Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

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SkierMom
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Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by SkierMom » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm

With University of California commanding $37,000/year all in and most California State CSU's impacted (insufficient dorm space, classes fill up & close, scheduling issues) we are looking at out of state universities for our kid. Average student, 24 ACT/3.5 GPA, searching for a smaller computer science department with offerings in animation, game design, VR, entrepreneurial, business, etc.

Looking at OOS colleges with reasonable costs: Boise State, Nebraska, U-Colorado at Colorado Springs, U-Hawaii at Manoa.

Is this too much of a niche degree? Better to go general CS?

What are some good CS degree bargains Bogleheads would recommend?

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by Big Dog » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:34 pm

sorry, not a fan of paying OOS fees for a public.

I'd be focusing on the Cal States. The longer time to degree for most students is the fact that they have to work part/full time to be able to attend college. Thus, they end up on the 5+ year plan.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by trevorshhh » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:39 pm

The good thing is with the market right now (I work as a Software Engineer), a C.S. degree from about any institution combined with internship experience will land a decent job out of college. I work with colleagues who graduated from admittedly sub-par C.S. programs who did a lot of projects and got experience along the way and they still do well in the field.

I would suggest applying broadly and see what scholarships might be available. Occasionally you will find a school who is looking for more geographic diversity or something and reduces the costs further. In my case, I aggressively applied to a lot of private schools. This was less than 10 years ago and I was a student with above average GPA, but not particular outstanding in any other way (including too low of SAT scores to be competitive anywhere). I ended up getting enough scholarships awarded through a small private college that was cheaper than in state for total cost of attendance.
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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by mrspock » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:44 pm

How about do the first 1-2 years at a local community college, then transfer wherever. Take saved proceeds and FIRE at 45.

This is pretty much the recipe I heard on a podcast recently. Seemed to make a lot of sense. That said, it heavily depends if your child feels a vow of poverty is worth the “college experience”.

I would also second that the school doesn’t mean much beyond the first gig, and you can largely counter the lack of (school) name recognition with good internships on the resume.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by SkierMom » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:45 pm

Big Dog wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:34 pm
sorry, not a fan of paying OOS fees for a public.

I'd be focusing on the Cal States. The longer time to degree for most students is the fact that they have to work part/full time to be able to attend college. Thus, they end up on the 5+ year plan.
I generally agree with you, Big Dog, there is a larger % of students working part-time at the CSUs. BUT, have also heard tons from CSU-Sacramento and Cal Poly freshman students showing up without Dorms available. Also heard stories of class registrations (San Jose State and San Diego State) that are so skewed with Senior/Junior preference, or prerequisite classes not being offered in fall/spring, filling up etc.

The financial benefits of staying in-state are negated when a 5th year is necessary at a CSU, through no fault of the student.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by SkierMom » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:49 pm

trevorshhh wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:39 pm
I would suggest applying broadly and see what scholarships might be available. Occasionally you will find a school who is looking for more geographic diversity or something and reduces the costs further. In my case, I aggressively applied to a lot of private schools. This was less than 10 years ago and I was a student with above average GPA, but not particular outstanding in any other way (including too low of SAT scores to be competitive anywhere). I ended up getting enough scholarships awarded through a small private college that was cheaper than in state for total cost of attendance.
I think we'll try this - Someone told us to look at Marist College in New York.

Also, our kid is a young woman, so I think some of the privates might be interested in diversifying their CS department.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by trevorshhh » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:52 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:49 pm
trevorshhh wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:39 pm
I would suggest applying broadly and see what scholarships might be available. Occasionally you will find a school who is looking for more geographic diversity or something and reduces the costs further. In my case, I aggressively applied to a lot of private schools. This was less than 10 years ago and I was a student with above average GPA, but not particular outstanding in any other way (including too low of SAT scores to be competitive anywhere). I ended up getting enough scholarships awarded through a small private college that was cheaper than in state for total cost of attendance.
I think we'll try this - Someone told us to look at Marist College in New York.

Also, our kid is a young woman, so I think some of the privates might be interested in diversifying their CS department.
As a male WASP I had no reason to hit any diversity criteria, but I got the interest of one school and it worked out for me. I applied to several dozen, prioritizing schools with free applications.
"Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land." -Ecclesiastes 11:2 NIV

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by 123 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:02 pm

mrspock wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:44 pm
How about do the first 1-2 years at a local community college, then transfer wherever...
+1 The student can get CS lower division courses and general education curses out of the way at a community college for far less expense and still graduate from a UC if desired. At a community college a diligent student moves up in the class registration priority quickly since so many students are part time so it can be a lot easier to get desired classes/sections/instructors.One of the best things about a community college is that most of the students are working so there's a consciousness of getting employment that is sometimes almost absent in 4-year schools where everyone hangs around the ivory towers year after year.
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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by SurfCityBill » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:16 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
With University of California commanding $37,000/year all in
UC doesn't cost $37k all in. I just had one child go thru the Computer Sci program at UC-Riverside. Only scholarship was a $2,000 merit based plan. Total annual cost with room/board was about $22k. I would expect room/board to be quite a bit higher in West LA, Berkeley or San Diego but not that much.

Cal State is an economical choice but I would be concerned about the issue of impacted classes. Even more so at the local community college level.

I have another at Boise State, different program. Very economical if you get a WUE or even better GEM scholarship. But not a deal at full OOS prices. I would suggest looking hard at WUE schools in the western states. By the way Boise State is a fantastic school and Boise is a great city.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by momvesting » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:20 pm

Is this kid a junior or a senior? If they are a junior, I'd work on that ACT score. The GPA is good, it is the ACT that is hurting them. Don't spend loads of money on tutors and classes, just go the the library, check out prep books, and start doing timed practice tests. My kid got her score up 6 points doing that, just figuring out strategies, time management, recognizing how they ask the same types of questions over and over, and reading the answer keys to the tests to figure out the "why" behind the answers. Also, after doing timed practice at home, she was much less nervous doing her second ACT test because she knew what to expect.

As for schools, if they get the ACT score up, there are several schools that will give in state tuition for either a certain GPA/ACT combination or if you earn any other scholarships from them. The University of Houston is a great option because if the kid gets a small merit scholarship ($1k or more), they also earn in state tuition. I believe University of Arkansas and Iowa State have similar programs. I'm sure there are more but my kid is looking for a different degree so we haven't researched others. Just start Gooling various state schools and looking, we found several others, I don't remember them all though since my daughter later narrowed her focus based on the degree she wants. Good luck.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by KlangFool » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:35 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm

Average student, 24 ACT/3.5 GPA, searching for a smaller computer science department with offerings in animation, game design, VR, entrepreneurial, business, etc.

SkierMom,

Did the kid does anything outside of the normal high school setting in those areas?

1) For example, some high school has a joint-program with the community college for those college-level classes. The high school student could take those classes as part of their high school program.

2) Those classes are available online via Coursera and EdX too.

KlangFool

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by palaheel » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:45 pm

123 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:02 pm
mrspock wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:44 pm
How about do the first 1-2 years at a local community college, then transfer wherever...
+1 The student can get CS lower division courses and general education curses out of the way at a community college for far less expense and still graduate from a UC if desired. At a community college a diligent student moves up in the class registration priority quickly since so many students are part time so it can be a lot easier to get desired classes/sections/instructors.One of the best things about a community college is that most of the students are working so there's a consciousness of getting employment that is sometimes almost absent in 4-year schools where everyone hangs around the ivory towers year after year.
I teach at a community college. For the students transferring to a 4-year school, I tell them that it's only the last school that counts. If you want a Ph.D. from Harvard, you need an undergrad school that will get you into Harvard. If that's your flagship state school, or your Engineering state school, great; you don't need an Ivy League or some other expensive, prestigious undergrad.

If you're going into the job market, that first job is the hardest. After that, people will look at your experience and ask "what can you do for me for the next six months?" I've seen Psych majors get that first job in level 2 support (a truly terrible place), and impress the level 3 manager, move there, and impress a development manager, and move there. Once people know you, the resume doesn't matter a whole lot.
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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:52 pm

What percentile is she in her graduating class? I'm thinking with that GPA and ACT, getting into a UC or CSU computer science program as a freshman might be a problem. One option would be to go to a community college that has guaranteed admission to one of the 4 year schools that has a CS department, and working on getting the grades high enough to actually get guaranteed admission. I can't think of any decent CS programs outside California that are going to be cheaper than an a UC or CSU, especially when travel is considered, and still have the same job prospects at the end of the program. Unless she's a top student at an elite school, her best job prospects are going to be local to where she graduates from.

As far as the digital animation and game design, 17 year olds all want to do that, because that's the experience they have with computers. As they take classes and their knowledge broadens, they usually get interested in other things. She should probably just focus on a general CS program, taking the hardest courses she can handle. It's easy enough to learn things like game design and VR on her own once she has the core CS knowledge.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:04 pm

SkierMom, please allow your child to choose the school, where they prefer to go, you choosing a school may not work well.'
Once you child has a shortlist of schools / programs, please list here and you may get an overview as possible.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by Big Dog » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:06 pm

SurfCityBill wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:16 pm
SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
With University of California commanding $37,000/year all in
UC doesn't cost $37k all in. I just had one child go thru the Computer Sci program at UC-Riverside. Only scholarship was a $2,000 merit based plan. Total annual cost with room/board was about $22k. I would expect room/board to be quite a bit higher in West LA, Berkeley or San Diego but not that much.
Huh? UCR lists their COA at $36.7k for dorm-living.

https://financialaid.ucr.edu/cost

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by vipertom1970 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:11 pm

Correct, UC In SoCal is around 33-37k but there are many good Calstates with very good computer science major for much cheaper. My old roommate graduated from Cal Poly CS major making over 200k per year.

Daughter graduated from UCLA costing 33k per year 2 years ago including room and board and meal plan.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by Big Dog » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:16 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:45 pm
Big Dog wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:34 pm
sorry, not a fan of paying OOS fees for a public.

I'd be focusing on the Cal States. The longer time to degree for most students is the fact that they have to work part/full time to be able to attend college. Thus, they end up on the 5+ year plan.
I generally agree with you, Big Dog, there is a larger % of students working part-time at the CSUs. BUT, have also heard tons from CSU-Sacramento and Cal Poly freshman students showing up without Dorms available. Also heard stories of class registrations (San Jose State and San Diego State) that are so skewed with Senior/Junior preference, or prerequisite classes not being offered in fall/spring, filling up etc.

The financial benefits of staying in-state are negated when a 5th year is necessary at a CSU, through no fault of the student.
With all due respect, unless you live in the San Diego or SLO catchment areas, the chances of admissions to either of those two campuses is almost nil, unless that test score goes way up. (SLO's bottom quartile is 26. While SD's average is ~25, they give priority to local residents, so out of district applicants are held to a higher standard.)

So, from a Cal State perspective, you are really looking at your local CSU first. Then look at some of the smaller ones such as Channel Islands. (But that means that they have a small CS department.)

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:25 pm

Big Dog wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:16 pm
SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:45 pm
Big Dog wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:34 pm
sorry, not a fan of paying OOS fees for a public.

I'd be focusing on the Cal States. The longer time to degree for most students is the fact that they have to work part/full time to be able to attend college. Thus, they end up on the 5+ year plan.
I generally agree with you, Big Dog, there is a larger % of students working part-time at the CSUs. BUT, have also heard tons from CSU-Sacramento and Cal Poly freshman students showing up without Dorms available. Also heard stories of class registrations (San Jose State and San Diego State) that are so skewed with Senior/Junior preference, or prerequisite classes not being offered in fall/spring, filling up etc.

The financial benefits of staying in-state are negated when a 5th year is necessary at a CSU, through no fault of the student.
With all due respect, unless you live in the San Diego or SLO catchment areas, the chances of admissions to either of those two campuses is almost nil, unless that test score goes way up. (SLO's bottom quartile is 26. While SD's average is ~25, they give priority to local residents, so out of district applicants are held to a higher standard.)

So, from a Cal State perspective, you are really looking at your local CSU first. Then look at some of the smaller ones such as Channel Islands. (But that means that they have a small CS department.)
Unlikely your kid will be admitted to any of the heavily impacted schools (like SDSU or SLO) as a freshman. She doesn’t have the grades for that. She will need to either choose a less popular school or go to community college first. She’s also unlikely to get a merit scholarship anyplace, unless she has special skills that aren’t reflected in her grades or test scores.

Where does she want to go to school?

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by Watty » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:34 pm

Big Dog wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:34 pm
sorry, not a fan of paying OOS fees for a public.
I agree, especially if you are looking for a smaller college and not a large well known state university which would have many of the problems you are trying to avoid.

I looked at my old college, Missouri S&T (AKA University of Missouri at Rolla) where I got a computer science degree. It is small and used to be a bargain many years ago when I was there. Now for an out of state students it is pretty expensive and you would have travel costs so it would be hard to recommend just because of the costs. It is in a small town in a rural area and a high percentage of the students are male which might not work out well for some students.

https://futurestudents.mst.edu/costs/

I am in Georgia now and for an out of state student Georgia Tech is very expensive, high pressure and in downtown Atlanta, some of my sons classmates went there and they did well but it was a grind. It is a great college but it is not what you are asking for for.

My son got a Computer Science degree from one of the smaller Georgia regional universities that are the tier below the flagship universities and it was a good program and he is doing well in his career but it would not be worth paying out of state tuition for.

They may use different names but in Georgia they have these tiers of state colleges and universities;
1) Flagship state universities with a national reputation.
2) Regional universities with lots of students and degrees.
3) Local four year colleges
4) Community colleges two year degrees and certificate programs

I would think that California would have similar smaller universities with computer science programs.

At the undergraduate level a small schools calculus class will not be much different than a better known school.

When looking at college be sure to look to see if they have a strong internship program since getting good internships can make a huge difference in getting your career off to a strong start.
SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
.....searching for a smaller computer science department with offerings in animation, game design, VR, entrepreneurial, business, etc.
...
Is this too much of a niche degree? Better to go general CS?
You might want to add cyber security(because of the big bucks) to your wish list.

You can look online at the required classes for a CS degree and that will pretty much fill up four years so a lot of the courses in those topics might tend to be more of an introduction to that topic since there will be a limited number of CS electives that you will be able to fit into your schedule.

Even if you could find one I would be real cautious about getting into some four year degree in something like animation since you would be so specialized. With a strong general CS degree and a bit of exposure to animation you could still be very employable if that is something that you want to do.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by keanoz » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:36 pm

I would stay in state. SJSU is a big feeder school to many tech companies. SLO is relatively cheap and is also a great school. Transferring is a great option. Last I go to a UC for cs and its about 15K.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:40 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
...with offerings in animation, game design, VR, entrepreneurial, business, etc.
When I got my undergrad degree in CS, maybe half the freshman taking CS1 wanted to be CS majors to make games or work in VR. They all washed out when they saw what's required to get to that point.

Specialized undergrad programs in CS are usually a waste. You learn tech that's out of date by the time you reach industry and miss out on fundamentals that will better serve you through your career.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by GenXer » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:01 pm

Look into Colorado State (Fort Collins). If she qualifies for WUE, it works out to be the same cost as a UC. Great campus and college town.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by mrspock » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:25 pm

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:40 pm
SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
...with offerings in animation, game design, VR, entrepreneurial, business, etc.
When I got my undergrad degree in CS, maybe half the freshman taking CS1 wanted to be CS majors to make games or work in VR. They all washed out when they saw what's required to get to that point.

Specialized undergrad programs in CS are usually a waste. You learn tech that's out of date by the time you reach industry and miss out on fundamentals that will better serve you through your career.
+1 , I would not specialize during undergrad, other than some modest tilt for interest sake. Focus on the fundamentals, and being a solid software engineer who works well with others.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by palaheel » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:01 am

mrspock wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:25 pm
HawkeyePierce wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:40 pm
SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
...with offerings in animation, game design, VR, entrepreneurial, business, etc.
When I got my undergrad degree in CS, maybe half the freshman taking CS1 wanted to be CS majors to make games or work in VR. They all washed out when they saw what's required to get to that point.

Specialized undergrad programs in CS are usually a waste. You learn tech that's out of date by the time you reach industry and miss out on fundamentals that will better serve you through your career.
+1 , I would not specialize during undergrad, other than some modest tilt for interest sake. Focus on the fundamentals, and being a solid software engineer who works well with others.
+1. Especially, don't skimp on the math underlying the discipline.
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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by cowbman » Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:10 pm

I'm going to recommend UT-Austin as Texas is pretty good about giving out-of-state waivers. That being said the admission for out-of-state residents, especially to competitive programs and departments is very tough. She likely would need to get grades/ACT/SAT up. The CS department at UT-Austin is usually Top 10-15. Another good option is Texas A&M (with a little less strict criteria and correspondingly better aid), though there is a major culture shift between California and College Station that your child may not appreciate.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by SurfCityBill » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:12 pm

SurfCityBill wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:16 pm
SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
With University of California commanding $37,000/year all in
UC doesn't cost $37k all in. I just had one child go thru the Computer Sci program at UC-Riverside. Only scholarship was a $2,000 merit based plan. Total annual cost with room/board was about $22k. I would expect room/board to be quite a bit higher in West LA, Berkeley or San Diego but not that much.



Huh? UCR lists their COA at $36.7k for dorm-living.
I stand partially corrected. I do recall the first year mandatory requirement that my son live in a dorm and subscribe to their meal plan was an extraordinary expense that brought the cost up about $10K. Yes, $10k. After that, an off-campus shared apartment with their own arrangement for food brought the cost way, way down. You will find that most schools require freshmen live on campus.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:18 pm

$10k is actually on the low end. Having paid for Wentworth in Boston, WPI in Worcester and looked at various other in state schools around Mass, almost all are at about $13k for room/board regardless of private or public.

No college we looked at required on campus residence for any years, but I've heard that there are some that exist that do.
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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by Watty » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:36 pm

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:40 pm
When I got my undergrad degree in CS, maybe half the freshman taking CS1 wanted to be CS majors to make games or work in VR. They all washed out when they saw what's required to get to that point.
Before I retired I never worked on computer games but I have talked with several people that did. For working on a game the projects to create a big game may not be a lot of fun since they are some of the more formalized high pressure big projects on a tight deadline where you will just be working on a very small part trying to make things based on someones elses very specific specifications. Most of the people working on a game get to use very little creativity.

A lot of the work is also project based "gig economy" type jobs without a lot of benefits or security.

For "heads down coding" positions those are also prone to be outsourced overseas where technical people can be hired cheaply.

That is not to say that getting a job that involves gaming is not possible but you really need to look into the type of work it would really be.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:44 pm

Check out North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo.

Good Comp Sci programs.

An interesting bonus. Microsoft has a 1,000+ employee campus here. Some good job opportunities here with the possibility of relocating to other Microsoft campuses. Redmond, Dallas, North Carolina, etc.

The weather change might be a big hurdle. It is -12F right now with a 40+mph wind. We got a bit of snow and it is blowing around. Just another day in paradise. :?
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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by fareastwarriors » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:52 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:49 pm
trevorshhh wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:39 pm
I would suggest applying broadly and see what scholarships might be available. Occasionally you will find a school who is looking for more geographic diversity or something and reduces the costs further. In my case, I aggressively applied to a lot of private schools. This was less than 10 years ago and I was a student with above average GPA, but not particular outstanding in any other way (including too low of SAT scores to be competitive anywhere). I ended up getting enough scholarships awarded through a small private college that was cheaper than in state for total cost of attendance.
I think we'll try this - Someone told us to look at Marist College in New York.

Also, our kid is a young woman, so I think some of the privates might be interested in diversifying their CS department.
I agree. Don't be afraid of high list price for private schools.

I did the same thing back in 2007. Many of the schools came back with great scholarships and financial aid. I then wrote appeal letters for more. Most were willing to budge. I'm from California and ended up in New York for school.

I can't speak to a college with good CS department though. Good luck!

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:11 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
With University of California commanding $37,000/year all in and most California State CSU's impacted (insufficient dorm space, classes fill up & close, scheduling issues) we are looking at out of state universities for our kid. Average student, 24 ACT/3.5 GPA, searching for a smaller computer science department with offerings in animation, game design, VR, entrepreneurial, business, etc.

Looking at OOS colleges with reasonable costs: Boise State, Nebraska, U-Colorado at Colorado Springs, U-Hawaii at Manoa.

Is this too much of a niche degree? Better to go general CS?

What are some good CS degree bargains Bogleheads would recommend?
I would not recommend specializing for bachelors. The more general the wider the net for getting offers from disparate sections of this area.
I am surprised to hear about calif. state universities. I thought one of the primary reasons why folks put up with high cost of living (mainly silicon valley!) was so they could send their kids to state universities.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by rj342 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:33 pm

I taught as a fulltime CS instructor 6 years in the Oughts.

A few things:
Be very cautious about "first two years at a community college" for a STEM field - you want to carefully check the alignment with the curriculum at the 4 years program they intend to transfer into for as seamless a transition as possible. Make sure you talk to the target 4 yr school -- the 2 yr programs have an incentive to have graduates who 'finish' their program to get their own completion stats up, but that does not correspond to finishing easily at the 4 year school. Also, be wary the notion of just loading up on all the humanities, electives, etc at the CC, then magically cramming all the tech courses into 2 years at the 4 yr school. Apart for stress overload, may simply be impossible due to required course sequences and prerequisites. Apart from that, the 2 yr school may simply not be rigorous enough to be good preparation. I saw all these scenarios go wrong. ABET accredited CS in particular typically needs students ready to take Calculus freshman year. I've seen transfer students' plans torpedoed because they had to take 3 or 4 semesters of catch up math to start the CS curriculum (beyond a 101 intro).

Even more fundamental: figure out whether its more CS (programming) or IT (system admin stuff) or maybe 3D modeling and design / animation (which could actually be under graphic arts instead). MUST get some exposure to programming before college to see if they like and can do it at all -- and writing some HTML for a simple web page is NOT real programming. Finally "I like playing computer games" is not an indicator for programming talent, needed even for programming games -- saw plenty of kids get a rude awakening in the first real Java or Python class.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by RetiredCSProf » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:48 pm

I have taught CS classes at UCLA, local CA community college, and at a private liberal arts college in CA. There was a time when half the incoming freshman at UCLA thought they wanted to major in CS and math -- most changed majors by the end of their first semester.

The "niche" that you describe is outside of the accredited CS degree. At most schools, classes in animation, game design, and entrepreneurial business would be considered electives to a CS degree. Consider UC Santa Cruz if your student would like a school in the middle of redwoods and wants to study game design.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by Edie » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:12 pm

I don't have any specific schools in mind (except being aware that ASU is opening a campus in 2021 that will include a focus on gaming), but have you looked at the Western Undergraduate Exchange schools? https://www.wiche.edu/wue

WUE schools charge no more than 150% of resident tuition for OOS students from other WICHE (Western Interstate Commission For Higher Education) states.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by GMCZ71 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:37 pm

Clark Howard and others have spoken about Texas doing 4 year bachelors for $10k total. A google search implies other states have something similar. May not have cs degree though.
John

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by Kagord » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:48 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
searching for a smaller computer science department with offerings in animation, game design, VR, entrepreneurial, business, etc.
IMHO, these offerings you mention are not computer science, I'm not sure what current comp sci curriculum and academic rigor is these days, but the 1st semester I had was (EE and CS double major):
Calculus 1A
Physics 1A
Inorganic Chemistry 1A
Intro To Comp Sci, each student built a compiler from scratch in this class
Algorithms, this was the hardest, but most rewarding for me out of the lot

Her interests sounds more like arts or business, perhaps liberal arts. So the school she likes, and enjoy life a little more.
Last edited by Kagord on Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by BioEng » Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:02 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:45 pm
Big Dog wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:34 pm
sorry, not a fan of paying OOS fees for a public.

I'd be focusing on the Cal States. The longer time to degree for most students is the fact that they have to work part/full time to be able to attend college. Thus, they end up on the 5+ year plan.
I generally agree with you, Big Dog, there is a larger % of students working part-time at the CSUs. BUT, have also heard tons from CSU-Sacramento and Cal Poly freshman students showing up without Dorms available. Also heard stories of class registrations (San Jose State and San Diego State) that are so skewed with Senior/Junior preference, or prerequisite classes not being offered in fall/spring, filling up etc.

The financial benefits of staying in-state are negated when a 5th year is necessary at a CSU, through no fault of the student.
Very recent SDSU alum here and the stories about the class registrations are extremely overblown. The University makes a huge effort to either increase space or add more times to classes with long waiting lists. Sometimes they don't but usually that is because there is another class (usually 8am) offered that is nowhere near full. I had no problem graduating in 4 years as a Mech Eng and all the people who struggle to are the ones failing classes. I also had several friends and roommates in the CS major and all of them graduated in 4 years and one even graduated in 3.5. Now, whether your kid will get in with those test scores and GPA is a different question, SDSU is getting about 100,000 applications a year nowadays.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by texasdiver » Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:17 pm

Look at Washington State University. You can bend the tuition down with WUE https://admission.wsu.edu/scholarships/ ... gar-award/ and they have decent computer science and computer engineering programs.

It isn't on par with computer science at the UW in Seattle but admissions to that program is as tough as getting into Berkeley.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by Presintense » Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:48 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
With University of California commanding $37,000/year all in and most California State CSU's impacted (insufficient dorm space, classes fill up & close, scheduling issues) we are looking at out of state universities for our kid. Average student, 24 ACT/3.5 GPA, searching for a smaller computer science department with offerings in animation, game design, VR, entrepreneurial, business, etc.

Looking at OOS colleges with reasonable costs: Boise State, Nebraska, U-Colorado at Colorado Springs, U-Hawaii at Manoa.

Is this too much of a niche degree? Better to go general CS?

What are some good CS degree bargains Bogleheads would recommend?
I would recommend you look into a 3-2 program at a private university. Get two degrees, one from a top private university and one from a small liberal arts school. Do it all in four years for less than the price of out of state tuition at any of the schools you’ve mentioned. One catch... your student will have to be able to produce the same gpa they currently have except at a very challenging institution. If they’re up for that challenge, the value cannot be beat.
Performance = Potential - Distraction

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by VegasBH » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:46 am

I work in higher Ed and I would never send a child out of state for undergrad. I know people do it but I think it’s a lot of pressure and possibly a lot of money. If at all possible I advise parents to send their student to a local public college or university. Starting at a community college can be an option as long as you are careful to understand and follow articulation agreement that the school has with the feeder university hope to attend. Given that I still think there is value in attending the same school for four years if you can do it. Like so many others have said CS is a tough program and a lot of otherwise intelligent folks end up going another way. Go to school join the Society for women engineers and see how the first year goes make sure to do anything you can to get summer employment in the field even if it’s volunteer, admin, or part time.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by djpeteski » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:40 am

Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA will provide a really good computer science education with small class sizes and is not to far from you. It is a state school, and it has been a number of years since I looked at it, but when I did a bulk of their courses were taught by PhDs with 30 students or less. I know a couple of the faculty that are still there and they are excellent. Because UofW draws so many students, this college can be not terribly hard to get into. One person I know of had a 200 level class, taught by a PhD, with only three other students in the class. They got a lot of attention and instruction. Plus is a very beautiful campus, and Mt Baker is not far away if you are snow skiers.

Another option is University of Central Florida. Its further away, inexpensive, but can be a bit difficult to get into. They have a heavy simulations/gaming faculty as a large portion of defense contractors are on or near campus.

Those are just two options that I know about.

Edit:
I just saw your user name. Take a really hard look at WWU!

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by fasteddie911 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:29 am

Those CSU issues may be issues elsewhere too. When I took summer classes at UH Manoa years ago I had plenty classmates that couldn't get the class during the regular school year, were on track to graduate in 5yrs, etc. Personally I'd choose your in-state options. Barring scholarships, WUE, etc., UC or even CSU is hard to beat at those price points and I'd look into ways to mitigate the CSU issues. Take summer classes, community college, AP credits, live off campus, etc.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by SC Anteater » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:11 pm

keanoz wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:36 pm
I would stay in state. SJSU is a big feeder school to many tech companies. SLO is relatively cheap and is also a great school. Transferring is a great option. Last I go to a UC for cs and its about 15K.
For computer related stuff, It's getting darn tough to get into SJSU, and SLO is near impossible. I don't think this student's stats will be enough.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by SC Anteater » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:13 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
With University of California commanding $37,000/year all in and most California State CSU's impacted (insufficient dorm space, classes fill up & close, scheduling issues) we are looking at out of state universities for our kid. Average student, 24 ACT/3.5 GPA, searching for a smaller computer science department with offerings in animation, game design, VR, entrepreneurial, business, etc.

Looking at OOS colleges with reasonable costs: Boise State, Nebraska, U-Colorado at Colorado Springs, U-Hawaii at Manoa.

Is this too much of a niche degree? Better to go general CS?

What are some good CS degree bargains Bogleheads would recommend?
A friend's kid went to DePaul in Chicago for game design/digital media. They may knock quite a bit off sticker price.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by Vulcan » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:23 pm

cowbman wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:10 pm
I'm going to recommend UT-Austin as Texas is pretty good about giving out-of-state waivers. That being said the admission for out-of-state residents, especially to competitive programs and departments is very tough. She likely would need to get grades/ACT/SAT up. The CS department at UT-Austin is usually Top 10-15.
Top CS schools are extremely competitive for OOS students.

Even Purdue, which is a strong, but not a top 10 program (they rank at #20 for graduate school CS), rejected several of my son's classmates with ACT 35+. To get into these programs OOS one typically needs not only an excellent academic record, but also CS-related extracurriculars demonstrating likelihood to succeed in a rigorous CS program.

As for merit, there wasn't any offered to my son by Purdue, or even Pitt (a top 50 CS program). He has a perfect academic record and national and international level recognitions in CS- and STEM-related extracurriculars that helped him secure admissions to the three ITs.

The reality that needs to be understood here is that CS is very competitive these days even at relatively lower-ranked institutions. It's a hot field, and many students follow the perceived money trail.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by Vulcan » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:27 pm

palaheel wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:01 am
mrspock wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:25 pm
HawkeyePierce wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:40 pm
SkierMom wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm
...with offerings in animation, game design, VR, entrepreneurial, business, etc.
When I got my undergrad degree in CS, maybe half the freshman taking CS1 wanted to be CS majors to make games or work in VR. They all washed out when they saw what's required to get to that point.

Specialized undergrad programs in CS are usually a waste. You learn tech that's out of date by the time you reach industry and miss out on fundamentals that will better serve you through your career.
+1 , I would not specialize during undergrad, other than some modest tilt for interest sake. Focus on the fundamentals, and being a solid software engineer who works well with others.
+1. Especially, don't skimp on the math underlying the discipline.
:sharebeer
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by twh » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:32 pm

Retired Engineer myself. When I was in school, Computer Science was new-ish. Got a degree in Physics and minored in Math and also Computer Science.

Worked for a number of companies, including some startups. Retired early from one of the Dow Jones Industrial listed tech companies.

Before management, I spent most of my time as a Software Engineer. Along my career all three of my areas of concentration were useful. I should have taken some accounting and business courses. That will help you make decisions on budgets and costs.

I also spent a lot of time recruiting at all the places I worked.

My advice to anyone...

If you get into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford...figure out a way to go there even if you have to take loans. I say this because the percentage of lifelong friends you will make who are already connected or will be connected is much higher. Many times jobs you get are from networking with people you know.

If you don't get into one of the above school, go to the best state school that fits your budget. I don't like the "stretch school" approach. Don't make life harder than it is already. No need to take out crazy loans. After a couple years in the workforce, no one cares where you went to school. They only care if you are reliable and can do the job.

Forget all the "boutique" degrees. I can't tell you how many colleges I went to for interviews and all these crazy majors. Just get a solid Computer Science degree. Be well rounded. If you like something else, say gaming, take a couple of those classes. An accounting or business class will also be useful.

When you get to school, have a good time, but your friend-set is going to make or break you. If you have friends that are just partying all the time or they have no direction or are just not smart, you will fail.

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by JupiterJones » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:46 pm

If you and your kid do decide to go "general CS" (which wouldn't be a terrible idea, actually), the best deal out there is WGU:

https://www.wgu.edu/online-it-degrees/c ... ience.html

Especially if he or she buckles down like a maniac and knocks out the courses quickly.
Stay on target...

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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by texasdiver » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:03 pm

djpeteski wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:40 am
Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA will provide a really good computer science education with small class sizes and is not to far from you. It is a state school, and it has been a number of years since I looked at it, but when I did a bulk of their courses were taught by PhDs with 30 students or less. I know a couple of the faculty that are still there and they are excellent. Because UofW draws so many students, this college can be not terribly hard to get into. One person I know of had a 200 level class, taught by a PhD, with only three other students in the class. They got a lot of attention and instruction. Plus is a very beautiful campus, and Mt Baker is not far away if you are snow skiers.

Another option is University of Central Florida. Its further away, inexpensive, but can be a bit difficult to get into. They have a heavy simulations/gaming faculty as a large portion of defense contractors are on or near campus.

Those are just two options that I know about.

Edit:
I just saw your user name. Take a really hard look at WWU!
I did the college tour of Western Washington with my daughter last summer. It is indeed one of the prettiest campuses in the country and Bellingham is a gem of a town. You are mid-way between two of the west coast's biggest tech centers in Seattle and Vancouver BC. I know nothing about the CS program there as we were looking at biology and other majors, but the campus is really nice. Western is also on an upward trajectory as it is getting more and more spillover of top students who don't get into the UW in Seattle. At one time it was more of a regional teacher's college but is becoming more of a destination university on its own right. If you can get in-state tuition at Western with the WUE program then it is work a look as would be Washington State. I believe that Eastern Washington University over in the outer suburbs of Spokane also has a strong program but it isn't as nice of a campus and is in a more isolated area. It's probably almost entirely Washington students as well, with perhaps a few commuting over from Idaho.

The UW in Seattle would be unattainable for your son with his academic record as it is one of the most competitive programs in the country. And the UW doesn't participate in the WUE so you'd be paying full freight out-of-state tuition which would add about $25-30k over the in-state number.
Last edited by texasdiver on Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dak
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Re: Out of State Colleges - Good Computer Science Bargains?

Post by dak » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:04 pm

Re: UC Cost. I have one daughter that graduated from UCLA last June and I tracked expenses pretty carefully. All in cost was $28K per year for 4 years. She was covered by my employer's insurance, was careful about book purchasing, and led a low cost lifestyle. The cost was somewhat reduced by her moving off campus for her senior year.

Her sister is now at UCLA and the cost picture looks to be much the same. She will probably move off campus earlier and help reduce some of the costs that way. The meal plan costs are just silly, so a lot of the savings comes from learning to cook. A good skill to have in any event.

IMHO, the cost estimates presented by the colleges should be taken with a grain of salt. In particular the transportation, insurance, housing, books / fees, and the "personal expenses" categories seem universally high and slanted toward purchasing everything from the university at full price. As a simple example - does your student need to purchase the health coverage through the university? Not if they are covered under your insurance - that is potentially quite a savings off the institution's cost estimate!

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