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Women at colleges with "tech" in the name

OHMomof2OHMomof2 Posts: 3,575Registered User Senior Member
edited December 2012 in College Search & Selection
This is just a request for general discussion about women at these types of schools.

D is beginning her college search. She loves STEM, or at least math and science, is just beginning to explore the idea of applying that interest and ability to engineering, CS, pre-med, PA programs.

There are a lot of schools with strong STEM programs with, for lack of a better way of saying it, "tech" in the name that she might consider. MIT, WPI, RPI, RIT, NYU Poly. Maybe Carnegie Mellon.

I notice several have "women in engineering" or "women in STEM" outreach programs. Most of these schools have a lot more men than women. As a woman it appears these are the colleges where she might have an edge in acceptance and aid (as opposed to most LACs where men have that edge).

D is also an athlete, I wonder what the women's sports scenes are like at these schools?

She'll visit a couple and see how it feels firsthand of course but I'm hoping to find out if there are substantial differences between these schools she should consider, really any info at all.

She has never been one to take apart a toaster, play video games, write an app or join a robotics club. I think she's probably more interested in scientific research or health/pre-med. This summer she may try a STEM program to get a feel for the work and see if she likes it, but the ones she's looking at are not at these schools, they're at places like Smith or state schools in VA or MD. (We are in Ohio.)

What I'm asking for here is the experience of any women, or parents or friends of women at these schools regarding the feel of the campus, the experience of being among relatively few women, if the faculty ratio is also out of balance?

Thanks all.
Post edited by OHMomof2 on
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Replies to: Women at colleges with "tech" in the name

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,644Registered User Senior Member
    Frankly, major univs that don't have "tech" in their names ALSO have women's eng'g outreaches and women-only eng'g org'ns because at most co-ed univs, the percent of women in the College of Engineering is still a low 15-20%.

    So, acceptance and aid, based on gender, could be a factor at any of these schools (however, if aid at a school is strictly need-based, then gender/major won't play a role).

    A number of schools with "tech" in their names may be OOS publics for you. If so, aid will likely be purely merit-based, and not need-based, and may not factor gender in at all.

    Since your D is an athlete, I would think the women's sports would have a stronger presence at regular co-ed national univs.


    "I think she's probably more interested in scientific research or health/pre-med."

    If she's interested in MD or PHD programs, then getting the highest GPA possible is necessary.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Posts: 3,575Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks mom. I know a lot of universities - LACs as well - can be great options for STEM and also offer a different feel, and I suspect that her final list will be dominated by these. (One "good bet" that is intriguing to me is Clark for its 3/2 MS and its 5 year PA program).

    ...but how different IS the scene - academic and social - at tech schools? That's what I'm really wondering.

    (OOS publics are NOT likely to be on her list though a couple have come on our radar for having great merit, like Pitt).

    She is an athlete but unlikely to play on a varsity team, certainly not looking to be recruited. But she'll want to play club or intramural or something. Lacrosse and volleyball.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,644Registered User Senior Member
    If you want aid/merit, then a 3/2 program can be iffy for those last 2 years. Be sure to check and see what aid (if any) is available for the "other" school...especially if that's a masters program.

    What are your D's stats? UPitt has gotten tighter with it's merit awards (at least the tighter with the bigger merit awards).

    As for the social scenes and intramural atmosphere, you might want to look over the "campus life" webpages on each school's website. For intramural info, you can usually find that on the Student Rec Center webpage.

    If you want merit options as safeties, then why not apply to a couple of schools with ASSURED merit for stats? Those schools have approaching scholarship deadlines, though....often Dec 1 or mid Dec..
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Posts: 3,575Registered User Senior Member
    Clark offers the 5th year of the 3/2 tuition free. Pretty neat, if one wants a CTCL school in Worcester. Earn a 5th Year Tuition-free Master's Degree at Clark University

    She's a sophomore, we have time. Her GPA is 3.9ish right now, mostly honors and now this year an AP. She just took her first PSAT. We are early in the process but I know from my experience with S (now a college freshman) that it's not too early to start planning and thinking about options. Especially general ones like "what TYPE of school should we be looking at?".

    Hence the questions about the feel of the tech colleges, especially for women.
  • BeanTownGirlBeanTownGirl Posts: 2,726Registered User Senior Member
    One thing - since women are underrepresented at engineering schools they often get really significant merit scholarships. Obviously, the better her grades and test scores the better the opportunities for money :-)
    She may develop an interest in biomedical engineering or biotechnology so you may want to look for schools where that is an option.
    Here is an interesting article about the underlying issue of women in STEM. Why do women steer clear of engineering? - College, Inc. - The Washington Post

    I'll give a plug for WPI where my son goes to school. This is a good article:
    WPI Named a Top University for Helping Women Succeed in STEM Fields|Parents and Friends Newsletter
    There are certain majors where there are lots of women students such as biology, chemistry, biomedical engineering etc. and then some where there are very few such as Interactive Media and Game Design, and perhaps robotics.
    WPI has a welcoming though nerdy vibe; the kids are friendly and like the non-competitive atmosphere which is fostered by their project-based curriculum.
    Some other links:
    Pre-Health: Create Your Own Advantage - WPI
    A few Youtube videos:
    Admissions video: WPI Admissions - YouTube
    Here's a review from a female student:
    WPI student experience: Erin - YouTube

    If you are considering Clark, then check out WPI. They are only 2 miles apart (though WPI is in a slightly better part of Worcester).
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Posts: 3,575Registered User Senior Member
    Thank you bean, we do plan to look at both. As we're in Ohio and she'd prefer a school in the NE, we only have so many opportunities to visit that far away and so will try to do a couple of multi day runs to the area over the next couple of years.

    I think I've seen WPI mentioned in a list of STEM schools that are good for women, wherever I saw that list I also found some interesting summer programs. She's a young soph, only 15 all summer, so can't intern in most labs, but there are some neat looking class-lab options. I think biomedical is probably the type of engineering that would interest her most at the moment, but I say that only because she hasn't taken physics yet, loves bio and chem, and really enjoyed the neuroscience course she took at Brown last summer. I'm thinking a one or two week engineering camp/class may help guide her.

    I appreciate your input :)
  • Miles PerraraMiles Perrara Posts: 89Registered User Junior Member
    Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont, CA, may be further away than you had been considering, but it offers:
    1. Top-notch STEM programs
    2. A liberal arts approach to STEM (broad education in STEM, and humanities also).
    3. Access to classes at other excellent LACs (Pomona, Claremont-Mckenna, Scripps, Pitzer) as a part of the Claremont Consortium.
    4. Current gender ratio at 42% women. The current incoming class is 48% women. HMC has worked hard to bring more women aboard.
    5. Athletic teams fielded in combination with other schools in the consortium.
    6. Programs to promote STEM to women and URM.

    Harvey Mudd is highly selective, look to see if it's a good match.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Posts: 3,575Registered User Senior Member
    Thank you for the suggestion. It is, as you say, too far for us...she really wants NE or mid-Atlantic.
  • zephyr15zephyr15 Posts: 2,265Registered User Senior Member
    OHmom --

    Your daughter sounds a lot like mine.

    A female definitely has an advantage applying in Engineering Schools and probably for STEM in general. Females are underrepresented here.

    A primary choice is whether your D would prefer an "Institution" or a "University". The difference (at least per our perception) is that at an Institution (i.e., MIT, RPI, Cal Tech, etc.) the vast majority of the students are focused on the sciences. Academically, people have similar-ish interests. At a University, (e.g., Harvard, Cornell, Michigan, etc.) you will have the science students, the english majors, the theater majors, etc. -- in other words a broader range of academic interests.

    There really is no right or wrong here, some prefer one type of school and some the other.

    Your overall gender ratio will, of course be closer to 50-50 at most Universities.

    FWIW -- my D decided early in the process that she prefered the University model (wouldn't look at any school that had the word Tech in the name). She's currently a Soph at Northwestern Engineering (McCormick) studying Computer Science. Her roommate is a theater major -- she loves it there.
  • PAGRokPAGRok Posts: 544Registered User Member
    I highly recommend Harvey Mudd as well, it is an excellent choice! It's position within the consortium is ideal for the type of student your daughter sounds like. Is the emphasis on NE and Mid-Atlantic because of distance? Or because of geographical or cultural or weather preferences? She won't be returning home often at any school, so maybe the 1 or 2 fewer trips she would have going to a west coast school is worth the benefit of attending a better college that fits her needs.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Posts: 3,575Registered User Senior Member
    Thank you zephyr. It may be that she will have to visit in person to see if "institute/tech" appeals to her or not. (Northwestern is a U she will consider even though it is not in the NE - because it's in a "real city" :) A friend of her older brother is also a frosh in eng there this year.)

    PAG, CA is just too far. We live in OH but have a lot of family in the NE. She's always wanted to go NE, preferably to NYC or Boston or DC or Prov but will consider smaller NE/MA cities if they are not too far from those.

    Her scores, as they develop, will help us narrow things down further but for now I am curious about the "feel" of the tech colleges. I get the impression from the class specific threads I've participated in (this is my second username here, had a technical issue with my old account), that boys who loved programming and gaming and math contests feel like they find "their people" there....but she isn't that kind of kid...are "her people" there too?
  • collegehelpcollegehelp Posts: 6,370Registered User Senior Member
    Schools where at least 20% of the Engineering graduates are women

    46.5% Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    44.9% Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
    38.7% Tulane University of Louisiana
    37.5% Columbia University in the City of New York
    37.0% Brown University
    36.1% California Institute of Technology
    35.9% Harvey Mudd College
    35.8% Southern Methodist University
    35.7% Harvard University
    35.0% Loyola Marymount University
    34.7% University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
    34.5% SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
    34.2% George Washington University
    34.1% Dartmouth College
    33.7% Tufts University
    33.3% Vanderbilt University
    32.9% Rice University
    32.6% University of Rochester
    32.3% Mercer University
    31.7% University of Virginia-Main Campus
    30.8% Princeton University
    30.7% Duke University
    30.7% Stanford University
    30.5% Johns Hopkins University
    30.5% Carnegie Mellon University
    29.7% University of Alabama at Birmingham
    29.6% Cornell University
    29.6% Northwestern University
    29.2% University of Pennsylvania
    28.9% University of Notre Dame
    28.8% Seattle University
    28.6% University of Portland
    28.1% Yale University
    28.0% Santa Clara University
    27.3% Roger Williams University
    27.3% Trinity University
    27.2% Bucknell University
    27.2% Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    27.1% University of Southern California
    26.5% Stevens Institute of Technology
    26.4% The College of New Jersey
    25.6% Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
    25.5% University of San Diego
    25.3% University of California-San Diego
    25.2% Florida International University
    25.0% East Carolina University
    25.0% University of Houston
    24.8% Virginia Commonwealth University
    24.8% University of Miami
    24.7% Case Western Reserve University
    24.6% Lafayette College
    24.3% Washington University in St Louis
    24.1% North Carolina State University at Raleigh
    24.0% University of Dayton
    24.0% University of the Pacific
    24.0% University of Iowa
    23.8% Hope College
    23.7% Villanova University
    23.5% Geneva College
    23.2% Boston University
    23.1% University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    23.0% Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
    22.9% Colorado School of Mines
    22.8% University of Maryland-College Park
    22.8% Syracuse University
    22.3% University of Washington-Seattle Campus
    22.2% St. Mary's University
    22.0% South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
    22.0% Marquette University
    21.9% United States Coast Guard Academy
    21.7% Fairfield University
    21.7% Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
    21.7% Kent State University at Kent
    21.7% The University of Alabama
    21.4% Lehigh University
    21.3% University of Tulsa
    21.3% The University of Texas at Austin
    21.2% Miami University-Oxford
    21.1% Illinois Institute of Technology
    20.9% University of Delaware
    20.9% University of California-Davis
    20.9% University of Alabama at Huntsville
    20.7% University of Colorado Boulder
    20.6% New Jersey Institute of Technology
    20.6% Arizona State University
    20.6% Michigan State University
    20.5% University of California-Los Angeles
    20.5% University of California-Berkeley
    20.3% Missouri University of Science and Technology
    20.3% University of Maine
    20.0% University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
    20.0% Humboldt State University
  • collegehelpcollegehelp Posts: 6,370Registered User Senior Member
    Schools from which at least 40 women graduated in Engineering in 2010

    402 Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
    288 North Carolina State University at Raleigh
    272 Purdue University-Main Campus
    265 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    238 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    236 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    227 Texas A & M University-College Station
    219 The University of Texas at Austin
    203 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    192 Cornell University
    185 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    185 University of Florida
    183 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
    175 University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
    169 University of California-Berkeley
    167 University of California-San Diego
    154 University of Maryland-College Park
    146 Ohio State University-Main Campus
    144 University of Washington-Seattle Campus
    144 University of California-Los Angeles
    143 University of Virginia-Main Campus
    140 Missouri University of Science and Technology
    136 Colorado School of Mines
    136 Iowa State University
    125 Arizona State University
    122 University of Wisconsin-Madison
    122 California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
    118 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
    111 University of Southern California
    109 Clemson University
    102 Columbia University in the City of New York
    101 University of California-Davis
    101 University of Colorado Boulder
    100 Carnegie Mellon University
    99 Vanderbilt University
    99 University of Central Florida
    96 Northwestern University
    95 Drexel University
    93 Rutgers University-New Brunswick
    93 Oregon State University
    91 Florida International University
    90 Auburn University
    89 University of California-Irvine
    87 University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
    87 Michigan Technological University
    84 Stevens Institute of Technology
    83 Johns Hopkins University
    81 Duke University
    80 Stanford University
    80 Michigan State University
    80 California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
    79 New Jersey Institute of Technology
    77 Case Western Reserve University
    76 University at Buffalo
    75 University of Pennsylvania
    75 University of Connecticut
    72 University of Notre Dame
    71 Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
    71 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
    70 University of South Florida-Main Campus
    69 University of Iowa
    68 The University of Alabama
    64 Princeton University
    64 University of Houston
    64 Lehigh University
    63 Boston University
    63 University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
    63 Texas Tech University
    62 University of Delaware
    57 Rice University
    57 Illinois Institute of Technology
    57 Mississippi State University
    57 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
    56 Tufts University
    55 University of Dayton
    55 Northeastern University
    54 University of Kentucky
    54 The University of Tennessee
    53 Washington University in St Louis
    53 University of Alabama at Huntsville
    53 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach
    52 California State University-Long Beach
    51 Villanova University
    51 West Virginia University
    50 University of Arizona
    50 Kettering University
    50 University of Illinois at Chicago
    49 University of Arkansas
    49 San Jose State University
    48 University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    46 CUNY City College
    46 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
    46 Washington State University
    45 Marquette University
    45 Florida State University
    44 University of Rochester
    44 Santa Clara University
    44 University of New Hampshire-Main Campus
    44 Clarkson University
    43 Southern Methodist University
    43 Rochester Institute of Technology
    41 Virginia Commonwealth University
    41 Syracuse University
    41 University of Maine
    41 Colorado State University-Fort Collins
    40 Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
    40 Bucknell University
    40 University of Rhode Island
    40 University of Massachusetts Amherst
    40 United States Naval Academy
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Posts: 3,575Registered User Senior Member
    Thank you, very interesting.
  • pierre0913pierre0913 Posts: 7,602Registered User Senior Member
    Clemson isn't a school with "Tech" in it but it might as well be since 32% of students are in the college of engineering and science (many more start out in engineering and then drop out, add the college of agriculture/life sciences and it goes up to 50%). Clemson is a great competitive place to play sports - probably would need to be one of the best in the country since it is a Division I school (there are many female athletes who are engineering/science majors). There is a program called WISE at Clemson - Women In Science & Engineering (Clemson University : Women in Science and Engineering : Welcome to Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)). The female/male ratio is 46/54 so it's pretty even. I'm a civil engineering major and there are actually a good number of girls in my classes surprisingly.
    Edit: Just looked it up and about 23% of people in engineering/science are girls

    So if you're looking for a safety or school where you know you'll get in - check out Clemson! I know you're looking at much better schools but our honors college is fantastic. Let me know if you have any questions about Clemson!
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