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Looking for Hands-on Mechanical Engineering Program

MEngineMEngine 3 replies1 threads New Member
<<Accidentally posted this as a reply in wrong group so posting correctly.>>

I live in WA state and want to be a mechanical engineer.

I'm looking for a very hands-on mechanical engineering program.

Here's my list in order - would love your recos and feedback. Which should I knock off list and which should I add?

(Money *does* matter. So WUE schools like Arizona and Colorado are more interesting.)

1. CalPoly SLO (Reach school)
2. Arizona State
3. Purdue
4. Colorado State
5. University of Utah

And then a clump of great-but-expensive schools.
Case Western
Rose Hulman

Thank you so much for your help. ( I'll tour schools once i get in if I have a decision to make.)

@ucbalumnus @eyemgh

10 replies
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Replies to: Looking for Hands-on Mechanical Engineering Program

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24101 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Wyoming has WUE/Brown and Gold scholars https://www.uwyo.edu/admissions/scholarships/non-residents/bgcommitment.html

    At Colo State, the WUE tuition is still $18k. Is that still affordable for you?

    Check the programs allowed under WUE at Ariz State.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9249 replies93 threads Senior Member
    What is your budget? Purdue is a great school with a super hands on program but they don't give a lot of merit money for out of state applicants.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6474 replies10 threads Senior Member
    What about Olin?
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  • eyemgheyemgh 5747 replies124 threads Senior Member
    My son just finished his BS and MS in ME at Cal Poly. I can certainly vouch for that program. The experience he got in labs, clubs, senior project and thesis, resulted in enough real experience (in addition to the theory) that he was hired by a very young startup. It's very small. All of the employees though have deep industry experience and very impressive backgrounds. Collectively, they have their names on a bunch of patents. He's the only new grad. They obviously saw something in his background that made him worth taking a risk on. Most startups don't because they don't have the training programs required to absorb most new grads. Classes are small and it's in an idyllic location. CP is not a WUE school though and they are adding an additional fee for OOS students to help increase opportunity for underserved in state applicants.

    As for the rest of your list, it looks similar to my son's. He applied to CP, Oregon State (our flagship), Utah, Colorado State, RPI, WPI, Case and Stanford. Stanford was the only place he didn't get in.

    For him it came down to three schools, CP, WPI and Utah and he agonized until the deadline over which one to pick.

    WPI is unique. The terms are short and there really aren't many labs per se. They get their practical work through multiple projects. The biggest knock is grade inflation, so some employers complain they can't differentiate between the grads.

    Utah was the surprise. They revamped their ME curriculum to make it more involved in the lab from the beginning. The campus is nice and the town is very progressive with good restaurants and bars. The students are rabid about school sports and SLC has a good pro hoops team and a good soccer team. Plus, if you ski or board, 30-45 min from 7 awesome mountains.

    The big thing about all three is that the happiness on all three campuses was very evident. We didn't feel that at many of the schools we visited.

    Rose didn't hit his list because of the location and very skewed M:F ratio.

    The only school I'd probably leave off is Union. Their curriculum and facilities are very limited. If you want a school with better toys, similarly priced, in the same neck of the woods, I'd look at Lehigh.

    If you're not going to visit prior to acceptance, look at the common data sets to find out which ones value demonstrated interest. RPI certainly does. It can be the difference not only between getting in, but how much aid you get.

    Good luck. You have a well thought out list.

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  • MEngineMEngine 3 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you. This is gold. (My mom grew up in Utah and is the most biased against it because she knows how amazing the skiing is. )
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  • MEngineMEngine 3 replies1 threads New Member
    edited October 2019
    edited October 2019
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  • eyemgheyemgh 5747 replies124 threads Senior Member
    Here's the beauty about SLC. Everything is so close that rather than dedicate multiple days to a ski trip, you can do just a few hours here and there. It's more like golf, even intramural soccer, in the amount of time you'd have to dedicate in order to participate in that sport. There isn't a better situated school for skiing than The U. You could easily ski frequently and still keep your grades up as long as you had a pass to one of the areas and didn't mind just doing a few hours at a time. I have a friend who went to medical school there and he believes it's possible to get good grades and still ski 50 or more days per season. You just have to be disciplined. My son raced, so he was studying on the road all the time. It wouldn't have been a problem for him.

    Truth be told, you can be distracted anywhere. Want to not graduate from Cal Poly, spend every day surfing all day. Want to surf and still do well, dawn patrol a couple of hours once or twice a week, go to all your classes and study efficiently, and you'd be fine. You can even make your own surfboard. They have six shaping bays on campus that you can use whether you take a class or not.

    Ultimately, you can sit around and read Reddit and play video games no matter where you go. Being organized and efficient will be your friend no matter the school.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 81223 replies729 threads Senior Member
    All ABET accredited engineering programs will include engineering design course work... but the organization of the curriculum can vary as to when engineering design is introduced. Some wait until prerequisite natural science and engineering science is done before doing engineering design late in the program, while others do some introduction of engineering design earlier (but the really heavy engineering design still occurs late due to the need for prerequisite natural science and engineering science). It sounds like you prefer the latter organization. What you may want to do is look at the sample four year schedules for your major at each school to see when engineering design is introduced and practiced.

    Since you live in Washington, would your Washington public universities be suitable? For example, it looks like WSU ME introduces some engineering design early in the curriculum: https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/473/2019/01/ME_UG_courses.pdf .
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1949 replies19 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2019
    What are your stats? Utah limits the number of WUE scholarships offered, I estimate the cutoff is an ACT score of about 29-30. They prefer students to stay over the first summer and get Utah residency - over 4 years the total cost is about the same as WUE, but in that first year you can only leave the state for 29 days total (although university-organized programs like study abroad still count towards residency).

    My D loves Utah - it is really great for outdoors oriented people, not just skiing but camping and backpacking in the national parks is a frequent weekend activity in the spring and fall. Lots of places within 3-4 hours (Moab, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Grand Teton) and even more if you’re prepared to go further afield (Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, etc). Even if you just have a few hours on a Sunday you can hike to the hot springs or climb one of the nearby mountains or swim in a mountain lake.

    Note the early deadline (Nov 1) for merit scholarship applications. If you miss that then you are unlikely to receive much money, even if you are qualified for the stats based merit.
    edited October 2019
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  • eyemgheyemgh 5747 replies124 threads Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus said: "All ABET accredited engineering programs will include engineering design course work..."

    This is absolutely true. It doesn't mean however that they will all include the same amount or quality of design (and build). For example, some schools senior projects are a full year while at others they are a single term. Everyone at WPI does two capstone quality projects and some do three.

    It's anecdotal, but my son had a classmate at Cal Poly whose brother was a ME at Georgia Tech. After they compared labs and senior projects between Tech and Cal Poly, he told her that her work at Cal Poly was quite a bit more involved/advanced versus what he'd been exposed to at GT. (note: please don't take this as a flame on GT, it's but a single piece of data, they obviously produce solid engineers).

    So, ABET sets a minimum, but does not guarantee equivalence.
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