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Need help deciding on an engineering school

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Replies to: Need help deciding on an engineering school

  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 15,523 Senior Member
    You may explore the top 50 engineering schools or so. You may pick a few reach schools, but make sure you have several match schools like Purdue and below and at least one safety which may be your in state flagship (except for the very top ones like UCB or UMich). Where is home state and do your have any regional preference.
  • GumbymomGumbymom Registered User Posts: 17,095 Senior Member
    Budget?
    Which type of Engineering?
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 15,523 Senior Member
    UMN-TC and UWI Madison. Check if you are eligible for in state tuition exchange in mid west.
  • NickM8283NickM8283 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    My home state is Minnesota and I'd like to stay in the Midwest, but it is not a deciding factor. I have thought of computer, electrical, and aerospace engineering but haven't decided.
  • prezbuckyprezbucky Registered User Posts: 3,380 Senior Member
    edited May 18
    The U of Minnesota and UW-Madison are both very strong in Engineering and in many other programs and are a great bargain for you -- UW-Madison will also be at a bargain price due to the reciprocity agreement. You might call UMTC a low match/safety and UW a match or low match. Assuming you like those schools and can afford them, those two are a very good start.

    I don't think going OOS to another public school and spending ~$100k more is worth it, unless you can get enough fin aid from Michigan or UVA to make them competitively priced. But there are also private schools to think about, of course.

    Beyond that, think about the following to find schools that fit you:

    - Do you have environmental preferences like the size of the school, the size of the surrounding town/city (rural, suburban or urban?), and campus size?

    - Do you have a preference for social vibe? For instance, what kind of party/Greek scene are you looking for, sports scene, and what kinds of things do you like to do for fun? What types of people do you fit in with best?

    - In terms of academics, are small class sizes important to you? Do you care about the academic calendar (semesters vs. quarters)? Are you looking for a broad education outside of Engineering or would you rather go to s school with fewer distribution requirements?

    Those questions will help you narrow your list. And obviously, run the NPC to see if those schools are affordable.
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 720 Member
    edited May 18
    You are really way ahead of the game with CSE at Uminn in your hand. Unless you have money to burn, your options there and UW Madison are a gift. If you have financial need then the generous endowment schools could be worth a shot (Is your 33 your first and only ACT? Do you have APs/IB? ECs?).
    Really, you need to talk money first.
  • NickM8283NickM8283 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    The 33 is my second act, my first was a 27. I am also registered to take it again. I have 5 ap classes (US, Euro, Lang, Calc, Econ). I only have scores for US and I got a 5. I plan to take 4 more APs next year (senior year). For EC I don't have a whole lot, I run cross country, I am in NHS and Spanish club. I have been to UW Madison, and it was okay, but I don't know if I want to be in a big metropolis area in a school with 50,000 students. I also toured Iowa state university, how do they compare? The price is similar
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 720 Member
    Again, budget. What is your EFC?
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    Most colleges have surveys on employment outcomes for new graduates. I would look at those for the majors and schools you're interested in.
  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 2,486 Senior Member
    edited May 18
    Run the NPC on some of the colleges and see. MSU and OSU have very good OOS scholarships and are still driveable. Certain schools have reciprocal tuition - for you look at schools in Wisconsin, ND and SD. SDSMT is very, very good and low cost. UW-Madison will be reasonably priced too.

    Michigan engineering does not seem as big as the campus in general ; there are about 6000 undergrads. It's going to be pricey if you don't get FA or scholarships.

    Raising your ACT to 34 will qualify you for the most $ (e.g. at OSU) too.
  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 3,486 Senior Member
    First, I would back up a bit and ignore your stats for a second. By focussing on stats alone you get lists like this proffered earlier: MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Caltech, WPI, RPI, RIT, Georgia Tech, Columbia, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Northwestern, Virginia Tech, Duke, Vanderbilt, Rice. Stylistically those schools, and the experience you'll have are all over the map. You don't typically see a students who feel small engineering focussed schools like RPI and WPI are a good fit, also looking at big schools like Berkeley, Cornell, Virginia Tech, etc. unless there's some unifying theme beyond ranking or prestige.

    Iowa State and Michigan Tech are both good undergraduate centered programs, but one is quite a bit larger than the other. Did that impress you one way or another? Did you tour the engineering facilities? What about non-scholastic, school centric interests like engineering clubs? How about non-academic interests and hobbies? Hiking? Gaming? Skiing? Want to learn to surf? How important are big time athletics to you? Will you do better in smaller classes or do you prefer the anonymity of a large lecture. These are all important parts of your collegiate experience. Give us some guidance and then we can better guide you.

    You did say one telling thing, that you are undecided. This has ramifications. At some schools, as @ucbalumnus has alluded to, there are limited spots. You will have to compete to gain admission to your desired major at some programs. Sussing out schools where you can easily change and don't have to compete for a slot will be important for you.
  • NickM8283NickM8283 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    While ISU is a much larger school, to be honest it did not feel like a big school. I don't know if it was the way the campus was layed out, but it seemed a lot smaller than it is. That kind of appealed to me. Not a giant university, but not too small. MTU was still nice though. I did tour both facilities and it could have been due to the nature of the tour, but it seemed like ISU had more lab/research/testing equipment. Athletics don't mean much to me. They had similar clubs, but ISU had much more variety. It seemed ISU had more engineering design projects. Would you say ISU or MTU is better academically? From what I have seen, they are both ranked decently.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 59,751 Senior Member
    edited May 19
    Minnesota uses a first year pre-engineering system; students apply to the major after completing some college courses. A 3.2 college GPA in technical courses assures admission to your desired major. Otherwise, admission is competitive, but only a few majors were full enough that a GPA higher than 2.0 was needed: http://www.advising.cse.umn.edu/cgi-bin/courses/noauth/apply-major-statistics

    Wisconsin engineering is more oversubscribed; all engineering majors required technical college GPA of at least 2.8, and some required technical college GPA as high as 3.5, to enter or continue in the major (also, overall GPA must meet a threshold of 2.5 or 3.0, depending on major): https://www.engr.wisc.edu/academics/student-services/academic-advising/first-year-undergraduate-students/progression-requirements/

    A 3.5 GPA is a lot harder in college than in high school.
  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 3,486 Senior Member
    Rank is not nearly important as many make it out to be. First, they don't measure outcomes, so in a sense, what good are they? Second, they're easily rigged. Third, sometimes they make no sense, sometimes they do. For example, Harvard has a highly ranked undergraduate engineering program by USNWR, which is sort of a joke. It's a pretty weak program. Most importantly, rank says nothing about what's important to you. You can go to many highly ranked programs, be in classes that hold 500-700 students and have discussions led by TAs who may have a poor command of English. Been there, done that. If those things aren't super important in YOUR methodology, then that's ok. You might be in trouble if you were expecting something different though.

    There's a reason you liked ISU better and felt the facilities were better. They are. ISU has a national lab, but unlike many other institutions that host national labs, it prides itself on undergraduate teaching. I'm not saying ISU is the be all end all. It may or may not be depending on your priorities. I will leave you with an anecdote.

    My uncle was discussing Stanford with my son. He has a Stanford PhD, was a long time department chair at a University and has also had a very fruitful private sector career. He told my son that if he knew he did not want to be a practicing engineer, but wanted to get a PhD and do research, Stanford would be ok, with a few caveats. Classes would be large, and he'd have a lot of TA instruction. He spoke very highly of the graduate program, but said if you want to practice engineering you'll learn more about how to be an effective engineer at a great teaching institution, like Iowa State. That's one highly informed man's opinion so take it with a grain of salt. My son ended up at Cal Poly.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 1,154 Senior Member
    "I have a 4.0 gpa,"

    One thing that I was surprised wasn't discussed to this point: Is this weighted or unweighted?

    If unweighted, does this mean that you are at a school where unweighted GPA of 4.0 means that you have never had a grade less than 90, or does is mean that you have never had a grade less than 98, or somewhere in between? I have heard of this full range in various US high schools.
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