Considering a Transfer... Bad Idea?

<p>I currently attend Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL which I was basically forced to go to due to financial constraints. I have been through only one year, but it is just not the environment and education I was really hoping for. I started out right into my major courses (Chemical Engineering) because of a lot of AP credit, so really I am a year ahead anyway. I wanted to go to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and am considering transferring there after next year. I intend to apply for a fellowship through the EPA that would, if I got it, give me a lot more financial leeway than I had before. Also, I'm thinking I might be able to swing a deal with RHIT since I have had research experience during this past year and these past two summers in addition to a 4.0 GPA. Do you think it would be relatively pointless to transfer at this stage in the game? Also, do you think transferring to a little more respected University (if you would consider more respected) would slightly increase my chances of a graduate school like Stanford (I have been very impressed by their environmental engineering department and there are a few staff that do research in exactly what I am looking into)? </p>

<p>I plan to email the department at RHIT beforehand if I find that I am very serious about transferring and seeing how my courses would transfer at first. Also email the professors there that are into research that I am interested in and see if they can support my fellowship. What do you guys think? Am I jumping to conclusions or would it maybe be a good idea since I find myself very discouraged at IIT?</p>

<p>RHIT is a step up from IIT and Stanford will certainly care about the pedigree of your undergrad (much more so if you're applying for a PhD rather than an MS, but you talked about research so I assume you want a PhD). Despite the cliche in engineering of "work hard, and no one will care where you did your undergrad", my observations suggest otherwise. I have an actual list of where my Stanford EE grad class did their undergrad. Among the domestic PhD students, a full 40% are from the perennial top 5 of EE (MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Illinois, Caltech). Caveat: for the domestic PhDs, response rate was ~50-60%, but that's not too bad and the data still speaks for itself. The story is probably similar in environmental engineering.</p>

<p>I don't think there is anything wrong with your plan. Though be advised, getting funding as a transfer student is very hard, unless your EFC is close to 0 on your FAFSA. That's my personal experience anyway.</p>

<p>I'm assuming you're an Illinois native if you chose IIT. Why not look at UIUC for a transfer option? If you want to transfer to a more "respected" university, UIUC has one of the best engineering colleges in the country, by rankings anyway.</p>

<p>Since you haven't started the transfer process yet you won't be able to transfer until winter semester at the earliest. Maybe this fall will be better than last year. But if not, I see no reason to transfer if you're not happy with the environment and can find an amicable and financially viable alternative elsewhere.</p>