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Umass Amherst vs. Lowell

SpidermannSpidermann Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
I have recently done a semester at Umass Lowell as a Computer Science Major. I applied as a transfer to Umass Amherst and was accepted though it was as a Economics major. The two curriculums of the schools are uncommon(Lowell teaches C programming whereas Amherst Java). If I go to Amherst, in order to get into the CS major I need to score a B+ in two of the CS classes. Is it worth the risk to go to Amherst for the better name and college life? Am I better of staying at Lowell or challenging myself at Amherst, the better named school?

Replies to: Umass Amherst vs. Lowell

  • FiftyFifty Registered User Posts: 184 Junior Member
    Here are some questions for you:

    1. Did you apply to UMass Amherst as an economics major because you are interested in majoring in economics, or is it a placeholder for trying to get into the CS major?

    2. How are you doing in your CS classes at UMass Lowell? I suspect that the grading standards are similar at both campuses, so if you are acing your CS classes at Lowell, you can be confident that you will get into the CS major at Amherst. If not, you would be looking at majoring in economics.

    3. Is UMass Amherst affordable to you? If you are living at home while attending Lowell, you will incur additional living expenses in Amherst.

    4. While Amherst is the flagship campus, both Amherst and Lowell offer solid opportunities to prepare for a career in computing. What are your reasons for wanting to transfer, besides going to "the better named school?"

    5. Have you visited Amherst and toured the Computer Science Department?
  • ReqCollatzReqCollatz Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    In addition to what Fifty said, I would look into the opportunities for Lowell grads. The need for a masters for job opportunities and base salary is increasingly becoming a thing. If Lowell can get you to Amherst for grad school, it might be worth it to just get solid grades at Lowell and go to Amherst for grad school.
  • gearmomgearmom Registered User Posts: 3,885 Senior Member
    @Spidermann Umass Lowellm is a great school that is respected for tech fields. It will make no difference to your future career to switch to UMass Amherst really. Why would you switch to economics when you have an awesome opportunity in CS at Lowell.
  • SpidermannSpidermann Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    It was a placeholder to get into CS eventually
    Living would be the same and so would the overall cost
    Reasons for wanting to transfer is because like you said, Amherst is flagship and more of a college town in which the four years of college can be enjoyed to the fullest. However I understand the risk that comes with that in not being accepted to CS at Amherst later on. I was wondering if anyone had the knowledge about Amherst COmputer Science and transferring to it internally.
  • PolitipotamusPolitipotamus Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    edited February 9
    @gearmom UMLowell is a fine school with a solid reputation in CS. Plus, it's located just on the perimeter of the 495 tech-belt where tech oriented companies are loaded with UML grads.

    As for "Amherst, the better named school", this is most often held in the eye of the beholder/hiring manager of a prospective hiring company. I wouldn't sweat it too much and overplay this as justification for transferring.


  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    As for "Amherst, the better named school", this is most often held in the eye of the beholder/hiring manager of a prospective hiring company. I wouldn't sweat it too much and overplay this as justification for transferring.

    I am a hiring manager in the Boston area and I think that Lowell is mediocre not excellent, not great, not good, not bad, but mediocre, like B+/C-. Amherst is much better hands down. The better students by and large will go to UMass Amherst. Professors at UMASS Amherst can challenge their students to achieve more. There are research opportunities with top professors. OP, whether transferring is right for you depends on you. If you just want a good job when you graduate, then Lowell is fine. However it's 2018 not 2010. The CS economy is sizzling. Getting a good paying job with a CS degree is a pretty low bar in terms of ambition. There is a huge labor shortage. If you want to take the risk to potentially be challenged to your capacity, get to the top of your game and be able to work on the most cutting edge stuff, then transfer.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 2,150 Senior Member
    I disagree with @classicrockerdad: depends on the space and CS is not like most other spaces. Going to the best school in terms of rankings matter if you want to get into banking or some white collar corporate ladder job: computer science is a whole different ball of wax. I would stay at Lowell....
  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    ^^^Salaries are based on your capabilities. You can get a whole lot more capability in the same amount of time in a better program. CS is a huge field and very hot. As I said, there are plenty of jobs for Lowell CS grads no question. If "get a job" is the goal Lowell is fine. If you don't think there is something to be gained by competing at a higher level, then stay at Lowell.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 37,985 Senior Member
    What are the requirements for CS but also IST at Amherst?
    What are your current grades in cs at Lowell?
  • OttermaOtterma Registered User Posts: 1,326 Senior Member
    edited February 9
    Moving into the Java based CS program at UMass Amherst from the C based program at Lowell could be an issue. The two languages are syntactically related but there are significant underlying differences. If you haven't already, you should verify that your current CS credits will transfer or if you would find yourself starting over.

    Also can you get into the CS courses you need to stay on track to graduate on time at Amherst if you transferred as an econ major?

    If your primary motivation for transferring is the environment in Amherst, then go ahead and transfer, but be prepared to graduate with an econ degree or to take a year or two longer to get a CS degree.

    If your primary motivation is wanting better academic depth, it might make more sense from a time, risk, and money point of view to finish out your degree at Lowell and go for a masters degree afterwards either before, during, or after getting a job.

    Speaking as a hiring manager on the west coast, I look for enthusiasm, a solid portfolio of work, and internships in the entry level programmers I hire. The reputation of the school is not a particularly strong factor for entry level and it is zero factor for mid-level.
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