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STEM/Engineering Major College Suggestions

achoukachouk 27 replies4 threads Junior Member
My son is looking to go OOS from AZ in the Fall of 2021. Most likely he will declare engineering as a major. Other than looking at the top undergraduate engineering colleges, what other factors have helped you decided where to apply? Yes COA is important, but we are willing to entertain the idea of paying more if there will be a considerable ROI. He has a 4.0 GPA, has taken quite a few AP classes, 1550 SAT and is a national merit semi-finalist. He has ruled out California schools and Texas. While he does well academically, I don't want him to attend a school that places him in a pressure cooker situation. Hoping he can gain new experiences away from home.
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Replies to: STEM/Engineering Major College Suggestions

  • randomPeoplerandomPeople 31 replies4 threads Junior Member
    edited September 24
    When you say he ruled out California schools and Texas. I assume you meant public schools. How about HMC and Rice?
    edited September 24
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  • achoukachouk 27 replies4 threads Junior Member
    edited September 24
    Actually he does not want to go to any school in either state. We have visited California frequently, but we have never been to Texas. I am thinking that he wants to experience something other than the southwest. We did have the opportunity to visit Harvey Mudd.
    edited September 24
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 11072 replies137 threads Senior Member
    We visited 15 schools with my D- big, small, private, public, etc... she found she liked the collaborative, career readiness vibe and focus at the big flagships. Their facilities were also amazing. Purdue, Michigan, and UMD CP were at the top of her list.

    Other things to consider for engineering:
    - transition to major process
    - co-ops
    - career services on campus

    Engineering is going to be tough anywhere.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 8049 replies39 threads Senior Member
    Instead of just throwing out names can you tell us more what he is looking for? I had my son go through the top 50 schools and besides the top ten pick some schools from 11-20, 21-30 and so on. The lower the rank the more the merit money. Keep that in mind.

    As far as ROI and worth. No not really. Yes, there are certain schools that paying a little more might be worth it. Like $15,000/year more of you can afford it and this might be a stretch. To put it in perspective. If company X is hiring 10 engineers whether they went to Berkeley, Georgia Tech, Kettering, or Illinois Institute of technology.. They are all getting paid the same being a first year engineer. Hope that makes sense. (this might not be true in evey company but you get the idea).

    Also if you look at 5 /10 year out pay it all starts to equalize at some point unless you specialize.

    Every engineering school is hard. Don't think there's an easy one. Yes, some are more intense. But people at Iowa State don't think it's any easier then my son at Michigan. My son tells me even the easy classes are hard and that everyone struggles together... I think that's a fair assessment. Lol.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 85049 replies758 threads Senior Member
    edited September 24
    Other things to consider for engineering:
    - transition to major process

    Some examples:

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/engineering-majors/2174743-first-year-engineering-programs-secondary-admission-to-major-criteria.html

    Where the process is more competitive or less transparent in terms of what is needed to get into each major, the environment could be more of a pressure-cooker.

    Also note that earning a 3.0, 3.2, 3.5, etc. GPA in college is more difficult for most students than earning a 3.0, 3.2, 3.5, etc. GPA in high school.

    Some colleges admit frosh directly to their majors and let them stay if they pass (C or higher grades) their courses, so there is no secondary admission to go through if students are staying in the same major. However, if the student wants to change major, and the new major is full or close to full, changing into it may require a high college GPA or competitive admission.
    edited September 24
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  • achoukachouk 27 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Knowsstuff - It's hard to say what he is looking for. Sometimes I think he does not even know himself! One thing I can say is that he says he would prefer a smaller setting, but not too small. I would hate for him to miss out on UofM just because it has such a large student population. I keep telling him that chances are that the engineer majors have their own smaller community within a larger community. He does not really care about things like Big 10 sports, etc. I don't see him really interested in tailgating, etc. Last night we looked at Cornell and he seemed inspired by their campus. We did have the opportunity to visit Boston last year and he did not care for Northeastern, maybe because it felt too city-like. Yet, he was open to BU and MIT. Love these replies - the are quite helpful. Good point about getting paid the same as new hires - even when attending different schools.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 11072 replies137 threads Senior Member
    Remember too that large schools have honors colleges and living/learning communities that can also make a big school feel much smaller.

    If he is wanting to avoid a pressure cooker environment, I'd think twice about Cornell engineering. It's intense.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 8049 replies39 threads Senior Member
    achouk wrote: »
    Knowsstuff - It's hard to say what he is looking for. Sometimes I think he does not even know himself! One thing I can say is that he says he would prefer a smaller setting, but not too small. I would hate for him to miss out on UofM just because it has such a large student population. I keep telling him that chances are that the engineer majors have their own smaller community within a larger community. He does not really care about things like Big 10 sports, etc. I don't see him really interested in tailgating, etc. Last night we looked at Cornell and he seemed inspired by their campus. We did have the opportunity to visit Boston last year and he did not care for Northeastern, maybe because it felt too city-like. Yet, he was open to BU and MIT. Love these replies - the are quite helpful. Good point about getting paid the same as new hires - even when attending different schools.

    At Michigan you can make it as small as you want to. My son started a club as a freshman and mostly these are the people he hangs with. Any university once you join or do an activity those people plus your dorm people are the ones you will mostly be with. Michigan has a crazy small school feel. Central campus, where almost all his first year classes will be is not that large and most classes are like a 5 minute walk from each other. Then once on North campus its very peaceful with lots of trees and you see Deer on your walk to classes. It's a different feel then central. My son likes both. Many of his classes have 20-40 students in them even as a freshman. But Chem will have 200 no doubt but you also break down to 20 kids with their really great TA sessions. Professors are approachable and getting times to see them is pretty easy. Many know my son by his first name. It's all what you make of it. OK....

    He doesn't ever "have" to go to a football game and no one is going to make him tailgate........he can do what fits him. On Saturday night the library is full. It's a very hard academic school btw- that's the bias part.

    Yes as stated Cornell. Georgia Tech, UIUC are some grinder schools for engineering. Everyone "likes" MIT just like everyone "likes Stanford but no one gets in.....(joking), MIT is a great rejection letter to have...Kinda cool actually.....LOL...

    Too bad no California since Cal Poly Slo would fit his bill.

    How about RIT, RPI, WPI, North Carolina State, As a start. Rose Hulman is great but it's really small and not much to do but kids love this school. Olin would be worth a look also. Also Cooper Union is a very interesting school but in New York but worth a google on.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 3023 replies48 threads Senior Member
    Sounds like he has the highly rated “stats match” schools on his radar. Some ideas from my D’s search at the next tier - still all T20/excellent schools - where merit awards, honors colleges, etc., might be available: Purdue (where my D is a Senior), Virginia Tech (her 2nd choice), Ohio State, Maryland.
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  • achoukachouk 27 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Knowsstuff - Thanks for the details about UofM. Even though I am originally from Michigan I know very little about it as I went to MSU. Funny you should mention Cal Poly...I was thinking about that last night. I am going to have him check it out. Maybe he will change his mind about California since it is not in the LA area. Thanks for mentioning the other schools too. Do you think Tufts is a good option?
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  • achoukachouk 27 replies4 threads Junior Member
    RichInPitt - Purdue is definitely on his list as well as Virginia Tech. Truth be told if he gets admitted to UofM and Purdue I am thinking that UofM might be the better choice although Purdue seems like it might be less expensive. I do still have some ties to Michigan and I think it would be easier to fly into Detroit and head up to Ann Arbor. Any thoughts on going to Purdue vs UofM besides tuition?
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 11072 replies137 threads Senior Member
    My D had Purdue and Michigan as #1 and #2 on her list. I will say that H and I liked Michigan better. Hands down they had the best engineering tour we were on. Their facilities are outstanding and Ann Arbor is tops in my book in terms of a college town. (We had dreams of getting to Zingermann's every time we visited).

    D however had some issues with Michigan . She was not a fan of the split campus. She had a long commute to HS and the idea of having to ride a bus back and forth to North campus for a few semesters was enough of a turn off to knock them down a notch. They also accepted fewer AP courses than Purdue. Lastly, there was stronger co-op support/structure at Purdue which she was looking for. (She also grew up in OH so I also think the whole "school up north" thing was in the back of her head).

    There are shuttles that run to the airports in both Indy and Chicago. Indy is about an hour, Chicago is 2 hours (depending on traffic). Lots of ride share boards too. Michigan is certainly more convenient to the airport than Purdue.

    You are right that tuition is substantially lower at Purdue. Roughly $42K/year + or - $2K for OOS tuition depending on housing. They are on year 9 of a tuition freeze.

    My D is a junior chem E co-op student in honors college. We've been blown away by her entire experience so far. Happy to share details or answer any questions you may have.






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  • 2kidcollege2kidcollege 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
    My nephew had an amazing experience at CalPoly SLO for aerospace. Even with those stats entrance is very competitive and very desired. Makerspace is open 24/7 and they are trained and certified to use it within a month or so of school beginning.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 8049 replies39 threads Senior Member
    edited September 24
    achouk wrote: »
    Knowsstuff - Thanks for the details about UofM. Even though I am originally from Michigan I know very little about it as I went to MSU. Funny you should mention Cal Poly...I was thinking about that last night. I am going to have him check it out. Maybe he will change his mind about California since it is not in the LA area. Thanks for mentioning the other schools too. Do you think Tufts is a good option?

    Both Purdue and Michigan are excellent choices. Also...Michigan State has a great engineering school and gets overlooked. He would get most likely 1/2 merit or instate tuition and be in honors. Their honors program is outstanding with a mentor and research guarantee and a stipend for study abroad unless anything has changed. They all live together and it's a very tight community. He will be in contention for a full ride also. Rose will be half merit and maybe a full ride. North Carolina State at least half merit. Kids from Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue find themselves with jobs at similar or same companies. Purdue is more known for co-ops. Even though Michigan has them it's not a big thing there. Internships are. My son also did an Engineering study abroad in France and got a class out of the way as he also went to Brussels and Amsterdam.(on the same trip)....then flew to Israel for his internship.......Hopefully the world will be a better place when it's your sons turn.
    edited September 24
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  • achoukachouk 27 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Knowsstuff - How fortunate for your son to have such amazing study abroad experiences! I am not sure why my son could get instate tuition at MSU if we are from Arizona?

    Do you think the job opportunities are similar for those who graduate from RIT, RPI, WPI, Rose Hulman, Tufts, etc as the ones for people who graduate from the larger name schools such as UofM, Purdue, MSU, Northwestern, etc?

    Thanks again!
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 11072 replies137 threads Senior Member
    I think what Knowsstuff was saying was that if your son is competitive for schools like MIT, he'd get merit $ at MSU to make it equivalent to instate tuition (although he'll correct me if I'm mistaken).

    I would not put Tufts in the same category for engineering as RIT, RPI, WPI, and RH
    ; )

    I do think the job opportunities for engineers are fairly comparable. There just are not enough engineering grads to fill all the positions so it's a highly marketable degree.

    IMO, what the big schools have going for them is that they attract a huge number of companies to campus for career fairs so it may be easier for students to make connections than at some of the smaller programs. It can be a one stop shop for big companies that need to hire a variety of disciplines.

    Purdue tells incoming freshmen engineers to bring an interview suit and a working draft of a resume with them to freshman orientation. They are encouraged to visit the career center that very first week to work on both resume and their elevator pitches. The first career fair is in mid September. It's excellent experience!
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 8049 replies39 threads Senior Member
    edited September 24
    achouk wrote: »
    Knowsstuff - How fortunate for your son to have such amazing study abroad experiences! I am not sure why my son could get instate tuition at MSU if we are from Arizona?

    Do you think the job opportunities are similar for those who graduate from RIT, RPI, WPI, Rose Hulman, Tufts, etc as the ones for people who graduate from the larger name schools such as UofM, Purdue, MSU, Northwestern, etc?

    Thanks again!

    Hi,

    Sorry doing this between patients......we are from Chicago but grew up in Michigan. YOU can get instate tuition in the form of a merit. My son did but decided not to go there since he got into Michigan. To us it was well worth the cost difference from UIUC in Illinois. Please use an @ sign like this if you are tagging someone btw. @momofsenior1 I agree that I would take Tufts off the list. Different regions will be different opportunities I think is fair. My friends daughter graduated from RIT and did an internship with Tesla and has now been there employed for 3 years. This was her dream job.
    edited September 24
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  • DCCAWAMIIAILDCCAWAMIIAIL 211 replies7 threads Junior Member
    What about Wash U in St. Louis or Northwestern? Rice would be great as well!
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 8049 replies39 threads Senior Member
    NW can be a pressure cooker and same with WashU if he doesn't want that
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 924 replies9 threads Member
    I've always like NC State. The new Centennial campus is nice. Lots of growth and opportunities in Raleigh.

    Rice seems like a no-brainer. It gets a lot of love on CC. Our friend's son goes to VT and likes it. I was also talking to his friend who goes to Rice and he loves it.

    If he likes smaller maybe Case, RPI, RIT, Lafayette or Lehigh? If he only wants engineering what about Olin or Cooper?
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