UMD vs Drexel University for Computer Science

Hi, I am trying to decide between UMD and Drexel for computer science but I’m conflicted on which I should choose. The main factors that I am considering are Location, Community, Cost, Job Prospects, Ease of Co-op/Internships & Computer Science Level.

Location: I live in the greater Philadelphia area so Drexel is very close to home at about a 30 minutes drive (I still am going to room on campus). UMD is about a 2-hour drive away from home in comparison. My parents want me to stay close to home but I am not really turned off by the idea of an extra 2-hour drive.

Community: I am really interested in the community at UMD and was admitted into the STS scholars program there, along with their reputable clubs and competitive teams. I was also admitted into Drexel’s Pennoni Honors College and also like Drexel’s competitive teams and activities though they aren’t as well known or prestigious to my knowledge. I personally really like the group of students at scholars and the professors seem very inviting (Its a LLP which you eventually publish a capstone on something related to how science impacts technology, not sure if that looks good on an application or not). Pennoni also has really nice faculty but I’m not sure if I really like their student body over UMD’s, (they allow you to do undergraduate research which is hard to get into otherwise. However, i’m not crazy about research but it is a pretty closely-connected community tho).

Cost: Including general fees, tuition cost, and room/board, It will cost me about 47k to attend UMD. In comparison, it will cost me about 31k to attend Drexel. That’s about a 15-16k difference which, subtracting the fact that I will only need to do 3 years of actual classes due to AP credits, will add up to around a 50k difference when I graduate. I personally wouldn’t like to rack up any unnecessary student loan debt but I am willing to if it will be worth it at the end of the day.

Job Prospect: The greater Philadelphia region has a lot of strong job opportunities and a fair set of tech companies in the general area. However, DC definitely has a strong job outlook with many amazing Tech and government jobs in the greater DC area. I would really like to have an interesting job at a big company

Ease of Co-op/Internships: I know for computer science a lot of the decision-making/hiring for jobs comes down to a person’s actual technical skill over their education. At UMD, It will be pretty standard to other universities with me competing for internships against a large group of other CS students at UMD in the DC area (They also have a smaller, less well-known co-op program too). However, Drexel has one of the strongest co-op programs in the nation and a very strong company network. Therefore, along with the 3 co-op programs I plan on following, it will be very easy for me to get real job experience and a strong footing with companies in the area. It is reassuring to get so many co-ops and have a strong chance at getting employed with the said company right out of college.

CompSci Level: I know that the program at UMD is much stronger and well-known than the program at Drexel. As such, I do like that it has a stronger academic department and a well-known CS program as I know that will partner well with connections and interesting courses.

If you have had experience in the CS field before and/or gone through the process of getting hired for a CS job, please feel free to give me any advice you might have. Thanks, I really appreciate it.

Take it from someone who does computers for a living. Employers generally hire locally and regionally, which means that it would make zero difference where you go to school. In each scenario, there’s going to be reputable companies that recruit from your school. The only difference is how much you want to pay for your bachelors. Since the outcome is pretty much identical in either situation, you’re better off paying less to go to Drexel. 99.99% of what you learn in tech will be learned on the job anyway. In about 3 years after graduation, employers don’t even ask where you went to school.


UMD is better connected for CS, but if that causes you to go into debt, I would go with Drexel or CC. Like previous poster said, CS is a skill and not reputation based job. After your first hiring, school makes less difference, unless you’re a Stanford/MIT/CalTech type (genius level).

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Thanks for your advice! do you think its better to invest in something like my masters or an MBA instead of spending the money on a compsci bachelors if I want to climb the corporate ladder?

Well, if you want to climb the corp ladder, I do think that is the best way forward. But the best combo is CS bachelor and MBA, since it gives you a lot of flexibility.

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I think it’s a bit too early to say - I want to climb the corporate ladder. You don’t even know what that means. It’s also too early to think about an MBA. No “reputable” school will look at you without two years work experience and for kids who go through with an MBA right from undergrad…they find their first job pays the same as they’d have had after undergrad.

Schools want diversity of experience, kids that can add to the classroom.

Good luck.

btw - in this one and I’m a fan of saving, but I’d probably go to UMD. But you’ll find a job from either school - UMD is strong though in CS.

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The most that you can borrow as a Freshman is $5,500. Anything above that would have to be borrowed by your parents

Technicality. The assumption his that his parents will. And yes interest will accrue. But the student would be responsible for it.

Do you think incurring 50k debt is worth being able to work in the Greater DC area rather than in greater Philly area

I think the degree is portable. I’m not a debt believer. But I do think UMD is much stronger than Drexel. You will be fine either way. Not everyone who goes to UMD will work in DC and not every Drexel will work in Philly.

Do you want urban or suburban ? Medium vs large?

As a general statement, no debt is better than debt which does bring stress. But a CS major should be able to overcome it.

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Depends on the employer - and for people shooting for the high paying 130k-300k gigs within a year or two of graduating, coming from a top CS school (or a top school in general) does wonders.

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Check whether the AP credits will give useful subject credit and advanced placement that will make it possible to graduate a year early at each school. In many cases, subject requirements or prerequisite sequences not fulfillable by AP credit can impose a minimum number of semesters even for those with very large amounts of AP credit.


Both schools give me about a year of classes in equivalent AP credits

I mean both areas feel pretty similar in their urban/suburban environments. Personally, I do enjoy the more suburban environment as I’ve grown up in one, but I’ve never gotten to truly experience a city life with seems interesting.

Try making a six semester plan for your major and general education requirements at each school to be sure.

I know someone on this thread emphasized that employers mainly hire locally. Does that mean its even realistic to try and get those gigs if I’m not in major tech locations like NYC and Cali?

One thing I learned from my son’s recruiting - he was told this at Colorado School of Mines - by the student panel. Don’t take the credits for classes impacting your major - take those again. My son didn’t listen. Wishes he would have. Real college in the sciences and math is not easy.

There is so much movement today plus companies that come to job fairs and those who hire from the internet. UMD will have more natl recruiting but you will get to where you want to from regardless of where you go to school. Good luck.

I do not agree with this as an absolute rule.

Better would be, for each course that is allowed to be skipped that is a prerequisite for other courses, to try the old final exams for that course at the college to determine whether the student knows the material well enough to skip, needs to review a few things, or really should take the course again. Taking the course again if it is not necessary is a waste of schedule space that could be used to learn something new (possibly in a later semester after completing a lower level sequence early due to advanced placement).

I see the point. But in my sons case he wished he retook calc and one or two other classes. Just repeating what the students at Mines said.