Computer Science College Acceptance Rates

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Sure, it's really hard to get into a top tier college today. But did you know it's even harder to get in as a Computer Science major? Not all schools require that you declare your major in your application, and not all schools provide acceptance data just for Computer Science either. But some do, and the results are a bit eye opening. Take a look at some of the top computer science schools we found below.
College General Accept Rate Comp Sci Accept Rate
UC Berkeley11.7%2.8%
Carnegie Mellon11.3%7.0%
UC Irvine25.7%17.2%
U of Michigan17.9%15%
U of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign43.7%7.50%
UT Austin37.2%7.10%
Cal Poly SLO29.3%3.1%
Univ of Washington (out of state)46%2%

The most infamous example is out-of-state UW. Look at that number, they only take 2% of out of state folks into their Comp Sci program, compared to a 46% general acceptance rate. Put another way, if you don't live in Washington, it's harder to get into their CS program than it is to get into Stanford, MIT, or Harvard. Amazing.

You can click each number to see our source, as it's all public data. But honestly, the exact number isn't important. The take away here is, at a lot of good colleges, it's a lot harder to get into their Computer Science program than it is to get into the school itself (which is often already hard to get into).

Why is it harder to get into a Computer Science program?

It's hard to say for sure, but anecdotally - it's the money. How many TikTok or Instagram videos have you seen where they interview someone fresh out of a top school with a Comp Sci degree, and they say they're making $200k, $300k or more in total compensation? Now you can't always trust social media, but here's an article from CNBC showing CS as the second highest paid major, or from CBS News where it's the third highest. Both articles say the average salary is over $100k with a Bachelors degree, and that doesn't account for the stock compensation many tech jobs come with either. Compare that with the average salary of a college graduate, recently at about $58k, and you begin to see why Comp Sci is so popular. However you look at it, that's a lot of moola for just an undergraduate education. And when there's jobs like that for a field like this, there's demand to match, and unfortunately only so many available seats in the top colleges for Computer Science - hence the low acceptance rates.

What are the best Computer Science Colleges?

In our opinion, they're ALL the best. Ranking isn't all that important, it's the computer science degree itself that's super valuable whether it's from Stanford or a local state school. In our experience, tech companies want people who can code - and anyone with a CS degree is likely pretty good at it, wherever they graduated from. Now if you want to build the next Google or Facebook, ok, you'll probably have an advantage if you go to a top ranked school like Stanford or Harvard for a number of different reasons. But for 99% of the coding jobs out there, often just that computer science degree will get you in the door.

So how hard is it to get into the top CS schools? Here's a ranking of the Best Colleges for Computer Science from Niche, with general (not CS-specific) acceptance rates attached, again publicly available via a quick google search. Yeah, we know, we just talked about rankings not being important - but be honest, you want to see the ranking, right?

Niche Comp Sci Rank College Overall Accept Rate
3Carnegie Mellon13.50%
8Georgia Tech16%
12Harvey Mudd13%
20University of Chicago5%
23UT - Austin31%
25UC Berkeley14%

I think you see where we're going with this. It's a maze of insanity out there if you want to get into college, and even more so if you want to get into Computer Science. At theCoderSchool, we're here to help you build your passion project, and to get you to stand out from the rest - that's our expertise, custom coding. And with Collegewise, you get the biggest and most experienced college counseling company here in the U.S. to help you navigate the waters and come up with the best college strategy, for any major. Find out more by getting a free trial with theCoderSchool or a free consult with Collegewise today.

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