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UW-Seattle vs McGill

as1999610as1999610 30 replies21 threads Junior Member
Hello everyone!

As the deadline is almost here, I need to make a decision quickly on where to go. It seems that the best choice I have in the US is UW-Seattle and I also have McGill in Canada.

UW will cost around $48K a year and McGill will cost around $43K a year.

I intend to pursue CS and I know UW has a better reputation for it. But the problem is, I am not guaranteed the major as I have been admitted to pre-science and will have to pass a certain set of courses with a certain GPA. It would be inherently risky to spend almost $50K a year when less than half the students make the cut. I have, however, gotten into the major at McGill. My intention was always to go to the US for my bachelors (as I am a US citizen living overseas) but I am not entirely sure if it would be the right decision now with the choices I have. McGill does seem appealing, but will I be at a disadvantage to apply to US grad schools or jobs with a Canadian bachelors degree?

And also, I wanted to know whether the Canadian system is more in line with the UK's system of choosing one subject and that's it, or the other (in my opinion) more preferable liberal arts curriculum when you can change what you are pursuing and also do other majors/minors?

So overall, I feel that if I were to make the cut at UW, it would be the better choice for my major. But I have also heard that McGill is fairly well renowned in the US, so I may not be at a major disadvantage when applying to grad schools or jobs.

Any input or previous experience would be highly appreciated.

Thank you!
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Replies to: UW-Seattle vs McGill

  • scotlandcallingscotlandcalling 193 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2017
    @as1999610 McGill is fantastic - great college town and well known in US. You will not be at a disadvantage for US grad schools, could actually be an advantage with less applicants from McGill. If you were in CS in UW that would be great, but you aren't and it is very risky. A lot of people feel the same and wouldn't pay in or out of state money if their student is not direct admit to major. And CS is super competitive - they told us on a tour, you need a 3.7-3.8ish gpa at UW to just be competitive to apply and still no guarantee you will get in the major. That's crazy and too bad cause otherwise it would be a great place to go. But if you love Seattle you could try to make it work at UW. If you go to McGill, try to pick up some French while you are there and if you already know it, enjoy using it in French Quebec. You should call McGill re your major questions. The students I know there are very happy.
    edited April 2017
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  • UWfromCAUWfromCA 1336 replies54 threads Senior Member
    Now for some actual information on the subject:

    See: https://www.cs.washington.edu/freshmen

    The CS website states, "For 2017, fewer than 3% of UW freshman applicants who listed Computer Science or Computer Engineering as their first-choice major were offered Direct Admission; these students had an average unweighted GPA of 3.97; average test scores of ACT 34, SAT Math 764, and SAT Verbal 758; took a rigorous high school curriculum; provided evidence of meaningful extracurricular activities; submitted strong personal statements; and were mostly Washington residents."

    Last month, the Seattle Times reported:

    "This year, direct admission will be offered to 150 students. All but five of them are Washington residents.
    ***
    "Although computer science and engineering is a tough program to get into, the picture is getting better. In 2016, 43 percent of bachelor’s applicants were admitted to the program. In previous years, the admission rate was lower.
    ***
    "[The CSE Department] is now enrolling about 370 new undergraduate students each year, double the number it was able to accommodate in 2012.... This year, it is asking for $6 million from the Legislature to increase the number of students it graduates by 120 degrees per year. Most of that increase would be in bachelors degrees, Lazowska said."

    Also note, the UW appears to admit and enroll a broad range of students in keeping with its primary mission to provide educational access and opportunity for residents of its state. For example, UW's 2016 ASEE online profile shows a middle 50% ACT range of 27-33 for enrolled students in the College of Engineering (this includes all enrolled pre-engineering and direct admit students in engineering and CS).

    As stated on UW's website, a key question for a student who is not DA to CS to ask is, "Do my background and motivation equip me to excel during my freshman year at UW and gain admission to a competitive major?" Students in the top half of that ACT range (like OP) will have an easier time getting into the top 40-50% of applicants who are admitted to the CS major by regular admission.


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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 15798 replies1056 threads Senior Member
    McGill and Université de Montréal are very involved with AI.
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