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CS Grad School Chances


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I just signed up and want to know some opinions on my grad chances for computer science programs. A little background information: I attend a top 20 university, according to USNEWS, in the southern part of the U.S. (i.e. Vanderbilt, WashU, Emory), had a great first two years in college academically (3.7 GPA+). Before my third year, I really had no clue what to major in. Unfortunately, my family suffered great losses and I had a few breakdowns mentally. I went through an extreme depressive episode and the isolation, along with problems back home, led to multiple Fs and Ds for a semester.


Thankfully, I had these grades withdrawn after an academic petition the following year, but had a very mediocre semester afterwards (3.0). Over the summer, I decided to stay an extra year and pursue a B.S. in mathematics. The good news is that in my third year I had taken no STEM courses and considered every possible career in the humanities. My next year was very rough academically; I had not taken any STEM heavy courses in around 2-3 years and decided to take 5 in one semester. This led to a 2.5 GPA in my intro courses (i.e. Linear, Intro to CS). I rebounded a little bit in my following semester taking the intermediate level courses in math/phys/cs. I had a 3.1-3.2 GPA, and at this point feel caught up to the speed of all my STEM courses. I also had decided that I wanted to pursue CS rather than Mathematics halfway through that semester since it started to interest me quite a bit more.


I'm retaking Linear over this summer. I had a C in the course, but it's an essential component of any CS research I would perform in grad school. I'm entering my final year, and my next semester consists of 5 courses (4 CS). I feel confident that I can take the next step, and have a quality GPA (3.7+) considering all of the courses I had taken my previous year are recognized as GPA killers/weed-out classes. Professors/students at my university recognizes the grade deflation apparent in the STEM department (2.7-3.0 average STEM gpa vs. 3.4+ average humanities GPA).


My GRE scores, taking it in a couple weeks, are ~162-166 V and ~166-170 Q and the material is definitely more challenging than the ETS practice, so I feel confident I'll achieve a score in the low to mid 330s. My major GPA (Math&CS) will be ~3.3-3.4 and my overall GPA will be ~3.4. The mean average in CS at my university is ~2.8-2.9, and my gpa every stem semester has shown a significant upward trend (2.5->3.1->~3.7). I haven't assembled all of my letters of rec./written my S.O.P, but I'm anticipating two of the three LOR will be from rather young professors who attended top ranked STEM universities (i.e. MIT, Berkely,Stanford). I do not have any research, but that has a lot to do with not definitively being a CS major until the end of my 4th/5th year at university.


Could some of ya'll give me a chances estimate to the following schools CS programs: Columbia, NYU, UCL(University College London), and Imperial College London. The reason that I choose schools in NYC/London is because I feel much more comfortable going to university in a city vs. at a campus. I'm a city guy and I've had my troubles adjusting socially to a campus environment, so I will not attend any grad program outside of a metropolitan city. 

Edited by CompSciGrd
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