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CS4CS at NYU - Our Honest Review

If you’re a high school student interested in STEM and want to pursue a career in computer science, especially cybersecurity, then you should definitely consider applying for a summer school program. Summer schools are a great way to gain a deeper introduction to a subject, learn about career prospects, and sample college-level coursework.


For all the New York City students who want to learn more about cybersecurity, we recommend checking out New York University’s Cyber Security for Computer Science (CS4CS) summer program. Here, you can learn about the latest technologies to detect and prevent cyber-attacks, and much more.


What is the CS4CS program all about?

NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering offers CS4CS as part of its K-12 STEM education outreach program to engage middle and high school students in hands-on STEM learning. Tandon’s K-12 STEM programs emphasize making STEM learning accessible and the school encourages applications from underrepresented minorities, including students of color, young girls and women, and students from low-income backgrounds.


CS4CS is a non-credit, fully paid, three-week summer school for rising grades 9,10,11, and 12 students who live in NYC. You do not need any prior experience in programming or cybersecurity to apply for the program — just show your interest!


The program was created by Nasir Memon, the co-founder of NYU’s Center for Cyber Security. Memon introduced cybersecurity studies to NYU in 1999. His research interests include digital forensics, biometrics, network security, and human behavior, among other topics.


How much does CS4CS cost?

Nothing! CS4CS is a free program. You do have to make your own transport arrangements to the NYU campus and pay for lodging, if necessary.


What is the course curriculum like?

During the program, you will learn about fundamental cybersecurity concepts like white-hat hacking, cryptography, stenography, digital forensics, privacy, and data usage. You will also learn about technologies used to detect and prevent cyber threats, how to trace threats to their source, learn to code, and how ciphers are used in network security, among other topics.


Is CS4CS prestigious?

The program is highly selective and prestigious. Successful applicants do not pay any tuition fees, and the program usually accepts 45-50 students annually with an acceptance rate of around 10%.


Note: CS4CS accepted 74 students as part of its 2023 cohort.


Who can apply for the program?

All rising grades 9,10,11, and 12 students who are NYC residents can apply for the program. Students from underrepresented communities in STEM are encouraged to apply.


What are the important dates?

Applications for the 2024 cohort open on February 1, 2024, and shut on April 14. Successful candidates will be notified in the week beginning May 12. The program will run from July 8 to August 2.


What are the pros and cons of applying to the program?

Pros:

  1. You join a selective and prestigious program Admissions to CS4CS are competitive, with only 45-50 seats available every year and 10% of applicants getting in. Not to mention, the program is fully paid, which increases competitiveness. Being a CS4CS alumnus is no mean feat and will definitely add prestige to your college portfolio!

  2. You don’t pay any tuition fees The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, a U.S.-based financial services company, funds the program, ensuring that exorbitant tuition fees are not a barrier for students to apply to the program.

  3. You gain a strong understanding of the fundamentals of cybersecurity CS4CS is a three-week, intensive course that will expose you to a range of topics within cybersecurity, including teaching you how to code! By the end of the program, you will have good knowledge of the discipline, which will help you make a more informed decision whether to major in it at university and consider your career prospects.

  4. You have a higher chance of getting in if you belong to a community underrepresented in STEM The CS4CS program was initially launched exclusively for girls and young women before expanding to include other underrepresented communities in the U.S. NYU’s K-12 STEM programs want to increase diversity in STEM and admit more people of color, women, and people from lower economic backgrounds into their programs.

  5. The program is open to all high school students Unlike some other summer programs, CS4CS does not limit which high school students can apply and is open to everyone in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12.

  6. You don’t need a minimum GPA to apply CS4CS is focused on making the program as accessible as possible and only asks that you demonstrate an interest in cybersecurity, removing a cutoff grade.

  7. You can tap into a network of accomplished alumni Past K-12 STEM scholars have gone on to study STEM at NYU Tandon and other top colleges and work at some of the U.S.’ leading innovative companies, including Tesla, Squarespace, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, the City of New York, and other organizations.


Cons:

  1. You have to be an NYC resident to apply While CS4CS is free, it is not available to everyone. The program is only open to students living in NYC. You can’t apply if you’re an international student or a U.S. resident who lives outside NYC.

  2. You don’t receive a college credit CS4CS, though intensive, is a non-credit program. While you can learn a lot about cybersecurity through the program, you might want to consider other credit programs if you’re focused on getting a headstart on the college curriculum.

  3. You do not complete a project during the course of the program Unlike most other STEM summer programs which have students design, build, and present a project as a compulsory component, CS4CS does not have any such provision. Completing a project can give you important hands-on experience and would also prove prior experience and demonstrated interest in your college application.


Our review of CS4CS — what do we think of the program?

If you’re an NYC resident curious about cybersecurity and coding, then we highly recommend you apply. You won’t have many barriers to entry — there’s no tuition fee and no minimum GPA requirement, and NYU encourages you to apply if you come from a community underrepresented in STEM. You’ll learn about digital forensics, cybersecurity, cryptography, and hacking, among other concepts. You’ll finish the program with a strong understanding of the fundamentals of cybersecurity and you’ll be able to show demonstrated interest in the subject. CS4CS is a competitive program, so it’ll add prestige to your college application.


On the other hand, CS4CS does not offer college credit. If you’re a highly ambitious high school student, you might want to consider other cybersecurity programs that offer you one. Additionally, unlike many other STEM summer programs, CS4CS does not require you to complete a project. Moreover, you’re ineligible to apply for the program if you live outside NYC.



Bonus — the Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are interested in doing university-level research in STEM, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, over 4000 students applied for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.


Kieran Lobo is a freelance writer from India, who currently teaches English in Spain.


Image Source: NYU logo

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