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Michigan State or University of Michigan

bennisbennis Posts: 351Registered User Member
As of now, I have narrowed my college options down to two schools: Michigan State University and The University of Michigan. Being in-state, I can't see any reason to pass up the opportunity to attend one of these two schools at a highly discounted price. I'm in the top 5% of my class, have a 3.97 UW GPA, and a 30 composite ACT score. I took the most difficult course load available. I am going to major in engineering, but I'm not positive exactly what field of engineering yet. Based on rankings, U-M seems to be the obvious choice, but I can't believe that those tell the whole story. I have toured both schools, and each gave me positive feelings. I have the stats to be in the honors college program at MSU, and will attend the honors college if I go to MSU. MSU isn't really known as an engineering powerhouse, but does that mean that the education and professors at U-M are considerably better? Both schools make it known that they highly support undergraduate research, which I would take advantage of. My parents are pretty concerned about the price. MSU would most likely be quite a bit cheaper than U-M. Right now I am leaning towards U-M, but that is mainly because of the prestige. You guys seem to know a lot about various schools, so I would like to hear your opinions. Any constructive advice is much appreciated!

Thanks!
Post edited by bennis on
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Replies to: Michigan State or University of Michigan

  • michiganmanmichiganman Posts: 113Registered User Junior Member
    For engineering, I would attend UMich. It's a better program overall. However, that doesn't mean that MSU's program isn't respectable. Not only does MSU have great engineering, but it also has a greater focus on undergraduate education (it's building an engineering based residential college). The social life is tops. The students have a more laid back attitude. And the campus is, in my opinion, far more beautiful than UMich's. Also, you'll automatically get some merit aid at MSU, since you'll be invited to the Honor's College. Being in the HC will allow you to choose all your classes first (something you'll come to love should you attend).

    And you might even get selected to do undergraduate research with a professor for a $2,000 stipend.
  • world changerworld changer Posts: 2,503Registered User Senior Member
    Personally, I would go with Michigan State for undergrad. It just seems like it would be a better value (great quality, at a lower price).

    UMich has a bigger name, but most employers don't care where your undergraduate degree is from, so I'd save the (more expensive) UMich for grad school.
  • michiganmanmichiganman Posts: 113Registered User Junior Member
    The tuition difference between MSU and UMich is negligible from what I understand. The main difference is in prestige and overall feel. MSU has a far greater undergraduate focus, UMich has the name. For engineering, both are good. If your BS is going to be terminal, UMich might be better. If you want a higher degree, MSU will probably allow a higher GPA, more free time, more personal attention, etc., with a respectable name.
  • sang54sang54 Posts: 656Registered User Member
    UMich has a bigger name, but most employers don't care where your undergraduate degree is from, so I'd save the (more expensive) UMich for grad school.

    The thing about grad school is that I heard it is really hard to get accepted to top engineering schools like Michigan. I just checked Michigan’s website and they require ATLEAST 3.5 to even apply (for ECE that is). I am currently attending Illinois for engineering, and 3.5 is really hard to pull off. If the OP actually attends Michigan, he might have a better chance at their grad school than applying from Michigan State. I actually know couple of undergrads here at Illinois who also got into grad school here for ECE. Their GPA was substantially below average of the ECE department (which is around 3.8+ I believe) here and still managed to get in due to their connection with the professors whom they got to know during undergrad researches.
  • bennisbennis Posts: 351Registered User Member
    Right now, I am planning on at the VERY least a masters degree. I am interested in the 5-year masters programs offered at UMich, especially the Engineering Global Leadership honors program.
  • icy9ff8icy9ff8 Posts: 1,605- Senior Member
    MSU's Honors Program is worth considering and may well offer you a better education than Univ. of Mich. without honors. ( U.Mich. honors is great, but very hard to get into). Both are excellent engineering schools. As an engineering student, priority registration will enable you to complete your degree in four years much easier than if you have to wait for required courses. Participation in a major university's honors program/college can significantly elevate the educational, social, living and work opportunities for the student above that of being a non-honors student at a higher ranked school.
  • dkschrutedkschrute Posts: 74Registered User Junior Member
    I am very suprised at these responses. A top 3 public university in the world in one of the best college towns in the country at comparable cost? MSU is a great school, but this one seems like a no-brainer..
  • bennisbennis Posts: 351Registered User Member
    dkschrute, you are using the rankings as your only comparison. I see where you are coming from and that is undoubtedly something to consider in my decision, but there is more to a school than its USNews ranking.

    These posts are about like my thought process to tell the truth. I know that both schools will offer a great engineering education, but then I go back to the rankings (both engineering and overall) and I think "how can I pass the opportunity to attend UMich up?" I just don't want my next four years to be determined by a ranking that I know very little about.
  • UCBChemEGradUCBChemEGrad Posts: 10,056Registered User Senior Member
    I always question why students in engineering are so adamant that they will be attending graduate school...even when then haven't even started undergrad.

    In my experience, a BS in engineering is all you need to get a good paying job. Then, go work for a couple years and figure out where your interests lie. I recommend this because your interests may change to an entirely different or more specialized branch of engineering. Or, you may want to go into business or management and get an MBA. You just don't know yet.

    Also, your company could help you pay for your degree.

    I would go to the more prestigious school, if costs were comparable, and I thought the premium was worth paying. U Michigan has a better reputation for engineering, more distinguished professors, and more research money.

    I would also suggest checking out each school's career center. This might give a sense of differences between the two schools.
  • np99skynp99sky Posts: 156Registered User Junior Member
    Honestly, your education will not be remarkably different at U-M than from MSU.

    The alumni connections will.
  • hoedownhoedown Posts: 3,751Registered User Senior Member
    Both great schools with things to recommend them. Go with what feels right to you--go with fit.

    Thanks for pointing out upthread that the cost difference between the two is pretty slight. Scholarships could change that, but in terms of tuition, the gap between the two is nowhere near what some people seem to think.
  • bdmradbdmrad Posts: 207Registered User Junior Member
    In part, it depends on whether you want to stay in Michigan when you're done. UM is better known nationally, albeit based on its grad schools. Both have good alumni connections in Michigan. UM has a more extensive network nationally.
  • LakeWashingtonLakeWashington Posts: 6,537Registered User Senior Member
    You'll have no problem getting into graduate school or securing a job anywhere in the nation with an MSU degree.
  • lynn4evalynn4eva Posts: 539Registered User Member
    Neither will you with a U-M degree. The point is just that you choose which school feels more comfortable to you. Visit the schools and see if one will feel more of a fit than the other. Also i assume you haven't been accepted yet, meaning that when the decision letters arrive, check if the schools are giving you merit scholarships..and if money is an issue maybe the school that offers more (in other words the one that wants you more lol).

    Honestly though, in my opinion, if i was in your place, i'd have to say i'd go with UMich because it has great rankings, great stats, great programs, great campus/student life/sport life etc...and the acceptance rate is 48%. How many top tier schools come in a great package like that?

    Plus the fact that your an in-state student and you read so many threads of people on CC wondering what they're chances are at UMich...shows that you have such a great advantage, and with great grades..you're a shoo in! It's like having a backstage pass to an Ivy League school. LOL
  • bennisbennis Posts: 351Registered User Member
    Could someone give me an example of how a good "alumni network" would be advantageous? Is it just the fact that more alumni are in high positions within companies, and would be more likely to hire a graduate from their alma mater?
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