Hi guys. I am a Computer Science aspirant and I want to attend colleges like Stanford, MIT, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, etc.
I happened to have scored 1510 in SAT (720 ERW, 790 M). Should I retake my SAT since I have heard that most of the people in CS branch have a score of 1570 in such schools?
I am currently working on EC and Essays,
If you are a BIPOC, low income, first gen Questbridge Match finalist, or currently participating in Matriculate, Posse or the other dozen community service orgs. that match high achieving low income students to top colleges, you have a very good score and I would leave it alone. You see, it's very hard for Black, LatinA, or Indigenous persons of color to get a 1510 even if they attend a private boarding school on scholarship because in their formative years pre-K through 8th, they didn't have access to the same level of resources and support, whether that is technology, private tutors, enrichment programs, quality of teachers, that well off privileged kids residing in affluent zip codes have. That is why I'm answering your question leading with this statement.
If you are not a hooked applicant, and not a ALDC (recruited "A"thlete, "L"egacy, child of wealthy "D"onor ("D" evelopment candidate), "C"hild of faculty/admin), then you will see from looking at past Common Data Sets or Press Releases etc that you are on the low end as a CS Major.
Applying for CS at #1 Carnegie Mellon (CS), Stanford, MIT, Princeton is uber-competitive so really need at 1550-1600 at those schools, unless you can hands down show evidence of some intellectual vitality that is unprecedented amongst peer applicants. For instance if you hacked into the Russian FSB, GRU, or KGB servers or highjacked Rossiya1 and streamed Ukrainian war scenes.
I recommend having the following prior to applying as CS major to these schools:
-Improve your SAT test score to 1550+ or 35/36 for the ACT
-Show advanced course rigor in advanced Maths and STEM classes. Many peer admits have complete 1 or 2 math classes beyond AP Calc B/C
-Show IV/IC in areas of computer science. supervised research papers, online courses in programming, Internships with either academia, or tech companies, or your own APPs that you programmed that has some user traction.
-Maintain at least a 3.90 UWGPA, ideal if you have a 4.00 UWGPA.
-Have a list of compelling ECs that support your intended major.
-Have a compelling essay and supplemental essays.
You can if you would like but already that is a really good score, to get into top schools like that you should also focus a lot on your community contributions or internships that have to do with the field you are going in. It is very important to refine your outside-of-school profile as that could make your break your acceptance into top schools. You can also email admissions officers to see exactly what they are looking for in an application. As for your essays, a quick tip is to find a theme for all of your accomplishments and bring them together o show how they have helped you or will help you reach an ultimate goal.
If you have time and can actually improve your score by like 40-50, then you can try to retake it. Otherwise, just continue working on EC's and essays.
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