Advice from our Graduates
The department asks each graduating student to complete an exit survey. These surveys help us strengthen the program for future students and also help new students to better succeed. Below are responses to some recent exit survey questions.
Question: Looking back on your time at UWL, is there information you wish you would have known sooner, particularly about the CS/CPE majors/programs?
- Better planning so that I'm not taking multiple 300 and 400 level classes in the same semester
- When all the electives were offered.
- The value of an internship when it comes to real life application of learned skills.
- Something I wish I had known earlier was working and navigating the shell/terminal.
- I wish I had known previously about internship credit opportunities. Those allowed me to work while taking classes, and work was worth 300/400-level credit.
- Having a nice roadmap of how the different classes connect to each other.
- Honestly it was similar to what I expected but wish I studied more.
- The emphasis opportunities that were present.
- I wish I would have known that some of the classes that are listed are no longer being taught, or that some of the classes are only offered every so often.
- You may miss out on some classes offered only every other year, such as Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning if you don't plan ahead. Try to plan your future schedule with fun electives in mind.
- I wish that the information about how to transition from undergraduate to graduate was available sooner rather than later. Simply because for me, when I reached that point of transition, I had no resources to lean on because all past emails simply said "don't worry about it yet". I then struggled to understand the transition and I didn't know where to look for the necessary information. (We've updated our web page with this information at the bottom of this page.).
- Personally I wish i knew more about how the classes would be utilized in the job markets. For example understand where my education fit in making me a good candidate post college was something I had a hard time wrapping my head around
Question: What advice would you give to future UWL CS/CPE majors?
- Don’t stress about needing to memorize everything you learn in 220 & 340, that material is just a building block and will not usually end up being what you are doing as a job in the CS field.
- Don't have more than 2 CS classes in a semester.
- Start your assignments the day they are assigned.
- Try to enjoy your assignments as much as you can, and take classes that interest you. It's a lot easier to focus on your studies if they are about things that not only help you learn, bu that you find interesting as well.
- Don't procrastinate coding assignments. Coding assignments become exponentially easier the sooner you start them.
- Continue to press on, it is hard but hard work pays off, even in stem.
- Get an internship. The experience and knowledge gained is invaluable.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions and try to understand all that you can.
- Start working on your project early in order to have enough time to ask any questions and fix any problems before the deadline.
- Remember to start your projects on time.
- Use office hours.
- Despite the internet, try to do everything yourself. Following an online tutorial or reading StackOverflow won't grow your mind like devising an all-new solution with your own unique style. This is the point in your coding career where you graduate from "pretty good Googler" to "I have tools an I can competently apply them without prompting."
- If something isn’t clicking or something doesn’t seem right, just stick with it. You might not realize how much you’re learning from failures/missteps
- Learn healthy study habits early on, it’s much harder later on to develop those habits
- Have some initial coding background before coming in.
- Classes and grades aren’t everything. College is about much more. Go out, meet people, join clubs, do internships, have fun. And most importantly take care of your health. Computer science has the potential to be an unhealthy lifestyle if you don’t make it otherwise. Take breaks. Get up off the desk often and move around. It will benefit your mental and physical health in the short and long term!
- Although CS is thought to be very individualistic make sure you make friends here. Make sure you learn how to properly work together on a team, to emphasize others strengths and mitigate others weaknesses. Surely programming is a singular mindset which requires extensive knowledge in programming but still being a team player is a skill that is immensely valuable.
- Start on projects early and test as you go
- Start projects early, do not be afraid to reach out to fellow classmates for help, utilize resources like professors and go to office hours when stuck. Some concepts and projects can be very hard/time consuming but those tips above should help significantly.
When and how to change from undergraduate to graduate status
Every 5-year CS/MSE dual-degree student will need to change their status from undergraduate to graduate in order to register for a graduate level course. Please communicate with the MSE program director when you are thinking about changing to graduate status. An application form is required for you to become a graduate special non-degree student. Note that this label makes it sound as though you are not seeking a degree, but the name is misleading for this program. It is only a way for UWL to administer the dual-degree program. For most students you will apply for this new status prior to registering for the first semester of your senior year.
Go to the admissions web page to apply (here). You will need to find the application for “Graduate Special Non-Degree” and apply through the web page. Look under the area seeking graduate special non-degree for personal/professional enrichment. If you are asked for a reason, you can say that you are taking graduate courses for professional development.
You must indicate that you have completed an undergraduate bachelor degree. You must indicate in the personal statement area that you are in the Computer Science & Computer Engineering 5 year BS/MSE program.
You will still be paying undergraduate tuition fees prior to registering for your 4th graduate course. Check your tuition bill the first semester you take graduate courses to make sure it does not bill you at graduate rates. Please let the department know as soon as possible if you see an error.