Deciding which school

My son is stressed about picking his school. He wants to major in Mechanical Engineering. He has been accepted to the following:

Miami - Mechanical
Ohio Northern - Mechanical
University of Cincinnati- Chemical (3rd Choice)
Ohio State - Main Campus (not a direct admit school)
Ohio University- Mechanical

UC was his first choice but he is now concerned he will not be able to switch to mechanical.

Miami was a very close second but he is concerned about their engineering program strength.

He was very enticed by Ohio Northern’s new engineering facility but is sure he would be happy in the middle of nowhere.

Ohio State has a great program but he is worried he may not be accepted since it’s not a direct admit and he is not sure he wants a large school.

Ohio University is somewhere in the middle of all these for him.

Looking for feedback from anyone who has any pros or cons for him.

He will be visiting all of them again.

He currently has a 4.1 weighted GPA and is taking a few AP and college classes this year. He received a 27 on the ACT. Additionally he is the Mechanical Team lead on his high school robotics team.

@Ohioengineeringmom It might make sense for your son to contact UC’s engineering college to ask about the process for changing majors and the possibility to do that upfront. There is a link on the UC engineering website with a list of advisors you could contact. I also see on the engineering website that they offer an undecided option for applicants, which suggests to me that there is a process for declaring or changing majors within the COE. There may be some particular majors (e.g. aerospace) that could be harder to transfer into, but I wouldn’t think that chemical and mechanical would be that different in terms of competitiveness.

Of the schools on your list, I would probably steer my son to UC based on the availability of coop and internship possibilities, reputation and overall quality. In my opinion, that experience is invaluable and sets UC apart with potential employers. Plus, your son seems to feel that UC provides the best fit for what he is looking for. UC and OSU may give your son an advantage in finding his first job, but that advantage goes away after the first work experience.

Ohio State undoubtedly is well ranked in engineering, especially for its graduate programs, but the size and not getting directly into an engineering specialty are definitely factors to consider. I can’t tell how rigorous your son’s high school classes were from what you wrote above. Did he take and do well in honors/AP-level math and science classes? The SAT score is respectable, but having to compete at OSU for an engineering spot with students with 1500+ SAT scores, 4.5+ GPAs and 5s in AP classes could be stressful. As an undergraduate, I completed an electrical engineering program that started with 175 students and graduated 55. There is something to be said about picking a program that gives your child the best chance of success. The most competitive program is not always the best choice.

I would lump Miami, Ohio Northern and Ohio University together in that they are all solid colleges with ABET accredited programs, but maybe not well known for engineering. He could still get a quality engineering education at any of them. Plus, there is something to be said about being a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Just my two cents for what it is worth. I’ll share my son’s situation in another post.

DS accepted into engineering at Purdue, Clemson, Pitt and Miami U. Waiting for decisions from Virginia Tech, Colorado Boulder and UConn, but hopeful for acceptances. Stats: 1480 SAT, rank 1 of 300, 4.6 WGPA, 9 AP classes, good ECs, from NJ.

His dream school is Colorado Boulder for aerospace engineering (loves the outdoors), but we are doubtful that they will give enough scholarship money to make it worthwhile. Pitt gave no scholarship money, so we are moving on. We are expecting Purdue, Clemson, VA Tech, UConn and Miami U to be within our budget. Based on strength of program alone, Purdue would be the clear winner, but not sure if the large size and location are a good fit. We haven’t visited UConn yet, but the size, rural location and peer opinions (not a popular choice at his high school) will likely sink it. We visited Clemson and VT, and DS loved their size, campus feel, school spirit, big-time athletics, weather, availability of outdoor activities and engineering program quality. If I had to guess, it would be a toss-up between Clemson and VT.

We are not sure what to make of Miami U. We visited a couple of years ago with an older sibling, and the size, campus feel, students, town and ice skating rinks were big draws. DS accepted into mechanical engineering, UASP and Honors with a $23K scholarship. We are estimating that Miami would be roughly $12.5k less per year ($50K over four years). Based on stats on their website, the COE graduated 353 in 2018 with 113 from ME (unclear if that includes graduate programs). Ranked 30th among engineering programs without a PhD and an emphasis on undergraduate teaching and research. ABET accredited. Highly-rated career services, but not clear how strong campus recruiting is for engineering (I suspect that the business school is the big draw). There is a parent on this board who shared positive outcomes for two children who graduated from the ME program. It’s definitely worth another visit for us, because it may very well click for him.

The financial case for Miami is compelling, but not definitive. There probably is a price point where the case would be a slam dunk, but I’m not sure we’ve reached it yet. We expect our kids to take out the standard $5500 in Federal loans to have some skin in the game. DS raised the possibility of borrowing additional money to finance CU Boulder. While Boulder is highly ranked in engineering, especially aerospace engineering, we are discouraging excessive borrowing.