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A few tips from my side for Engineering prospective students


Replies to: A few tips from my side for Engineering prospective students

  • YeahImThatGuyYeahImThatGuy Registered User Posts: 178 Junior Member
    Originally posted by mysticgohan
    State schools have great diversity, which i personally consider a strength, but that can dilute intellectual rigour.
    Generally speaking it might be the case, but when you're talking of a top state school and discussing a field like engineering which it is excellent at, then I choose to disagree, because you're playing to its strengths.
    Consider this case in point: The average GPA for a Berkeley EECS major is 2.7. A 3.2-3.3 from Berkeley is very well respected by employers like Facebook and Google (Source: Multiple career fairs + seniors who've landed jobs/interns). In all, there are ~800 EECS majors, across 4 years and admissions are arguably as selective as "elite" private schools(Average Berkeley acceptance rate ~20%. Average EECS acceptance rate ~10%). This means that these kids are as bright as any private school kids and yet they end up with a 2.7 because of the rigorous curve. Tells a descriptive tale of how intellectually stimulating the environment is.
    Point being, for liberal arts or pure sciences, Princeton may offer a slightly better environment, but for engineering, I am not a subscriber of the theory that a state school like Berkeley/Michigan provides any less stimulating an environment than its private/Ivy counterparts. The level and intensity of research in engineering at these public schools is arguably far better than Princeton, or any other Ivy for that matter (Read: Engineering Grad Schools).

    And yes, ultimately it's up to the applicant to decide whether class sizes are a deciding factor that can make or break a university. You might look at it positively, attributing it to diversity, or negatively, less endowment per student. Either way, it's a matter of personal preference.
  • mysticgohanmysticgohan Registered User Posts: 313 Member
    I concede that your argument about different depts having different selectivity. However, I also think that one is required to be more proactive when you're from a state school since the engg dept is that much larger and there is obviously much more competition. This is opposed to a place like Princeton, where there are plenty of opportunities for most and people can be more laid back with respect to hunting for internships and such.
  • Tizil7Tizil7 Registered User Posts: 1,686 Senior Member
    KidGohan, what would you say about how the size of school affects research/internship opportunities? Let's compare Stanford and Caltech. Will Caltech, with it's small class incoming class size have more opportunities? Or will Stanford, having much more considerable resources at its disposal, have more opportunities? Or am I being ludicrous in making such a comparison? Don't know much about such stuff ;o

    YIATG, so a student at a large public school would have to make a much more considerable effort to score opportunities than, say a well-funded top private school?
  • mysticgohanmysticgohan Registered User Posts: 313 Member
    Its more about resources per student and not resources in total. Although even that relation isn't completely equivalent. I guess compared to Stanford, we probably have a little better research because of SURF. But since they are better known, they probably have a slightly better industrial reputation.
  • YeahImThatGuyYeahImThatGuy Registered User Posts: 178 Junior Member
    My take on research is that you need to be able to demonstrate a certain amount of skill in order to prove to the professor that you wouldn't turn out to be a liability for him if he offers you a position in his lab.
    There are two ways to do this: Personal projects and/or high GPA. If you have outstanding personal projects that really shine through, then you have a high chance of getting some meaningful research. If not, then you have to rely on your GPA. This being said, I'd go so far as to say that a low GPA and minimal personal projects wouldn't get you very far in a well-funded private institute either (I might be wrong in general, but I'm certain this is the case with Stanford, since I'm in touch with quite a few people there).
  • speachyspeachy Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    @yeah: I'd like to clarify that I didn't mean to sound condescending at all towards Cornell or UPenn when I mentioned them like that - I meant to say that they have many undergraduate schools that are preprofessional programs. There's nothing wrong with "core training" or "industry focused" education that they (and state schools) provide. My point is that when choosing a school, you should consider what your attitude towards learning is, too.

    Also, you tend to have a more focused peer group at smaller institutions than state schools, simply because state schools are required to admit almost everyone from the state who applies (this does not apply to Berkeley).

    An engineering professor at a state school recently told me that graduate students from private, undergrad-focused institutions are better off for engineering grad school on average, in his opinion. Also I'd think it would be easier to fall into the shadows at a state school, if the students' academic quality is as high as you say it is.
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