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Son Can't Make Final Choice

taverngirltaverngirl 1666 replies45 threads Senior Member
S will be majoring in civil engineering. He has narrowed it down to two colleges, Clarkson and Quinnipiac. They are the same price. He is having a very hard time committing. Here are his pros and cons (in no particular order):

Clarkson
Pros:
-outing club
-preorientation trips
-long history of great outcomes
-past and current students we know rave about it
-location (S is a ski buff)
-seems to have a strong alumni network
-lower min gpa to keep merit scholarship (2.0)

Cons:
-large intro classes (S has attention issues, does well in more intimate classes)
-mostly "boring" core classes fresh & sophomore year
-S perceives student body to be serious, introverted, more "nerdy" (mostly based on FB class of 2024 page. Anecdotally I have joined the parent FB pages of both schools and communicated with several parents. Clarkson parents aren't as enthusiastic as those at QU and descriptions of their kids kind of jive with S's experience)
-curiously low rating on Moody's (my con)

Quinnipiac
Pros:
-small class sizes (limited to less than 25, even core intro classes)
-small program, hard to get lost/fall through the cracks
-no TAs
-curriculum flow is more appealing (mix of engineering and intro science/math courses starting freshman year)
-no environmental (he's not really interested in this and he'd have to take some env courses at Clarkson)
-has been communicating with professors and they seem great and are very responsive to questions/concerns
-student body overall seems more social; college has a lot of school spirit
-close (my pro)
-parents very enthusiastic about program, literally gush when they speak about it (my pro)
-if he decides engineering isn't for him, there's a wide variety of other majors

Cons:
-small program (pro and con - worried he won't find his peeps)
-party school rep/spoiled and privileged student rep/lots of students that don't seem to care about academics rep
-new program, though outcomes seem great
-higher min gpa to keep merit scholarship (2.5)
-no outing club, though there is a hiking club and Sleeping Giant is across the street

I think he's leaning towards QU because he feels he has a better chance of success there with the small class sizes and chance of knowing his professors better. And socially he feels he'll fit better there. I think Clarkson was always where he intended to go, so he is having a hard time letting go of that. It has a long history of great outcomes and we've never heard anything but accolades. I think he is scared of making the wrong choice. Any advice/input I can share with him? We are just as torn as he is.
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Replies to: Son Can't Make Final Choice

  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30405 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Sounds like he’s voiced his preference. I’ve known a number of kids at both schools and I think you ve nailed some of the subtleties that differentiate the schools. Unless a kid is a top student, hung his for a school, better he picks some place he feels he’ll enjoy. Good choices, both of them!
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  • RockySoilRockySoil 225 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Reading the intro to the thread, I figured Clarkson would be the answer because I have heard so many good things about it. But after reading the pros/cons it came through loud and clear that QU was the place where he (and you) felt the best fit. Going to a place that feels right is half the battle. Congrats on two great choices but it seems like QU is the place!
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  • colorado_momcolorado_mom 9443 replies83 threads Senior Member
    My husband and I are Mech Engineers from Clarkson... loved it, but yes ... somewhat nerdy (which to us was not a con). There are more majors now - it became a University in 1980s, near the end of my time there. Prior to that it had been Clarkson College. Prior to that Clarkson College of Technology. Freshman lectures were large, but the smaller weekly recitations (20 students?) with TAs were helpful.... you'd have to check if things still done that way today.

    I will point out that the skiing is not all that close. I brought my skis to school in the beginning but only used them at local teeny Tupper Mountain, which may not still be open. The outing club was active in my time (1980s) - perhaps they organized trips to Gore.

    If your son's preference is QU and price the same, it seems a reasonable choice.
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  • colorado_momcolorado_mom 9443 replies83 threads Senior Member
    "I think he is scared of making the wrong decision" - Some words from a wise friend about tough choices - "Decide... and then MAKE it the right decision". Hope he thrives wherever he lands.
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  • Luckyjade2024Luckyjade2024 674 replies9 threads Member
    I would go QU, just incase he wants to change his major...he will have options. I changed my mind from my original choices as well....better to do it now before it's too late. when is his deposit date?
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1666 replies45 threads Senior Member
    Both colleges moved to a June 1 decision date.
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 505 replies5 threads Member
    My husband and I are Mech Engineers from Clarkson... loved it, but yes ... somewhat nerdy (which to us was not a con). There are more majors now - it became a University in 1980s, near the end of my time there. Prior to that it had been Clarkson College. Prior to that Clarkson College of Technology. Freshman lectures were large, but the smaller weekly recitations (20 students?) with TAs were helpful.... you'd have to check if things still done that way today.

    I will point out that the skiing is not all that close. I brought my skis to school in the beginning but only used them at local teeny Tupper Mountain, which may not still be open. The outing club was active in my time (1980s) - perhaps they organized trips to Gore.

    If your son's preference is QU and price the same, it seems a reasonable choice.

    Just curious, why didn’t you ski Whiteface?
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7399 replies34 threads Senior Member
    Seems his decision is made. Go to the school with the most options and where he feels comfortable at. Kids change their majors and directions within their majors all the time.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24854 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Skiing while at college.

    It isn't always the way people think it will be. Friend's son goes to Buffalo, and lugged all his stuff there freshman year. Maybe went twice. Also lugged all his hockey equipment. Nada. He's in engineering.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43234 replies471 threads Senior Member
    edited May 3
    Is QU's program ABET accredited?
    That's the only possible downside to QU based on what you said.
    edited May 3
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  • CheeringsectionCheeringsection 2745 replies83 threads Senior Member
    I do not see QU on the ASEE School profiles, but possibly I am overlooking it. I would confirm accreditation before committing. Clarkson is ABET accredited. http://profiles.asee.org/
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  • Luckyjade2024Luckyjade2024 674 replies9 threads Member
    QU is ABET accredited
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 505 replies5 threads Member
    My husband and I are Mech Engineers from Clarkson... loved it, but yes ... somewhat nerdy (which to us was not a con). There are more majors now - it became a University in 1980s, near the end of my time there. Prior to that it had been Clarkson College. Prior to that Clarkson College of Technology. Freshman lectures were large, but the smaller weekly recitations (20 students?) with TAs were helpful.... you'd have to check if things still done that way today.

    I will point out that the skiing is not all that close. I brought my skis to school in the beginning but only used them at local teeny Tupper Mountain, which may not still be open. The outing club was active in my time (1980s) - perhaps they organized trips to Gore.

    If your son's preference is QU and price the same, it seems a reasonable choice.

    Just curious, why didn’t you ski Whiteface?
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1666 replies45 threads Senior Member
    @Luckyjade2024 is correct, QU is ABET accredited. I don't know why they do not show up on the ASEE site - I noticed that myself. I guess it's just too new?

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  • Luckyjade2024Luckyjade2024 674 replies9 threads Member
    This s where we really miss admitted student days. If your son was able to go and see all the incoming students he would be attending college with, would have been a great help.
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1666 replies45 threads Senior Member
    @Luckyjade2024 100% agree! The only revisit S was able to do was at QU, coincidentally. He shadowed a student for a day and had a great time. I really really wish he had been able to do that at several other schools, actually.
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  • Luckyjade2024Luckyjade2024 674 replies9 threads Member
    @taverngirl Seems like he's leaning QU? Great that he got to shadow!
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1666 replies45 threads Senior Member
    It does seem he's leaning that way but can't commit. I asked him on Friday if deadlines hadn't been moved where would he be going. He didn't know. Might have to wait until June 1 to find out.
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  • Luckyjade2024Luckyjade2024 674 replies9 threads Member
    Tell him (if he hasn't) to join IG groups for both schools ..there should be a bunch of different IG's , (not just the admissions IG) such as accepted students group, college activities, on campus housing, engineering, ski club, dining etc. He can get a better feel that way. and you thankfully still have almost a month.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7399 replies34 threads Senior Member
    Just looked at both schools briefly. Qunnipec is Abet Accredited. It's all over their first page for engineering.. Lol..

    Which school is better for his attention issues? Would he prefer more hands on? Would he like more co-op type learning and does either do that. Some schools trade off on co-op then academic or co-op in the summers type of thing. As far as more engineering classes VS regular boring classes this could be a mix. Seems like schools have different spins on this. Usually like 1 engineering class mixed in with his requirements. Keep in mind the lower threshold for merit. That does not mean the 2.0 is going to be easier. Engineering is very hard even for the best students. Sometimes getting a "C" is a good grade for that class. But you need the boring class to build your education on.

    I would see which schools speaks to you on helping him. All schools with have learning centers but which school will he feel more comfortable at actually using them? Which school has peer to peer help? Which school will he have conversations with the professors at? Faculty looked good at both schools but I was impressed with the ones at Qunnipec if I had to choose one. I looked in all fields not just civil.

    Also which school is getting decent internships and co-ops more in line with his field?

    As an aside.. Have him look at the Wahl construction company internship opportunity. They like getting their kids early.

    Good Luck.
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