How I Got Into Carnegie Mellon SCS and Other Top Computer Science Schools (stats, gpa, activities)

hi my name is Kayla I’m a computer science major at Carnegie Mellon University I’m a rising sophomore and I wanted to share a little bit about my college application process how I ended up the study in computer science and also how I got into a lot of other top computer science programs applying as a CS major I know there are a lot of videos out there where people talk about how they apply to colleges their SATs backgrounds things that they did in high school but not along these videos kind of focus on applying to top CS programs with the intention of being a CS major so I wanted to kind of provide some insight on that process sharing about my stats my grades and my extracurricular activities I think helped me get into these top schools like Carnegie Mellon Cornell Duke Georgia Tech and a lot of other programs so let’s go ahead and get started all right so the first thing I’ll share about is my test scores so I actually never took the SAT I only ever took the a CT a lot of people ask me questions about that a lot of times why I never tried to take the SATs so my rationale was that around the time that I was taking tests so this is like my sophomore junior year the SAT was going through a change changing from the 24-hundred system to the 16-hundred system and so I didn’t really want to deal with that whole change where like no one really knew what was happening test back books didn’t really know what was happening the resources around the new SAT seemed to be limited so I wanted to take the ACC instead and I also thought the acct would be a good fit for me seeing as how I was gonna be a computer science major and stemless and will see my strong suit in high school so because the acct has a science section that maybe I do better on that then I would that safety so I took the AC T three times I got the same score all three times was pretty frustrating at the end of those three times and I really didn’t need to take as many times as I did but definitely after the first time didn’t know that I was even got the same score every time so the first time I took AI got 34 I thought I could do better because the ways my score ended out they weren’t very even in terms of I would do well in like three sections and then bomb one section and unfortunately that’s what happened throughout all three times I took the AC T where I would do well on three of the four sections but then not do ball one section so that’s how I ended up with a 34 every time I took it but my super score across those three times I took it was a 36 so it’s a little bit weird but I thought after three times since my score wasn’t changing there wasn’t a point of me taking again and 34 was pretty much in the ballpark range of a lot of the top colleges that I wanted to apply to so I was like 34 that’s good enough so I just kept that score and that was it for my AC teas I can Maya like I said I never took the SAT so I just sent in a 34 for my AC T so even though I didn’t take the SAT in a standard burden I did take subject test because the colleges that I was applying to require them so since I was playing at CS major stem major in general I sent in to subject test so I took math – I got an 800 on that and I took the SAT Subject Tests for chemistry and I got 750 on that 750 wasn’t the best score in my mind when I was comparing you to the stats of what a lot of the top schools we’re looking for but I didn’t really feel like retaking chemistry again because I really didn’t like chemistry in high school so I just kept my 750 and I thought you know that’s probably good enough I’m not trying to be a chem major here so alright and at AP exams I think this is definitely part of my application that helped me look a little bit better in terms of when I believe admission officers were looking through my application in terms of how many ApS I took and how many stem ApS specifically that were relevant to like computer science as a major freshman year I took AP chemistry got a four sophomore year took calc BC you got a five and then junior year I took AP Physics II mechanics and a 50 to succeed electronic and magnetism got fives on both of those and then I also took AP Language and Composition about a four and then I have AP Computer Science and got a five on that and in the senior year I took ap stats but by the time I took that ap stats class I was already I had already heard back from all my colleges so I don’t really think that stats class or like any ApS I was doing senior year really counted much for anything in terms of when I was applying finally about my GPA so in high school I got all straight A’s and a minuses I got a couple a minuses and some of my English classes and then one of my physics classes one semester but so because of those eight minuses I my GPA after four years rounded out to a 3.97 so it’s pretty close to a 4.0 ice honestly think it’s good enough close enough to a 4.0 that shows I’m a consistent student who does well in their classes even though I have hiccups here and there with my a minuses that that’s like a very very respectable GPA to have so I work really hard for those grades definitely all four years to maintain that GPA in terms of computer science I took an intro to C programming class my sophomore year I took an AP computer science class junior year I took the data structure and algorithm class that was offered at my high school

my senior year which was comparable to a lot of like introductory computer science classes that you might see freshmen take their first year at a college if they’re studying computer science alright so now that I’ve gone all the stats out of the way I should say that I don’t think my stats are the reason I got into the top colleges I did I think my stats are really good and around the range of what top colleges are looking for I also think there are so many other people who not only have around the same stats that I did but um had even better stats and I did got perfect 4.0 took away more AP he’s got five on all the APS there’s definitely people out there who like did better than I did stats wise um so that’s why I didn’t really think that the stats I felt like I’ve met the threshold of what the colleges were looking for but I don’t think that’s really the reason that got me in compared to other people who might have had the same stats or better stats than I did I think the reason that I got into a lot of these top computer science schools was because of my extracurricular activities and how significant they were in terms of building the story and narrative about myself as someone who is deeply passionate about learning more about computer science about sharing my love and passion for computer science and wanting to use computer science in a new innovative way we’ll also use it to give back to the community around me so I’ll go through some of the activities that I listed on my comment app to kind of give you a sense what I’m talking about in terms of why I think my common app activities we’re so important in terms of showing me as a qualified computer science major candidate when I was applying to these top colleges all right so to discuss my activities I will start with the computer science related ones so around sophomore year I decided computer science is pretty interesting to me and I wanted to be more involved outside the classroom like outside the computer science classes I was taking specifically so I decided to create a girl’s coding Club at my school specifically to bring girls together to learn to code together and so I founded this club at my school my sophomore year so I was president sophomore in junior year and this club I ran it so that every week girls would come together and we would learn like mobile app development web dev and we just come together and like learn code together it wasn’t particularly really well structured it was just me finding content online things that was curious about that I would bring to meetings and we would all collaborate and kind of work through and like learn computer science skills together I think that helped me stand out in my application demonstrating that was showing initiative and that I noticed a kind of like a lack of computer science and girls coding at my school and so I kind of wanted to address that need by making that computer science club and I think that’s what came through in my application when I talked about how it involved I was in terms of creating this club my sophomore year so because I had this girls coding club over the school year when it came to be summer I didn’t really have anything going on for me in terms of doing anything coding related so I decided I had all this stuff that we had worked on in the club during the semester that I had materials prepared for and that I could use this material to like teach other girls out of code so what I ended up doing was approaching a couple public libraries around where I live and I emailed librarians and I was like can I teach a girls coding workshop for you I’ll be a two to three day workshop where I teach web development and mobile development to a group of high school and middle school girls and so they can learn these skills and I’ll be really friendly in a supportive environment and I really want to do this for you and do this at the library for free at no cost just because I really want to encourage other girls involved in CS and coding all the librarians were like yes we definitely have you especially if it’s free of charge and you’re wanting to do something for the library um so they let me like rent out space at the library and I’d organize these workshops over the summer it would be like a couple days workshop where I would teach these girls how to code thinking back I think this activity that I put on my college activities application list kind of demonstrated my desire to like give back to my community to kind of teach other people about computer science and volunteer my time to helping encourage more girls to pursue opportunities in computer science because I saw a need in this area and so I think that really also helped my application stand out in terms of I wasn’t just someone who was interested in CS and took Sophia’s classes and it’s yes for fun by themselves but I was someone who really wanted to outreach to other people using the CS skills that I had learned so my third activity was that I participated in this AB development contest called the Congressional app challenge my sophomore year and I ended up winning in my district so within my congressional district my app won and I wanted after that year should be a little bit more involved in the organization because I thought the congressional app challenge had such a great message that we’re putting out there in terms of wanting people to be more involved in CS and tech within their local communities and

having like district-wide competition so it wasn’t as intimidating as like nationwide but it was wearing like members of Congress could encourage people living within their districts is to kind of get more involved in CS so I thought it was a really great cause and because I had won the competition in my district sophomore year junior here I approached the director of the Congressional up challenge you melt her and I was like I want to be more involved in your organization I would love to intern for you if you need any help kind of organizing this connecting with members of Congress promoting this contest to more people across the United States and luckily the director was like we would love to have you so I interned with them my junior year and a little bit my senior year so I work remotely with them kind of doing releases connecting them with members of Congress filtering through it video submissions and I’m dealing with a lot of the students that were applying and then besides that internship I also along the same lines helped intern with my local congresswoman because I didn’t want to just help out on a national level even though that had a big impact it didn’t feel like it had as directive and impact and I want to have more direct impact on my local community so I talked to my local member of Congress and I was like I wanted your app challenge last year I would love to be more involved in promoting the app challenge in the following years and encouraging more people to submit apps to develop these apps making sure they have the tools and resources that they need to get them started so my local member of Congress was very supportive and was like of course we’d love to have you help out and like promote this contest in our district so that was another internship opportunity that I was involved in which wasn’t as like technical as like oh I was a software engineering intern in high school or like my senior year I definitely know people who’ve done that this was more so like a interning as someone who wants to promote more tech and CS education for people in their community so it wasn’t a strictly like a technical I’m learning these technical skills while I’m on the job but more so demonstrating my interest in CS and tech through this internship so I think that really helps me stand out again in terms of demonstrating how passionate and how much I want to share my love for CS with other people around me and how excited I was about promoting CS education for more people in my community alright so those were my three main CS activities aside from those activities I was involved in student government all four years I was a vice president of my class and then class president my sophomore junior year and then I ended up becoming elected a student body president my senior year um so that was like a really busy time for me and I kind of dialed back my CS involvement and my seat of club involvement because I was so involved in student government but I think student government was something that I was like really really proud of it absolutely nothing to do with computer science I think it showed another aspect of my personality where I wasn’t just crazy about computer science I was also really interested in helping out my school community in terms being in an elected position and doing things that could benefit my school and improve the school experience for a lot of people at my high school so I did student government I’m a student body president I was also president of math modeling Club my senior year I don’t think this looked as good as um other things on my application just because I was pretty honest about how I wasn’t too involved in terms of my president role I did like managing and organizing of competitions but I wasn’t nearly as involved in my president role as I was with student government and my coding Club so I was kind of honest about that in my application explaining to colleges I kind of viewed it as a low priority position and then the last thing I had on my application entrance activities was that I competed competitively in Figure Skating so the way the competition circuit I guess worked for the ice-dancing discipline that I was involved in was you could go to go to competitions all throughout the school year and get enough points so that you were in the top six I’m gonna get to go to Nationals so I ended up making top six two of the four years I competed and so I went to Nationals twice and I had won fourth place one of those years so I also put that my application comes up extracurricular activities that I did outside of school CS student body stuff like that so that was all of my extra cookies in high school I know it seems a lot and a little bit intimidating definitely student body president part may seem intimidating but I think when I think back on like how I got into the colleges I did like Carnegie Mellon number one CS program in the country I think that it’s the activities that I did outside of class with regards to pursuing my interest in CS and like sharing my interest in CS with other people that really helped my application stand out so it really demonstrated a passion that I had two CS and like really helped convince the colleges that beyond my stats and beyond my essays that these extracurricular activities that I was pouring so much time into that these were the real

reasons I wanted to be involved in CS as much as I did and that they were original ideas like making a club at my school that was an original idea for me emailing libraries that I wanted to teach workshops at and that was an initiative that I to go out and take and opportunities that I had to pursue on my own and that they weren’t just handed to me or passed down to me but I was taking initiative in those situations and so that’s why I think my application stood out to these top colleges and why I ended up getting into the colleges I did again like this is my guest I think at the end of the day it was my extra Krueger’s that helped me stand out just because they were so CS centric so I think that’s all I’m gonna be covering today there’s like so much more about yes I want to share and talk about in terms of my experience at applying to college my experience is now at college so hopefully I’ll be making more videos in the future but for now I hope this was helpful in terms of giving you some insight about what it takes to kind of get into a top computer science program like Carnegie Mellon Cornell Georgia Tech and hopefully you found this helpful I would love to help answer any other questions you have if you want to leave them in the comments below and I wish you the best of luck on your SEM application journey that’s probably how you happened across this video all right I will see you guys next time and hopefully it’ll be my next video all right bye