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Chance a Junior with medicore ECs for T20s/Ivies?

stachlj958stachlj958 18 replies6 threads Junior Member
Demographics: White male in NC

GPA: 3.9 UW/4.21 W (3 Bs, 2 freshman year and one sophomore, upward trend is good?)
ACT: 33 (36 R, 36 E, 32 S, 29 M) 11 Writing
Courseload: most intensive with the exception of 1 honors course I didn't take freshman year. 3 APs (+3 senior year, so 6 total) and 4 dual enrollment courses senior year. Language was Chinese (3 years by the time I'll apply)

Intended major: Computer Science and Business Administration

Awards:
Presidential Service Award Gold (highest)
NSLI-Y summer program scholarship (digital this year, due to the virus)
NHS (duh)

ECs:
NSLI-Y (not sure whether to put this as an EC or award)
100+ volunteering hours at a local food bank
$1000 raised for this food bank through a fundraiser program I initiated
Ran a food drive for this food bank last fall
250+ volunteer tutoring hours via an online tutoring platform run by NC's public school system, tutored in math and computer science.
Tutored a middle schooler at my school once a week in math
Peer mentorship program with a elementary schooler/middle schooler at my high school
Published a mobile app (at least, I will have by the time I apply. It's almost done and still in development at the moment)

As you can probably tell, my ECs are mostly volunteer based. When I started doing this stuff the summer of my sophomore year, I thought colleges would like that, but the more I've researched online the more that I've found that not to be the case (except for Berkeley, apparently?). If it changes anything, my high school doesn't have a volunteer requirement for graduation.

Schools:
Cornell (ED?), Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, UC Berkeley EECS, UIUC (EA), Georgia Tech (EA), Columbia, Rice
18 replies
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Replies to: Chance a Junior with medicore ECs for T20s/Ivies?

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10211 replies119 threads Senior Member
    For CS all these schools are going to be reaches. Focus your time and energy finding match and safety schools and then a pick up a couple of these reaches.

    You may also want to consider working on raising your math ACT subscore. A sub 30 score will be a red flag for many CS programs.

    Lastly, talk to your parents about the budget. The public flagships on your list give very little money to OOS students.
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3874 replies52 threads Senior Member
    Which college within Cornell are you applying ED?
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  • kuma16kuma16 17 replies5 threads Junior Member
    have you considered unc?
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  • stachlj958stachlj958 18 replies6 threads Junior Member
    College of Engineering, most likely. I assume that that's where their CS department is.
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  • stachlj958stachlj958 18 replies6 threads Junior Member
    The only state school I have is NC State. I decided against UNC because I don't think I would like the environment all that much. It's too close to home and I grew up in Chapel Hill. I want to get the hell out if NC.

    How good is their CS program?
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6549 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I would apply to UNC, and I *hope* that it is a second safety for you (along with NC State). I have worked and gone to graduate schools with people who graduated from there and at least they gave it a good name just by what they did on the job (or in one case in graduate school). I agree that you need to make sure that you have two solid safeties before you look for reaches.

    I like your ECs. To me they are about helping other people. What admissions thinks of them I have no idea.

    Make sure that you have two solid safeties. Apply to your reaches. I think that you will do very well wherever you end up.

    Make sure that your budget is okay for all the schools that you apply to. If you are not okay with being full pay, then run the NPC and show your parents the result. You do not need to spend more than the in-state cost of NC State or UNC in order to have a solid career in software engineering.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10211 replies119 threads Senior Member
    FYI - Cornell has two options for CS - one in the CoE and one in CAS. You may want to spend some time parsing out the differences in curriculum and which plays more to your strengths. Don't apply anywhere ED unless you really know the program inside and out and why it's the right fit for you.
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3874 replies52 threads Senior Member
    You certainly have a shot at Cornell ED. The acceptance rates for engineering and CAS are very low -- in the 8-10% range. But as pointed out above by @momofsenior1, CS is incredibly competitive. Have you considered one of the other Cornell colleges? CALS or Human Ecology? The admission rates are a little higher. They also have some majors which overlap with what you're interested in.
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  • stachlj958stachlj958 18 replies6 threads Junior Member
    edited May 14
    I'm confused, why would I apply to those colleges if I want to major in computer science?
    edited May 14
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  • cram545cram545 95 replies70 threads Junior Member
    I think what @sgopal2 is saying you’d probably have a better chance getting into those colleges if you like a program in those schools. Your English scores are better than your science and math scores. This is not a good sign for the competitive admissions process for computer science majors. I had a similar score breakdown and got into Cornell, but I applied to ILR and had relatively strong extracurriculars.
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  • stachlj958stachlj958 18 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I wouldn't be able to major in computer science then, though, would I? It's CS or bust.
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  • penguin2penguin2 207 replies6 threads Junior Member
    It's relatively easy to transfer between departments at an Ivy+ school due to the amount of resources and the faculty:student ratio. You can't try this at any publics though. If you look up Solomon Admissions Consulting, their entire system is making CS kids apply linguistics or public health or something, getting into Harvard, then transferring to CS immediately. Obviously this raises some ethical concerns and I'm not recommending it, but it's proof that transferring can be done.
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3874 replies52 threads Senior Member
    I'm not suggesting that you give a false narrative. Just have a look at the other majors offered at CALS, ILR, HumEc, etc. Take the Biometrics/Statistics major at CALS. This has a heavy dose of CS built right in. The admissions rates for certain majors are much more competitive than others. And CS is at the top of the heap.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10211 replies119 threads Senior Member
    So I would take the opposite approach to the posters above. I would find schools where you are a fit where you are competitive for your intended major. A CS major will be highly employable, regardless of the name of the institution on the diploma.

    If you don't think you are a competitive enough candidate for CS at Cornell (and frankly no one here can really know that), I would not look for a different major to be accepted, I would look for other schools to put on your college list. Cornell is a great school (my alma mater) but definitely not the be it and end all, especially for CS.

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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3874 replies52 threads Senior Member
    Agree with @momofsenior1 that a CS degree at StateU will be very valuable. If you are hell bent on Ivy league and want to attend Cornell, you would be more competitive if you applied as another major instead of CS.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2990 replies5 threads Senior Member
    "CS degree at StateU "

    this is a big lol, what if State U is Berkeley, Michigan, Purdue, or Illinois, all those are better than Cornell CS, as an Cornell alum has herself stated.

    "definitely not the be it and end all"

    It's "not the be all and end all", need to make sure your sayings are accurate. :-)

    "you would be more competitive if you applied as another major instead of CS. "

    The kid only wants CS, not sure why you're suggesting all these convoluted paths at Cornell or any other college for that matter.

    OP, the issue for you is you don't like your flagship (UNC) and for in-state that would be your best choice as a match or even safety, knowing how UNC favors in-state applicants. But go with NC State and maybe another public flagship in the south (SC, UGA, UF) and see what happens.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2912 replies8 threads Senior Member
    The problem with going out of state is that it's triple the tuition. Chances are, you're not going to be able to pay that no matter how deserving your stats may be. You can still go out of state. Try scholarships at Univ of AZ and Univ of AL. If you're looking into computers and tech, I can tell you, as a programmer myself, you DON'T need prestige. In fact, prestige can hurt you, if you graduate with high levels of debt. I went to a regional state university...and I just turned down an interview at Amazon. I've interviewed with several fortune 500 companies...Google among the list. Trust me when I say this, these companies aren't as great as they seem. Any accredited university in your price range is fine. You can get out of NC once you graduate. At that point, people will be paying you to go out of state.
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  • theconcernedkidtheconcernedkid 36 replies14 threads Junior Member
    University of Maryland - College Park could be pretty good for a match in CS, they have a good program for that and if you're trying to go OOS then this could be an option for you.
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