Best Northeast Schools for Women in STEM?

Hello, This is my first post here on CC. My daughter wants to major in Mechanical Engineering with a preference for Robotics and AeroAstro.

She got into the following colleges: WPI, RPI, Union, SUNY Binghampton, Clarkson and UMASS Lowell.

We are waiting to hear from MIT, Harvard, Tufts and Boston University.

COVID has restricted live visits to many of the schools. We’ve done multiple virtual tours of each school and she has a few friends who attend WPI and Clarkson.

Assuming she will not get into MIT and Harvard, we’d love to hear any parent or student feedback on any of the schools on this list. Day to day discussions about dorm life, campus environment, and pace of learning are also very important to us.

Financial aid offers are very similar for each acceptance package.

Thank you so much !!

More anecdotal than anything else, but my daughter applied to a number of schools with a STEM focus. The only two that match those on your daughter’s list are MIT and Binghamton (my daughter also applied to Harvey Mudd, Carnegie Mellon, Cooper Union, Cornell, Georgia Tech, Michigan and three LACs) so that would suggest she had a preference for Binghamton.

I know she knows people from her robotics team that have gone to RPI, WPI and Binghamton and their opinions may (or may not) have had a role in her decisions not to apply. I know the student at Binghamton is very happy there [but she is not an engineering major].

Good luck.

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You may want to check out the CC sub forums for the colleges on the list. There is a lot of good information there.

The only schools my D overlapped on were RPI and Clarkson. D really liked both. RPI is still pretty heavily skewed in terms of male:female ratio but she loved the facilities there. The only worrisome thing for her was the ARCH program which would have been brand new for her class. Hopefully they’ve worked out the kinks.

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Thank you !! The schools on your list are fabulous! This is very helpful. She wants to stay close to home, which limited her reach. We will tour Binghampton. My friends son goes there and loves it, too. Her friend loves WPI, and she loved the tour, but we want to compare the others before we make a decision.

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Thank you for the quick response!! My daughter’s friend goes to Clarkson and loves it. I think of RPI as a classic, excellent engineering school. We toured there and she liked it well enough, but could not get a sense of what the student life was like. They explained the Arch program to us, too, we were equally curious about how it would all work. Good luck to your daughter!

FWIW, my niece and one of my D’s best friends went/currently attend Clarkson. I know when my niece was looking, she was very concerned about the male/female relationship and how the males viewed and treated the females. She did a lot of research and ended up not applying to RPI. The feedback she received indicated females were not really treated as equals and team players. She spent a summer at WPI during college and very much enjoyed her time, but she raves about Clarkson, as does my D’s friend. She enjoyed the camaraderie and felt very much an equal to the male students. It is a very collaborative environment. She also had amazing opportunities there (internship/coops, presenting her work at national conferences, etc.) and is currently doing great in a pHd program at UWashington. I know several men who graduated from there, and they feel the same way. Seems like there’s something special going on up there. They have a very active outing club if your D is outdoorsy. It was top 2 for my S last year, and I am a bit bummed he didn’t choose it, though his reasons were valid. For him, it may have not been the best choice.


My D is a junior at Purdue so thankfully the college decisions are behind us : )

Your D has great options on the table. I’m sure she’ll find the right one for her!

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Purely anecdotal, but my understanding is that women STEM majors are a hook at Wesleyan.


This is helpful! My daughter’s friend goes to Clarkson. She is studying civil engineering and her father was a nuclear engineer and they speak highly of the school. I think the decision will come down to Clarkson vs. WPI. She has visited WPI and really felt at home there and her friend who studies ME really likes it too. WPI is closer to our home, Clarkson is 5.5 hours away. I think WPI’s fast pace might be a whirlwind for my daughter who is super motivated, but can get distractible or lost in admin details (She’s a “didn’t complete the second page of the science MCAS, forgot to flip over the paper, but still scored well” kind of a kid). With remote school and COVID, she’s missed some assignments because she forgot to hit the ‘submit’ button, etc. So, she’d need some mentoring and flexibility in her first years to take in the routine of what’s expected. I’m reading that RPI"s Arch program is not easy to manage for students and families.

The gender collaboration is super important. She’s been sort of sheltered from STEM competition in her local public school because it’s so small, so all kids were welcome in robotics and Math modeling and no one felt like an outsider. She has no experience of competition due to gender, so she’d really be floored to experience it and it would be heartbreaking for her confidence to be challenged due to gender when she is truly excited about a tech learning environment and dreamed of being an aero astro scientist all of her life.

Any ABET accredited Engineering school is going to give a similar education.
I would think about:
Net Cost
AP/IB Credits (FYI SUNY Bing is very generous with IB Credits)
Male/Female ration (a state school will bemore 50/50 than private engineering school)
Geographic location - how far a drive/fly, how easy to get home
Housing availability
WHere she might want to work after college
Coop programs with links to companies that do Robotics and AeroAstro.

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Also don’t’ worry about the BEST school…worry about the BEST school for your daughter.


Thank you!! All good points. We just walked the campuses of WPI, RPI and Union. She loved the Union campus, it really was beautiful and welcoming. But she craves being in a polytech school for many reasons.

She doesn’t want to be too far away 2 to 5 hours max and we live in Western mass. She wants to settle in the Northeast as well even though we do have family in the south. She’s really curious about the WPI robotics major I believe it’s one of the only true robotics majors in our region. The WPI campus was small and walkable but very dense with lots of facilities and research opportunities that were very exciting for her. They also had a lot of student activities and a lovely park that was part of the campus. Worcester is a difficult city to navigate but I don’t imagine she’ll be spending much time off campus given the workload

WPI has project-based learning so she should make sure that is a way that is effective for her to learn.