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Mechanical Engineering at ODU

ChuckleDoodleChuckleDoodle Posts: 417Registered User Member
edited July 2010 in Parents Forum
I've posted this in the Engineering thread but haven't gotten any hits .... or opinions, so I thought I post here.

DS was accepted into the Honors College at Old Dominion Univ (ODU). Financially this is a good school for him but would like an opinion on the Mechanical Engineering program.

The other schools he was accepted into don't offer enough merit money and we don't want him to go into huge debt for a BS degree.

His options at this point: go to CC for two years and transfer into 4 year school. Join military to get the new GI bill benefits, go to ODU for 2 years and transfer to another school, or take a gap year.

I'm thinking that the graduate degree holds more weight than the undergrad.

Would apprecaite any opinions or other ideas on what he can do.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Post edited by ChuckleDoodle on

Replies to: Mechanical Engineering at ODU

  • bigtreesbigtrees Posts: 1,191User Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member
    A BS in Mechanical Engineering is a standalone degree, and a masters degree is purely optional.

    In my opinion, as long as the school and program is ABET accredited, it is a good school and he will have ample employment opportunities after college as long as the economy is ok.

    If I were him, I'd graduate from ODU if it is financially the best option for him.
  • TheAnalystTheAnalyst Posts: 2,814Registered User Senior Member
    The ODU web site lists some of the employers of its ME graduates, which might help you with your decision. It is ABET accredited. I agree with bigtrees that a graduate degree should not be necessary with an undergraduate degree in engineering. If ODU is a financial fit, then it should be a fine option for your son.

    For both of my kids (majoring in engineering at two different schools), there was calculus for engineering and then calculus for non-engineering majors. I would be concerned that the foundation at a community college might not be rigorous enough.

    Joining in the military and then going to college four years later (which happens to be the route I took out of high school) is also tough for someone who plans to take a lot of quant classes. It's easy to forget all that high school math in four years.
  • zatoonyzatoony Posts: 40Registered User Junior Member
    ODU has a great engineering program in my opinion. They regularly compete against Va. Tech and UVA and hold their own in competitions. A friend of mine graduated in that program from ODU, had a great experience and is doing well for what its worth. If its a good fit then go for it. ODU is a good school now and rising fast.
  • mamommamom Posts: 2,791Registered User Senior Member
    I agree with TheAnalyst about making sure core classes like calculus are rigorous enough for an engineering degree. Engineering is one of those majors where kids start right off taking required classes freshman year. Check out the required classes for a BSME at ODU and make sure if your S attends CC for a year or two he will be able to take equivalent classes. I think you will find he will have to take several freshman and soph level core classes before he can start taking a normal jr level class. You may find that you will not save money if your S has to repeat a year.
  • Larkspur83Larkspur83 Posts: 50Registered User Junior Member
    Just curious....did you file the FASA and receive any financial aid? VT always seemed like a good public school for the $$. They also had many scholarships listed that you could apply for. Having said that I do not know anything about ODU, but think that the placement office and internship programs should also be evaluated especially for engineers.
  • blueiguanablueiguana Posts: 7,496Registered User Senior Member
    mamom is correct, engineering is different than some majors in that you take specific classes right off the bat. This is why you apply to the school of engineering as opposed to general studies. It is one reason why we are biting the bullet financially for S2 and sending him on to University his freshman year as opposed to having him do two years at cc and transferring. Even taking 'engineering' classes, he would be so far behind his counterparts it would not be worth it. If he didn't have the academics then it is a viable alternative, but he does. Wow, I just looked up and see that I have basically echoed the second part of mamoms post...I swear it was an original thought, but as you see it is a concern shared by parents and students making these decisions (great minds mamom :) ).

    I am going to make the assumption that he did apply to VT and did not receive the aid package that would make attending a viable option. There is a difference between financially viable, and financially more attractive. Only you and your student can make the decision on what you feel an education at a specific university is worth. We know S2, who is engineering, will be paying full freight one of two state schools. If offered substantial aid and Honors at another state school we would still choose one of the prev. two because their programs are better. The money will not come 'easily', but it is a personal decision. This being said, all of the previous three are preferable to two years at cc and a transfer (in my opinion).

    EDIT: I just reread your OP and wanted to add, regarding doing 2 years at ODU and transferring, I would be concerned only because from what I understand engineering is one of the toughest programs at many universities. Students often graduate with GPAs below their peers, not because they didn't try as hard but the material can be a beast. I would be concerned to gamble that your student would have the stats necessary to transfer after two years. I am not saying they are not a good student or talented. Obviously they were offered a spot in the Honors program. I am pointed out that from what I understand many students who go into engineering never having received less than an A are happy to maintain a B average. Maybe this would be something to address on the ODU forum. What kind of grades are the engineering students getting?
  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Posts: 4,563Registered User Senior Member
    If you live in the Norfolk area, ODU works closely with Tidewater Community college and they have a special program where you can directly transfer to ODU after two years.
    Through system-wide agreements, students who graduate from one of Virginia's 23 community colleges with an associate's degree and a minimum grade point average may obtain GUARANTEED admission to more than 20 of the commonwealth's colleges and universities.
    There are articulation agreements with both ODU and Va TEch college of engineering. When you go to the CC you 'declare' engineering right away and take a specified engineering curriculum.

    This can be a very good option for a kid with limited financial means. If you don't live near Norfolk, check out the Community college near you.

    Not sure what the point would be of doing two years at ODU then transferring.
  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Posts: 4,563Registered User Senior Member
    FYI:
    Here is the website for the TCC Engineering:
    TCC Engineering
  • blueiguanablueiguana Posts: 7,496Registered User Senior Member
    Great information regarding the Tidewater CC! Many CC's in VA have a program where you can transfer into state universities, but it sounds like they offer a program that is unique and geared towards students who are headed into engineering.

    This is the wonderful thing about college confidential, you get so many opinions and information so YOU can make the decision!
  • ChuckleDoodleChuckleDoodle Posts: 417Registered User Member
    Thanks for all the opinions. DS has decided to attend ODU. We went to the honors preview last week and he signed up for his classes this fall. With his DE and AP credits, he will start college with 39 credits. This will allow him to take an "easy" first year- only four classes per semester. I'm a little worried about him maintaining a 3.0 GPA the first year- not that he will struggle, but that he won't buckle down and do it.

    DS is happy to float along in subjects and with the honors scholarship, he may find himself having to swim instead of float.

    Blueiguana I read on another post your opinion about ODU and safety. We have many of the same thoughts- in some ways ODU appears to be a nice campus going through change. In other ways you can see the seamier side of life- some parts near the campus are a little sketchy.

    DS and I have talked about this. He feels comfortable in attending the school- is looking forward to going. He does say that bad things can happen to good people no matter the environment and that we can't keep him in a bubble.

    The mom in me is hoping for the best and we'll pray for the rest. We haven't raised our children to be afraid of life- we have raised them to be aware of their surroundings and not to make decisions in a vacuum.

    As far as the commuter school feeling- this works to DS' advantage- he'd prefer a school that has about 5K students. so if half the school leaves every weekend, then he'll feel right at home. :)
  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Posts: 4,563Registered User Senior Member
    We have many of the same thoughts- in some ways ODU appears to be a nice campus going through change. In other ways you can see the seamier side of life- some parts near the campus are a little sketchy.
    To the first - yes. This is a formerlly 'commuter' college that is rapidly becoming residential.
    ODU has built many new dorms and apts for housing, added many buildings and facilities to accomadate residential students.
    As to the 'seamier side'. It is in the city. Much of the 'ghetto' neighborhood has been knocked down in recent years for ODU buildings, but there is a section the kids know to stay away from. On the up side, it borders on the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk which is a really nice area - older homes, stores and some neat restaurants and bars. Not 'seamy' at all.
  • ChuckleDoodleChuckleDoodle Posts: 417Registered User Member
    Justamom- I think the seamier side I'm speaking of is the side that you say the kids stay away from. I'm okay with that. I went to college in Oakland CA- a nice catholic college and there were definite areas that you just didn't go to after dark. That's life.

    Also- Justamom- I tried PMing you- your box is full....
  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Posts: 4,563Registered User Senior Member
    How embarrassing...... I emptied it!
  • blueiguanablueiguana Posts: 7,496Registered User Senior Member
    CD,
    I'm sure your son will have an excellent experience! Students who don't visit campus and go off of websites can be a little taken back when all is not what it seemed, however you have visited and weighed all the options, spoken openly about what the benefits are and what will be right for your son.

    Students can have years of safety at universities with statistically higher crime rates, and be the victim of a violent crime at a school with a low crime rate (please note I do NOT know where ODU falls in this list, that's not my point). We can't keep them in a bubble, as much as we'd like to! It sounds like you have spoken with your son about making safe decisions as all parents should on any college campus!

    Good luck to your son!! :)
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