I am a HS senior stuck between two schools for mechanical engineering, mainly, Cornell and Clarkson (leaning Clarkson). Cornell is best academic school I stand a chance for, but even if I get in I would most likely be in the bottom %50 or %25 of admittances GPA/SAT wise. Vs Clarkson (which I have financial and athletic reasons to attend which are pretty big factors) I would most likely be around the %75+ percentile enrolled.
I am a good student and a pretty decent worker but I am not the type to be up till 3a.m. studying for a quiz in HS.
Additionally Clarkson is a much smaller school (obviously) in fact, Cornell’s engineering college is bigger than Clarkson’s entire enrollment.
That being said, does the “big fish little pond” exist? By that I mean is it beneficial to some extent to go to somewhere you will be challenged, but also easier to be known by professors, get research funding (maybe?), and get thoroughly challenged but stay on top of schoolwork and get a good GPA, and possibility of good job through professor rec’s / GPA.
Additionally if I did enroll in Cornell around the bottom %25 is it a concern that I could get drowned with work and either have no life outside of schoolwork or take a big GPA hit/ get lost in the system of such a big school?
And if the “big fish little pond” effect does exist could is compare anywhere near to the difference in prestige?
Sorry if this is a lot of questions to ask but any opinions are apricated!