Calling all ChemE majors - want opinion of your school

Due to limited funding we will have to judiciously pick schools to visit. We have visited two so far and this is what my son enjoyed and disliked about schools…

University of Alabama employees seemed friendly and helpful, loved the new lab, less cut throat, we flagged a few students down and everyone loved the school, tour guide loved school and was very enthusiastic. Lots of classed to pick from.

Colorado School of Mines - every employee seemed grumpy, school seemed unwelcoming, every student we saw was walking alone, we flagged down some students to talk and said school was very cut throat most weed out classes are designed to fail students and nobody would recommend this school to their friends others told us not to go their. Limited classes.

My son would rather have the Bama feel. He studies well in groups and likes to tutor. Even though both schools have weed out classes, Bama students came off as the professors want you to succeed but it is not for everyone. At School of Mines, we were unofficially told that a certain percentage of each freshman class is made to fail using curve to maintain its superstar status. It made it feel like people don’t like to work together because of the competiveness. Completely different attitudes.

I would love to hear what you like and dislike about your school. Would you recommend your school to friends and siblings? Why?

Thanks for any comments!

Since you’ll be in the mountain west, you may want to visit South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City; a small university with a big reputation for excellence in the engineering fields. Another southern school to think about is Vanderbilt University.

If your son is interested in an engineering co-op then be informed that Vanderbilt does not allow co-oping. Their opinion is that it is important that the student finish his engineering education in 4 years. I am not making a judgement concerning whether someone should co-op but Vanderbilt was one of the few schools that would not allow it.

Ivvcsf, thanks but DS is not necessarily looking for a co-op just a more laid back environment where students are not as cut throat competitive against each other. He’s looking for a friendlier environment.

LakeWashington, we’ve been advised to stay away from South Dakota because housing is such a big pita. Any thoughts?

That’s not quite accurate.

While it is true that SDSM&T does not provide housing for juniors and seniors, the SDSM&T Foundation does own apartments adjacent to the campus (officially the buildings are not owned by the school) that are available to upperclassmen. Additionally, there are several private apartments very near the campus and in the environs of Rapid City. Finally, the School has announced that a new dormitory will be built, commencing later this year. That would be the 4th new housing complex built on or adjacent to the campus in recent years. Go visit SDSM&T and see.

It would be helpful to know a bit more, like home state and financial constraints. But, without knowing that, I can give you a short list of schools, most of which we did visit, that will meet the “I don’t want to go to school in a grinder” requirement. Our son is a ME and the school he ended up at doesn’t have ME, so I can’t comment on the department, just the schools.

He wanted a strong department that started with applied learning early, had a more of a typical college feel, had access to outdoor activities, and had a largely happy student body. He intentionally avoided the grind schools like Mines and Caltech.

So, the ones we liked (that doesn’t mean there aren’t many others) were WPI (visited, applied, made the final three), Lehigh (visited, didn’t make the cut to apply to, but he had a strong list of schools he really liked, all agreed it would be a great program), Case Western (applied, then visited after granted large merit package, liked, but didn’t make final 3), Colorado State (visited applied, didn’t make final 3, but certainly could have been happy there), Utah (visited, applied, made the final three). Lastly, Wyoming. We didn’t visit and he didn’t apply, but it’s a lot like NMT and SD in that it’s under the radar as far as academics are concerned, but it has a more typical college feel. The student body is very passionate about athletics. There are lots of outdoor activities to do.

Hope that helps.