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Any advice appreciated (Asian female going into CS, looking at top schools)


Replies to: Any advice appreciated (Asian female going into CS, looking at top schools)

  • Reformed test prep guruReformed test prep guru Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    >>Adding: no one should rely on a consultant blog for wisdom on the finer points of admissions. Ths folks make their living creating the impression they have special talents to sell.<<

    I could not agree more! Your story can only be written by you, not by some guy with "a bunch of credentials and high test scores."
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 32,425 Senior Member
    @nrtlax33 What do you mean that you "carefully reviewed his file?" That you saw his full and complete app and
    supp, all his writing plus the LoRs? Becuase in general, no one on CC knows, from a thread, the rest of what came through or not for any kid.

    There are dozens of reasons a kid can be rejected ED and RD, including that it's not all about stats. Nor is it about unilateral or being best at things. Humility matters.
  • Reformed test prep guruReformed test prep guru Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    edited September 2018
    @lookingforward Thank you! This needs to be stated on every "chance me" thread. Schools look to fill their cohorts with a diverse student body, not clones! If the adcom/interviewer wouldn't want to room with you (or have their child room with you) your stats don't mean anything. Be nice! You can't "teach" your children to be "smart." You can definitely teach them to be nice!
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 32,425 Senior Member
    I was >this close< to using the "room with him" example, RTPG. Devastating when an adcom writes it. No coming back from that.

    But I suspect OP is nice.

  • Reformed test prep guruReformed test prep guru Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    I agree. It also seems that she has probably been through a lot with something that has decreased the family income substantially (none of our business), since she has a brother at Vandy and dad has a PhD. I found nrtlax33 completely out of line with misinformation and his "check out this Asian kid who didn't get in" crap. OP comes across as genuine, sincere, intelligent and capable. If she aces the interviews, personal statements (targeted directly at her schools), and is a genuinely nice person, she has a great chance at each of her intended schools. The odds are never in your favor at these schools; but, if you don't apply your odds are zero.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 32,425 Senior Member
    Columbia made it's choice. The others made theirs. What is acceptable for one college says nothing about his indisputable superiority and other schools' "mistakes." In fact each college has its own wants and needs. And none of us know why or how he got into Columbia. I asked if you had read his "full file."

    I am very familiar with what makes a stem app to an Ivy work- or not.
    OP has some challenges, but a chance to do her best and feel that when she submits.
  • nrtlax33nrtlax33 Registered User Posts: 686 Member
    edited September 2018
    In fact each college has its own wants and needs.
    You got to be kidding. If he is not qualified to be admitted to Cornell, Cornell won't have many students .... empty campus. Don't forget Cornell is famous for its engineering school.
  • Reformed test prep guruReformed test prep guru Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    @nrtlax33 was your message meant to make sense? Is the example you have earlier your own child? If you would make a less than complementary addition to the incoming cohort you are rejected -- GPA and test scores aside. Plenty of people can get great scores and have great ECs. Not everyone can be someone people want to spend the next four years of their life with.
  • nrtlax33nrtlax33 Registered User Posts: 686 Member
    edited September 2018
    @Reformed test prep guru FWIW, I have stated several times that we have one PhD, two M.S. in my house, in three different majors from a top 10 school on this list (https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-engineering-schools/eng-rankings). If this kid was not lying in his original post, I do know his course rigor. BTW, if you don't mind me asking, what is your STEM background?
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 32,425 Senior Member
    edited September 2018
    Hmm, if he is your child, then you know more about him that a thread conveys. But of course there are myriad factors that play in an adimt or reject. The fact of strong grades and rigor is just one part. And among thousands of kids qualified with that, other factors do subsequently rule.

    But let's not debate. There is no saying, outright, that an Asian young woman won't get in for being Asian. Or asking whether she had a private music teacher or is first gen. Certainly not stating she's not going to be seen as disadvantaged by AOs.

    You may have stem folks with advanced degrees in your family. But are you involved with admissions or education? This is NOT all about rigor or stats...a lesson many kids should be aware of. The full picture matters. And this discussion is about UG admissions, not grad school, which IS different.

    My concern is how OP can work past the late interest in stem. I'd rather we focus on her than some kid from another year.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 2,221 Senior Member
    edited September 2018
    Don't be scared, you'll get into many if not all your matches, I may put Pomona as a reach however. Don't ED anywhere, you're an excellent applicant and with FA being important, you want to have choices. The one thing you may have to work on is how you would engage, non-academically on campus, since you only have band as a group EC, unless I missed something. You don't want to come off as too individualistic (go to class, code on a computer, play the flute in my room, back to class). If you have service ECs, bring them up, to show how you'd get involved. Good luck!
  • MrSamford2014MrSamford2014 Registered User Posts: 402 Member
    You should consider adding Rice to your application list.

    It's another reach, but I believe that it tends to be a bit more holistic and less stat-centric in its admissions decisions than either Vanderbilt or WashU.

    In addition, Rice just announced the implementation of a very generous financial aid program--one that would serve you well should you gain admittance. The Rice page here at CC has some recent posts (with appropriate links) about this new program.

  • celestialkairoscelestialkairos Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    Sorry I haven't been responding to most of the replies on this thread! It got a bit overwhelming and I felt that I needed to give myself a little break from CC. Thank you all so much for your help and advice!

    @lookingforward I had a really close relationship with my chem teacher sophomore year, definitely more so than my physics teacher the year after, and I've gone back to visit several times since. I felt like we get each other as people more than a lot of my other teachers (this applies to my AP Lang teacher as well), which is why I wanted him to write my rec letter.
    About what you said regarding showing another academic interest or two, how do you recommend I go about this? I tutored some of my friends in AP Chemistry on my own terms last year, and I have attended some Math Club meetings (not all because of conflicts with other activities), but neither of these really evolved into much. With Tedx, I always am interested in the STEM-related speakers especially, and it brings me a lot of happiness to see the other people in the audience share that same interest while they're speaking, but I'm not sure how much I can spin this to show academic interest.
    Also, do you believe that it might be beneficial to add something in the additional information section about my late interest in Computer Science, or would it look like I'm making excuses, even if it is genuine?

    @Reformed test prep guru Can you clarify what you mean by personal statements being targeted directly at the schools I'm considering? Perhaps I was mistaken, but I thought that I was only supposed to have one personal statement that goes to all of the schools I'm applying to (except MIT since it is not on the Common App). I do see how I could get around that by just submitting each school's "Common Application" portion at different times, but I didn't realize that this could be a beneficial strategy for applications.

    @theloniusmonk I didn't realize that my ECs could look individualistic enough to raise concerns. My youth orchestra performs for inner-city elementary schoolers to teach them about different instruments and push them towards the music programs at the local community college, and I was planning to highlight this in a lot of my applications, as it's something that's very important to me given that I am financially disadvantaged and see myself in a lot of these kids. Beyond that, both Future Problem Solving and Mock Trial are team-based activities that I've done for several years, and I've also participated in chamber music programs where learning to work as a group is compulsory. Do you have any recommendations to highlight this in my applications?

    @MrSamford2014 I actually did have Rice on my list of schools to apply to for a long period of time! Unfortunately, the ultimate deal-breaker was that if I were to attend Rice, my opportunities to play music would be limited to only the Campanile Orchestra, which is obviously better than nothing, but I would like to have some of the same opportunities as music majors even if I am not one myself. It was especially a shame because I was very happy with the school otherwise, but I didn't know if I could limit my playing like that.

    Again, thank you all so much for letting me know your thoughts!
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 8,631 Senior Member
    edited September 2018
    @celestialkairos, You sound like an amazing young person. It's important for women interested in CS to pursue it without apologies. Don't focus on when you developed an interest, just do what you can to show where that interest has led you. Are you trying to learn coding on your own? Have you checked out any open source projects?

    I think you should look into Vassar. My son looked at it when he was researching schools and I really liked it. I think they had one of the 1st CS programs in the country and it was started by a woman. Their need based aid seemed pretty good too.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 2,221 Senior Member
    I think focusing on the youth orchestra and your connection to the audience will be fine, adcoms know about mock trial so don't need to emphasize the team aspect.
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