1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Computer Science Hopeful Major Help!

  1. Jul 16, 2007 #1
    Hi guys.

    I have a couple questions. My boyfriend wants to major in computer science. He went to DeVry University, but managed to get out before he completed a semester (I still can't believe he willingly went there). His HS transcripts are really bad (3.0 GPA), but he went to a VoTech for three years during HS for computers and got flying colors. He's really quite brilliant, and I'm not saying that because we're dating.

    What I wanted to know is this;

    1. What schools are good? He's got his heart set on MIT, but when the time comes, I'd really like him to apply to a few different schools, though of course MIT would be his first choice. Moving isn't a problem: I'd love to move and see things.

    2. What math does he need to study? Right now, he's brushing up on Alegbra 1-2. He took Geometry, but needs to re-learn it because his teacher really sucked. What else to pass the Math SATII, and to get into MIT and the like schools?

    3. How can he improve his chances of getting in? He has AS, which makes him bad with people, but is there anything else besides brushing up on his people skills?

    Thanks so much guys. Money isn't a problem - between student loans and my income (I'm a full-time writer), we should be able to squeeze by at just about any college.

    Anything else I'm missing that I should know, please let me know!!

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2007 #2
    1. I go to the University of Waterloo (Canada) for physics but I chose to take first year CS like any CS major, and in my opinion it's definitely a nice spot to get your CS degree. Beyond my anecdotal evidence, I can safely say UW is known for CS. It WAS Bill Gates' only stop in Canada *wink*

    2. I know the required maths for CS students here includes linear algebra, classic algebra, calculus I-II, combinatorics, stats, and probability.

    Full reqs: http://www.ucalendar.uwaterloo.ca/MATH/comp_sci.html
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2007
  4. Jul 17, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    At the risk of feeding a stereotype - that really is not going to matter!

    Donald Knuth "Art of Computer programming" is the bible of the field, he won't understand much of it - you have to be a grad student to follow some parts. But if having looked through it he WANTS to understand it then he probably should do CS! And it's probably worth buying to have on your office shelf in 20years time to scare new MSCEs!
  5. Jul 17, 2007 #4
    Well, it will be tough to get admitted to MIT with a 3.0, unless he has some really good research experience in CS and an amazing ACT/SAT score and great letters from teachers or mentors. Not to mention he should hjave a really great reason for his lower GPA in his personal statement.

    However, I will say that there are plenty of great CS schools out there that would admit a guy with a 3.0 gpa....
  6. Jul 17, 2007 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I hate to say this, but he needs to give up on MIT. He doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting in there for undegraduate school, and he's going to be wasting his time trying. He might be able to get in for graduate school if he does very well in his undergraduate program, but MIT is just not an option for him at this time.

    I hate to be so blunt, but we have students coming here all the time who declare that they're only interested in getting into elite schools. This is incredibly short-sighted and almost a guarantee of failure.

    He should really just look into local state schools -- perhaps even good community colleges, if you have any nearby -- and work his way up. He can transfer from a community college to a four-year school, and even transfer again to a more prestigious school if he does well.

    The road to MIT will be a long one, but every journey begins with the first step.

    - Warren
  7. Jul 22, 2007 #6
    I have to agree with Chroot, MIT is kinda out of the picture for him. But going to an elite university is not for everybody. I know it was not for me.

    Here are the usnews 2008 top 50 ranked Engineering schools.

    here is 2007

    here is Computer Engineering, Half of CS.

    I hope this helps some,

    As for the math even with CS he will need calculus and Linear Algebra.
  8. Jul 22, 2007 #7
    Maybe he can develop a portfolio for himself.
    Tell him to code as many demos of things he can learn by himself
    perhaps simpl ethings include flocking, building a gameboard or cardgame, simple graphics engine, datastructures. depending on how close you live to canada Waterloo might be an option
  9. Jul 24, 2007 #8
    He could try for CMU. Its slightly easier to get into CMU than MIT. In canada, Waterloo and Toronto are probably the best places for Computer Science.

    I'm going to CMU this fall for engineering
  10. Jul 24, 2007 #9
    The australian back door

    Don't know if this applies in the US but if I was giving advice to someone in Aus it would be.

    Do a certificate course in IT. Get a job/s for 2 years.
    Use that special AS tact to force oneself into more advanced projects with the employer. Document these projects in your resume. Apply to a number of universities for mature age entry. Do extremely well in the first one or two years. Transfer to uni of choice.

    Remember though that in a vocation results and institute only matter for your first couple of jobs. With AS he would probably be better off just finding a uni with a good dynamic for him.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?