Good Safety Schools for Computer Science: Computer science is one of the most exciting and innovative fields to study today. With technology advancing so quickly, careers in coding, programming, software engineering and more are in high demand.
If you have an interest in computers and how they work, along with creativity and problem-solving skills, then studying computer science in college could be a great fit. However, when it comes to applying for schools, you’ll want to have some good “safety” options – colleges that you’re very likely to get accepted into.
We’ll look at factors like acceptance rates, program strengths, location and costs to help you create a balanced list of targets and safeties as you research colleges.
What are Safety Schools?
Before getting into specific school recommendations, it’s important to define what a “safety school” really means. A safety school is a college that you have a very strong chance of being admitted to based on your grades and test scores. Generally, safeties will have acceptance rates of over 50% on average. This provides a high likelihood that your application will be accepted if you meet the basic admissions criteria.
Having one or two solid safety schools allows you to focus your top choice applications without worrying as much about rejection. You’ll have at least one college you can attend to study computer science. It takes the pressure off when determining how “reach” your top choices can be.
Most experts recommend applying to 2-3 target schools that are somewhat above your numbers as your likely admission range, along with 1-2 safeties.
Top Safety Schools for Computer Science
Public Safety Schools for Computer Science
Many excellent public universities make very affordable yet high-quality options for pursuing a computer science degree. Public schools tend to have much lower tuition costs compared to private colleges. Here are some top public safety picks:
Colorado State University
Known for its hands-on, project-based approach to computer science education. Acceptance rate is around 75% and out-of-state tuition is $30,000 per year.
University of Central Florida
One of the largest universities in the country with a highly rated computer science program. Very strong for gaming, simulation and graphics studies. Around 50% acceptance rate and $6,500 in-state tuition.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Part of the prestigious UMass system and ranked as one of the top public schools for CS. Around 50% acceptance rate and $14,000 in-state tuition.
George Mason University
Near Washington D.C. and known for innovative computational intelligence degree options. Around 80% acceptance rate and $11,000 in-state tuition.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Prestigious flagship research university with a highly ranked CS department. Around 50% acceptance rate and $10,000 in-state tuition.
All of these large public universities have strong computer science programs and easy to meet admissions standards, making them excellent safety options. The lower costs also make them a financially safe choice to study such a high-paying field.
Private Safety Schools for Computer Science
Some private colleges, while typically more expensive than public schools, also offer generous merit scholarships and have higher acceptance rates that put them in safety territory. Here are a few top private safety picks:
Co-op program integrates paid career experience into the degree. Popular for cybersecurity. Around 30% acceptance rate and $52,000 per year with generous merit aid available.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Known for project-based, hands-on approach and interdisciplinary majors like robotics engineering. Around 60% acceptance rate and $55,000 per year with good aid available.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Leading research university with globally recognized engineering and CS programs. Around 50% acceptance rate and $55,000 per year costs.
Rochester Institute of Technology
Strong programs in visualization, game design and other specializations. Around 70% acceptance rate and $50,000 yearly costs.
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Innovative engineering college with competitive merit scholarships. Around 35% acceptance rate and $55,000 per year sticker price.
Smaller Safety Schools for Computer Science Programs
Some smaller colleges with less than 10,000 total students also provide excellent computer science programs and have even higher acceptance rates in the 60-80% range, making them very safe options. Their smaller sizes allow for more individualized attention from professors too. A few top recommendations include:
Private Christian college with an innovative and highly ranked CS program. Around 70% acceptance rate and $35,000 per year costs.
Catholic university close to Philadelphia known for specialized CS tracks like data mining. Around 55% acceptance rate and $55,000 yearly price tag.
Private university near Los Angeles with growing CS program. Around 80% acceptance rate and $55,000 annual costs.
University of Evansville
Private liberal arts university with competitive CS program and merit aid available. Around 75% acceptance rate and $43,000 yearly prices.
The smaller, more intimate environments of these colleges combined with their higher acceptance rates make them very safe bets for getting into an excellent computer science program. Be sure to apply for any applicable merit-based scholarships as well.
Program Factors to Consider
Beyond just acceptance rates and costs, it’s also important to evaluate the specific strengths and offerings of computer science programs as you research schools. Things like:
- Specialization options – Game design, cybersecurity, data science, AI/machine learning, VR/AR, etc.
- Labs and research opportunities for undergrads
- Internship and job placement programs after graduation
- Ratio of tenure-track professors to total enrollment
- Availability of the latest technologies and software
- Dual degree opportunities with other fields like business or engineering
Looking into factors like curriculum focus areas, facilities and post-grad outcomes can help you select safety schools that are the best academic fit in addition to being financially safe admissions prospects. Make sure programs align with your interests.
Summary on Safety Schools for Computer Science
Doing thorough research into the computer science programs, acceptance rates and costs of various colleges will help you create a balanced list of safety, target and reach schools to apply to.
Having one or two very likely safety options provides a back-up plan and allows you to take some risks with your top choice applications. Public and smaller private universities often offer the highest admission odds while maintaining excellent CS academics.
I trust that this post featuring top safety schools for computer science has offered valuable examples to assist you in shaping your college list. Given the surging demand for careers in technology, pursuing computer science can open doors to numerous opportunities. Wishing you the best in navigating the admissions process and finding the right fit for your interests and needs.
Let me know if any other questions come up in your college planning journey!