Recommended for acceptance at U of Illinois MCS program

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by Jeff Walker, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. Jeff Walker

    Jeff Walker New Member

    This has turned into a very cool day. Just got an email from University of Illinois Urbana Champaign indicating that the computer science department is "recommending my admission" for Fall 2003. As far as I can tell, the rest is a formality.

    My undergraduate degree is a BSCIS from Excelsior, so it's gratifying to know that one can take a "sort of computer science, but not really" degree from a pure DL institution and get accepted into a top 5 computer science graduate school.
  2. manjuap

    manjuap New Member

  3. Myoptimism

    Myoptimism New Member

    Right on!!

  4. calidris

    calidris New Member

    Excelsior BS-CIS

    Congrats and thanks for the info!!!!!

    Would you mind answering the following?
    I have 4 more exams to go to finish up my BS-CIS from Excelsior and was planning to fulfull these requirements using mostly ICCP exams. When finished I want to get in to an MS CS program. Since I enrolled in Excelsior in 2001 I don't have the Data Struc and Discrete Math (or Ethics) requirements. I'm concerned that good grad schools might find my transcript lacking these courses along with Statistics and Formal Languages. Also, I understand these courses will be helpful in preparing for the GRE CS exam (required by the school I am thinking of attending). Did you take these courses/exams? Do you think I should? I don't have a problem taking more courses/exams as long as I can do them at my own pace via DL or testing out.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2003
  5. Jeff Walker

    Jeff Walker New Member

    I did take 2 discrete math courses at a local community college. This was primarily to make my transcript more "CS like". The only other graded course that I had that is a standard sort of undergraduate CS course was the Microcomputer Architecture test from University of Ohio.

    I intended to take a data structures course at the community college, but the scheduling never worked out.

    I did take the computer science GRE thinking that this would help cover up my deficiencies in other class undergraduate areas - compilers, grammars, algorithm analysis, etc (I had a very good understanding of data structures from high school work). I specifically read Introduction to Algorithms (Cormen, et al) and Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools (Aho, et al) to help prepare for the test. These are both excellent books (and the algorithms book also covers data structures quite nicely). Still, with this level of preparation, I only scored 75th percentile on the CS GRE. I expected to get 85th to 90th percentile, so this was disappointing, but it obviously didn't hurt (of course so few computer science grad schools require the CS GRE anymore and so few people take it - around 5000 a year - that the pool of test takers may very well be extremely good CS students to begin with). Along with some readings on Algorithms and Compilers, you must know discrete math.

    Note that 75th percentile would not remove all deficiencies at the University of Hawaii's DL program.

    For what it's worth, I also had a 2260 combine General GRE score (taken before the recent changes in the test) and sort of a 4.0 GPA (the official Excelsior GPA is 4.0, but one of my other undergraduate transcripts, which UIUC had, has several F's from when I dropped out of school in 1993).

    If you're going to apply for schools with a laundry list of pre-requisites, then pad your transcript with CS courses anywhere you can (discrete math and data structures should be easy to pick up, while compiler classes are hard to do in a DL or evening format). Also, the CS GRE probably can't hurt, but take studying for the test very seriously if you're going to take it.

    Plenty of DL options don't have a lot of pre-requisites for admission so there are always fall-back options with a BSCIS.
  6. calidris

    calidris New Member

    Excelsior BS-CIS

    Thanks for your response.

    It seems to me that the additional courses/exams will be more than helpful. I don't want to find myself struggling to keep up in graduate courses where I lack or am weak in the prerequsites.
    I found a couple of listings for DL Formal Language courses, two from NTU, one from SNL (SUNY Learning Network) and one from Columbia's Video Network.

    I will follow your advice when preparing for the GRE CS. I think taking a couple of courses first then studying specifically for this exam will work best for me.

    I had forgotten that I will also have to take the general GRE to get in to the graduate program that I'm interested in. Oh, well, it's just another exam. After taking so many to get my BS-CIS what's one more?

    Good luck with your studies.
  7. Gary Rients

    Gary Rients New Member

    Congratulations, Jeff! That really is great news for you, way to go! UIUC has (arguably) the most prestigious online CS program - I can't help but feel a little jealous. ;) I've been happy with Capitol, and there's a big advantage in being able to start right away vs. waiting on an admissions schedule, but the reputation can't compare with Illinois.
  8. digit

    digit New Member


    Hi Jeff and congratulations!

    Maybe you or someone else can answer a question that I am burning to ask after your success story. I should be finishing my degree from TUI(Touro University International,RA) in CS. Although a CS classification for the degree at TUI is rather strong it is rather a CIS degree as has been pointed out by Gary and others.

    Despite that it is still a good program and I enjoy it. I should be finishing next christmas and I have completed about half of the neccessary credits so far and I have a 4.0 GPA so far, and I am hoping to maintain a 4.0 until I graduate.

    My question would be whether the TUI CS degree is comparable with the Excelsior CIS degree and whether, based on good a GPA from TUI and good work/computer experience, it would be enough to get into the UIUC CS graduate program.

    I have to say that after viewing their curriculum and searching information for this school I have become hooked and it will definetly be a school I will apply to once I graduate. I just hope TUI along with a strong GPA will enough to cut it.

    Thanks and good luck to you Jeff!

  9. Jeff Walker

    Jeff Walker New Member

    The Touro BSCS program looks more CS-like to me than the Exelsior BSCIS. It definitely is an applied CS degree, but it should adequately demonstrate that you aren't a complete programming light-weight.

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