Thinking of transferring colleges for Computer Science in NYC
March 26, 2013 12:01 PM   Subscribe

I currently get financial aid and I work full time as a programmer and study part time at Brooklyn College. However it seems that the education I get here at Brooklyn College is of poor quality. Does anyone know of a good college in NYC that has a very good Computer Science major program?
posted by antgly to Education (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Columbia :)
posted by primethyme at 12:06 PM on March 26, 2013

Is this undergraduate or graduate?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:07 PM on March 26, 2013

For what it's worth (very little, as far as I can tell) U.S. News has Columbia and NYU both ranked pretty highly for computer science.
posted by saladin at 12:09 PM on March 26, 2013

I've probably missed the deadlines for Fall 2013 for Columbia and NYU.
posted by antgly at 12:18 PM on March 26, 2013

How many credits have you already earned? Keep in mind that if you have a lot (generally more than two years/four semesters worth), the college you're transferring to might not accept them all (or might not accept you at all). If you're really interested in a certain school, call the admissions department- deadline dates are not as set in stone as they might seem, particularly if you're an attractive candidate.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:26 PM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

My understanding is that, of the CUNY 4-year colleges, City is more known for STEM stuff.

What about your education at Brooklyn College do you find lacking? Is it your department? Specific professors? The whole CUNY bureaucracy? Is it simply that the school isn't prestigious enough and you wish you were at MIT or CalTech?

I can't speak for Columbia, but for NYU, I knew people who transferred from there to my alma mater of Hunter who felt like, for liberal arts stuff, CUNY was as good or better, academically.

My understanding is that what you're really getting for all that tuition money at a school like NYU is more about the experience, level of services offered outside the classroom, advising, and a minimum of bureaucracy. It's assumed that you're going to get into the courses you need, you're going to graduate on time, etc. Whereas in my experience as a CUNY student, the schools over-enroll with no real guarantee that there will be relevant courses for you to take, and with no concern whatsoever about whether you graduate or not.

Depending on your program, there also might be advantages in terms of networking, a name that looks good on your resume, or ability to transition easily into a career in your field. But that would be for stuff like film (where it's very competitive and NYU is the school for that), and probably less for fields like computer science where you barely need a degree and NYU isn't particularly known for that.
posted by Sara C. at 12:34 PM on March 26, 2013

I find it that Brooklyn College computer science courses are lacking in the curricular level and in the skill of the professors in teaching their subject. I've had a nightmare professor who was 98 years old, who spoke so quietly that noone could hear him, and whose handwriting was atrocious. Asking the professor what he thought of the class, he would say "These students are doing wonderful things." Enough said. He was teaching us x86 assembly language. Most of the students came out of the class with a B and no knowledge of the subject at hand.
posted by antgly at 12:39 PM on March 26, 2013

Transfer to City College, preferably at the engineering school. I got a better education at City College than I did at an Ivy league-quality School.

You do need to take charge of your own education to ensure you graduate on time- I saw many 5-6yr students.
posted by larthegreat at 12:49 PM on March 26, 2013

I would say to look into City. Hop the subway up to 137th street, check out the campus, drop by the CS department and see what there is to see. Maybe stop in at the admissions office and ask if you can be put in touch with the CS department adviser, or meet some current CS students to pick their brains.

The nice thing about transferring to City is that it should be pretty seamless -- in fact depending on how many credits you have, how many you need, and what each department allows, you may be able to finish out your CS major courses at City without even formally transferring. I know that there is at least some leeway for CUNY students taking courses at other CUNY colleges.

Though I would also keep in mind that elderly professors who are out of touch and maybe a little more ready for retirement than they're willing to admit, and who have bad handwriting, or are terrible lecturers, and who students universally dislike, are a feature of university departments everywhere.
posted by Sara C. at 12:50 PM on March 26, 2013

Why do you want a college degree? You already have a job; do you want the resume fodder? a fancy college name? more knowledge in the field? new skills? networking opportunities? That might help you decide whether to stay put or where to go. Unless you really want the name recognition, saving a buttload of money by paying CUNY tuition rather than NYC tuition is a long-term strategic move. Also, as Sara C says, use the ePermit system to sample classes in all the other CUNY colleges.

Brooklyn College Computer Science department has 2 Distinguished Professors, 14 full professors, 8 Associate Professors and 2 Assistant Professors. None of them look to be 98 years old. Certainly there is more than one professor you could take? Perhaps you might be catastrophizing a bit.

Consider that you get out of your education what you put in.
posted by Liesl at 12:55 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just to back up to OP, many of those full professors haven't published a single thing in years. Apparently what makes you a "distinguished professor" is "having a functional academic career." Night classes are, frankly, notorious for being places that cater to students who just need a credential ticket punched without actually demanding that much.

If you could swing significant amounts of financial aid, 2 years at Columbia might not be too costly if you can get accepted. But definitely check out CCNY. They have a reputation for better engineering classes.
posted by deanc at 1:50 PM on March 26, 2013

I want a college degree more for the knowledge in the field. I already have a job in my field, but I want my college education to have some similarity to what I do at work instead of focusing on topics that are the minimum for a Computer Science course. I looked at NYU-Poly and Columbia and it seems like their curriculum is much more up to date.
posted by antgly at 1:59 PM on March 26, 2013

CCNY is the CUNY engineering school, and like everyone else said, you should check it out. If you've got the money to burn, and the grades to get in, Columbia of course has much more prestige. If you're almost done with your degree at Brooklyn, you might as well suck it up and finish it, then you can always take courses that interest you in the post-bac program at Columbia:

Also, I'd throw in Hunter and Queens college as dark horse candidates if for some reason CCNY fails to appeal to you - even though they do not have engineering schools - they generally are thought of as the stronger liberal arts colleges in the CUNY system, and the comp sci departments are probably going to have good instructor to student ratios.
Edit: Disclosure - I have a BA from Queens College, though I got it two decades ago. At that time CCNY's reputation (as was most of CUNY) was in the cellar, and it has recovered a lot since then.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 2:42 PM on March 26, 2013

I think you need to look a bit further afield. Nyu and Columbia will both be absurdly expensive and hard to get into. If I were you I'd check out stonybrook, Stevens, Rutgers, njit. All have better reputations than Brooklyn college or CUNY in my experience hiring engineers.
posted by ch1x0r at 4:17 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you already have significant experience as a programmer, you might consider looking at professional master's programs instead of undergraduate programs. There will be fewer general education requirements, and they often have night classes and other accommodations for students working full time.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:18 PM on March 26, 2013

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