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UIUC CS in Engineering... now what?

potato12potato12 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Accepted IN STATE and FEMALE to CS in Engineering.
4.56/34
SAT II Math II: 760, US History: 760
11 APs by graduation: 5,5,5,5,4,3, so far
Good ECs: multiple leadership positions and two varsity sports

Do I have a chance at Northwestern, Cornell, and Duke?
Most important question: should I apply engineering to these schools or not? Either way I want to major in CS.

Replies to: UIUC CS in Engineering... now what?

  • literallymarxliterallymarx Registered User Posts: 196 Junior Member
    UIUC CS is ranked better than all those schools (way better with the exception of Cornell). Unless there's some other issues or you're not sure about CS, I think in-state at UIUC is the best option.
  • galaxywatchergalaxywatcher Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
    The quality, rigor and opportunities that UIUC CS provides is miles ahead of CS at Northwestern and Duke. Since, Cornell is an Ivy and has a very good Engineering College, from US News ranking perspectives it is closer to UIUC for CS even though there also UIUC CS is ranked higher.

    But, you may want to forget about any rankings and analyze it for yourself and you will get your answer. Most of the ranking systems consider factors which are not very relevant to the outcome from a major i.e. job opportunities and internships you get out of the major. And, it is here UIUC CS has a solid track record and comparable to CS at CMU, Berkeley, Stanford, and, MIT.

    For example, if you compare CS curricula and course materials for courses offered at UIUC with Cornell and if you have some knowledge in Computer Science already, you will see the rigor and quality of UIUC CS is much better than what is offered at Cornell. So, if you do well in UIUC CS, after 4 years you are likely to beat most of the Cornell CS majors hands down in computer science knowledge. And, Silicon valley knows it and that's why they flock UIUC campus in droves even though UIUC campus is not located in a convenient place. You can check from LinkedIn how many people with CS degree from each of these colleges are working in big 4 computer companies at Silicon Valley and compare that with people with CS degree from UIUC and you will see how from outcome perspectives UIUC CS is ahead of Cornell and much ahead of others colleges in your list.

    However, Cornell has still Ivy stature and that brings this comparison much closer from the outcome perspectives than otherwise it should have been had the comparison been purely from the perspectives of the quality & rigor of the CS curricula. If you are too fixated by the "Ivy" tag, then you should definitely apply at Cornell. But, if you want CS degree for solid in depth learnings of computer science then you have already made it to one of the best CS courses in the nation and you may not want to look any further unless you are targeting MIT, Stanford, CMU, or Berkeley now.
  • coolGuy2000coolGuy2000 Registered User Posts: 67 Junior Member
    @galaxywatcher in what ways do you think Berkeley's EECS program is better than UIUC's CS program?
  • galaxywatchergalaxywatcher Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
    @coolGuy2000: I am not saying Berkeley or CMU CS is better. It's really equivalent and a student may want to have different choices when programs are equivalent based on the location or any other objectives.

    For example, CMU does a huge marketing of it's CS program and rankings reflects it. CMU may need to do that as otherwise they may not get many applications. UIUC CS for some reason does not do any marketing for it's CS program. May be it's because UIUC is more focused on in-state candidates and they get targeted number of talented candidates from the state anyway leaving a small percentage of candidates to fill in from OOS. But, if you compare the quality and rigor of the CS program at CMU with UIUC, they are really equivalent.
  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils Forum Champion Northeastern, Forum Champion Math/Computer Science Posts: 3,651 Forum Champion
    edited December 2017
    @galexywatcher
    CMU does a huge marketing of it's CS program

    They do? They are so well known I doubt they need to do that and haven't heard of that before. Can you link to what you are referring to?
  • galaxywatchergalaxywatcher Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
    @PengsPhils: CMU is lot less well known than MIT and Stanford :-) And, students whose social circle have no idea about Computer Science will not know about CMU without a thorough research. I do not have a link as these marketings are done through HS school visits and admission related conferences. They also bombard the students who are likely to go to colleges by repeatedly mailing their admission brochure. If you attend any session with their admission counsellor, they claim they are the best in CS. Never heard that kind of claim from MIT or Stanford. And, all these claims has a direct impact on their application pool. I have not seen that kind of aggressive marketing for UIUC CS for example.
  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils Forum Champion Northeastern, Forum Champion Math/Computer Science Posts: 3,651 Forum Champion
    edited December 2017
    @galaxywatcher
    CMU is lot less well known than MIT and Stanford

    Not in the CS industry, and that's all that matters. Who cares what the average person thinks? Any basic research for CS schools will get CMU to pop right up, no marketing needed.
    If you attend any session with their admission counselor, they claim they are the best in CS.

    They claim this because their industry reputation and research backs it up.

    Here is a research ranking site for CS programs. It takes some time to change the variables so CMU isn't listed #1.

    http://csrankings.org/

    I worked on a research team at a top tech company in California. Half the team was CMU grads. About 10% was Stanford / MIT. It is anecdotal, but it says a lot right there and reflects what I've seen in the industry consistently.


    I think you're confusing general marketing for CS-specific marketing. Many school bombard potential applicants with emails. UChicago is well known for this. It's also all regional. I didn't get anything from CMU for example, but did get lots from UChicago. At the risk of hypocrisy, be careful with anecdotal evidence.

    All that said, I don't think much of this really relates to undergraduate CS education between all these titans in reputation. That's an entirely different ballgame.
  • galaxywatchergalaxywatcher Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
    Unfortunately, my anecdotal experience does not match with your experience @PengsPhils. And, I am definitely not confused by various styles of marketing done by different colleges.

    Recently, I was surprised to hear not so positive assessment from a senior management person from a company that employees a number of CMU CS developers compared with other developers they have. Once such anecdotal evidence means little and it does not mean CMU is not a great CS school. In fact I know it is a great CS school. However, I think it's quality is very comparable to UIUC or Berkeley and but not better. I think there is a perception that CMU is best and this perception is closely related to aggressive marketing done by CMU for making it's CS program a brand of it's own. And, once again using my anecdotal experience, I have felt it strongly and I am sure it can be different from someone else's experience.

    Also, I have seen there are many CS students enrolled at UIUC who didn't fall for such brand marketing by CMU and a lot of CS students joined UIUC despite being offered admission at CMU CS or Berkeley CS or both. And, I have not heard them regretting about their decisions.
  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils Forum Champion Northeastern, Forum Champion Math/Computer Science Posts: 3,651 Forum Champion
    As I said, being the best in CS research doesn't correlate to undergraduate education/teaching quality. I agree that CMU, UIUC, and UCB are all of a similar quality there. I would even claim that none of them are the best for undergraduate CS education for many students. My point was that CMU's reputation is derived from their research, which is pretty objectively #1 in the CS world for most.
    Also, I have seen there are many CS students enrolled at UIUC who didn't fall for such brand marketing by CMU and a lot of CS students joined UIUC despite being offered admission at CMU CS or Berkeley CS or both. And, I have not heard them regretting about their decisions.

    Of course no one regrets choosing any of those over the other - they are comparable schools and you're only having a good experience with UIUC CS, as makes sense, so why regret? They could go to any of the options and say the same though likely. The language you use here, however, implies that there is some deception happening at CMU. I think their claim is simply reflective of their research strength, nothing more.
    I think there is a perception that CMU is best and this perception is closely related to aggressive marketing done by CMU for making it's CS program a brand of it's own.

    I don't think it's marketing related at all. It's just people extrapolating graduate research quality to undergraduate education quality. Combine that with people lacking understanding of tier style rankings, and it all fits together. I'm only taking issue that there is some massive marketing push, and that is why CMU is considered the top.
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