What school for computer/data science?

Hi guys, so I was recently admitted into UF (instate), Emory, and UMD - College Park for computer science. And Purdue plus Wisconsin Madison for Data science. I am confused which one to pick, as UF instate would be the cheapest option and has great engineering. But then Emory holds some prestige while UIUC and Purdue are great all round for CompSci/engineering. Any inputs would be appreciated, thanks in advance.

what can you afford / want to spend?
what do you want to study? (CS or DS)?
what major did UIUC admit you as?
what’s important to you and where do you want to end up working?

I am interested and fine with both computer science and data science. As for UIUC, I was admitted with the major of Computer Science with Mathematics. I am also looking to do grad in computer science.

What about finances?

What are costs and how much can your family afford?

Although finance isnt a showstopper, it is definitely a consideration. My family can afford to pay for these colleges through personal finance and loans, but the less the better.

well the q-n is what will each school cost you?

UF → <10k due to scholarships and instate
UIUC → 50k
Emory → 40 k after scholarship
UMD → 50k after scholarship
Purdue → 45k
Wisconsin - Madison → 55k

What I am really trying to find out is whether UIUC Computer science program is worth paying 50 k for, and whether Emory is worth paying 40 k for over UF Engineering.

Emory - definitely not.
The others … is 160k a lot for your family or p-nuts?

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IMO, no. You can do a lot with the 6 figures saved (over 4 years) and you’ll be hirable with a CS degree from UF.

Invest the 6 figures that you saved and in 4 decades, that amount will be able to fund a large part to all of your retirement, depending on how well the market does.

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160 K is by no means peanuts, but in the long term we would be able to pay for it. I just want to make sure I’m getting the most value.

UF IMO is a good school

According to this survey it’s ranked higher than many of the schools you are considering.

160k is a LOT of money to just spend on a name that won’t be any better at the end of the day.

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It’s a cost vs. benefit trade-off.

I don’t believe those other colleges are worth 160K more than UF.


One thing to consider is the degree. Data Science is hot right now but it’s pretty specific. Right or wrong you could get filtered out of job searches.

A CS/Math degree would get a look for data science jobs but a data science degree would have a tougher time getting a look at a CS job.

UF is your best bang for the buck. For CS, UIUC and UMD would be attractive but probably not worth the extra cost, especially if loans are involved.

For CS, UIUC is clearly better than the rest. If money is no concern, go there. If it is, go to UF and don’t look back.

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I agree on that part. My heuristic is that if your family net worth is 8 figures (maybe high 7), you can afford to splurge and go with the best option you fit at. Otherwise, you really should take in to account the cost-benefit analysis (because your success mostly comes down to you anyway).

Another way of wording it is “Will paying for UIUC jeopardize your parent’s ability to meet all their financial obligations (including that for other children) and then retire comfortably?”

If no, UIUC. If yes, UF.

Absolutely no way are those other schools worth the added cost over UF.