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Engieneering and Computer Science

  1. Aug 6, 2008 #1
    Hey guys,
    Im going to be a senior this year in high school so I've started the application process this summer. Im looking to major in aerospace engineering but also have a love for computer science and chemistry.

    I was considering double majoring in CS and AE but im not entirely sure how related they are or how that would stack up against majoring in AE and minoring in CS. Thoughts?

    Also, I have a pretty long list of schools. Do you guys think there is anything in particular I should knock off the list?

    California Inst of Tech
    CA State Poly Univ Pomona
    Cornell Univ
    Embry-Riddle Aero Univ
    Georgia Inst of Tech
    UMD College Park
    MA Inst of Tech
    U of Miami
    Pennsylvania State Univ
    Purdue Univ
    Rochester Inst of Tech (I have a scholarship in CS here already otherwise I wouldn't apply)
    Stanford Univ
    U of Texas Austin

    I have a 3.63 gpa and a mediocre 1250/1790 (old/new scale) on the SATs. I plan to take SAT IIs early next year in math II and chem. Ill be taking Multivariable calc and AP Physics C next year.

    My stats are good, not great. Do you think its worh applying for schools like Stanford and MIT?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2008 #2
    I believe the best course would be to follow the AA major, but lump in the first year programming courses, first year chem (which is probably a prereq for AA!), and maybe a year of something like organic or physical chemistry. If you get a real interest in one of the other subjects, you can always switch majors and won't be that far behind since you'll have their first year stuff down and similar prereqs like first year calculus and physics.

    You can dual, but doing it between two engineering fields tends to be a serious time eater, and really dualing with AA is going to be problematic since it tends to have heavy prereqs and a very packed schedule for the last two years.

    I don't immediately recognize any names to cross off that list. It's always worthwhile to *apply* because you will absolutely never get in if you don't. Make sure you spend a lot of time polishing your essays, though. The more competitive the admissions are, the harder they will be looking for ways to shrink the pile to go through - a badly written essay will be a very good reason not to consider you.
  4. Aug 6, 2008 #3
    Thanks Asphodel, but I think im missing something. Im not exactly sure what you're reffering to by AA. Sorry, Im not too good with acronyms :P

    Also, I was leaning more towards a AE and CS combination and chem would be I guess a way out just in case I dont like AE (which I don't expect, but hey, who can predict the future?)

    Would it be more work than its worth for the CS major? I already have taken AP Comp Sci A and AB (got a 4 on the AB exam, school did not offer A exam) and landed a CS internship this summer at Lockheed Martin.

    Again, thanks I really appreciate the help.
  5. Aug 6, 2008 #4
    Actually, one of my friends and fellow classmate who graduated from high school this past year is thinking of doing compsci/aerospace engineering. He was accepted into MIT. His stats were rather impressive: ~4.0 GPA, ranked top 5 in graduating class, captain of #2 nationally ranked science olympiad team, AMC, AIME, 2230 SAT, regional programming competition. He got a 5 in compsci AB and on various other AP tests. Most importantly he simply loves to program and likes teaching others how. It's not that he's incredibly talented at programming but he is willing to learn and puts in a lot of effort into it and has a lot of experience.

    The CS internship at lockheed martin is certainly impressive. The GPA and SAT scores are a bit low for Caltech or Stanford. Do you spend a lot of time on hobbies or extracurriculars? The key is showing passion. But really that's a great list of schools. Find one that suits you and remember it's always worth the work if you can keep the interest.
  6. Aug 6, 2008 #5
    AA = Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. AA ~= AE.
  7. Aug 6, 2008 #6
    The advice I offer to everybody who is applying to college is to VISIT the schools. I go to one of the schools on your list (Georgia Tech), and before I did the overnight visit program here (Connect with Tech) it was definitely my last choice. The overnight visit made it my first choice (despite it being my safety school), and I could not be happier here.
  8. Aug 7, 2008 #7
    Thanks for clearing that up.
    Normally I would agree with a statement like that, however each application costs ~$70 and at 14 apps thats not only alot of time, but also alot of money to be spending.

    I have a fairly long list of extracurriculars, but most notably I am our school's debate captain and senior engieneer on the school's Botball robotics team.
    I've held some elected positions in the past on the SGA and also play sports the the above are what I really enjoy and have continued throughout all of high school.

    I do plan to visit at least some of the schools. All or even most would just be too much money (I live in MD, far away from almost all of them). Are there any ones in particular that I should visit, or just the ones that Im most interested in?

    Also, CS is what Im good at whereas AE is what Im most interested in. Most people expect me to go into CS and are suprised when its not my first choice.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  9. Aug 7, 2008 #8
    Obviously there's a lot of time and money optimization to be done. That depends on how much you have of each, and really on which you think are most important to do first.

    It sounds like you should do AE/AA. It will be harder, but it's what you want. "Most people" won't be doing your coursework or pursuing your career, so tell them to bugger off. :biggrin:
  10. Aug 12, 2008 #9
    What are your thoughts on the chemical and biological engineering (CBE) degrees offered at some schools (such as NYU poly and RPI)?
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2008
  11. Aug 12, 2008 #10
    Bioengineering programs are usually small and hard to get accepted to.
  12. Aug 12, 2008 #11
    All the schools you listed are really good for engineering/comp sci except, from what I know, U of Miami and CA state aren't ranked very high in terms of engineering/comp sci.
  13. Aug 12, 2008 #12
    Hmmm, I'd recommend toning your list down a little to focus less on the highly competitive schools. Maybe consider:

    Johns Hopkins (reach)
    Boston College
    Virginia Tech

    When I applied to schools, I ended up getting rejected at my top 2 choices and my fifth choice (yeah, the system can be goofy), and waitlisted->rejected at my 3rd choice. Then my fourth choice didn't give me much financial aid.

    So in the end I only had two schools to choose from, which isn't nearly enough...

    Make sure that you have a healthy list of target and safety schools before you start to look into reaches. Also consider applying early decision to one of your target schools. I'm really kicking myself right now for not applying early to the school I got waitlisted at, since it could've made a big difference.

    That said I'm happy going to my safety school anyway - I just wish I would've applied to more schools on their level so I would've had more choices.
  14. Aug 13, 2008 #13
    So heres what I have now;
    U of IL Urbana-Champaign
    UMD College Park
    MA Inst of Tech
    U of Michigan
    Pennsylvania State Univ
    Purdue Univ
    Rochester Inst of Tech
    Stanford Univ
    UT at Austin

    Standord and MIT are my reaches (let me just hang on some monkey bars for a while to lengthen my arms) UMich might also be a reach.
    UMD, PennState, and RIT are my safeties and the rest are where I'd realistically like to go.

    Alex, do you think I should apply to more than 9 schools? To me it just seems like over kill to do more.
  15. Aug 13, 2008 #14
    Probably true.
  16. Aug 13, 2008 #15
    Are you from CC by any chance?
  17. Aug 13, 2008 #16
    It's a reasonably likely (but by no means certain) scenario that you'll only get into Penn State, Purdue, RIT, and UT Austin. Are you comfortable going to those schools?

    I'd consider College Park a reach or high target.

    UMD is more difficult to get into then Penn State or RIT, although it helps a lot if you apply early deadline.

    Nah, 9 seems about right. My only piece of advise would be to look very critically at the admissions statistics for any school. For example if a GPA of 3.63 does not place you in the top 20% of your class then I'd recommend only applying to just MIT or Stanford. I mean, when I applied I made the mistake of thinking "Well my grades/SATs/otherfactor is bad but it will be compensated for", but the fact is that to get into a top tier school one needs good grades and good SATs.

    But that's a decision that you're going to have to make for yourself. Think critically about if you'd really like going to your safeties...
  18. Aug 13, 2008 #17
    I don't think you need to apply to so many schools, but if you have the money to do so there isn't really a reason not to apply to as many schools as you have time for. I'm a little biased because it's where I go to school, but if you planning on Aerospace Engineering I think you should add Georgia Tech back onto your shortened list. I believe our AE program is ranked 2nd in undergrad, and we aren't terribly selective. Going by what you are judging as reaches I'm guessing you'd get in here no problem. We have an awesome CS program too, though I have no idea what it is ranked.

    A couple cons would be: lack of strong non-technical programs, 70:30 male:female ratio, and I think Atlanta is overrated. Oh yeah, and very tough classes, but that's probably true in most engineering programs. There will definitely be stretches of time of sometimes weeks long where you will do nothing but eat, sleep, and work. I still think this is an awesome school though; I wouldn't go anywhere else in the world even if given the chance.
  19. Aug 13, 2008 #18
    Actually came here first, then went there.
    Two diffrent communities mean two diffrent perspecitves:)

    Yeah, I think I'd be fine going to one of those.
    Looking at UMCP's acceptance it looks like they take in students with an average SAT of 1246 (im just a hair higher), and from our school an average GPA of 3.43. It also helps that Im in state. I think i should be able to get in here, but I'd rather go to one of the other schools up there.

    Do you think it would be reasonable to replace UTA with Geogia Tech? I don't really want to add anything to this list at this point. Replacing/eliminating fine, but I dont really want to add more.

  20. Aug 13, 2008 #19
    Hmmm, yeah, I think you probably will get into Maryland, but there's still a chance that it might not happen.

    I think replacing U-Texas with Georgia Tech would be a decent choice. I think that they probably could be considered peer institutions, and I think the academic quality would be similar. WPI and RPI are also both similar academically to those two schools, although private and much smaller.
  21. Aug 14, 2008 #20
    U of Texas - Austin is definitely a reach for you if you're out-of-state. For out-of-state students, it's almost as selective as Stanford/MIT.
  22. Aug 14, 2008 #21
    Hmmm... I have trouble believing that it's that selective.
  23. Aug 14, 2008 #22
    ^ It is for out-of-state students. The percentage of out-of-state students at UT is about 2% - 3%, so very few out-of-state students gain admission.
  24. Aug 14, 2008 #23
    But how many out of state students apply? Or better yet what are the median SATs for out of state students?
  25. Aug 15, 2008 #24
    Not sure about out of state, but looking at the stats provided by Naviance, a tool our school is susbribed to, I should be a shoe-in.
    Naviance uses GPA averages from students accepted from my school to UTA, but I think their SAT scores are from the colleges.
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