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Stanford vs Berkeley vs CalTech vs MIT for Engineering

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Replies to: Stanford vs Berkeley vs CalTech vs MIT for Engineering

  • joemamajoemama Registered User Posts: 554 Member
    My dad did an informal research project. He talked with either Human Resources people or Engineering Managers at 4 different companies, all in California, all very large and very successful, all famous for technology leadership. These companies actively run recruiting programs at CalTech, Stanford, MIT and Berkeley and compete to attract their graduates.

    It's a very small sample and there was no standardized question list so the results here can only be described as ancedotal. The observations put forth here come from what he described as 5 to 10 minute informal phone conversations with people who were involved in interviewing and hiring engineers into their companies or departments. Two companies were very EE oriented, 2 were heavily EE and ME. No software companies. Nobody from IT departments. No chemical companies.

    The opening question he asked was: "Looks like my son might be accepted at CalTech, Stanford, MIT and Berkeley for undergraduate Electrical Engineering. If he was your son, which would you prefer?"

    First response from everyone, without exception, was "those are all great choices. All are great schools."

    My Dad noted there was some hesitancy to choose between the schools because "you couldn't go wrong with any of them", but when pressed to rank them, MIT and Stanford were the top choices and considered about equal, although my Dad said MIT was always mentioned first (a fine point, but maybe meaningful).

    Now some comments which just came out during the conversations.

    "The top kids from all the schools are absolutely brilliant. Everybody wants them, there's not enough to go around, companies can't hire enough of them."

    "Berkeley is a huge school, with a large Engineering program. The top kids are excellent, but there is less consistency in the total pool of graduates."

    One of the companies said their CalTech hires were "absolute geniuses." Another company said they "don't see CalTech grads that often", and speculated it was because there are fewer CalTech graduates.

    A couple of very common stereotypes were expressed (maybe they're true since these people should know):

    Stanford engineering grads tend to be better rounded and more socially adept than those from the other schools.

    Berkeley, even though it has a great UG program, is a better choice for grad school.

    In the end, there doesn't appear to be anything new here. Certainly nothing that couldn't be found or deduced from reading US News.

    I think the most meaningful statement is "you can't go wrong with any of them." So, if you're accepted at CalTech, Stanford, MIT or Berkeley, REJOICE. If you're accepted at them all, you will have to make a hard choice among nothing but great options.
  • rtkysgrtkysg Registered User Posts: 598 Member
    Joemama, great effort! Although splitting hair, now you can see the reason behind my ranking list right? :).
  • joemamajoemama Registered User Posts: 554 Member
    Agree. I think it comes down to personality--the student's and the school's. I know which program is the best match for me, and recognize that it will be different for others.
  • protonproton Registered User Posts: 1,021 Senior Member
    youd be lucky to get into any of them
  • CC AdminCC Admin Administrator Posts: 32,448 Senior Member
    i personally would goto stanford, they have good grade inflation, good sports programs, lively atmosphere, top programs in everything.
  • joemamajoemama Registered User Posts: 554 Member
    jeffl, What schools have you applied to?

    If applied to most of the top schools and have my fingers crossed.
    My first choice would be Stanford
  • SMSSMS Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Taking other things into consideration, I'll say Stanford without a doubt

    California weather, well-rounded education, and extremely prestigious.

    It is simply CA's Harvard
  • dtshendtshen Registered User Posts: 66 Junior Member
    serious just go to the one where you think youd have the most fun
  • RETHEEMRETHEEM Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    u can never go wrong with either of them.but strictly speaking i think MIT has a slight edge over all.it is called "the ultimate engineering school" or "total engineering school".Caltech is more theoretical,while the others are good in terms of application.But as i said,whichever u choose,its good enough
  • QuentinQuentin Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
    Caltech is most likely the hardest.
  • 4thfloor4thfloor Registered User Posts: 849 Member
    You know, folk, over at the Yale board, there's a thread called "Yale Engineering", and on post #19, someone wrote:

    "In terms of research per student/professor quality, Yale actually has the strongest engineering program in the country, just above Stanford in fact."

    Pretty funny, no?
  • ameerameer Registered User Posts: 295 Junior Member
    ive applied to all of them, have been rejected to stanford ea already.
  • AureliusAurelius Registered User Posts: 585 Member
    I'd also take Stanford over the rest, since it has great grade inflation, weather, and prestige.

    About Yale Engineering, I think its true. Their program is small so the faculty/student ratio is insanely good. Personally, I'd go with Yale engineering over MIT/Berk/Caltech since there's more to the undergrad than just engineering.
  • zephyr151zephyr151 Registered User Posts: 1,659 Senior Member
    But for graduate school and employment, a lot of it depends on the name of the school. Yale engineering has little renown, if any.

    Stanford engineering is clearly the most well-rounded program. And considering their dominant CS department, engineers have plenty to keep themselves busy with. MIT isn't any better than Stanford besides the name itself (which only has more cache on the East Coast), which means a lot less at the undergraduate level.
  • RETHEEMRETHEEM Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    its possible some people dont know stanford.but talk of MIT and people look at u with awe.
This discussion has been closed.