6 Replies - 8742 Views - Last Post: 06 June 2011 - 01:01 PM

Poll: Which college for CS? (5 member(s) have cast votes)

Which college would you attend?

  1. Carnegie Mellon (1 votes [20.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

  2. University of Cambridge (4 votes [80.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 80.00%

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#1 skorned  Icon User is offline

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Cambridge vs Carnegie Mellon for Computer Science

Posted 02 June 2011 - 11:03 AM

I've just gotten done with high school in India, and am trying to decide which college to go to. I've been admitted to Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science in the US, and the Computer Science with Math course at Cambridge in the UK.
Besides being a debate about which college, its also a debate of going to the US vs the UK. The way I see it, the pros and cons are:

Cambridge:
+ I've received a full scholarship - Besides affordability, this might also help my CV in the future
+ Each student gets personal attention due to their supervision system.
+ It's number 1 in the UK for Computer Science
+ I've never been to the UK, so it'll be a great experience.
(+ I would be a lot more pampered. I would have a room to myself with a cleaning service)
- I would have to follow a fixed course, ie, I can't minor in unrelated subjects. Although some of the minors I was interested in, such as behavioral economics, are luckily integrated in my CS course.
- It doesn't seem like there are too many research and internship opportunities
- There doesn't seem to the kind of startup culture there is in the US.
(-) It's only 3 years long. I would rather take my time in college.


Carnegie Mellon:
+ It has a heavy focus on CS, with special departments for Robotics and Game Design, two of my current interests.
+ There's a lot of internship opportunities. There's heavy on-campus recruitment, with Apple, MS and Google even having offices on campus AFAIK.
+ Course flexibility. In fact, I'm *required* to do a minor there.
+ The location in the US would allow me to easily attend conferences in the US, especially relating to computer security.
+ There are a lot of interesting competitions available only to US students AFAIK, such as the DARPA challenges.

- And this is a big one - I've to pay full international student tuition, which amounts to about $60,000 a year.
- Classes will be quite big.
- There'll be a lot of CS talent there, so I'll be a small fish in a big pond. Will this affect my job prospects, if I'm not at the top of the class there (although I hope to be :P) ?
- I'll have to share a tiiiny room.
- The food, I've heard, is disgusting :D



I haven't actually been able to visit either colleges yet, although I'm trying to visit Cambridge this summer if I get a visa. So these conceptions have been based on what I've heard and seen through others. Any opinions on which one would be better for me? Which one would allow me to carry out interesting research and find fascinating work opportunities later?

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#2 Shane Hudson  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cambridge vs Carnegie Mellon for Computer Science

Posted 02 June 2011 - 01:18 PM

Personally I decided not to apply to Cambridge because I have seen more come out of the Universities of Sussex and Kent (of which both accepted me and I have chosen Kent), but perhaps that is just because of the circles I run in! Haha

You say there are not many research or internships.. I highly doubt that. Cambridge has one of the best reputations in the world as a University (and even for CS I learn from your post) so it is one that employers are interested in. The only downside is that they might think you would be after a lot more money than somebody just as good as you from a lesser reputed University, so they may turn you down due to that.

Personally, between US and UK I would choose UK everytime... but I have lived here all my life so that may influence me (UK vs Canada or Australia would be a much harder choice though).
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#3 skorned  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cambridge vs Carnegie Mellon for Computer Science

Posted 03 June 2011 - 09:33 AM

View PostShane Hudson, on 02 June 2011 - 01:18 PM, said:

Personally I decided not to apply to Cambridge because I have seen more come out of the Universities of Sussex and Kent (of which both accepted me and I have chosen Kent)


Seen more in terms of...? Research? In that sense, of the research I see online coming out of colleges, I seem to find a lot more from US universities like CMU, Stanford and MIT rather than Cambridge, Sussex or Kent...Maybe there is an equal amount of research, just not with the same levels of exposure as that in the US?
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#4 Shane Hudson  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cambridge vs Carnegie Mellon for Computer Science

Posted 04 June 2011 - 02:07 AM

View Postskorned, on 03 June 2011 - 05:33 PM, said:

View PostShane Hudson, on 02 June 2011 - 01:18 PM, said:

Personally I decided not to apply to Cambridge because I have seen more come out of the Universities of Sussex and Kent (of which both accepted me and I have chosen Kent)


Seen more in terms of...? Research? In that sense, of the research I see online coming out of colleges, I seem to find a lot more from US universities like CMU, Stanford and MIT rather than Cambridge, Sussex or Kent...Maybe there is an equal amount of research, just not with the same levels of exposure as that in the US?


Well I know that Sussex have a great deal of AI research and is one of the biggest Universities for AI in the world. The same goes for Kent when it comes to language development, particularly functional languages. In fact, BlueJ was developed at Kent and that is now one of the standard tools for teaching OOP and Java throughout universities (in the UK at least).

I agree that MIT and Stanford definitely have more exposure. Whether it is due to how good they are or just how America works, as they do have a lot more money, I do not know. I have not looked into American Universities, so I can only talk from an English point of view.
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#5 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cambridge vs Carnegie Mellon for Computer Science

Posted 05 June 2011 - 02:24 AM

I can personally answer questions about Stanford and to a smaller extent but validly informed, MIT. Not so much CMU or any other CS schools. And definitely not anything in the UK.
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#6 lordofduct  Icon User is online

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Re: Cambridge vs Carnegie Mellon for Computer Science

Posted 06 June 2011 - 12:56 PM

I say Cambridge for the opposite reason of Shane.

I'm from the states and would love to actually see the world. I've been to Pittsburgh numerous times, beautiful place, but I've never been to the UK let alone Cambridge.

Also Cambridge comes with the full scholarship.




As for some of your comments about Carnegie Mellon:

Quote

- There'll be a lot of CS talent there, so I'll be a small fish in a big pond. Will this affect my job prospects, if I'm not at the top of the class there (although I hope to be ) ?


Are you expecting to find work in Pittsburgh or something!? You're an international student, I'd assume your job market aught to be larger than that. Your degree will be valuable even if you aren't 'summa cum laude', otherwise the students who went to state university wouldn't have a chance in comparison...

Better, being a small fish can be humbling... it's a very healthy thing you aught to experience. Cambridge should probably humble you as well.

Quote

- I'll have to share a tiiiny room.


How much space do you need? I've lived in some tight places to get by while preparing myself for life, it's not that bad (where in India are you from? You're the second most populous country in the world, I'd think you'd be used to that anyway...). I have a feeling it'd probably be larger than you think...

Quote

- The food, I've heard, is disgusting


I don't know about the food on campus. But the regions food is tasty. Though probably much different from what you're used to in India. Less spice, more fat, a lot of meat and potatoes. Think Americanized German food. It's a big city anyways, so of course you aren't restricted to just local cuisine.




In the end though, that 60K price tag for Carnegie Mellon vs the 0 price tag of Cambridge... I don't even see why you'd need to ask. Sorry, but it sounds more like gloating... "oh dear, I don't know what to do, I have to pick between 2 internationally respected top universities... woah is me."

This post has been edited by lordofduct: 06 June 2011 - 01:04 PM

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#7 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cambridge vs Carnegie Mellon for Computer Science

Posted 06 June 2011 - 01:01 PM

Carnegie Mellon is an EXCELLENT school for Computer Science.

That said, Cambridge as a legitimate and well respected university is nearly guaranteed to have a great program as well. As LoD said, the price tag and being able to see a new location would put Cambridge well above CMU for me. The difference in educational quality probably isn't large, if even present or noticeable. Especially in the field of Computer Science, where you have so much power to try things on your own.

My vote would be Cambridge.

I wouldn't worry about not being able to find good food in Pittsburgh, though.
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