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Computer Science REU

  1. Jul 29, 2011 #1
    Hello everyone. I've gotten interested in the field of computer science lately, and I'm thinking of pursuing advanced study in that field. I am currently a rising sophomore at a top 10 school in the U.S. and will likely major in computer science (if not, math). I would like to know a little more about admissions with computer science research experience for undergraduates. I haven't found that much information online as compared to, say, math REUs.

    So far, the only computer science classes I've taken are the standard two intro classes - programming I and programming II in Java. However, I've been exposed to a lot of graduate-level projects in computer science that intrigued me, especially with AI, 3-D rendering, algorithms, and others. I plan to take, at minimum, 3 more computer science classes in the next school year, as well as related math classes.

    I've looked at some REU's in computer science, but most don't give me a lot of information about admission. How valuable are they for an aspiring PhD student? Is the acceptance ratio greater than or less than 10 percent? What are the most competitive and least competitive REU's to get in? (I'm not saying that there are bad REU's - I just want to see if I can get in one after my sophomore year and I'm aware that I'll be aiming low to start.) I'm hoping to eventually get accepted to a PhD program in computer science ranked in the 20-30 range.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 29, 2011 #2
    The REU im in right now, an earth science one, had 485 applicants for 10 or so spots (there are 30 ish interns but 20 came from the original school and were not included in the same applicant field). Suffice to say that REU's are super competitive, and they don't necessarily accept the best students. I applied to 10 and only got into one, which happened to be the most competitive one by chance. Its basically a crapshoot. Don't aim low, aim wide. Apply to all that interest you.
  4. Jul 30, 2011 #3
    That's disappointing, and I will aim wide. But there have to be some programs that are not as competitive, i.e. they accept 10% of their applicants rather than 3%. I'll try and ask around more in my school. If I can't get an REU I suppose working with a professor at my school is the alternative.
  5. Aug 3, 2011 #4
    Does anyone else have thoughts?
  6. Aug 4, 2011 #5
    Tell them you're black. And poor. And don't tell them you go to a good school, say you're from a community college.

    Otherwise, if you're not the best student in your department, you will be hard up.
  7. Jan 4, 2012 #6
    Well, I do fall in the category of minorities, but of course that's no guarantee. Anyway I'll just be doing my applications, then. It's weird to see a lot of math and physics REU topics here, but not many computer science REU topics given that computer science relates a lot to math and physics.
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