Computer Science Hopeful Major Help!

  • #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!!


Answers and Replies

  • #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: [Broken]
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #3
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
3. He has AS, which makes him bad with people, but is there anything else besides brushing up on his people skills?
At the risk of feeding a stereotype - that really is not going to matter!

Anything else I'm missing that I should know, please let me know!!
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!
  • #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....
  • #5
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
  • #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.


1Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2Stanford University (CA)
3University of California?Berkeley
4Georgia Institute of Technology
5University of Illinois?Urbana-Champaign
6Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
7California Institute of Technology
7University of Southern California (Viterbi)
9University of Michigan?Ann Arbor
10Cornell University (NY)
11University of Texas?Austin
12Purdue University?West Lafayette (IN)
13University of California?San Diego (Jacobs)
14Texas A&M University?College Station (Look)
14University of Wisconsin?Madison
16University of California?Los Angeles (Samueli)
16University of Maryland?College Park (Clark)
18Princeton University (NJ)
19Columbia University (Fu Foundation) (NY)
19University of California?Santa Barbara
21Northwestern University (McCormick) (IL)
21Pennsylvania State University?University Park
23Harvard University (MA)
23University of Minnesota?Twin Cities
23University of Washington
26Johns Hopkins University (Whiting) (MD)
26Ohio State University
26University of Florida
29University of Pennsylvania
30Duke University (NC)
30Rice University (Brown) (TX)
30University of Rochester (NY)
33Virginia Tech
34North Carolina State University
34University of California?Davis
36Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY)
37University of California?Irvine (Samueli)
37University of Virginia
37Yale University (CT)
40University of Colorado?Boulder
41Boston University
42Lehigh University (Rossin) (PA)
42Vanderbilt University (TN)
42Washington University in St. Louis (Sever)
45Case Western Reserve University (OH
45Iowa State University
47Dartmouth College (Thayer) (NH)
47Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey?New Brunswick
47University of Delaware
50Arizona State University (Fulton)
50University of Pittsburgh

Graduate school
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2 Stanford University (CA)
3 University of California?Berkeley
4 Georgia Institute of Technology
5 University of Illinois?Urbana-Champaign
6 Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
7 California Institute of Technology
7 University of Southern California (Viterbi)
9 University of Michigan?Ann Arbor
10 Cornell University (NY)
11 University of Texas?Austin
12 Purdue University?West Lafayette (IN)
13 University of California?San Diego (Jacobs)
14 Texas A&M University?College Station (Look)
14 University of Wisconsin?Madison
16 University of California?Los Angeles (Samueli)
16 University of Maryland?College Park (Clark)
18 Princeton University (NJ)
19 Columbia University (Fu Foundation) (NY)
19 University of California?Santa Barbara
21 Northwestern University (McCormick) (IL)
21 Pennsylvania State University?University Park
23 Harvard University (MA)
23 University of Minnesota?Twin Cities
23 University of Washington
26 Johns Hopkins University (Whiting) (MD)
26 Ohio State University
26 University of Florida
29 University of Pennsylvania
30 Duke University (NC)
30 Rice University (Brown) (TX)
30 University of Rochester (NY)
33 Virginia Tech
34 North Carolina State University
34 University of California?Davis
36 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY)
37 University of California?Irvine (Samueli)
37 University of Virginia
37 Yale University (CT)
40 University of Colorado?Boulder
41 Boston University
42 Lehigh University (Rossin) (PA)
42 Vanderbilt University (TN)
42 Washington University in St. Louis (Sever)
45 Case Western Reserve University (OH)
45 Iowa State University
47 Dartmouth College (Thayer) (NH)
47 Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey?New Brunswick
47 University of Delaware
50 Arizona State University (Fulton)
50 University of Pittsburgh

here is 2007

Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs 2007
(At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate)
Rank/School Peer
( 5.0 = highest)
1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology 4.8
2. Stanford University (CA) 4.7
University of California–Berkeley * 4.7
4. California Institute of Technology 4.5
U. of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign * 4.5
6. Georgia Institute of Technology * 4.4
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor * 4.4
8. Carnegie Mellon University (PA) 4.3
Purdue Univ.–West Lafayette (IN)* 4.3
10. Cornell University (NY) 4.2
11. Princeton University (NJ) 4.1
University of Texas–Austin * 4.1
13. Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison * 4.0
14. Johns Hopkins University (MD) 3.9
Northwestern University (IL) 3.9
Pennsylvania State U.–University Park * 3.9
17. Texas A&M Univ.–College Station * 3.8
Virginia Tech * 3.8
19. Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. (NY) 3.7
Rice University (TX) 3.7
Univ. of California–Los Angeles * 3.7
Univ. of California–San Diego * 3.7
Univ. of Minnesota–Twin Cities * 3.7
University of Washington * 3.7
25. Columbia University (NY) 3.6
Duke University (NC) 3.6
North Carolina State U.–Raleigh * 3.6
Univ. of Maryland–College Park * 3.6
Univ. of Southern California 3.6
30. Harvard University (MA) 3.5
Ohio State University–Columbus * 3.5
University of Florida * 3.5
University of Pennsylvania 3.5
34. Brown University (RI) 3.4
University of California–Davis * 3.4
Univ. of California–Santa Barbara * 3.4
University of Colorado–Boulder * 3.4
University of Virginia * 3.4
39. Arizona State University * 3.3
Case Western Reserve Univ. (OH) 3.3
Iowa State University * 3.3
Washington University in St. Louis 3.3
43. Lehigh University (PA) 3.2
Michigan State University * 3.2
University of Notre Dame (IN) 3.2
Vanderbilt University (TN) 3.2
Yale University (CT) 3.2
48. Dartmouth College (NH) 3.1
Rutgers–New Brunswick (NJ)* 3.1
University of Arizona * 3.1
University of California–Irvine * 3.1
University of Missouri–Rolla * 3.1
53. Colorado School of Mines * 3.0
Drexel University (PA) 3.0
Michigan Technological University * 3.0
Northeastern University (MA) 3.0
University of Iowa * 3.0
Univ. of Massachusetts–Amherst * 3.0
University of Pittsburgh * 3.0
60. Auburn University (AL)* 2.9
Boston University 2.9
Clemson University (SC)* 2.9
Illinois Institute of Technology 2.9
Rochester Inst. of Technology (NY) 2.9
SUNY–Stony Brook * 2.9
University at Buffalo–SUNY * 2.9
University of Delaware * 2.9
University of Illinois–Chicago * 2.9
University of Utah * 2.9
Worcester Polytechnic Inst. (MA) 2.9
71. Colorado State University * 2.8
Kansas State University * 2.8
Polytechnic University (NY) 2.8
Syracuse University (NY) 2.8
Tufts University (MA) 2.8
University of Kansas * 2.8
University of Tennessee * 2.8
Washington State University * 2.8
79. Oregon State University * 2.7
University of Cincinnati * 2.7
University of Connecticut * 2.7
University of Houston * 2.7
University of New Mexico * 2.7
U. of North Carolina–Charlotte * 2.7
University of Rochester (NY) 2.7
86. Brigham Young Univ.–Provo (UT) 2.6
Clarkson University (NY) 2.6
Louisiana State U.–Baton Rouge * 2.6
New Jersey Inst. of Technology * 2.6
Oklahoma State University * 2.6
Southern Methodist University (TX) 2.6
Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ) 2.6
Texas Tech University * 2.6
University of Kentucky * 2.6
Univ. of Nebraska–Lincoln * 2.6
University of Oklahoma * 2.6
97. CUNY–City College * 2.5
George Washington University (DC) 2.5
Indiana U.-Purdue U.–Indianapolis * 2.5
Univ. of California–Riverside * 2.5
University of Central Florida * 2.5
Univ. of Missouri–Columbia * 2.5
University of Rhode Island * 2.5
Univ. of Wisconsin–Milwaukee * 2.5
Wayne State University (MI)* 2.5
* denotes a public school.

Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
(At schools whose highest degree is a bachelor's or master's)
Rank/School Peer
( 5.0 = highest)

1. Harvey Mudd College (CA) 4.4
Rose-Hulman Inst. of Tech. (IN) 4.4
3. Cooper Union (NY) 4.0
United States Military Academy (NY)* 4.0
United States Naval Academy (MD)* 4.0
6. Cal Poly–San Luis Obispo * 3.9
7. Bucknell University (PA) 3.7
United States Air Force Acad. (CO)* 3.7
9. Embry Riddle Aeronautical U. (FL) 3.5
Milwaukee School of Engineering 3.5
Villanova University (PA) 3.5
12. Kettering University (MI) 3.3
Lafayette College (PA) 3.3
San Jose State University (CA)* 3.3
Swarthmore College (PA) 3.3
16. Calif. State Poly. Univ.–Pomona * 3.2
Embry Riddle Aeronautical U.–Prescott (AZ) 3.2
United States Coast Guard Acad. (CT)* 3.2
Univ. of Colo.–Colorado Springs * 3.2
20. Baylor University (TX) 3.1
Bradley University (IL) 3.1
Gonzaga University (WA) 3.1
Loyola Marymount University (CA) 3.1
Rowan University (NJ)* 3.1
Union College (NY) 3.1
University of Michigan–Dearborn * 3.1
Valparaiso University (IN) 3.1
Webb Institute (NY) 3.1
29. Santa Clara University (CA) 3.0
Seattle University 3.0
St. Louis University 3.0
Trinity University (TX) 3.0
U.S. Merchant Marine Acad. (NY)* 3.0
University of Portland (OR) 3.0
University of San Diego 3.0
36. Boise State University (ID)* 2.9
California State U.–Los Angeles * 2.9
California State U.–Northridge * 2.9
The Citadel (SC)* 2.9
Mercer University (GA) 2.9
Northern Arizona University * 2.9
Purdue University–Calumet (IN)* 2.9
Smith College (MA) 2.9
Univ. of Massachusetts–Dartmouth * 2.9
University of Minnesota–Duluth * 2.9
Virginia Military Institute * 2.9
47. California State U.–Long Beach * 2.8
California State U.–Sacramento * 2.8
Indiana U.-Purdue U.–Fort Wayne * 2.8
Miami University–Oxford (OH)* 2.8
Oregon Inst. of Technology * 2.8
University of Detroit Mercy 2.8
University of St. Thomas (MN) 2.8
54. California Maritime Academy * 2.7
Hofstra University (NY) 2.7
Maine Maritime Academy * 2.7
Manhattan College (NY) 2.7
Northern Illinois University * 2.7
Ohio Northern University 2.7
Univ. of Wisconsin–Platteville * 2.7
61. California State U.–Fullerton * 2.6
Cedarville University (OH) 2.6
Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. (NJ) 2.6
Grove City College (PA) 2.6
Hope College (MI) 2.6
Loyola College in Maryland 2.6
Montana Tech of the Univ. of Mont. * 2.6
New York Inst. of Technology 2.6
Norwich University (VT) 2.6
Penn State–Erie, Behrend Col. * 2.6
Texas Christian University 2.6
Trinity College (CT) 2.6
University of Alaska–Anchorage * 2.6
Univ. of Arkansas–Little Rock * 2.6
University of Evansville (IN) 2.6
Univ. of Missouri–St. Louis * 2.6
Univ. of Tennessee–Chattanooga * 2.6
University of the Pacific (CA) 2.6
Widener University (PA) 2.6
Youngstown State University (OH)* 2.6
81. California State Univ.–Chico * 2.5
Calvin College (MI) 2.5
Grand Valley State University (MI)* 2.5
LeTourneau University (TX) 2.5
Minnesota State University–Mankato * 2.5
Murray State University (KY)* 2.5
North Carolina A&T State Univ. * 2.5
Pennsylvannia State U.–Harrisburg * 2.5
San Francisco State University * 2.5
Southern Illinois U.–Edwardsville * 2.5
St. Cloud State University (MN)* 2.5
SUNY–Maritime College * 2.5
Texas A&M Univ.–Galveston * 2.5
Tri-State University (IN) 2.5
University of Hartford (CT) 2.5
University of Wisconsin–Stout * 2.5
Western New England College (MA) 2.5
West Virginia U. Inst. of Tech. * 2.5
* denotes a public school.

here is Computer Engineering, Half of CS.

Undergraduate engineering specialties: Computer Engineering
(At schools whose highest degree is a bachelor's or master's)

1. Rose-Hulman Inst. of Tech. (IN)
2. Harvey Mudd College (CA)
2. Cooper Union (NY)
4. United States Military Academy (NY)*
5. San Jose State University (CA)*
5. Cal Poly?San Luis Obispo *

Undergraduate engineering specialties: Computer Engineering
(At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate)

1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology
2. Stanford University (CA)
3. Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
4. University of California?Berkeley *
5. U. of Illinois?Urbana-Champaign *
6. University of Michigan?Ann Arbor *
7. Georgia Institute of Technology *
8. University of Texas?Austin *
9. Cornell University (NY)
10. California Institute of Technology
11. Purdue Univ.?West Lafayette (IN)*
12. Princeton University (NJ)
13. University of Washington *
14. Univ. of Wisconsin?Madison *
15. Duke University (NC)
16. Univ. of California?Los Angeles *
17. Northwestern University (IL)
17. Univ. of Maryland?College Park *
17. Johns Hopkins University (MD)
20. Univ. of California?San Diego *
20. Texas A&M Univ.?College Station *
20. Rice University (TX)
23. Pennsylvania State U.?University Park *
24. Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. (NY)

* denotes a public school.

I hope this helps some,

As for the math even with CS he will need calculus and Linear Algebra.
  • #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
  • #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
  • #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.

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