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How can I get into a college?

I wish to get into a mid-level college after highschool, so I can pursue computer science, and computing as a whole.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Aisha’s Answer

Hello Nidarshan,

The college application process is unlike any other. It requires hard work, determination, and often the help of family and school administrators. On top of earning good grades and strong SAT or ACT scores, you must write a compelling essay and secure letters of recommendation.

But getting into a good school doesn't have to be an uphill battle.

1. Earn Good Grades in Challenging Courses
2. Get a High SAT/ACT Score
3. Write a Compelling Personal Statement
4. Demonstrate Interest
5. Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation
6. Apply to a Diverse Selection of Colleges
7. Opt for an Early Admission Plan
8. Manage Your Online Reputation
9. Get Help When You Need It
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Olayinka’s Answer

Hello Nidarshan,

Great question!

You need to know about the exams required to get you into the college you want and start preparing to take them.

Also know the times of the year the application season opens for colleges and plan to take the required exams before then so you can have it ready.
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Rian’s Answer

Hi Nidarshan,
If you want to go into computer science, I would recommend looking to see if you can take computer science classes at your high school to start learning how to code. I would then focus on trying to make your own personal projects, maybe an app or a website to solve a problem that you see in your community.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Nidarshan,

Embarking on your college journey can be thrilling and life-altering, especially when you choose a dynamic field like computer science or computing. This field is constantly evolving, offering a wealth of opportunities. To boost your chances of securing a spot in a mid-tier computer science college, you can take several steps to prepare yourself and stand out as a compelling candidate.

Academic Readiness: Establishing a robust academic base is key to college applications. Strive to take demanding high school courses that resonate with computer science, such as calculus, physics, and computer programming if possible. A high GPA is a testament to your dedication to studies and your capacity to manage strenuous coursework.

Standardized Exams: Most colleges mandate standardized test scores like SAT or ACT from applicants. Equip yourself for these tests by understanding their structure and content, and consider mock tests to pinpoint areas needing enhancement. Some colleges may also ask for subject-specific tests like the SAT Subject Test in Math or Computer Science. Verify the admission prerequisites of your target colleges to ascertain the required tests.

Extracurricular Involvement: Participating in extracurricular activities can highlight your interests, talents, and leadership skills beyond academics. Think about joining computer science or technology clubs or organizations, competing in coding contests or hackathons, volunteering for community service initiatives, or assuming leadership positions in your school or community. These activities reflect your enthusiasm for the field and your ability to juggle multiple responsibilities.

Recommendation Letters: Powerful recommendation letters can offer valuable glimpses into your personality, work ethic, and potential for college success. Seek endorsements from teachers who have a good understanding of your academic prowess and personal traits. Additionally, consider requesting recommendations from mentors or professionals in computer science who can vouch for your passion and talent in the subject.

Personal Statement/Essay: Your personal statement or essay is a chance to spotlight your unique experiences, ambitions, and reasons for choosing computer science. Use this space to emphasize your love for the subject, any pertinent experiences or projects you've undertaken, and how a computer science degree aligns with your long-term objectives. Ensure your essay is clear and coherent by proofreading and revising it multiple times.

College Research: Dedicate time to research and pinpoint mid-tier colleges with robust computer science programs. Consider factors like curriculum, faculty expertise, research prospects, internship networks, and alumni success. Visiting campuses or attending virtual information sessions can give you a better feel of the college’s atmosphere and setting.

Application Process: Get acquainted with the application process of each college on your list. Be mindful of deadlines, necessary documents, and any additional requirements specific to the computer science program. Submit your application materials well in advance of the deadline to prevent last-minute hitches.

Financial Aid and Scholarships: Explore financial aid possibilities and scholarships for computer science students. Many colleges provide merit-based scholarships or financial aid packages based on need. Look into external scholarships offered by technology organizations or companies as well.

Bear in mind that each college has its own unique admission criteria, so tailor your application materials accordingly. Also, remember that while gaining college admission is a noteworthy achievement, it's equally vital to maximize your college experience through active involvement in coursework, internships, research opportunities, and networking events.

Top 3 Authoritative Reference Publications or Domain Names Used:

College Board (www.collegeboard.org)
U.S. News & World Report - Best Colleges (www.usnews.com/colleges)
Peterson’s (www.petersons.com)

May God Richly Bless You,
James.
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Priscilla’s Answer

Getting into a mid-level college for a field as in-demand as computer science is like prepping for an epic quest. Your weapons? Strong grades, solid test scores, and a passion for all things computing. Start by laying the groundwork in high school—AP courses, math clubs, or coding boot camps. It's the academic equivalent of leveling up before facing the final boss.

Participate in science fairs or hackathons, where you can showcase your problem-solving skills. It's like a talent show for the brainy kids, where debugging a program gets more applause than a piano solo (unless it’s a piano-playing robot, of course).

Essays are your personal sales pitch, the chance to show colleges why you’re more interesting than a three-season binge-watch marathon. Recommendations? They’re your character witnesses, vouching for your ability to code your way out of a paper bag.

Once you’re in, the real game begins. College is where you'll transform from a computer enthusiast into a computer scientist. You'll dive into algorithms like a detective in a mystery novel, solving problems that could change the world, or at least make someone's day a little easier. Who knows? With the rapid pace of tech, by the time you graduate, you might be working on technology that's as revolutionary as the smartphone once was—think teleportation devices, or coffee machines that never make the coffee too bitter.

Your fingers on the keyboard—it's your ticket to the college of your dreams and the future beyond!
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Lauren’s Answer

Hello Nidashan,

Embarking on your journey towards a mid-tier college admission? It's never too late to kickstart your preparations! Begin by having a candid conversation with your school guidance counselor about your aspirations. See if there's a college prep or mentorship group that you can be a part of. Then, dive into the world of internet research!

Start by exploring colleges and universities that provide degrees in Computer Science. Are you comfortable staying close to home or do you fancy studying a bit further away? Consider a variety of schools in different locations. However, bear in mind that state-funded colleges and universities might be pricier for out-of-state students, and private institutions can be quite costly. I would strongly suggest starting your journey at a nearby community college. These colleges often have smaller student bodies and class sizes, offering more personalized assistance if required. Plus, the tuition fees are generally more budget-friendly compared to universities, and many community colleges offer transfer programs to universities. If you excel in your community college course, you'll secure guaranteed admission to a partner university.

When researching colleges and universities, don't forget to check their admission prerequisites to ensure you're taking the right high school courses. If your high school offers Advanced Placement courses or has a dual enrollment agreement with a local community college, you could even start accumulating college credits before you officially start college!

Also, take a close look at the curriculum for the degrees. Some Computer Science degrees lean more towards the business side, while others are more technical. A technical degree might require you to take more advanced math courses, so factor that in when weighing your options. Knowing what courses are part of the degree program you're interested in will help you choose the right high school courses to ensure you're well-prepared when you start college.

Lastly, ensure that you select an accredited college or university. Accreditation not only guarantees a certain standard of education but also ensures that your degree will be recognized should you decide to pursue postgraduate studies in the future.

In a nutshell, here's what you need to do:

1. Have a chat with your high school guidance counselor.
2. Join a college prep or mentorship group.
3. Research colleges and universities offering Computer Science degrees.
4. Consider starting your journey at a community college.
5. Explore Advanced Placement courses and dual enrollment programs.
6. Identify the high school courses you need to qualify for admission to your chosen college/university.
7. Understand the degree requirements and choose high school courses accordingly.

Best of luck!

Lauren
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Racheal’s Answer

Hello.
Great question that is not often asked yet assumed.

First, understand your reason for wanting to go the school you want to attend. Think about the values you possess and do they align with the values, mission, and vision for the school. Often times people select a school because it's a Ivy league or Big ten, yet find themselves overwhelmed because they do not connect to the school at any capacity.
Secondly, plan a tour. Now that COVID-19 has dissipated, perhaps this is an option to see the campus, meet students who are part of the bridge to inform you about the school, develop contacts should you have any further questions, and some schools may allow you to sit in on a lecture to get the vibe of college classroom.
I would say get prepared to apply next. This would include getting recommendation letter prepared, please make sure to specifically ask for someone to write you a "good recommendation letter," not just a recommendation letter. I've seen some nasty work from people getting subpar letter, when their intent was to get a good recommendation. Also consider your test scores, grades, involvements in the community be it in person or virtually, consider all these factors.
Please review deadlines. This is so important because you may have to mail in something and if you don't do it in a good amount of time, be prepared for an upset.
Review scholarship opportunity to assist with financial support. Remember they also have deadlines.
Then be patient with yourself and show self-compassion about what you have achieved. Applying and going to college is a huge step.
Congratulations for considering this as an option.

Best of luck!
Thank you comment icon Hi Nidarshan, Racheal gave many good steps to get into college. Also, if you are not able to physically visit schools, many have virtual tours on their websites where you can connect to administration and even students at the colleges to get a feel for the school's environment and ask any questions you may have. Much success to you! Sharyn Grose, Admin
Thank you comment icon All good advice. I'll emphasize the importance of selecting a school with a setting, mission and curriculum that YOU like because if you're happy, you'll do well. Some people also start their college studies at a community college then transfer into a four year institution. Also consider a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Former US Supreme CT Justice Thurgood Marshall and current US VP Harris are HBCU alums. You don't have to be Black to attend. In fact, under represented applicants are highly valued. For STEM I recommend Xavier in LA and Hampton in VA. Keep me posted on your decision and progress. GL. Danné E. Davis
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