Personal Statement

Personal Statement Form (formerly named Self-advocacy statement)(please read the text below first)

In an effort to allow students the opportunity for a more holistic review, we are allowing students to submit a personal statement (formerly named the self-advocacy statement) in addition to their required application to the major.

Your personal statement is a way for you to provide additional context and information regarding your academic performance, describe your plan for success in the computer science and data science majors, and how you have contributed to the community, department, or field of computing.

The demand for computing education at the University has been increasing for over a decade, and it has outpaced the University's investment in our instructional capacity. Therefore, the Department is being forced to impose stricter limits on admission to the major at least for the near future. Learn more about these changes and suggested next steps.

We strongly encourage all applicants to submit a personal statement. Our admission decision will still be based on your technical GPA, with exceptions based on this personal statement. Students at or above a 3.2 technical GPA in fall semesters will be guaranteed admission to the major. Students who do not pass the prerequisite courses needed for admission to computer science programs will be denied (a personal statement won't change this decision). See the chart below for a historical reference of our lowest admitted technical GPA.  Note that the cutoff is the same for BA and BS applicants, and we will not know this semester's GPA until after the deadline.

To include a Personal Statement (formerly named self-advocacy statement) with your application to our majors, please complete the Personal Statement form and the official application to the major for the CLA CSCI BA program and the CSE CSCI BS or DSCI BS program.

Personal Statement Details

In 400 words or less, please explain your plan for success in the major, any barriers you faced, and what you’ll contribute to the department. In your response, include and consider the following:

Suggested prompts to consider addressing in your personal statement:

  • If you've had any academic struggles:
    • You could consider writing about your plan for success. Specifically, what actions you will take and resources you will use to succeed in your coursework - i.e. using tutoring services, attending office hours, etc.
    • Explain any extenuating circumstances that led to a lower technical GPA - i.e., death in the family, medical issues, very poor start to college experience, low grades in non-CSCI tech courses, etc.
    • Explain any systemic barriers contributing to your lower technical GPA - i.e., lack of representation, barriers to being properly supported, etc.
  • Describe any engagement and contributions to the community (department, college, university, Minneapolis, St. Paul, or your local community)
    • TA, RA, student group involvement
    • Volunteer work
    • Social justice activism/advocacy work
    • Leadership roles
  • Anything else you find relevant.


What should not be included in your statement?

  • Medical documentation
  • Other documentation (financial statements or bills, death certificates, anything containing sensitive information like a social security number)
  • Letters of recommendations

How should you format your statement?

  • Narrative statement (essay)
    • 400 words or less
Semester applied (admit start)Lowest Technical GPA admitted to Computer ScienceLowest Technical GPA admitted to Data Science
Fall 19 (Spring 20 start)2.5Program not established
Spring 20 (Fall 20 start)2.5Program not established
Fall 20 (Spring 21 start)2.72.0
Spring 21 (Fall 21 start)2.52.0
Fall 21 (Spring 22 start)2.4*2.0
Spring 22 (Fall 22 start)2.4*2.0
Fall 22 (Spring 23 start)2.8*2.0
Spring 23 (Fall 23 start)2.9*2.2*
Fall 23 (Spring 24 start)3.1*2.5*
Spring 24 (Fall 24 start)likely 3.2 or higher (depends on number of applicants)likely more than a .1 increase from last semester (depends on number of applicants)

* Some students were admitted with lower Technical GPAs than listed via our Personal Statement review process.