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Notre Dame Vs Michigan

NE2386NE2386 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
Hey all!

I am a current senior in high school and am faced with a tough decision between two great schools: the University of Michigan and Notre Dame. I plan on studying mechanical engineering at both these universities, and cost is not a factor. I've been able to visit both campuses and have gotten a feel for both schools, but I am still completely torn between the two, so any opinions about the following questions are greatly appreciated.

1. I've heard from several people + a general consensus online that often times Notre Dame engineering doesn't grant access to the same high quality engineering jobs that a top ranked engineering university like Michigan does. How much truth is there to this statement? Also, even though I plan to major in engineering, I am also interested in a potential business career, so how do jobs in the business fields compare for both these institutions?

2. One of the advantages I hear frequently associated with Notre Dame is that it has smaller class sizes and a more personal approach to learning than a larger University like Michigan. How much larger will classes at Michigan be compared to Notre Dame? I also hear that Notre Dame is extremely undergrad focused and it prides itself on the quality of its undergrad teaching. Is there an appreciable difference in this area between the two universities?

3. Notre Dame has an extremely unique social/ dorm system that is a definite plus for me. I love the sense of community on the Campus. With that said, if I went to Michigan, I would most likely not want to join a frat, but I understand that a lot of the social life on campus is based on Greek life. What is the social scene like for someone not in Greek life at Michigan?

4. Finally, in the future I am considering working for a couple of years and then applying for an MBA. Would an engineering degree from Michigan vs an Engineering degree from Notre Dame make an appreciable difference in getting into a top MBA program.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through a bit of a long post and offer any insights you may have.

Replies to: Notre Dame Vs Michigan

  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,421 Senior Member
    edited March 16
    My son's at Michigan in his second year. Never join a frat and loving the experience. He also wants engineering and business and one reason he chose Industrial Engineering since it combines these two. You can also business minor. There are tons of groups to join for the business experience and is what he did by forming his own student tech org, got two grants worth $15,000 and is putting on a conference this April with a major keynote speaker plus 10 others. If you want it, then go get it at Michigan. Michigan has all the help you need. It's right there for the taking. You might want to rethink the MBA after engineering. You might not need it.

    Look at this :https://michiganross.umich.edu/programs/master-of-management

    Also it depends on what you want to do with the MBA.

    Also Michigan is ranked 5th in mechanical engineering and like 6th overall for undergraduate. Norte Dame I think is 47th.

    Michigan wants you to succeed. Block out the noise you hear. Call/email the college of engineering. They are nice people that want to help.
  • sushirittosushiritto Registered User Posts: 2,774 Senior Member
    Two awesome schools. I see why you’re having a tough time choosing. So would I.

    Student to faculty ratio per CDS:

    ND 10:1
    Mich 15:1

    ND will have smaller class sizes, but compared to UCB or UCLA, which have 18:1, UMich has smaller classes. It’s all relative. :)

    My kid is in Greek life, but has met most friends outside of Greek life. Rough numbers, but 3 out of 4 female students are NOT in Greek life. And 4 out of 5 male students are NOT in Greek life.
  • rjkofnovirjkofnovi Registered User Posts: 10,366 Senior Member
    ^^^Watch out for s/f ratios. Private schools, often times notoriously, do not include graduate students in the mix.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,554 Senior Member
    Have you visited? These two schools are very, very different from each other. Besides just physical size and location, and one being a religiously affiliated school, they have a totally different approaches to engineering. You will have a lot of non engineering required courses at ND and wont really delve into engineering until sophomore year. You'll jump right in at Michigan.


    For engineering, I would pick Michigan over ND.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Registered User Posts: 24,629 Senior Member
    "Private schools, often times notoriously, do not include graduate students in the mix."

    That is correct rjkofnovi, but Notre Dame actually includes graduate students in its calculation. There is no doubt that classes at Notre Dame will, on average, be slightly smaller than classes at Michigan. But Michigan does a good job of personalizing the undergraduate classroom experience, so I would not worry about class size.
  • sushirittosushiritto Registered User Posts: 2,774 Senior Member
    edited March 17
    Here’s a recent article in the Michigan Daily about large class sizes:

    https://www.michigandaily.com/section/academics/students-professors-discuss-finding-resources-extra-help-university’s-largest
  • FarmerMomFarmerMom Registered User Posts: 95 Junior Member
    My daughter is a sophomore at ND (civil engineering). She is challenged everyday but thriving in such a collaborative environment. She has the opportunity to study churches in Rome this summer through her department as part of a research team. She too is interested in getting an MBA and is involved in a small business club working on a project for an engineering consulting firm in Chicago. ND has an unbelievable alumni network but their career placement office does an unbelievable job with internship placement. My daughter works in the career center and is continually amazed at the companies that recruit from ND. The smaller campus, smaller class sizes and the dorm system make for a very welcoming environment for students. She also welcomes the non engineering required classes. It's about one a semester for about 2-2 1/2 years. She has a poverty studies minor and typically takes the classes that cover both her minor and required classes. ND just seems very supportive and caring. They really want ever student to succeed. Both are amazing schools.
  • sushirittosushiritto Registered User Posts: 2,774 Senior Member
    Sorry, the link doesn’t work, but it’s an article from the Michigan Daily on 2/10/19 called “Students, professors discuss finding resources for extra help in University’s largest classes.”
  • AlexandreAlexandre Registered User Posts: 24,629 Senior Member
    Statistically speaking, classes at Michigan are slightly larger than classes at Notre Dame. 57% of classes at Michigan have fewer than 20 students, compared to 62% of the classes at Notre Dame. 18% of the classes at Michigan have more than 50 students, compared to 10% at Notre Dame.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,904 Senior Member
    Relevant factors:

    Notre Dame has an extremely unique social/ dorm system that is a definite plus for me.

    a completely personal call

    Notre Dame ... has smaller class sizes and a more personal approach to learning than a larger University like Michigan

    broadly true, esp in the first year, but less of an issue w/in the engineering group than w/in the university as a whole

    Not an issue:

    Notre Dame engineering doesn't grant access to the same high quality engineering jobs that a top ranked engineering university like Michigan does.

    no; there are some differences between the two as to who they have strong affiliations with, but no more so than any 2 peer schools would have

    if I went to Michigan, I would most likely not want to join a frat,

    as others have said, there are lots of non-frat options- and lots and lots of non-frat people. Have you looked at Michigan Research and Discovery Scholars (MRAD) option? https://lsa.umich.edu/mrads/students/community-benefits.html

    Would an engineering degree from Michigan vs an Engineering degree from Notre Dame make an appreciable difference in getting into a top MBA program.

    absolutely 0 difference
  • yikesyikesyikesyikesyikesyikes Forum Champion U. Michigan Posts: 1,842 Forum Champion
    edited March 17
    I am assuming you are a male because you mentioned not wanting to join a frat.

    If you are really into the traditional social scene (parties, clubbing, etc.), you will easily find it at Michigan (except for your freshman year, for which fraternities will be your only option for the most part - and you will usually not be allowed into a fraternity party as a male unless you are in the fraternity, know someone with enough clout to vouch for you, or you come in a group with a lot of women).

    About 75% of students at Michigan are NOT in Greek Life. Starting your sophomore year, you will know plenty of people living off-campus or you may live off-campus yourself - there will be house parties and what not, and you will have more exposure to "alternative" scenes like co-op parties. You will also likely know some fraternity brothers, so that could to get into some fraternity parties. Starting around your junior year, it is most likely that fraternities will be a thing of the past. More of your friends will be 21, and you might be 21. Now it will be about house parties, getting Fishbowls at Charley's, and dancing the night away at Rick's/Skeeps/LIVE. Even for Greek Life members, most of them will be less engaged with their houses at this point. I was not in Greek Life, but had a VERY social experience (except for my freshman year, which still was not too bad).


    All this does not even include the FANTASTIC Football Saturdays.
  • NE2386NE2386 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Thank you all for the fantastic replies so far. I wanted to add another question that I forgot to put in my original post. I have talked to several Michigan students and some have told me that class scheduling can be a nightmare, while others have said that they have had no problems. Is not being able to get certain classes a problem at Michigan?
  • yikesyikesyikesyikesyikesyikes Forum Champion U. Michigan Posts: 1,842 Forum Champion
    @NE2386

    For your first two years (depending on how many credits you come in with), you might not get the most ideal class times or classes the exact semester you want them. However, I have yet to hear of one person actually prevented from graduating on time due to scheduling issues (that is even including EECS students, for which I admit the scheduling nightmare never really ends since it is so hard to get the Upper Level CS classes you want).
  • MWolfMWolf Registered User Posts: 534 Member
    UMichigan is the better ranked engineering school by far - it's a top 10 school in engineering and in engineering undergraduate studies. However, "better" doesn't mean "better for you". ND has a very good engineering program, and it may provide an atmosphere in which you will do better. Engineering is high stress and has large workloads, and being in a place which fits you better can ensure your success.

    As for jobs - at least from a quick perusal, the engineering school at UMich has a website dedicated to corporate internship and employment for undergraduates, while ND has a link to internal departmental REUs.

    So, if you really feel a connection with ND then it's a great place to go, but otherwise, I would recommend going to UMich.
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