Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Stanford vs Yale MechE

hahagoomanhahagooman Registered User Posts: 78 Junior Member
edited April 2011 in Stanford University
So I was accepted to Yale as a likely back in Feb and visited campus during a specialized engineering weekend. For me, it was a GREAT experience and I absolutely loved the community there. But, as much as I love Yale and their financial aid offer (full-ride) and their recent pouring of resources into engineering, I am also put off by the lack of an engineering reputation for Yale. Stanford, on the other hand, I got in regular and haven't visited yet. However, I'm probably visiting during the admit weekend (28-30). I know that Stanford's engineering program is better than Yale's but don't know if I would have the right click there (the visit would leave me with 1 day to decide). Their financial aid offer is a bit less than Yale's but still virtually a full-ride. Can you all give me some advice on this issue? Perhaps Yale/Stanford students? Thanks!
Post edited by hahagooman on

Replies to: Stanford vs Yale MechE

  • Senior0991Senior0991 Registered User Posts: 2,380 Senior Member
    Stanford has a very unique culture. For whatever reason, most profros seem to love the aura around this place. I haven't met anyone who was put off by it, but there must be a couple people probably. So if I were you I would definitely visit Stanford to check it out beforehand. If you have the "right click" then the decision would be pretty easy in my opinion.

    If something about Stanford isn't right, then it's obviously a bit tougher. I think then it would come down to how comfortable you would feel going into Yale as a likely MechE. What are your worries about Yale? I'd ask on the Yale forums as well, as there are likely some former engineers who can share their experiences (if all fails I can get you in touch with a current one, just PM me).

    Regarding Stanford, I'd reckon of the HYPSMCwhatever colleges, Stanford has the culture most similar to Yale in terms of the community feel. There are some key differences though, and for all you know you may end up preferring the Stanford way. So definitely check it out. There's definitely a vibe here that's hard to put in words.
  • zenkoanzenkoan Registered User Posts: 1,118 Senior Member
    >If you have the "right click" then the decision would be pretty easy in my opinion.<

    +1 to Senior0991 here. Fit is hugely important, but Stanford is truly leagues beyond Yale in engineering at this point. Things may be closer in a generation or two, given Yale's push in this direction, but there is simply no comparison right now. Here, you'll get a great culture *and* an amazing department in your intended field of study. Yale is a great school and it's never my style to boost Stanford by putting another school down, but in this case, it is what it is.
  • timelesstimeless Registered User Posts: 152 Junior Member
    yea go for stanford, esp. if you are an engineer
  • Senior0991Senior0991 Registered User Posts: 2,380 Senior Member
    ^I'm going to disagree with your assertiveness there. For someone who will likely not pursue a career as an engineer (a lot of engineering majors become doctors, lawyers, businessmen, teachers, whatever) then I'd say it's not that important which engineering program is chosen. On the contrary, if you want to work at Lockheed Martin or Google or wherever out of college, the Stanford engineering program will be of great benefit. Not just because of the prestige, but because of the rigor and culture of most engineering majors here.
  • phantasmagoricphantasmagoric Registered User Posts: 2,200 Senior Member
    but Stanford is truly leagues beyond Yale in engineering at this point.

    True that. If the OP were interested in the arts, I'd say Yale, which is leagues beyond Stanford in arts. It's (still) the other way around for engineering.

    To the OP, if you were choosing between say, Berkeley engineering and Yale engineering, I would say Yale. Even though Berkeley engineering is amazing, Yale offers a better chance of having a really positive undergraduate experience. But in this case, Stanford undergrad = Yale undergrad (in terms of quality), so since it comes down to engineering, I'd say Stanford, hands down.

    Also there are many fundamental differences between the two (search the forum, there are tons of such topics), and you'll have to decide whether you like or dislike those aspects. For example, Yale has the residential college system, which was a turnoff for me. Stanford has the quarter system (vs. Yale's semesters), which was a plus to me. And of course there are big differences in environment: campus size (Stanford's is larger and has more buildings but it's organized well), weather (do I need to explain?), and location (Yale is urban, Stanford suburban but a short distance from San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz / the ocean, the Bay, etc.).

    Stanford's ranked 1 or 2 in ME (grad rankings but relevant):

    Best Mechanical Engineering Programs | Top Engineering Schools | US News Best Graduate Schools
    NRC Rankings Overview: Mechanical Engineering - Faculty - The Chronicle of Higher Education

    Stanford's facilities for ME are kind of ridiculous too--really spread out over many buildings in a central area.

    Stanford School of Engineering - Visit

    P.S. if you request a four-class dorm when you fill out your housing forms, you'll be put on west campus, where it'll literally be a 2-minute walk to all these ME facilities. It also means you get slightly better housing--Wilbur and Stern (where 2/3 of freshmen live) are decent but pretty "meh" compared to most Stanford housing. Roble, Lag, and FloMo are pretty good.
  • StanfordIndianStanfordIndian Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Don't be silly. Go to Yale and then get your graduate degree from Stanford. As an undergrad you'll take the same classes no matter which you attend. And whether you do anything beyond attend classes will be more a matter of how much initiative you show than which school you attend. It's at the grad level when you conduct research and work with professors as a matter of course that you'll want to be at Stanford and it's more extensive engineering resources. You don't want to attend the same school for both so go to Yale as an undergrad and Stanford as a grad student. Just look at all the famous Stanford engineering grads. Most were grad students at Stanford, not undergrads.
  • ewhoewho Registered User Posts: 1,397 Senior Member
    Don't be silly. Go to Yale and then get your graduate degree from Stanford.
    Provided that you can get into Stanford graduate school. Check their website to see how graduate students graduated from Yale, probably none.
  • Senior0991Senior0991 Registered User Posts: 2,380 Senior Member
    I agree with ewho. The two undergrad engineering experiences will hardly be similar either. Stanford engineering is top for a reason: resources, professors, students, research, and more. Yale engineering probably has less resources, worse professors, weaker students, and less research opportunities. It's nothing against Yale. Engineering just isn't one of their strong points.
  • ajimmykidajimmykid Registered User Posts: 140 Junior Member
    @hahagooman
    I did my undergrad at Stanford (in Psych) and now I'm a Mechanical Engineering Masters (we call it a coterm, when you stay a 5th year and get your masters). A couple of things:

    1) It's incredibly easy to coterm, even in Mechanical Engineering - so once you're in to stanford, it's easy to stay at Stanford for higher degrees. So StanfordIndian's suggestion is not quite that easy.

    2) I can attest to the great Mechanical Engineering undergrad classes here (and even better graduate sequences). Wide breadth and great professors. There's also probably like 30-40% girls in the classes, depending on specialization. I consider gender balance a big plus in engineering.

    3) Mechanical Engineering culture here is very hands-on, and there's a options of entrepreneurship and design variations. Something you can see for yourself when you visit. Visit the shop.

    4) Tons of resources here.

    5) Feel free to email me at cjimmy [at] stanford.edu if you want to chat about classes or whatnot about Stanford. Full disclosure: i don't know much about Yale ME, so i won't be able to compare. it sounds like you're in a tricky situation though. I would probably advise that you decide based on the people and culture you want to be a part of.
  • phantasmagoricphantasmagoric Registered User Posts: 2,200 Senior Member
    As an undergrad you'll take the same classes no matter which you attend.

    That makes sense for a lot of other comparisons/disciplines, but not here. Yale's course offerings pale in comparison to Stanford's. Compare:

    Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science | Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science | New Haven CT
    Stanford University Explore Courses
    And whether you do anything beyond attend classes will be more a matter of how much initiative you show than which school you attend.

    And how much the school offers its students and how many of those students are taking advantage of those offers. I have a feeling that however you spin it, Stanford's going to beat Yale by a huge margin in breadth and depth of opportunities outside class in ME.
    It's at the grad level when you conduct research and work with professors

    Except, you need to do research to get into grad school. And Stanford's ME undergrads do tons of research (I think almost all of them do).
    Most were grad students at Stanford, not undergrads.

    A good chunk of them are grad students, because Stanford's graduate engineering program is very large, even larger than Berkeley's. Either way, that's no argument against going to a school's undergrad division.

    Agreed with Senior0991. It's nothing against Yale--it's just not their strong point, in the same way that Stanford sucks at the arts, relative to Yale. I mean, Yale is amazing at the arts, currently #2 in fine arts (US News, at least), and Stanford's #2 in engineering; but if the student were interested in, say, painting, should they go to Stanford over Yale? No, because while Stanford does offer art classes and opportunities, it's just plain inferior to Yale's art offerings. Nothing against Stanford, just not its strong point... yet. :)
  • UCBChemEGradUCBChemEGrad Registered User Posts: 10,277 Senior Member
    To the OP, if you were choosing between say, Berkeley engineering and Yale engineering, I would say Yale. Even though Berkeley engineering is amazing, Yale offers a better chance of having a really positive undergraduate experience. But in this case, Stanford undergrad = Yale undergrad (in terms of quality), so since it comes down to engineering, I'd say Stanford, hands down.
    Define "really positive undergraduate experience"...
  • phantasmagoricphantasmagoric Registered User Posts: 2,200 Senior Member
    Small classes, ability to spend time with professors (not just have access to them, something which Berkeley often has difficulty with), research opportunities, never having to worry about switching or declaring majors, never having to worry about signing up for classes or getting into the classes, being extremely happy with your peers and their abilities, etc.

    This is evident on CC and outside of it: you almost never hear Yale students complain about their school or their experience there, but you constantly hear Berkeley students ***** and moan about almost everything, a sizable portion claiming they hated their time in undergrad, regretted going there, etc.

    The Berkeley board is full of these kinds of complaints. I've seen the same things in other online communities for Berkeley. The most important thing to note is that whether or not these are representative of the general student population's attitude, the relative lack of such complaints about Yale speaks volumes to their difference. In undergrad quality, of course.

    Yes, this also had a lot to do with my choice to turn down Berkeley. And I adored Berkeley way back when (still love it for grad school)--but when you hear Berkeley undergrads complain ad nauseum about their school, it's hard not to listen to them... or worse, run screaming in the other direction. (Yes, it's that bad.)
This discussion has been closed.