*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer Network Architects, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-network-architects.htm (visited March 24, 2022).
Your path to graduate is personal and individual. While someone else may graduate later even though they started school when you did, they may have had other academic commitments to satisfy. Others may be able to finish their programs sooner than you because they don’t have to deal with Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) or work during their college years.
Look at how many credits are required. This is usually 120. If you take 30 credits per year, you’ll graduate in about four years. If you can take more classes, this will shorten the time you’re in school. Don’t forget to seek information from your assigned advisor. Doing so means you’re less likely to miss a required class, which could delay your graduation.
Colleges and universities generally charge per credit hour. Multiply the cost by the number of credits you’re taking for your total semester’s financial commitment. Program fees may not be included in the stated tuition rate. If a university charges $331 per credit hour, multiply this by 12 or 15 (the number of credits you’re taking per semester). For 12 credit hours, this is $3,972; for 15 credit hours, it’s $4,965.
The College Board’s Trends in Higher Education Series reported that the average cost of a four-year public program was $9,970 if taken in-state. It was as much as #35,260 if taken at a private university or college. And be aware that, even if you are comfortable with the per credit hour cost of the program you are looking at, there will be other costs for fees, textbooks, and room and board if you live on campus.
Before you declare a major in computer science, you should have an idea of what kind of timeframe you’re looking at. If you are trying to achieve an associate degree, you will only need to finish about 60 credit hours over 2 years. However, if you are going for you bachelors you will need to complete 120 credit hours over four years. And, if you want to attain a master’s degree as well, you will have to finish your bachelors first and then spend around 2 years completing 60 more credit hours.
Some of the courses you’ll take throughout our college career will include:
Before you choose which school to enroll in, you need to determine if they have the major you are interested in. Since you’re interested in computer science, you can call the school’s admission office, where staff can answer your questions. If the schools do have computer science majors, find out if there are any specializations available. Request an undergraduate catalog, which contains all the information you’ll need.
If you’re concerned about the specific graduation rate at each school you’re most interested in, the Office of Institutional Research at each university should have that information. Nationwide, only 41% of university students finish within the four year timetable. The remaining 59% tend to stay in school for five years or more.
This can get very expensive. Students have to pay for additional terms of tuition. Universities and colleges may also penalize students who are taking too long to graduate. So, you need to have a plan that enables you to graduate within four years. See an advisor for your major every semester. Take the classes that they tell you are required. Try to take more than just the 12 minimum full-time credits per semester—instead, take 15; if you don’t have to work more than 10 to 15 hours a week, try to take 18 credits.
Take summer classes to get ahead (or catch up if you fail a class).
Don’t change majors too often. If you’re not sure of your major, take just your general education credits and try a few majors you’re interested in—take an introductory class for each major and find the one that fits you best.
“Accreditation” simply means that an outside agency has reviewed a university or its computer science major in painstaking detail. As a result, the program and/or university have been found to be of the highest quality. Faculty will be assessed as well.
Computer science programs are accredited by the Computing Accrediting Commission (CAC). CAC is overseen by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). When you see either accreditation given to a university’s computer science program, you know you’ll get the highest quality education available. If neither of these types of accreditation exist in any of the schools you are looking to attend, at least try to find somewhere with regional accreditation. This is not program specific but means that the whole school has been accredited by agencies approved by the US Department of Education.
If your university offers career and/or placement services, you’ll be able to take advantage of both as a student or graduate. You can receive career counseling, career assessments, and resume reviews, where you’ll learn how to spruce your resume up.
College rankings are only as important as the criteria they evaluate. These evaluations can’t be quantified because the value of a school is so individual to each student.
Choosing an accredited university can have good or bad implications for your future. If you take the time to learn about the university’s accreditation, you’ll learn more about whether you’re attending a true educational institution or a diploma mill.
Financial aid won’t be provided if your school isn’t accredited. Your future salary also relies on this status. Future employers will ask for your official transcripts. They do so as they are checking out your background. If you did attend an accredited institution, you may be offered a higher salary.
Accredited universities, whether you’re studying on campus, online, or in a hybrid program, seek accreditation so they can ensure the faculty they hire to teach their students will be of the highest quality. They also want to be sure that the programs are as well-created as possible, so that students will benefit from the latest and most reliable information as they learn about their chosen field.
As you weigh your options, speak to the admissions offices of each university you’re considering. Include a question about the school’s accreditation status, who has accredited it and whether the computer science program you’re considering is accredited.
The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits computer science, engineering, and engineering technology programs. When you find that the program is ABET-accredited, you’ll know you’re entering a high-quality program. If this accreditation is not available, consider looking for regional accreditation provided by a Department of Education -approved accrediting agency.