Illinois Institute of Technology Visit Report by Knowitsome
Visit to Illinois Institute of Technology in July 2008 by Knowitsome(Parent of Student, HS Class of 2009)
(Member since August 04 2008 with 271 posts)
9 of 11 people found this visit report helpful
Admissions Interview: Yes - Had one at first visit in January. An informal, get to know you vibe with informative answers to questions.
Information Session: Yes - All -in-all, on the lower end of these things, but already had a decent feel for the school from previous visit and website.
Campus Tour: Yes - Tour guides seemed enthusiastic and happy to be at IIT. Campus is small and easy to see.
Friendliness/Courtesy of Students:
Friendliness/Courtesy of Staff:
Appearance of Campus:
Overall Campus Impression:
Area Immediately Around Campus:
Campus Visit Notes for Illinois Institute of Technology
First off, as of now (halfway through our visits), this is my son's top choice (and he's a 3.97 GPA, 2350 SAT, so it's not like he doesn't have options).
The school is just south of the loop in a kind of dingy area near US Cellular Field (White Sox). While I wouldn't say the campus is an oasis, it is nicer than the surrounding area and seems reasonably clean. Most of the buildings follow the architectural style of Ludwig Mies van der Rowe - lots of metal and glass. Relatively compact and easy to get around.
Our first visit was in January on a (relatively) warm day for Chicago (around freezing). Not an open house, so got more individual attention. Met first with admissions, and got a feel for the academic and social atmosphere. Our impression is the school is relatively easy to get in if you meet their minimums (24 ACT), but if going into architecture or engineering (and outside of psychology, why else would you go there?), you'll be quite challenged and get a top-notch education that'll lay the groundwork for a successful career. Introductory classes are smaller than at the big public schools, and everything is taught by professors (some adjunct).
The campus tour was quick due to the small campus size, but still reasonably comprehensive. Facilities are OK. The new McCormick campus center was nice. Ate lunch there and thought the food and selection was very good (despite previosly hearing otherwise). Son was ecstatic to eat all he wanted (he is 17, after all). Students seemed happy (just before the new semester, so stress was at a low) and less on the geeky side than I feared (still a lot of stereotyical nerd types and Asians as are typical in engineering, but surprisingly more females than I thought I'd see. Perhaps the "true" geeks were holed up in their dorms!). The older dorms are like all the others you've seen, while the newer, suite-style ones were nicer and roomier (but still felt a bit like a bomb shelter in the one we saw). Good security for the living facilities.
We also met with the head of disability services (son has Asperger's) and came away VERY impressed. Apparently, many of the students (and faculty - lol!) could use some help with social and life skills training, and we really got the feeling that she cared about the students and wanted them to succeed. There are opportunities for ALL students to regularly practice "how to's"... take notes, interview, manage time, etc. - even eat dinner without embarrassing yourself! Made me as a parent feel better about my son's chances of succeeding on his own after leaving the nest. I do question if my judgement is skewed by a halo effect from our meeting with one person and how I might feel if she were to leave IIT.
Our second visit was more uneven. The informational session didn't seem as polished as at other schools. The admissions person we saw was new to the job and unable to answer some of our more in depth questions. The people manning the co-op/internship table were on the verge of being rude with their disinterested and short (one sentence) answers to numerous inquiries (a shame, since the opportunity to hook up with some great Chicago firms is a big plus). However, the profs we met with were very informative and helpful. Much more important that the education be outstanding than for the peripheral stuff to be their best attribute.
Bottom line - it's a great choice if you're looking into architecture or engineering, want a small school with more personal attention, and enjoy urban living. Not so good if any of those parts don't fit. I'll be interested to see how IIT ranks relative to, say, Northwestern after our visit - will reputation overcome fit? (assuming IIT remains at the top of the "fit" list).
Hotel/Lodging Recommendations or Comments:
Stay in the loop and use the El to get the feel of Chicago. If the city isn't a plus to you, this may not be your school.
Dining/Restaurant Recommendations or Comments:
LOTS of dining in the city itself, but can't speak for the immediate area.
Other Comments (Transportation, local attractions, parking, etc.):
The El makes getting around easy; lots to do (sports, culture, shows, museums). Parking for the visit is free. Highway traffic can be lousy depending on construction, accidents, and time of day.