If There Are Computer Science Classes At Your School and You Haven't Taken Them, DON'T Say You Want to Major in CS
When I was applying to college... we pretty much just applied to college.
Now, social media allows countless strangers on the internet to endlessly share advice about the college application process, driving a weird new neuroticism about the best possible "strategy" for college applications.
These "strategies" often take the form of, "It's easier to get into XYZ School if you say you want to major in Blah — then after you get accepted, you can switch into BlahBlah."
This is a terrible strategy, and here's why:
Admissions officers are experts at detecting bullshit. They're experts at detecting inauthenticity.
If you're some kid feigning an interest in, say, Computer Science, but you've never taken a computer science class...
They're not going to believe you.
They're not going to trust you.
They're going to think you're gaming them. (Which, to be fair, you are.)
You're not going to get in.
This is one of the many problems of taking advice from randos on Reddit. They look at some numbers ("USC takes 15% of CS applicants but only 9% of Humanities applicants") and think they know the whole story.
Granted, I am also a stranger on the internet. But I'm not just some kid who looked up a few Googleable figures and jumped to a conclusion.
I'm someone who studied under and did research with Stanford admissions officers. I did an Oxford Tutorial in gifted education policy. I receives annual alumni interview training from both Phillips Exeter Academy and Stanford University and meet regularly with admissions officers, provosts, trustees, and presidents. I gets dozens of students into multiple Ivies and Ivy Plus schools (including Duke, Stanford, CalTech, MIT, and others) every single year.
I'm thinking I have a little more insight into this than your average neurotic teenage redditor.
So trust me on this:
It's really not worth it to feign interest in a major — particularly one that you've had the opportunity to study in your current school or community, but haven't.
They'll know you're lying.
They'll roll their eyes.
And they'll reject you.
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Eva Glasrud completed her B.A. and M.A. at Stanford. She is now a college counselor and life coach for gifted youth.