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Chance Me - UW Comp Sci

akashmungraakashmungra 0 replies1 threads New Member
Hey Everyone. I'm currently a junior located in Washington. Now that my school year is coming to an end, I'm starting to realize how unsure I am about my college admission chances as well as where I should be going. I am set on computer science and am hoping to go to the best one possible (preferably UW CS). My alternatives are Umass Amherst, and UT Austin (their computer science programs), so please keep these schools in mind as well while assessing my information.

Here are some of my stats:

GPA(my school only does unweighted): 3.87 - this will likely go up a bit by the end of this semester.

SAT: 1420 (R: 710 M:700) - Pretty low but I'm fairly confident that I will be able to bring this up to the 1500's when I retake this summer by maxing out my math score.

AP Classes: AP U.S. History, AP Lang, AP Calc AB, and AP Physics C Mechanics. I took the maximum amount of AP courses available once I was old enough. AP test scores aren't out yet, but I'm fairly confident in my APUSH and Calculus scores (especially calculus).

My two B's in high school were in my first semester physical science class in my freshman year and my first semester AP Lang class in junior year. Additionally, I took a UW college course in java (142) that I got a B in. Because this was a college class (worth more credits), it brought my GPA down much more to a 3.87, although I'm hoping to have a little bit of leeway in that area since it was a college class.


- Speech and Debate (4 years) - made it to regionals and I'm also the current president of the club.

- Key Club (4 years) - over 300 community service hours accumulated

- Aside from the UW java 142 course I took, I also took Python 131 in my sophomore year and got an A.

- Worked at Kumon as a tutor throughout all of junior year. I'm really hoping this works to my advantage as I can show that I was taking 4 APs with two additional college courses while working, all at the same time.

- I also took a UW-credit aerospace engineering college course during this time, but I'm planning on putting it on my resume rather than my transcript since I got a B on that course (so it won't show up on my record or affect my GPA).

- Solar car team (1 year) - Programmer, potential to become the lead for the engineering team.

- Completed a Harvard certification course in AI (python)

- Currently taking my time in quarantine to make an app (should be completed by the end of summer) - won't be anything fancy, just something for me to do over the summer.

As a middle-class asian who's not the first generation of his family to go to college, I understand that the odds are stacked against me. A large number of my older friends who got direct acceptance into UW CS had much worse stats than me but were at an advantage because of these factors.

My weakest point is my GPA, as I got two B's in my high school and one in my java class. Taking a full six-class courseload in high school with four APs, two college courses, and a part-time job is very arduous work, and I'm hoping colleges will understand that. Please let me know what my chances at the three mentioned colleges (or any other good CS colleges that you might know) are.

Just a side note: If my chances of getting into UW CS directly on my first try do not look so good, please let me know what my chances would be if I appealed.

Thank you.
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Replies to: Chance Me - UW Comp Sci

  • AroundHereAroundHere 3601 replies22 threads Senior Member
    1. Unless you can afford full out of state tuition, your backup schools are not affordable. Pick more schools!!! Run net price calculators!!! In fact, your backup plan of UTexas is more competitive for out of state CS than UW Seattle will be.

    It looks like you want a "big state school" experience, so try the net price calculators at WUE schools. Also try U of Arizona's net price calculator, because they do offer scholarships to compete with Arizona State for WUE kids.

    2. If you are a Washington Aerospace Scholar, do not hide that from your transcript, even if you "just got a B." In fact DO NOT LEAVE ANY COURSES YOU TOOK OFF YOUR TRANSCRIPT! That can be an automatic-reject for an incomplete application at any college if they figure it out!

    3. Your best shot if you don't get in first try at UW CS will be to immediately appeal, not to go anyway and reapply once you get there.
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  • seppemaneseppemane 36 replies10 threads Junior Member
    @AroundHere has a very good point in applying to WUE colleges. I applied to UW CS and got waitlisted to the school (3.4 GPA, 1380 SAT), and as of right now I am committed to U of Utah. For undergrad, UW is ranked far higher than Utah (like 40 spots higher iirc), but Utah has a cs graduate program that's in the top 40 right now and rising. I got WUE there, which is very competitive, but it's made going there WAY cheaper. If you want, UU has a top 5 video game design program in the nation as well as a full-fledged Data Science major.

    It looks to me as if you want to do AI as your focus for CS, and if that's the case, it's your grad school that REALLY matters for getting a job more than undergrad
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  • seamagseamag 4 replies0 threads New Member
    UW CS is notoriously hard to get into, and it's getting worse. Note that you have two admissions, UW AND CS. They are similar but have slightly different focus. I will try to highlight where they differ.

    1. You GPA should be OK to get into UW, and probably also to CS; UW mid 50% was 3.72-3.95 in 2019. You have some APs which is a strength, make sure you continue that in senior year. Your B in CS 142, which is the first CS course at UW, is a negative, but maybe they accept it as you took it as a sophomore. If you can show strength in another CS class, like AP CS, it would be good. Note that most high schools in WA only do unweighted; at states where weighted is used the weights vary widely by school, some can even have 6.0 in a 4.0 system, so UW tends to be focused on unweighted, and especially the CADR classes.

    2. Now strong GPA is necessary, but not sufficient to get into UW nor CS. There are examples of GPA 4.0 students who are rejected. You also need to show you have an active life outside of classes. You have a strong list of ECs - well done. This is significant for both UW and CS admission, especially that you stick with an activity for several years.

    3. Test scores will be optional at UW due to coronavirus, so not sure how they will use that if you submit them.

    4. The part that many who are rejected miss, is the significance UW and especially CS puts on the essay. Make sure you read the instructions in detail several times and make sure you address each and every one of the questions. Also have a well thought through story of what you want with your degree. You don't need to have your career figured out, but you should have a good idea why you want to study CS and what you want to do with it. Of course, it can change, but it should be way beyond "AI is cool". As of this writing, UW CSE is updating their prompt - make sure to read the new instructions when they come out.

    5. As for appeal, if you have new information, yes please try. But if you try to rehash your application, it will most likely not go anywhere.

    6. Finally, the odds are not stacked against you. If anything, I would say the odds are in your favor. You have been given many opportunities and you have done well with them. Others are not given so many opportunities, but they might still take advantage of the ones they get. That is what matters in admission, and you must show it. UW and CS is a huge opportunity, and they want to make sure people take advantage of it.

    A final note: Now with CS Direct Admission many applicants will be accepted to UW, but rejected from CS. This is a tough spot to find yourself in and requires self-searching. First obvious option is to enroll to UW, and then apply to CS again as a UW student, but note that the CSE department recommends against this, due to the highly unlikely path of being accepted. Maybe you decide to try a different major instead. Maybe you decide on a different school's CS program. Maybe you decide to go to community college and apply as a transfer student instead. Think it through and have a plan because many find themselves in this spot.
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  • AroundHereAroundHere 3601 replies22 threads Senior Member
    @seppemane Utah is a great school for CS. Congrats!
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2911 replies8 threads Senior Member
    There are other schools in WA you can go to without spending triple the tuition going out of state. CS is a ridiculously employable degree, and prestige makes no difference at all. Also, UT-Austin is not a back-up school. They reserve 90% of their admissions for Texas residents.
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