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A few tips from my side for Engineering prospective students

ThewhitetigerThewhitetiger Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
edited February 2012 in India
I know all of us are pretty much busy with our final exams and probably half of us would be more nervous about the decisions around which is just around the corner. So let me keep this brief because at the end of the day brevity wins ! I very well realize that this thread is a little late one for Class of 2016'ers but at least this might help the class of 2017'ers !

First of all , let me tell you something a lot of Proffesors at United States have been telling me : " Never ever get blinded by the Ivy Tag or Prestige because at the end of the day , Engineering Department is all that matters" !

The above point is really important for engineers because one strange thing that I have noticed in the US system unlike India is that The most selective colleges are mostly ones that might not even have an Engineering department . Anyway one reason to go for Ivys might be their need blind (not all ivys though) financial aid policy for Internationals.

So let me first list the key criteria that should be your primary concern :
1) Engineering Department - You might be able to perceive it though Major based rankings or you might even try browsing through websites of corporations like Intel looking for Informations on their campus recruitment etc .
2)Engineering based Companies and Innovations from Alumni and Faculty
3)Faculty
4)Selectivity
5)Engineering Prestige
6)Overall Prestige

Now that might sound confusing but let me just help you guyz by compiling a small list that might just help you choose the university (I have given emphasis to Electronics and Computer Science) :

Overall : 1)MIT 2)UC Berkeley 3)Stanford/CalTech 4)GeorgiaTech/UIUC/UCLA 5)Princeton/Cornell 6)Carnigie Mellon University (lower rank due to low fee to payback ratio)

Based of Engineering Prestige and Value : 1)MIT 2)Georgia Tech /UC Berkeley 3)Stanford

Based on Lifestyle : 1)UIUC 2)Cornell 3)UCLA

Based on Recruitment : 1)Georgia Tech 2)MIT 3) Carnigie Mellon 4)UC Berkeley 5)UIUC

-Thank you
Post edited by Thewhitetiger on
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Replies to: A few tips from my side for Engineering prospective students

  • xraymancsxraymancs Forum Champion Graduate School Posts: 4,543 Forum Champion
    You might also want to look at the average salary potential for different engineering schools.

    Best Engineering Colleges By Salary Potential
  • angadudayangaduday Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
    I am a 16'er but I would like to say the rankings based on salary potential should not be given that importance as due to the wide variety of majors available in large public/private universities, the mean salary is lowered.

    BTW does anyone know why Stanford's common data provides a lot less info than other's?
  • YeahImThatGuyYeahImThatGuy Registered User Posts: 178 Junior Member
    I disagree with your engineering prestige ratings. GTech is definitely lesser than Berkeley and Stanford in this regard, whereas the latter two are almost on the same footing.

    Based on recruitment too, the rankings would be MIT then Berkeley/Stanford/CMU.

    This is specifically for EECS, and not all engineering depts. (Which I assume you meant too, because UIUC figuring in that list could only be because of its outstanding CS department).
  • Tizil7Tizil7 Registered User Posts: 1,686 Senior Member
    YITG, I had a similar opinion, that GTech had lesser prestige than Berkeley and Stanford. However after poking around for a bit, I found out that it indeed has the prestige among engineering majors and employers. Do you think this might be due to graduate schools?
  • pratyush795pratyush795 Registered User Posts: 229 Junior Member
    I really doubt that GeorgiaTech has the same prestige as UC Berkeley and Stanford. I mean, the cyclotron was invented at Berkeley!
  • angadudayangaduday Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
    From what I have gathered through the people in Civil, UIUC beats Gatech hands down in reputation....Not that anyone is interested in Civil here :p
  • MyHandIsADolphinMyHandIsADolphin Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    I want to disagree with the original post. While this is only my opinion, I would say that you ought to go according to prestige and overall reputation rather than just engineering reputation at the undergrad level. This is assuming you are entrepreneurial or want to work in finance. Basically, if you want to study engineering but aren't sure if you want to be an engineer, it's always better to study at an Ivy League school or something similar compared to a place like Purdue, which is fantastic for engineering but can't really compare to places like Stanford, MIT and Harvard in terms of the students it attracts.

    Furthermore, at the undergraduate level, engineering doesn't vary AS MUCH as it does at the post-grad level from school to school. Engineering is a pretty cut-and-dry area, so you're better off going to a more well-rounded school. Better finance/consulting companies recruit at prestigious schools like Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth etc. compared to Michigan or UIUC.

    Then you have to also factor in class sizes. They are a lot larger for State Schools and getting a class you want can be difficult. With the economy the way it is, public schools have never been at a lower point.

    This is just my opinion, feel free to disagree.
  • YeahImThatGuyYeahImThatGuy Registered User Posts: 178 Junior Member
    Originally posted by MHIAD
    Furthermore, at the undergraduate level, engineering doesn't vary AS MUCH as it does at the post-grad level from school to school. Engineering is a pretty cut-and-dry area, so you're better off going to a more well-rounded school.

    Absolutely False.

    The importance of attending a good engineering school over a well-rounded school cannot be stressed enough. I keep repeating this, and I will continue to do so. I, myself, chose Berkeley over offers from Cornell and UPenn's Jerome Fisher program, and I am really proud of myself for it. You have to attend a top engineering school, see the engineering department there to realize what a massive difference it makes, since the faculty at the engineering department are the ones you're going to be primarily focusing on and not prestige, which fades into the background as you go along.
    Originally posted by MHIAD
    it's always better to study at an Ivy League school or something similar compared to a place like Purdue, which is fantastic for engineering but can't really compare to places like Stanford, MIT and Harvard in terms of the students it attracts.

    I see where you're trying to go with this, but the clarity of thought seems to be lost. As far as engineering goes, Purdue is top notch, especially for Aeronautical Engineering (It's Neil Armstrong's alma mater). I thoroughly condemn this attitude of patronizing schools simply because they accept students more readily than others. The fact that it accepts so many students and is still able to maintain its ranking amongst top schools should give you some pointers to the quality of the school, which scores far more brownie points in my view rather than other top schools which solely admit the cream amongst applicants. It is a school that holds solid repute and it's high time people from our country recognize it for the fantastic top 10 engineering school it is.
    Originally posted by MHIAD
    Better finance/consulting companies recruit at prestigious schools like Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth etc. compared to Michigan or UIUC.

    Michigan's business school (Ross) is ranked 4th in undergraduate business. Princeton, Brown and Dartmouth don't even figure in the top 10.
    http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/business-overall

    I notice a trend in your post that sidelines public universities without any solid backing. I suggest I've given you enough material to rethink that massive generalization, and to step back and acknowledge that when it comes to top schools, it really doesn't matter much whether your school is public or private.
    Originally posted by Tizil7
    I had a similar opinion, that GTech had lesser prestige than Berkeley and Stanford. However after poking around for a bit, I found out that it indeed has the prestige among engineering majors and employers. Do you think this might be due to graduate schools?

    GATech certainly enjoys a very good reputation among employers and the engineering fraternity in general. It produces quality engineers and has some of the most cutting edge engineering research going on. But when you pit it against Berkeley and Stanford, which happen to be consistently among the top 3 of any engineering discipline, then I believe you are being unfair. It is an unsaid underlying truth that MIT, Stanford, Berkeley and Caltech have been the holy four for engineering since decades and are still a notch above the rest. At the peril of repeating myself, I would say that GTech still commands respect but it would certainly be hard to find people who would rate it above those four.
  • ThewhitetigerThewhitetiger Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    @yeahiamtheguy : I definitely agree and I have a great respect for speaking out in a totally unbaised manner .

    Now firstly let me accpet a mistake from my side: Gtech is not Above Stanford based on Engineering Prestige !! It was actually based on Value ! I am still wondering how to correct it ! Ranking for Engineering prestige was meant to be different .
  • ThewhitetigerThewhitetiger Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    @Myhandisdolphin : with all due respect , Here I am talking about people who are just passionate about Engineering like me . In that respect , I am not able to agree with you . Infact your post seems more sort of hyperbolic to my views. The stigma of Ivy tag is well evident . But yes it depends on your perpective .

    Last but not least , Engineering deparment matters a lot for Undergraduates . Infact our first four years are the period during which we mould our view point and concepts that become the foundation for our future . So let me just emphasize my point : "If you are really passionate about engineering , Please make sure Engineering department becomes your prime concern"

    And as Yeahiamtheguy said , Purdue is am awesome example . Yes ofcourse thet do accept a lot of Indians , but what you know about Purdue is just an Illusion ! Its an awesomely brilliant school for Engineering !!!!
  • ThewhitetigerThewhitetiger Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    @YeahIamtheguy : Yes its specific about EECS :) and True - UIUC made it due its outstanding CS department !
  • speachyspeachy Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    @yeah: I'd just like to point out that Princeton wouldn't have ranked in the top 10 simply because it doesn't have a business program. However, it does send loads of students to great business schools for graduate study, and lands them with some of the best finance internships. If jobs in finance and business school placement are your concern, a place like Princeton is probably great to go to.

    On the other hand, a Princeton (and I'd extend to maybe all Ivies cept Cornell and UPenn) education isn't meant to be a professional training program (hence their lack of professional schools), but the students who come out of it are really well-prepared intellectually to handle professional training programs (read: grad school).

    I'm just saying there is value from any school depending on what you want out of it. I think so many people forget the actual 4 years of education they will be getting while focusing on job placements etc.

    But whatever floats your boat, right?
  • MyHandIsADolphinMyHandIsADolphin Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    @YeahImThatGuy,

    I can understand your belief in choosing Berkeley over M&T or Cornell. It's just something that I would not have done. And you said in your response that you 'thoroughly condemn this attitude of patronizing schools simply because they accept students more readily than others'. I never said that the problem is in having a higher acceptance rate. What I said was that the QUALITY of students in terms of well-roundedness or sheer intellectual power is greater at an Ivy/MIT/Stanford than it is at a place like Purdue, Wisconsin or Michigan. You didn't really reply to my point about class sizes in private schools being MUCH smaller than at state schools. And endowments, specifically the endowment per student, at private schools tend to be a lot higher than at state schools as well.
  • YeahImThatGuyYeahImThatGuy Registered User Posts: 178 Junior Member
    Originally posted by Speachy
    I'd just like to point out that Princeton wouldn't have ranked in the top 10 simply because it doesn't have a business program.
    If you read my original reply to MHIAD carefully, you'll realize my point wasn't to run Princeton down. In fact, if you interpreted it that way, you entirely missed the target. My point was to highlight that Michigan's business school, Ross, is not as bad as the poster had made it out to be. It is highly selective and one of the elite business schools, that is well respected across the nation.
    Originally posted by Speachy
    On the other hand, a Princeton (and I'd extend to maybe all Ivies [ex]cept Cornell and UPenn) education isn't meant to be a professional training program (hence their lack of professional schools), but the students who come out of it are really well-prepared intellectually to handle professional training programs (read: grad school).
    Your point being? Princeton does have professional training programs in most fields and offers unparalleled pure science programs, so I wonder what you mean by 'professional training programs'. As far as Cornell and UPenn go, let's just say people who choose to subclass them from among other Ivies to be lesser than their 'better' counterparts have a very narrow and suffocating perspective of how education should be. Just to be clear, people who come out of these two schools and public Ivies like Michigan and Berkeley are as likely to do well in graduate school as a Princeton graduate, so unless you're emphasizing an undertone of superiority of Princeton graduates, I'm sorry I don't quite see your point.
    Originally posted by MHIAD
    What I said was that the QUALITY of students in terms of well-roundedness or sheer intellectual power is greater at an Ivy/MIT/Stanford than it is at a place like Purdue, Wisconsin or Michigan.
    Exactly. This is what I replied to.
    A top student at Michigan is as good as any Ivy/MIT/Stanford. Your generalization has absolutely no backing. Coming from a top state school that resembles Michigan in many respects, I have peers who've been pitted against their 'superior' counterparts and have come out with flying colors. You would be surprised out of your wits at the level of intellect of the kids who're attending these so called 'lesser' schools of yours.
    Originally posted by MHIAD
    You didn't really reply to my point about class sizes in private schools being MUCH smaller than at state schools. And endowments, specifically the endowment per student, at private schools tend to be a lot higher than at state schools as well.
    Yes, I didn't, because I'm with you on this, even though the magnitude of that 'MUCH' is highly suspect to me.
    State schools have larger classes than private schools. It is a reality and there's no denying it. That being said, every school has its downside(s). If you think you've identified some universities which are flawless, then dare I say, you're only fooling yourself.
    The point of my posts on this forum is not to manipulate or trample your opinions. It is to simply provide insights from the perspective of a student who was in your position a year back and is now a part of the education system you'll soon be joining. I, myself, had lots of stereotypes while applying to these universities and my views are simply a result of what I've observed from both sides over the last 3 years.
    If you still believe that your argument holds more weight, feel free to disagree.

    As Speachy says,
    Whatever floats your boat, right?
  • mysticgohanmysticgohan Registered User Posts: 313 Member
    I suppose while the top student at a state school might be as good as one from an "elite" private one, the point that people are trying to make is that on average, due to the more extensive opportunities provided and perhaps a more intellectual environment, it might be easier to be more intellectually developed at Princeton than at a state school. State schools have great diversity, which i personally consider a strength, but that can dilute intellectual rigour.

    The point about Princeton not giving core training is that places like Michigan and Purdue give you a very industry-focused education, which is great for anyone wanting to be an engineer while Princeton gives you a more theoretical education. Lest I sound condescending, I must clarify that I am of the perception that state schools in fact teach better because of the diverse background they cater to, and the best from state schools need to learn to thrive in an environment more representative of the real world which is a great asset.
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