but I encouraged her to at least meet with the professor, own up to it being her own fault that she dug herself a too big of a hole she couldn’t get out of and not blame it on remote or anything else as it was her own fault. The Professor tried to encourage her to stay in the class, my daughter by then was over it, but the Professor really listened to what she had to say about the office hours and some other changed the professor had made since the prior semester since everything was now remote. It was great for my daughter to be heard. It is important to have a voice! So often these kids don’t feel like they do. So wherever your daughter winds up, definitely research and talk to current students at each and every one of these programs in those majors.
Purdue is a school my son is looking at and he loves the CS options. Their dept runs very deep also. However, it is such a heavy engineering/cs school that there is not a lot of diversity. So while great jobs and internships are not a problem there, a diverse education might be. On the flip side, UVA is such a well rounded school, however, the CS department is not deep at all, the backgrounds of the professors are of no where close to the caliber of the professors you will find at Purdue or UIUC and most likely VT. I also had trouble finding info on job fair stuff. That is important as you want to make sure career planning is good and accessible or if your student is on their own. Another thing, does the school have project teams if they’re interested in that, or clubs or hackathons, or whatever. UIUC has a really nice CS building that is relatively new. It’s a gorgeous building.
But there are so many factors all around to consider. Also, people think CS majors and jobs are a given and that is not always true. This year especially, internships were not quite so easy to find no matter where you went to school and the FAANG companies did lay off people for the first time ever. The days of the huge signing bonuses are over.
I don’t know what the cost comparisons for you are but for us as Illinois residents the breakdown would be;
Not sure I really want to pay for an Ivy League education at UVA. But I think it’s the same difference back for you at UIUC, the difference is, you’re getting one of the best programs in the country. However, even Purdue is not that far behind that and so that’s the quantitative difference. Crazy isn’t it?