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Cal Poly SLO or University of Washington?

lstirllstirl Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
My daughter got accepted at both.

We live in Washington, but the UW bioengineering program lets very few freshmen in. So, assuming she does not get direct admission into her major, it is a risk that she may not get her major and the other engineering programs don't sound appealing to her. She would rather do neurobiology or premed. But...all of her classes before she applied would be the engineering track. But, she would be close to home (an hour or so) an it would be in state tuition.

At Cal Poly, she is already accepted into the biomedical engineering department. We are going to the SWE in a couple weeks to check it out. Cal Poly out of state tuition will come to about 40k more, or perhaps less, because UW often requires 5 years to complete BS.

Any insight or things I should consider before helping her make her choice?

Replies to: Cal Poly SLO or University of Washington?

  • CorbettCorbett Registered User Posts: 2,722 Senior Member
    edited March 18
    Cal Poly out of state tuition will come to about 40k more, or perhaps less, because UW often requires 5 years to complete BS.
    Don't know about bioengineering specifically, but Cal Poly students often need 5 years to complete a BS as well.

    In fact, the 5-year plan may be even more common at CP. According to College Navigator, the 4-year graduation rate was 63% at UW and only 40% at CP. The 6-year graduation rate was 84% at UW and 76% at CP. These numbers are for students who started in Fall 2009 (which was a while ago, but it takes 6 years to determine the 6-year graduation rate).

    Numbers may be skewed by CP's B.Arch. program, which is designed as a 5-year degree.
  • CADREAMINCADREAMIN Registered User Posts: 2,955 Senior Member
    edited March 18
    Going there is the most important thing you can do. Cal Poly is the kind of school she may just fall in love with - different enough but still that west coast feel. Now of course the town is super small and no Seattle, and more a charming coastal town. Outdoor activities do rule there like the PNW. Kids are so darn nice and they do have the hands on approach to doing things. If you are going to one of the open house/admitted events, it seems that is where students fall in love with the school. The fact she is in her major of choice to me is worth the price difference and it may be good for her to be somewhere different for four years. I have lots of family in Seattle and even when they left the nest for things like med school, they always came back. Seems Seattle is a hard lifestyle to give up. One thing to check into sooner than later is housing, it can be tight there.

    All my kids loved UW and Seattle, I have toured that school at least 4 times, I love the location, spirit, pride and reputation. I am not adverse to kids working hard to get things, but we chose not to go to UW for the very reason you are stating, even with the max purple/gold scholarship (mine was admitted pre-science rather than CS). It is important to us that the major be set at entrance. The student may change their mind as many do, sure, but that is on them to work out. Maybe because we are in CA, where everything is such a struggle to get - movie tickets, parking spaces, ha - that I just want them to not struggle to get into their major. They can save their energy for the struggle of good grades and getting the most out of college, that is enough. But that's just me.....
  • UWfromCAUWfromCA Registered User Posts: 1,072 Senior Member
    Definitely visit San Luis Obispo. One of our favorite places in the country; we visit almost every year and hope to retire up there some day.

    If your D (4.0 UW/4.4 W/SAT 1530 -- probably in the top 5% of enrolled freshmen in the UW engineering department) can't get into and timely complete whatever major she wants at UW, no one can.
  • lstirllstirl Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    She was rejected at both JHU and Northwestern, but she isn't very disappointed, as UW and Cal Poly were both top of her list anyway.

    @CADREAMIN Her dad and I are both UW alumni, but our older son didn't go there for the same reason. He is going to Digipen for the guaranteed degree.

    I think we are leaning towards Cal Poly unless she gets the direct admission.
  • UWfromCAUWfromCA Registered User Posts: 1,072 Senior Member
    Surely, you know what would be best for your daughter. Congratulations, and good luck!
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 2,575 Senior Member
    If you can afford it and the visit goes well, there's a lot to be said for going to the school that's promising her a spot in the major she wants.
  • lstirllstirl Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    Yah, she has a medical condition (POTS) that may make living on her own a challenge as well, but she has been doing a lot better these last few months. So much to consider! Ultimately, it is her decision, I just want to make sure I think of all the angles.
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 3,099 Senior Member
    Husky grad here with a current Cal Poly junior.

    If she is set on her major and not at risk of switching...I'd chose SLO. Yes, it can be hard to get classes but we have found that while our D has been waitlisted almost every single quarter, in the end she has always gotten the classes she has needed. She did choose to take 2 lighter quarters (12 credits) based on the difficulty of the course load for those quarters (and it improved her schedule flexibility), and compensated for that with classes last summer at the local SLO CC (Questa) for 2 of her gen ed classes. Keeps her on the 4 year track and the 2k in tuition for those is a heck of a lot cheaper than an extra semester at SLO.

    We have 4 kids. Not one has wanted to go to the UW for all the reasons you mention, in fact, not one has even applied. Hoping the current sophomore will.

    If she gets direct admit though...I'd likely reconsider that opinion. Close friend's D was waitlisted at Harvard, direct admit to engineering at USC and Notre Dame and did not get direct admit to UW. It's brual!
  • lstirllstirl Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    She didn't get DA, so we are off to tour Cal Poly and the SWE!
  • insanedreamerinsanedreamer Registered User Posts: 1,536 Senior Member
    Enjoy the sunshine! :)
  • lstirllstirl Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    Just finished open house. It is lovely here, but she still can't decide. It is driving me crazy, hehe.
This discussion has been closed.