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Engineering School Easier to get into than a Top Undergrad Program?

lewisstrawberrylewisstrawberry Posts: 155Registered User Junior Member
edited October 2010 in Engineering Majors
Does applying to a top school like Columbia, Yale, Northwestern's Engineering School make it easier to get in than if I were to apply to its regular Undergraduate program which are among the top 15 in the nation? The Engineering Schools for those aren't ranked that highly as compared to its regular undergrad program. I feel like it's some kind of myth that getting into the Engineering school would be easier because of the fact that it isn't as amazing.

Please tell me if I am right or wrong! Thanks!
Post edited by lewisstrawberry on
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Replies to: Engineering School Easier to get into than a Top Undergrad Program?

  • siglio21siglio21 Posts: 2,678Registered User Senior Member
    the simple answer is yes, people who apply to those engineering schools have lower stats, and the schools have higher acceptance rates

    of course, they're still very hard to get in to...so in a way it is a myth...all three school you mentioned are highly reputable and in the past (esp. yale) they were the best in the nation
  • lewisstrawberrylewisstrawberry Posts: 155Registered User Junior Member
    With my stats could I possibly get into Northwestern's Engineering School which is where I am applying ED to?

    [ *] SAT: 1860 First time, 2030 Second time, 2090 Super Scored (610 CR, 680 M, 800 W)
    I retook the October SAT I so I will have to wait to see how I did on that.
    [ *] SAT IIs (if sent): Biology - 770
    [ *] Unweighted GPA: 3.85/4.00
    [ *] AP's: AP EURO - 4, AP COMP - 3, AP BIO - 5
    [ *] School Does Not RANK
    [ *] EC's: Volleyball (9,10), Track (11,12), Finance Club (12), National Honor Society (11,12), Spanish Honor Society (10,11,12), Hospital Volunteer (9,10 for 100 Hours), Lighthouse International (12, will begin soon)
    [ *] Work Experience: Summer Intern at one of the biggest civil engineering companies in the world, 8 Hours a Day/ 5 Days a Week (Over 320 Hours). I Intern for Counterkicks.com a sneaker blog website since this summer.(Impossible to record how much time I have spent since it is a website that I do not contribute for a specific time each day.)
    [ *] Teacher and Counselor REC'S are very strong
    [ *] I will be receiving a REC from an employee from the company that I interned for.
    [ *] My Essays will include my experience working as an intern which will highlight my internship and show my development and growth as a person.
    [ *] State or Country: NY
    [ *] School Type: Public School, Top 40 School in the Nation
    [ *] Ethnicity: Asian
    [ *] Gender: Male

    Thanks
  • siglio21siglio21 Posts: 2,678Registered User Senior Member
    maybe...it's probably not a crapshoot
  • jshainjshain Posts: 4,041Registered User Senior Member
    the simple answer is yes, people who apply to those engineering schools have lower stats, and the schools have higher acceptance rates


    Where are the acceptance rates posted for each school within a university? I am inclined to believe the simple answer is "not really" to the OP's original question. I cannot believe that a school like Columbia, Yale, or even Brown, as examples, is noticeably easier to get into because their Engineering program is lower ranked. Columbia probably is NOT a good example. They have a very formidable Engineering school (Fu).
  • siglio21siglio21 Posts: 2,678Registered User Senior Member
    for a while i remember this page broke it down by college:
    Admission Statistics | Columbia University Office of Undergraduate Admissions

    their 3-2 program is basically open admissions for those that meet the requirements
  • lewisstrawberrylewisstrawberry Posts: 155Registered User Junior Member
    if only every college website had admission statistics and broken them down that nicely.

    jshain what do you think are my chances?
  • jshainjshain Posts: 4,041Registered User Senior Member
    I think you have a fair chance at acceptance. Your GPA is solid and so is that summer intern job however you will be competing against many in NU's applicant pool who will have higher SAT scores and somewhat "meatier" EC's than yours. It's not always only about those test scores, however, and that's why I wouldn't bet AGAINST you. It's still a low/mid reach school for you, imo. I know your essay will be really strong and that will certainly help. Good luck.
  • lewisstrawberrylewisstrawberry Posts: 155Registered User Junior Member
    I really want to get into a Bioengineering program but most importantly I want to get into Northwestern, would my chances be better if I applied to lets say Civil Engineering instead? Northwestern's Bio program is quite good, in the top 15, and I don't believe their Civil is in the top 20? I'll have to look that up for sure.

    Plus, my internship was at a Civil based company so I guess it would make sense for me to apply to Civil. Is it possible to transfer from Civil to BioEng?
  • jshainjshain Posts: 4,041Registered User Senior Member
    I would not be overly concerned whether one Engineering concentration is ranked 15th or, say, 20th or 25th. It would not be unusual at all to change concentrations, which then would make these ranking placement differentials irrelevant anyway.
  • lewisstrawberrylewisstrawberry Posts: 155Registered User Junior Member
    To be honest I would be very surprised if I got accepted because I am very well aware of my less than amazing academic stats, but I think the little things in my application could really intrigue the admissions people into taking me including like the letter of recommendation from an employee at the company that I interned at. The employee is actually a Northwestern alum so he will try to add something "extra" to it to help me out. I almost wish there was an interview opportunity because realistically I think I could honestly impress or at least validate my experience and learning from working.
  • BalthezarBalthezar Posts: 1,495Registered User Senior Member
    It depends on whether you apply to a specific program/college within a university, or to the university as a whole. If it's to the university as a whole, then the relative strength of a given university's college of engineering doesn't matter to the initial admit decision. Both of the schools mentioned by the OP are very selective, and I don't think they'd give much consideration to those with otherwise below average stats simply because their stated intention at the time of admission was to pursue a degree from their non-top ten engineering college.
  • LakeWashingtonLakeWashington Posts: 6,912Registered User Senior Member
    At Columbia School of Engineering, for example, the Admissions Offfice is separate and distinct from Columbia College's Admissions Office. And don't be fooled by statistics. The engineering school's admissions are quite selective. Toss out that "top ten" nonsense. There's not a lot of difference among the best 30 or so well-funded engineering departments in the United States.
  • BanjoHitterBanjoHitter Posts: 1,497Registered User Senior Member
    There's not a lot of difference among the best 30 or so well-funded engineering departments in the United States.

    For research, there's not but for employment, there is. The difference: you seek out graduate schools but employers seek target colleges.

    What do I mean? If you apply to graduate school coming from Fu, no one will think twice about it on your application. However, when an employer has 10 colleges to recruit, they are very unlikely to recruit Fu unless they have a substantial number of Columbia alumni, they are in New York, or they go to Columbia already to recruit other majors. Instead they'll choose from the very top programs.

    This is something a school like Fu knows and embraces - if your end goal is to work in a chemical manufacturing plant, you don't go to Columbia. The students at Fu know that and the admissions office will tell you that when you apply. Instead, the students there are more focused on research and non-traditional engineering roles (like consulting and banking).
  • LakeWashingtonLakeWashington Posts: 6,912Registered User Senior Member
    Banjo, you point is well-taken.
  • Sam LeeSam Lee Posts: 9,449Registered User Senior Member
    OP,
    Actually Northwestern's civil engineering is in the top-15 and had been ranked as high as 8th before.

    That said, the admission criteria is pretty much the same for all engineering disciplines. Students are free to switch from one engineering major to another.
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