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Aerospace Engineer- Purdue, NCSU, Alabama, Embry Riddle, UCONN OPINIONS please!

JesseJuneJesseJune 18 replies8 threads Junior Member
My son has narrowed down his choices for Aerospace Engineer- interested in all things space.

Purdue OOS
North Carolina State OOS
UAlabama Tusca (Honors, with scholarships) 19k
UAlabama Huntsville (Honors, with scholarships) (just room and board)
Embry Riddle (with scholarship 30k a year)
UCONN (Stem Scholar + Honors and scholarship (27k)- Mechanical with AE concentration

Because of COVID19 he was NOT able to visit, Purdue, ERAU or UCONN. (He visited the Alabamas, and some other schools including Virginia Tech- did not like, and U Maryland- was ok- but its the most pricey, and a few others).

We're looking for assistance on
1. The best program for a quiet, hardworking kid.
2. He would probably enjoy "typical" college life (Sports, homecoming) but is willing to compromise.
3. He is interested in Space - internships and or research with space
4. He believes reputation is important, but is a bit frugal, so reputation + Price.
5. He has a number of AP credits, and is interested in programs that he could perhaps get a MBA or Masters in 5 years- but willing to compromise.
6. We think he'd do better in an environment where students are not hyper competitive against each other, but help and generally are "in it together"

We live in MA, he has spent time in Huntsville at Space Camp, and the midwest (Missouri) and liked the people. So I think he'll find his niche wherever. I wish we could get a feel for the campuses, but its all been canceled.

He'd really appreciate any opinions, GOOD, BAD or Neutral.
Thank you!

P.S. He did not like that Virginia Tech was "in the middle of nowhere" and asking questions with people, the only things to do was nature driven. Nothing wrong with that, but he's not a huge hiker :). I'm only adding this as a comparison to Purdue.
20 replies
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Replies to: Aerospace Engineer- Purdue, NCSU, Alabama, Embry Riddle, UCONN OPINIONS please!

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10175 replies119 threads Senior Member
    My D is a second year engineering student at Purdue. She LOVES it! There isn't anything she's unhappy with other than not being on campus right now.

    Tons of opportunities for internships/co-ops. Very collaborative environment. Huge school spirit. Cradle of astronauts ; )

    Purdue is basically middle of nowhere but such a vibrant campus that there is a ton going on.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83404 replies741 threads Senior Member
    JesseJune wrote: »
    My son has narrowed down his choices for Aerospace Engineer- interested in all things space.

    Purdue OOS
    North Carolina State OOS
    UAlabama Tusca (Honors, with scholarships) 19k
    UAlabama Huntsville (Honors, with scholarships) (just room and board)
    Embry Riddle (with scholarship 30k a year)
    UCONN (Stem Scholar + Honors and scholarship (27k)- Mechanical with AE concentration

    So the net price ranking is:

    $17k UAH
    $19k UA-T
    $27k UConn
    $30k ERAU
    $41k Purdue
    $45k NCSU

    ?

    How much will you pay before debt will be needed?

    Note that Purdue and NCSU admit to frosh undeclared first year engineering, and have secondary admission to major later. You may want to find out from the engineering divisions and ME and AE departments at those schools how competitive getting into ME and AE is. Some people have commented on these schools in https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/engineering-majors/2174743-first-year-engineering-programs-secondary-admission-to-major-criteria.html .
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  • HappyCRobHappyCRob 1 replies0 threads New Member
    My son is in a similar boat... Trying to make a final commitment this spring. He's planning to major in Aerospace Engineering or Mechanical engineering with an Aerospace option.
    He has many good options but struggling since his first choice school significantly more expensive than the others, but offers exactly the degree and opportunities he is looking for.

    Purdue $38k (OOS no scholarship)
    RIT $13k with scholarships
    Rutgers $11k (instate and scholarships)
    U of Maine-Orno $12k (scholarships & Honors college)

    He doesn't want to stay in state. But also the whole Covid situation makes the decision even more stressful... Will they be online in the fall??

    He's leaning toward RIT but we keep reading mixed comments about the program.

    He wants a good school with some social life, research opportunities, over seas study and co-op.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10175 replies119 threads Senior Member
    As much as I love Purdue, its not worth going into debt for if you have other affordable ABET accredited schools on the list.

    It’s engineering. Your child will be employable from nearly any program if they do well and have work experience.
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  • BrianBoilerBrianBoiler 774 replies16 threads Member
    Tough decisions. I have two Purdue Degrees, both together didn't cost me the costs of today. I assume if you are considering, you can afford. Also remember that Purdue hasn't raised total costs in 9 years. So chances are you'll have a good idea what your 4-5 years are going to cost.

    My oldest considered RIT and didn't like it. He also was offered the Pres Scholly but couldn't get out of his head that it felt like a commuter campus. Also the Grad rate kind of scared him away.

    I do know that I think larger engineering schools have benefits uniquely related to engineering. The sheer number and variety of student clubs give them a great advantage over smaller. Undergrad engineering in the popular disciplines of IE, ME, EE, and ChemE will be roughly the same everywhere at that level. However, some of the more specialized disciplines like Aero might be better at schools that have strong graduate programs. That is purely my opinion as an IE.

    I also don't have a problem with Frosh engineering then apply to discipline after one year. If a student is disciplined enough and mature enough, that makes sure you don't have too many of the discipline to fight for classes, lab facilities etc. Doing well in college isn't about being smart enough. The admissions department does a good job of making sure you are smart enough to be successful. What makes or breaks college students is the ability to not put other things over the importance of class.

    At the end of the day only one of the programs you list put the first man on the moon.
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  • BrianBoilerBrianBoiler 774 replies16 threads Member
    Re-read your post. Purdue is in Indiana, not the most populous state. However, the greater West Lafayette area is not rural. It is definitely an urban feel. Can you find farm fields within 10 minutes drive? Sure if you drive west. However, if you want all the luxuries that a city would offer it has that too, plus less than an hour from Indy and less than two from Chicago if you want Big City stuff like professional sporting events.

    I currently live 1 hour from Philly and 1 1/2 hours from NYC. My time living on campus at Purdue in West Lafayette felt way more urban than I do now. I also live about 45 min from both Rutgers campuses and think Purdue feels about as, if not more urban than they are and it definitely feels more urban than RIT, which I kind a felt like was in the middle of nowhere even though Rochester is a decent sized town.

    My oldest son will graduate from UMD this May. I would say the feel of UMD's campus is pretty close to what Purdue's campus feels like to me. Except I think Purdue's looks better kept and maybe a little more modern. I can tell you that my son has many friends from Indiana (we lived there before moving here to Eastern PA his Junior year of HS) and has visited them many times while he was in college and regrets not considering Purdue when he was looking. His reasons for not considering I think were driven by wanting to be different from me. But, on his visits he says it is a much better environment for learning for him than UMD has been.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83404 replies741 threads Senior Member
    Also remember that Purdue hasn't raised total costs in 9 years. So chances are you'll have a good idea what your 4-5 years are going to cost.

    Lots of state universities have had minimal or no tuition increases over the past 9 years. However, lots of them (Purdue included) had substantial tuition increases in the 4 years before that, due to the economic downturn that cut state tax revenue that caused states to reduce funding to universities.

    https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/tuition-and-fees
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  • colorado_momcolorado_mom 9440 replies83 threads Senior Member
    RIT 13k with scholarship? That sounds appealing. I've worked with a few RIT engineers and was impressed. At all schools, do check on GPA requirements for keeping scholarships.
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  • LakeWashingtonLakeWashington 8927 replies483 threads Senior Member
    I met the former president of RIT years ago. Reputable program and no waiting to be admitted to your major.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 2263 replies36 threads Senior Member
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    Lots of state universities have had minimal or no tuition increases over the past 9 years. However, lots of them (Purdue included) had substantial tuition increases in the 4 years before that, due to the economic downturn that cut state tax revenue that caused states to reduce funding to universities.
    Data please.

    College Board's Trends in College Pricing database of 12 years of tuition data (Table 6) turns up zero state universities with no increase since Purdue's freeze, and only one in single digits. The 2012-2013 to 2019-2020 average increase was 28%.

    Who are these "Lots of state universities " that you reference?

    I'm also curious how much you think tuition increases in 2007 should impact current college decision making.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24802 replies20 threads Senior Member

    At the end of the day only one of the programs you list put the first man on the moon.

    In the control room last week for the launch, there was a women in the front row wearing a Florida Tech sweatshirt. Turns out she is a sorority sister of my daughter. It's nice to be an alum of the school that put the first man on the moon, but it is pretty darn nice to be sitting in the control room too, sending up the next program.

    I would not go to a school like ERAU (or Florida Tech) without visiting the school. The smaller schools are often heavily male and may not have the same sports feel that Purdue or Alabama have and can be viewed on Youtube. Hard to judge fit without having visited the campus.
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  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 562 replies7 threads Member
    Has he considered any of the Texas schools? They ARE close to NASA and there are a lot of strong programs there. UT is is highly ranked. A & M is also highly ranked. Rice offers ME majors an Aerospace specialization. The head of NASA is a Rice grad (though he's not an engineer).
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  • lemon droplemon drop 71 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Don't forget to consider Georgia Tech. They have an excellent aerospace engineering program. My niece just graduated from there and was immediately snatched up by her employer. The one down side is that it took almost five years to graduate because she couldn't get all her course work done in four years.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83404 replies741 threads Senior Member
    edited June 6
    RichInPitt wrote: »
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    Lots of state universities have had minimal or no tuition increases over the past 9 years. However, lots of them (Purdue included) had substantial tuition increases in the 4 years before that, due to the economic downturn that cut state tax revenue that caused states to reduce funding to universities.
    Data please.

    College Board's Trends in College Pricing database of 12 years of tuition data (Table 6) turns up zero state universities with no increase since Purdue's freeze, and only one in single digits. The 2012-2013 to 2019-2020 average increase was 28%.

    Who are these "Lots of state universities " that you reference?

    Note the word "minimal".
    https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/tuition-and-fees

    From 2012 to 2018:

    Western Washington University 8805->8132 (-7.6%)
    University of Washington 12428->11517 (-7.3%)
    CSULA 6839->6639 (-2.9%)
    Purdue University 9900->9992 (+0.9%)
    Indiana University 10033->10681 (+6.5%)
    UCLA 12692->13774 (+8.5%)
    CPI inflation 10000->10909 (+9.1%)
    RichInPitt wrote: »
    I'm also curious how much you think tuition increases in 2007 should impact current college decision making.

    Economic downturns hurt state budgets, typically resulting in budget cuts to state universities, which they often make up with tuition increases.
    edited June 6
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1792 replies77 threads Senior Member
    My S just finished his first year at UAH as Aerospace Engineering Major.

    He is OOS, free tuition, Honors College. He felt he had “found his people” at UAH. Quirky introverts are more the norm here, and the joy of having your own private bedroom (in a 4 person suite with 2 bathrooms) is the best possible situation for my S.

    UAH does not have the D1 Sports mania, but that was not important to S. He joined Space Hardware Club and enjoyed the hands on building.

    The Honors College at UAH is basic, but well managed. Staff and Advisors work in the first floor of Honors Dorm, so it is easy to ask for help.

    UAH is next door to Research Park, with lots of companies looking to hire students for internships.

    Redstone Arsenal and Marshall Space Flight Center are also close by.

    I am glad to PM with you with any questions you may have about UAH. My husband was born and raised there, so we know the city and feel comfortable having family nearby if S needs them.
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  • momocarlymomocarly 1021 replies12 threads Senior Member
    I work in aerospace. If he is interested in manned spaceflight then TX A&M, UT, Alabama Huntsville (or main campus), or Purdue are some great options. We hire more from those than the others - but are hiring from all over. We do have an intern from Embry Riddle. that I have not been really impressed with but we do have several hires from there.

    The others on your list may have more hiring from unmanned. The others do get hiring from both by the way.

    Just a data point.
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  • TVBingeWatcher2TVBingeWatcher2 197 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @powercropper May I PM you about Huntsville, We are headed there in 3 weeks,
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  • TVBingeWatcher2TVBingeWatcher2 197 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @momofcarly sending you a PM
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1792 replies77 threads Senior Member
    @TVBingeWatcher2 yes please PM me about Huntsville
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  • LakeWashingtonLakeWashington 8927 replies483 threads Senior Member
    Tell your kid to enroll at whichever college is affordable, as all the engineering departments on your list are solid. Engineering programs are hard at every STEM university. It's a tough major EVERYWHERE. And many schools have great career placement offices. I know a couple of South Dakota School of Mines students and one of their classmates got a job at NASA's Joint Propulsion Lab in California.
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