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Aerospace Engineering? Where? (And a few other questions)

DevilbirdDevilbird Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
edited August 2011 in Engineering Majors
So I'm going into my senior year in high school and really am set on engineering. Specifically aerospace because I love planes and space :P

So anyways I'm trying to find good colleges for aerospace engineering since I can probably get in (33 ACT, GPA is a 10.4 on a 12 scale that's somewhere between a 3.8-4.2 on a 4.0 scale depending on how it gets weighted and what not).

Anyways I know I can't get into MIT/Cal tech so don't say those.

I've visited Georgia tech and liked the program but hated the campus for some reason (I mean it was nice, but I didn't like the feel nor thought I could survive four years there). Hopefully I'll like purdue more since their program is supposedly top notch.

So any recommendations? I've seen St. Louis U which talked about their program a fair amount yet I didn't see it ranked highly anywhere, A&M is to large for me, and then so many places simply don't offer it :( (Oh and I would love a place that is hands on/has a wind tunnel/research I can get involved in via internship.)

On another scale, I've read up on what pays the most (much later after thinking I wanted to do aerospace) and aerospace seems to pay the most (besides petroleum)... is this accurate? If so, how far behind are ME and CE? Also if I like Aerospace because I like the idea of designing and creating something that flies or goes to space which of the former would be better for me if I opt to go to a college without aerospace engineering? (say Vanderbilt, which I liked except for the fact it didn't have aerospace)

Any help is appreciated! I'm so not ready to be planning the rest of my life :P

Edit: Oh and the idea of the USAF Academy has come to mind. However while a military career may appeal to me later in life (post-school) since it might lead to me working on some awesome planes and what not, the very constraining/pre-set schedule doesn't really appeal to me. How hard would it be to go into the air force or navy after getting a degree to work on military planes? Or would it be smarter to stay with private companies which presumably pay more...?
Post edited by Devilbird on

Replies to: Aerospace Engineering? Where? (And a few other questions)

  • davidthefatdavidthefat Registered User Posts: 1,521 Senior Member
    Try ETH Zurich. Look it up.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,201 Senior Member
    Do places like Harvey Mudd (this has tough admissions, but you could have a shot) or Berkeley have it (or is Berkeley too large?)? Also, interesting comment on Georgia Tech. Visit it all of the time, I feel exactly the same way. It's one of those places that is indeed kind of nice, but it even looks brutal as hell in some aspects (campus seems to oscillate from nice to gritty). The place looks like an engineering school lol. MIT is also kind of ugly aesthetically even though the interior and technology within the facilities are indeed very nice. Seems many predominantly engineering schools have this characteristic (nice, but rough). Vanderbilt is really nice, consider them I suppose. See if some of its peer privates have AE or ME as well (see what Northwestern or Cornell engineering has. They seem to have good engineering.). Most top 20s are w/in your reach.
  • rjkofnovirjkofnovi Registered User Posts: 10,362 Senior Member
    You should take a look at Michigan as well.
  • boneh3adboneh3ad Forum Champion Engineering Posts: 7,393 Forum Champion
    Does Michigan have good wind tunnel facilities? That is why I am not mentioning Illinois. Purdue and Texas A&M both have awesome wind tunnel facilities but the OP already nixed A&M.
  • DevilbirdDevilbird Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    Came here to add I would prefer a smaller scale school... (Freshman class 4k max, less preferable. Think vanderbilt was around 2k. Also realize Purdue is f'ing huge in terms of people ¬_¬)

    Thanks for the previous comments! Helpful.

    Also would like to add that reading around some more I've seen people saying get your bachelors in something like ME and then use your masters to specialize (in my case aerospace) which would open up a lot more colleges to me since /all/ the ones I'm looking at have good ME programs. Is this statement accurate or would I be better off going major in Aerospace and straight into workforce/masters in aerospace (via college major in it)?

    Again thanks so much for answering all the questions of a confused soon to be senior. I wish all engineering was like Team fortress, pull out a wrench and hit stuff.
  • DevilbirdDevilbird Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    @boneh3ad: It's not that I didn't like A&M... I would be content there for 4 years and will be using it as a fallback school but it didn't stand out to me as a place I want to spend 4 years. I would prefer to getaway from texas... (from houston).
  • boneh3adboneh3ad Forum Champion Engineering Posts: 7,393 Forum Champion
    I can't blame you. I am doing my Ph.D. here and if it weren't do the wind tunnel facilities I wouldn't put up with being here for as long as I am. Haha
  • DevilbirdDevilbird Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    Yeah, it's sad how lacking some schools are. Vanderbilt, please build a wind tunnel and add an aerospace course? For me? *insert tearful eye watering here*

    I want one not because I think I'll necessarily use it a whole lot as an under-grad but if a school has one it increases my chances of interning with someone who does a lot of research with one.

    Also, stupid state schools are so freaking big. Is it to much to ask for a smallish/mid-size (20k tops) school that has a good aerospace program and has a secluded campus. Stupid large schools (minus A&M and GT) that I've been to so far (UT, UCLA not visiting as a prospective student but staying there for debate camp) are waaaay to urban for me :P
    Anyways that's just me ranting now... So any help finding colleges that fit what I've listed in my first post is greatly appreciated.

    Also UM does have wind tunnels (UM Aero | Wind Tunnels) but looking at it I'm not sure if I like the size (state school so huge) and I can't tell if the campus is secluded or urban (I don't mind urban as long as it is secluded with the open grass on the inside and the buildings on the outside, see Vanderbilt, St. Louis U, Wash U, GT (just didn't like the feel, liked the campus though) for what I mean by that). *sigh* Time to do a lot more googling and maybe google earth will help me find out...
  • CaliforniaDancerCaliforniaDancer Registered User Posts: 1,582 Senior Member
    How about Embry-Riddle? Unfortunately, I know very little about it, but I do believe this is their main/only area of focus....again, I don't know a whole lot about them, but just a thought!
  • BigAarstBigAarst Registered User Posts: 101 Junior Member
    If you don't want urban, Penn State is in the middle of a bunch of cow pastures. Cornell feels almost as rural. Princeton might also suit your tastes if you can get admitted. I've never been there, but I don't think Purdue is a hotbed of urban architecture either. When I was in high school, I thought Michigan was scary urban, but I lived a little since then - visited recently, and didn't think it felt urban any more.
  • DevilbirdDevilbird Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    @BigAarst: The thing is I want urban/semi-urban in the sense that I want to be able to venture out into town on foot occasionally/not be stuck on campus all semester long (if I have the time :P) but I don't want like traffic through the heart of campus/downtown right next door. The way St. Louis/Vanderbilt/Wash U did it appealed to me in that they had a large number of buildings on the perimeter of campus and then green space (grass, trees) and more buildings and housing on the inside of campus isolated from the outside world so to speak...

    Doubt I can get into Princeton at all, even if my gpa is coming out of a competitive/difficult private highschool.

    Also I'm seeing this,
    "Best Colleges Specialty Rankings: Undergraduate engineering specialties: Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical

    Ranked in
    1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology <<< (can't get in)
    Cambridge, MA
    2 Georgia Institute of Technology <<<< (can get in most likely, don't like the school though.... fallback/last choice)
    Atlanta, GA
    3 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor <<< (No idea.... need to research)
    Ann Arbor, MI
    4 Purdue University--West Lafayette <<< (No real idea.... visiting later this july)
    West Lafayette, IN
    5 California Institute of Technology <<< (can't get in)
    Pasadena, CA
    6 University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign <<< (no idea... need to research)
    Champaign, IL
    7 Stanford University <<< (can't get in)
    Stanford, CA
    8 University of Texas--Austin <<< (don't like at all, not applying, no chance of using as fallback)
    Austin, TX
    9 University of Maryland--College Park <<< (no idea... need to research)
    College Park, MD
    10 Virginia Tech <<< (no idea... need to research)
    Blacksburg, VA"

    (stolen from here: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/engineering-majors/555743-us-news-2009-undergraduate-engineering-rankings.html)

    And it annoys me because I can't get into 1, 5 and 7 at all. I have a good shot at the rest but I hate the campus of 8. 4 has a huuuge student population but I'm visiting that later in july so I'll see how I like it (hopefully well) and I may change travel plans (just driving around seeing colleges in the NW so not hard) to see UM instead of say northwestern... UI, UM, and VT no idea how those are... Would need to research them.

    Does anyone know how hard it would be to go to school at say Vanderbilt for ME and then go somewhere and get a masters in aerospace? Or is it too difficult (not enough overlap/it would just be stressful) and I should just find some place with aerospace?
  • davidthefatdavidthefat Registered User Posts: 1,521 Senior Member
    Cal Poly SLO, you can get in no problem. Very close to SpaceX and JPL. You can try USC, UCLA, or any of the other UCs.
  • hokie11hokie11 Registered User Posts: 57 Junior Member
    hey I'm attending vtech this fall, as a freshie, as aerospace major as well.

    look into Stanford (that may be a reach)
    university of Maryland is actually quite good at aerospace; but personally the campus is not safe, and it doesn't look that great either. I think it's 9th for aerospace. also the NASA Goddard flight center is 10 mins away from umd, so you can intern there if you want.
    vtech is actually 13th or 14th for aerospace, and MAN, the campus is gorgeous. and apparently, everyone who goes to vtech loves it there.

    I wanna somehow end up working for NASA; so I'm gonna intern during summer for the Goddard flight center.

    also, I was wondering if I should do ME or AE as well. I'm not sure yet either. I have time to figure it out, so no worries.
  • boneh3adboneh3ad Forum Champion Engineering Posts: 7,393 Forum Champion
    The funny thing about USNWR is that they rank Caltech and Stanford in the top ten, yet neither even have an undergraduate program in aerospace engineering. The point of this post? Take rankings with at least some grain of salt.

    Keep in mind that many of the schools that are great at engineering (though not all) are those huge state schools. The reason is because they have the budget to fund a high-powered engineering program.

    As for doing mechanical engineering and then graduate school in aerospace, that is 100% possible and happens all the time. I actually did that. I got my B.S. in mechanical engineering at Illinois and am working on my Ph.D. in aerospace at A&M.
  • DevilbirdDevilbird Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    @hokie, sounds like VT is a school worth looking into then for me. Thanks for the heads up on UM, will look at it a bit more but if nothing pops out online I'll just ignore it.

    Small side note: Being from Houston I actually know a number of astronauts (well my mom knows them and I've met them a couple of times) and they're awesome. One is a MS engineer (sandy) so I've realized that the non-aerospace engineers will get to steal my work and actually use it :P I wouldn't suggest NASA (having read on it and just general knowledge) as a career simply because it's government run and they are axe'ing the shuttle. Private space companies have built and sent ships up for a mere fraction of the cost of the shuttle and will be much more competitive and more likely to pay better :P

    @bone: Yeah, I noticed that. I guess there is specialization or something? Either way I can't get in XD But I get your meaning. (Also stupid large state schools are still stupid ;P )

    And that's nice, if none of these stand out to me I'll just go somewhere nice and essentially follow in your footsteps :P

    Thanks to whoever bumped those threads on aerospace (just saw them, haven't read them yet...)
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