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Tulane & Engineering???

NHCollegeMomNHCollegeMom Posts: 3Registered User New Member
edited May 2009 in Tulane University
My S has been accepted into the School of Engineering and honors program. We have sent the deposit. He applied to Tulane because of the free application and was awarded the presidential scholarship, so we went to visit April 26th-29th (nothing like a May 1st deadine looming) He really liked the school but is having second thoughts because the Engineering programs were so scaled back after Katrina. They are only offering Chemical, Biomed & a relatively new one, Engineering Physics. He is concerned that there are no Computer Science or Mechanical engineering programs, which are somewhat standard for an engineering school. He's not really sure which type of engineer he wants to be at this point Does anyone have any input/opinion about the engineering programs at Tulane. To further complicate things, he has a real passion for politics and political science with a plan to go to law school after his undergraduate degree. Part of me wonders since this is the case, does it really matter what kind of engineering he studies?

He was accepted to Wash U also, but didn't get any merit money there. They have a comprehensive engineering school, and its a great school altogether but the difference in tuition because of the Tulane scholarship is 26K per year. It's hard to justify spending that much more money (especially with law school tuition down the path), but I know he would have picked WashU if money weren't the issue. Can people help to reassure him that Tulane is a great pick (it's a fantastic fit in every other way besides the limited options in engineering.) or let us know if we're making a mistake? We are aware of the 3/2 program where he could do 3 yrs at Tulane and switch to another school (i.e. Johns Hopkins) to get a different engineering degree. This is an option I suppose, but the 4th year of his scholarship money would not travel with him.:-(

Okay - that was my first post on CC - hope I didn't ramble for too long. Thanks for any and all insight
Post edited by NHCollegeMom on

Replies to: Tulane & Engineering???

  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Posts: 11,885Super Moderator Senior Member
    NHCollegeMom - We were in a somewhat similar situation, except my D got the DHS at Tulane (OK, I had to throw that brag in!), and also got nothing from Wash U. She wasn't going for engineering but Asian studies/English double major, and Tulane didn't have Asian studies as a full major. We found out they are expanding their program to have it as a full major starting this year, but I digress. She really liked Wash U and Tulane, but I think if Wash U had given her an equal scholarship she would have picked it. She is thrilled with Tulane, especially since creative writing is her other major, but Wash U is a notch above in terms of selectivity and a consistently strong peer group. Just to keep switching back and forth though, the Honors Program at Tulane is strong and they are actively making it stronger, so I think that is a real positive for the top students there. So to whatever extent all that compares to your situation (maybe a little), I hope it gives you a little insight into our thinking and findings. Bottom line, for her there was no way she thought Wash U was $160,000 better than Tulane, the proverbial no-brainer. In your case, $100,000, but same idea.

    Money is clearly a huge issue. I also assume that he at least thinks that the engineering that Tulane does offer is something he is interested in, or he never would have accepted in the first place, even with the money difference. Also Tulane has an excellent poli sci group, I am sure he is aware that James Carville is teaching a course there and has had numerous luminaries as guests, including Stephanopolous and Gingrich.

    I won't kid you that Wash U isn't stronger in the sciences than Tulane, and I majored in chemistry at TU. It was great and I got a very strong education in that subject and got accepted into a top 10 grad school after. Nonetheless, Wash U is very focused in this area, whereas Tulane is a bit more even across the board. And it is a fact that once exposed to subjects they never get to explore in high school, many if not most students change majors. So even though they swear they know what they want, it is a reality that has to be factored in. In most cases, they couldn't really know for sure because they have only vague notions of what is really involved in a given major. Just ask the large number of students at Wash U that change after that first BME course.

    As far as you last statement about the 3/2 program and the scholarship, that is true, but then again you are comparing it to Wash U where it doesn't follow him for ANY of the years, so still a big savings. If he does end up in law school, that money can only help.

    So it is a tough one, no doubt. Wash U gives him more options in engineering, and is a more prestigious school. While prestige itself is somewhat of a superficial issue, to the extent that Wash U has entering classes of more consistently academically high achieving students, it is a factor to consider. At Tulane you still have a very academically prestigious school that continunes to become more selective every year. You obviously save the money, and when it comes to his interests outside of engineering, it is very strong. But there is no papering over that while the engineering that remains is very good, especially BME, it is more limited in choice.

    Last thought - since he is not giving up a scholarship at Wash U, he could go ahead and see how things go at Tulane the first year. He might find engineering in general really isn't his thing, or that BME is fantastic and so he is happy with that, or that he just wants something else that Tulane doesn't offer. While transferring isn't a slam dunk, it is at least possible and like I said, it isn't like he gave up a scholarship. Something to consider. $100K is a lot of money.

    Let us know what he decides. I am assuming it isn't too late anyway? It is past the deadline.
  • NHCollegeMomNHCollegeMom Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    I am amazed at how similar our stories are. I have been reading your posts on the Tulane and Wash U threads and really appreciate your insights. I'll pass your response on to him and we'll see what happens. We did speak to him about the option of transferring if he isn't happy after a year. Most engineering programs have pretty similar 1st yr curriculum, so hopefully his credits would all transfer. We're hoping he loves Tulane (he has the soul of a jazz man also - plays piano & sax) but if not and he is able to be a transfer student at WashU, he would have at least saved 20K + from the total bill. My heart is just a bit heavy since he has these reservations. Thank goodness I only have two children, and the other is a senior in college. I don't think I could go through this again!

    Congrats to your D BTW on the Deans Scholarship! Perhaps they will meet up on campus.
  • NHCollegeMomNHCollegeMom Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    Fallenchemist - Just wanted to also say that I read the thread about "who are you" I am very grateful that you are willing to take the time to answer questions and assuage the concerns of many.

    Did you choose your user name because you are no longer involved in chemistry? What grad school did you end up attending and was it for a masters in chemistry?
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Posts: 11,885Super Moderator Senior Member
    Hi Mom. LOL. I will private message you later because I have to take care of some things, but just thought I would say thanks for the kind words. I am open to sharing a lot, but if I put too much personal info on here...well there are a few nut cases.

    Anyway, I played trumpet and that was a big part of my loving Tulane so much. I was in 3 different groups with 3 different styles (classical, jazz, and Chicago (the group) style pop/rock), and I even got to play at a few Mardi Gras balls. Was a blast, the whole thing.

    I am still involved in chemistry and science, but I got an MBA later and have spent most of my career on the business side of science. To a pure chemist, that is like going to the dark side, hence the "fallen". Probably right now there are a lot of people going "ohhhhh, so that is where it came from. He doesn't make illegal drugs after all". LOL. I'll write you later.
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