We have visited all three, and frankly, we liked the small school environment at Caltech. We felt like the professor to student ratio would be great but now, thanks to tons of info to read on the internet, I’m wondering about the actual professor’s involvement there. I’m not sending him somewhere to be taught by a TA or grad student, for a professor too busy doing his own research to teach or closes his door during the day when he’s not in class. At this point, we’ve determined that there is no perfect school, we have no love affair with one, and no personal attachment to any. With Caltech, I’m really concerned with the lack of a major degree in Aerospace and only a minor in it being offered. By readings, they seem hyper focused on a BS and an academia type of education vs. a focus on applied engineering. Other concerns are, the distance from Texas family & friends, being all alone in CA, and an inevitable portion of debt. However, with my son’s accomplishments, attitude, maturity, work ethic, and extroverted personality, I feel that he deserves the absolute best and would possibly gain a slightly better education and more prominent network there or at a similar college than at a state school or two that’s rolling out the red carpet for him. Then again, I believe he could go IS and be at the top of his class with a huge, cult like network in the state and a culture that he’s not but very familiar with, OR, he could go OOS and end up blending in or possibly washing out due to being unhappy, homesick, etc.
Either way, I’ve always said my son is a world changer, I just want to make sure I support him in every way in his journey to the top and not persuade or hinder his decision in any way. Selfishly, I never want him to leave our home but if he wants to change the world, I’m going to have to get over the fact that he may not be able to do that by living somewhat near us and that just plain stinks. I’m sure you can tell, he’s the first of two to leave the nest and it’s hard for me to find any excitement about any of it. I feel sorry for his younger brother, he thinks he’s going to leave our nest one day too, he’s flat out insane! ?
And yes, I’ve heard/read the same thing about maybe doing undergrad one place and possibly going elsewhere for grad and PHD. It makes some sense but is it really true that “it’s not as important where you get your undergrad as it is where you got your graduate/PHD degrees”?