right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Transferring to a top-tier school for CS

alphaBoy00alphaBoy00 7 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
edited August 7 in Transfer Students
Hey guys,

I'm an incoming freshman at UC Irvine. I was originally going to UC Riverside, but I got off the Irvine waitlist about a week ago (likely due to local preference). I'm currently undeclared and trying to get into data science. However, I'm still hoping to transfer schools within the next year. Although UC Irvine is a great school, it doesn't offer the opportunities I'm looking for.

I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do after college, but I do have a couple of plans. Right after college, I plan to get a master's in AI and possibly an MBA. I'm also interested in quantitative finance and would like to land a quant role at a hedge fund or prop shop. I'm interested in this find the work analytically interesting and just like thousands of others, I find the compensation really attractive. I'm also interested in startups and I may decide to found one or join an early stage one. Unfortunately, pedigree is very important in these areas (i.e. finding trading jobs or securing startup funding).

So, I'm hoping someone here can provide me some advice as for how I can improve my chances and comment on where I'll most likely be able to et in. At UCI, I'll do whatever it takes to get a 3.9+ GPA (even if that means studying for 10 hours a day). Also, I'll probably be working with a college consultant. I already contacted some of the well-known ones (e.g. Ivy Coach, IvyWise, Top Tier Admissions), but the prices were outrageous. My parents could probably spend $5-10k (maybe $15k if it's absolutely necessary) to get some help. Would I be able to find quality help given what we're willing to pay and would this be a good investment? I know that good essays are imperative when transferring schools and a professional could probably help here. I thought my essays were pretty good when I applied to top schools for freshmen admission, however, they far from captured me. This time around, I want to make sure they're absolutely perfect.



Here's Some Information About My Circumstances:


Background:
- Indian Male (RIP)
- Competitive High School in Southern California
- Upper Middle Class ($300k family income) - I may need a tiny bit of financial aid, but if applying for it will jeopardize my chances, then I'll apply for many merit-based scholarships and my family will find some way to absorb the cost.

High School Stats:
- Unweighted GPA: 3.51 (This is one of my biggest concerns.)
- Weighted GPA: 4.12
- UC Capped GPA: 3.73
- SAT: 1530 (730 verbal, 800 math)
- SAT II: Math II (800)
Explanation of my low GPA: My freshman and sophomore years were near-perfect, however, I screwed up royally during junior year and got a lot of B's and two C's. This was due to a personal situation that caused me a lot of emotional stress. I also ended up getting 2 C's first semester of senior year (everything else was an A though). This was due to college application stress. Admittedly, my study habits weren't that great either, however, I fixed them and I got 5 A's and 1 B my second semester of senior year.


High School Extracurriculars:
- Robotics Team (10) - raised $10k and qualified for world's
- Lots of miscellaneous volunteering
- Software Development Intern at NASA (summer after sophomore year)
- Attended a Highly Selective Entrepreneurship Program (summer after junior year)
- Computer Science Research- I entered one of my projects into my local science fair and qualified for states, where I got an honorable mention. I was also an alternate for ISEF.
- A few software development projects


College Extracurriculars:

- Research:
- Interning in a Robotics Lab - I'm assisting with the development of a robotic mapping algorithm that's 90% more efficient than the current state of the art. My contributions will be acknowledged in a publication.
- Working with a CS professor to develop a novel data science pipeline. I've been working with him for over a year.

- Entrepreneurship:
- Creating a High School Entrepreneurship Nonprofit - I'm currently forming partnerships with big companies and I've secured a small amount of funding. My goal is to expand to 30 high schools by the end of the year
- As part of my nonprofit, I'm organizing a large entrepreneurship hackathon.
- Working on an Early-Stage Medical Device Startup - I will present this at various events and try to secure some funding and media recognition.

- Computer Science:
- Continue working on my software development projects and further develop my Github portfolio.
- Will Attend Hackathons
- Will Join Relevant Clubs

- Community Involvement:
- I'm going to teach CS to inner-city high school students. I'm having a few UCI professors give lectures to these students.



School's I'm applying to (I might eliminate a few):
- UC Berkeley
- UCLA
- UPenn
- Cornell
- Columbia
- Brown
- Northwestern
- USC
- Duke
- Vanderbilt
- Rice
- UMich
- CMU
- Stanford - This is a massive reach, but they do happen to take the largest number of transfers out of all the top 5's

I know that my chances of getting into HYPSM are essentially nil, but I do know that most other T20's have relatively high transfer acceptance rates and those are what I'm targeting. Does anyone have some idea of what my chances would be and how I can improve them?

Thanks!
edited August 7
13 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Transferring to a top-tier school for CS

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77150 replies672 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    alphaBoy00 wrote: »
    - Stanford - This is a massive reach, but they do happen to take the largest number of transfers out of all the top 5's

    Stanford takes a few dozen transfers per year, and appears to heavily emphasize non-traditional students in transfer admissions.

    Of the usual "top 5" for CS, UCB takes by far the most transfer students (151 admitted, 128 enrolled in EECS, and 63 admitted, 48 enrolled in L&S intending CS for 2018). See https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/transfers-major .

    If you enroll at UCI not in the CS major, you need to pay attention to the change of major criteria for the CS major:
    https://www.ics.uci.edu/ugrad/policies/Change_of_Major.php
    https://changeofmajor.uci.edu/school-of-information-and-computer-sciences/
    · Reply · Share
  • CU123CU123 3434 replies62 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You can almost forget about transferring to a top 20 school as all of them favor non traditional students and/or community college transfers. It also seems that transferring within the UC system is fairly uncommon as it seems most of the transfers into UCB/LA are community college applicants. At this point graduating with a 3.9+ from UCI in CS will get you where you want to go. Your MUCH more likely to be admitted to Stanford's MBA program at that point provided of course you have the prerequisite $250K for admission to the club.
    · Reply · Share
  • alphaBoy00alphaBoy00 7 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    @ucbalumnus I'm currently undeclared at UCI, but I'm trying to declare the data science major, so I'll be applying to UCB for data science. They haven't posted the transfer stats for data science, but I'm assuming it's less competitive than CS. I've looked up all the pre-requisites I'll need and I'll be completing them this year. Also, my general ed requirements are taken care of as well.

    I did complete calculus I & II through dual-enrollment classes, so will Berkeley factor those courses into my UCI GPA when I'm applying to transfer? UCI accepted the credits from my dual-enrollment classes and gave me sophomore-standing, but they didn't factor them into my GPA. I did end up with B's in calc I & II, so will those pull down my transfer GPA? If so, then my transfer GPA will be somewhere in the 3.75-3.85 range. However, that GPA is still within range for the math majors and the operations research major at UCB and I will have all the pre-requisites complted for those.

    @CU123 Most top 20 schools take a substantial amount of transfers. HYPSM schools take very few transfers (15-30 per year) and most are probably from non-traditional transfers (e.g. military, community college), but all the other Ivies (except Dartmouth) take hundreds. Cornell, for example, takes 800 transfers per year and UPenn takes 200. The schools I listed all take a lot of transfers. I know people who've transferred into non-HYPSM top 20 schools. They were all upper-middle-class White or Asian students from schools ranked 30-50 and they had no special hooks. They just had excellent GPA's and compelling essays.

    I've also done some research on UCB and UCLA. I've read that UCLA gives UC-transfers the same priority as CC students. I know that UCB gives priority to CC students and 95% of transfers come from CC's. However, they take 4,000 transfers and 5% of 4,000 is still 200, which definitely not small. I think the challenge here will be coming up a compelling reason for my transfer. I know that if I even hint prestige in my application, it's an automatic rejection. This is one of the reasons why I was thinking of getting a consultant.
    · Reply · Share
  • CU123CU123 3434 replies62 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You need to do a little more research on the T-20 schools and the type of students they take, Cornell for example has an auto transfer program (pre acceptance) which a lot of there transfers come from. Your trying to transfer into a oversubscribed/very competitive major from a school that has that major. They take next to nothing for CS. I’m not trying to discourage you from trying it’s just that your chances are much less then you think they are.
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77150 replies672 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    alphaBoy00 wrote: »
    I did complete calculus I & II through dual-enrollment classes, so will Berkeley factor those courses into my UCI GPA when I'm applying to transfer?

    All prior college courses and their grades will be included in transfer applicant GPA and considered for admission purposes.
    · Reply · Share
  • alphaBoy00alphaBoy00 7 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    @CU123 I did some research and it seems that ~75% of Cornell transfers had the guaranteed transfer option. So, that's still 200 who didn't. I don't plan to apply to CS because I know how competitive it is. I'll probably apply to information science in CALS at Cornell. I know plenty of people who transferred to one of the Cornell contract colleges. It may not be CS, but a Cornell degree is still a Cornell degree.

    @ucbalumnus Then this means that my transfer GPA will be ~3.75 if I apply as a freshman. This includes my first two semesters at UCI and my dual-enrollment courses from high school. have I know that this GPA puts me well out of range for CS, but it seems well within range for applied mathematics. Do you by chance know if it's competitive enough for data science. And will they consider the upward trend? Thanks!
    · Reply · Share
  • coolguy40coolguy40 1991 replies2 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree with @CU123 on this. You're already in an excellent school that has a strong CS program that you can afford. That's worth its weight in gold. I don't see the benefit in transferring somewhere else, especially when the program is more competitive for the exact same ridiculously employable degree.
    · Reply · Share
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 1950 replies26 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm also in the "stay where you are" camp. Save the prestige hunt for the masters program.
    · Reply · Share
  • blossomblossom 9682 replies9 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Why don't you start on that "I'll do anything it takes to get a 3.9 GPA right now" and knuckle down and focus? The hours you are spending researching transfer applications could be spent getting an actual education right where you are.
    · Reply · Share
  • alphaBoy00alphaBoy00 7 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    @coolguy40 It's most certainly worth it to transfer. Getting a job at a quant hedge fund or prop shop or securing venture capital out of UC Irvine will be literally impossible. Prestige is extremely important in these areas. Getting a job at Facebook or Google shouldn't be too hard with a perfect GPA from UCI, but these jobs max out at ~$300k per year and won't give you much of an opportunity to leave a big mark on the world.

    @Groundwork2022 Grad school is a completely different ball game. The internships I do during my undergrad years will be extremely important when applying to these highly selective jobs and I won't have access to these opportunities at UCI.

    @blossom I've been preparing for my classes ahead of time so that I can achieve this GPA. I'm dedicating countless hours to my extracurriculars, grades, and applications all at once so that I can pull of this transfer. This means I have to work hard for 15 hours per day, but it's completely worth it.
    · Reply · Share
  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3326 replies11 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 14
    I encourage you to focus on getting good grades this freshman year and talking to profs and career services about getting internships. It sounds a bit nutty to say that Irvine isn't good enough for you when you just barely got in there.
    edited August 14
    · Reply · Share
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 1950 replies26 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    "The internships I do during my undergrad years will be extremely important when applying to these highly selective jobs and I won't have access to these opportunities at UCI."

    You can get those internships while at UCI. A friend of ours had a kid from a Midwest college spend a summer interning at Microsoft for an obscene amount of money. They aren't picky where you come from if they like your resume.

    In an earlier post you said you were going to grad school. Now you're saying you're pursuing a "highly selective job". Guess what? You can do either of those from UCI.

    If you're so down on UCI, why didn't you stay at Riverside?
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77150 replies672 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Stop worrying about transferring to a prestige college / Wall Street target now. As a sophomore level transfer, your high school record that was barely good enough to get into UCI off the waitlist will keep you out of the prestige colleges you desire.

    Now, if you can pull a 4.0 college GPA in your first four quarters at UCI, that can reduce the importance of your high school record if you choose to apply as a junior level transfer somewhere. Come back if you have a 4.0 college GPA at UCI by then, and if you are still really interested in transferring.

    Also, since when was $300k per year pay a bad thing?
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity