Engineering at Harvard and Yale

<p>I am hoping someone can help with some information. My S has been very lucky and has successful admission decisions. We just do not know enough about the schools for him to make an informed choice. </p>

<p>He has been admitted to MIT, Harvard and Yale. He is a "true" engineer and most definitely will be majoring in engineering. I know MIT is the obvious choice based on that criteria but he is also a very social kid.</p>

<p>Does anyone have any experience with either Harvard or Yale engineering? Are the graduates heavily recruited for engineering jobs? Is it possible to get into a MIT/Stanford type graduate program coming from Harvard or Yale engineering? Are there sufficient internship/research opportunities available at these schools?</p>

<p>We are very familiar with MIT and are looking for information on the other two schools. S does not want to significantly compromise the engineering education- can he get a good and respected engineering education at Harvard and/or Yale?</p>

<p>Thank you for anyone that has any knowledge of these programs. We realize how fortunate he is to have this decision and he cannot go wrong at any of these places but any insight would be appreciated.</p>

<p>I don't know anything about Yale, but my son did look into Harvard for computer science which is in the engineering school and had hoped to go to MIT, but wasn't accepted. Harvard is (or at least was prior to the economic downturn) planning to greatly expand their engineering offerings in the next few years, but right now of course it's a much smaller program than MIT's. Of course if it's big enough for your son, it doesn't really matter - one can only take so many courses in four years anyway. I think both schools are social, but in different ways. My son was favorably impressed by the availability of geeky science fiction loving, games playing kids like him when he visited for accepted students weekend. Harvard says their placement is very good, but they didn't show us graphs of salaries or lists of who went where. (Unlike Carnegie Mellon where my son ended up.) I am quite sure that a student who does well at Harvard can get into good engineering grad programs.</p>

<p>I'd encourage your son to go to the accepted students weekend - he can interact with students and attend some classes on Monday. He'll get a better idea of what the school is like. </p>

<p>For my son, who socializes mostly with other computer geeks the things that make Harvard special (famous professors outside computer science, great ECs, the Charles River, the wide variety of students) were of little interest. For him it was a matter of 20 professors in his major vs. 200.</p>


<p>All I can say is WOW! What a kid you have there. My son is also majoring in Engineering, and had a 35 on his ACT but didn't dare even dream to apply to MIT just because he felt he wouldn't get it...and in honesty wouldn't be ready for that intensity. He told me that he wanted to apply just to see if he could get admitted...and he would frame the admission letter. It's still his hopes for graduate school. For now he's happy he got his first if he could get $$$.</p>

<p>Does he know what kind of engineering he wants? Harvard and Yale are missing some popular engineering fields.</p>

<p>MIT will offer much more choice in engineering options I agree with the others here. Nothing wrong with HArvard or Yale engineering just more choice and options at MIT.</p>

<p>Engineering? MIT for sure - it's an open and shut case. And I speak as a Harvard parent who is generally a Harvard booster.</p>

<p>It depends. I personally wanted Yale for engineering because I do not intend to become a professional engineer. I am either going to go for a PhD or become a doctor or something and if your son has aspirations outside engineering than that Yale is probably great for that.</p>

<p>The research at MIT is top notch but competition for it is probably fierce. At Yale there is good research going on but far fewer people trying to get it so it may be easier. I would suggest your son go to the websites of the respective colleges and investigate himself and go to the schools visit days that may help make the decision.</p>

<p>If it is purely based on which is the best engineering school, there's no question, MIT.</p>

<p>Also, MIT students can cross-register at Harvard (and maybe vice versa?)</p>

<p>Of course, it is hard to imagine going wrong with Harvard/Yale, either.</p>

<p>TooTiredMom: You are tired. Get some rest. Let your son go to MIT. It will be easier for him to be social at MIT than for him to get an MIT quality education in engineering at Yale (and probably Harvard though I know less about Harvard). And BTW, congratulations to your son!</p>

<p>Thanks everyone for your thoughts. </p>

<p>He is looking at Mechanical Engineering and all of the schools offer that. As of now he would like to pursue at least a MS in Engineering. Law/medicine is not in the picture at all. </p>

<p>MIT and Harvard do have a cross registration program that works both ways.</p>

<p>MIT in a heartbeat. Look, I know there's allure to the Harvard and Yale names. But if your S is a "true engineer" as you say, this is a no-brainer. There are at least a couple of dozen schools that are better in engineering than Harvard; more like three dozen better than Yale. If your S really wants to do engineering, he'd be crazy---just flat crazy---to pass up MIT for a school that is clearly weaker in his field. Resist the temptation to swoon when confronted by the Harvard and Yale nameplates. It's not worth it, not for someone who has the talent and the opportunity to be an MIT engineer. Grab for the brass ring. In engineering, that's MIT, not Harvard or Yale.</p>

<p>My DS is a grad student at MIT and has classmates from both H and Y. </p>

<p>I disagree with most here. For the social kid you describe I'd choose H or Y. I can't imagine either of my other two at MIT, but my self described nerd is very happy there.</p>

<p>I think many of the brightest engineers don't choose engineering jobs. MIT even sends a third of grads to Wall Street. A well rounded education and more main stream social life is a great thing for many.</p>

<p>MIT can be very social. There are sororities and frats, and sports, and all the other things you find at liberal arts schools. He's got to go to the accepted students weekends and check it out for himself.</p>

<p>If he can find alums from H and Y who did engineering and talk to them, that might be helpful too.</p>

<p>If you would like more information about Harvard's engineering and applied sciences programs, please attend the web chat on Tuesday, April 14th from 9 - 11pm. </p>

<p>The chat will feature faculty, students, and the assistant dean for academic programs (all in engineering and related fields). As an admitted student, your son will receive an invitation.</p>

<p>And be sure to visit the campuses of all of the schools you are interested in. if all goes well, Harvard will offer (for the first time) a separate science and engineering tour during prospective visit day (which is another opportunity to meet with students and faculty). </p>

<p>Finally, you can download the undergraduate engineering prospectus here:</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>And check out the video about Harvard's recent investments in engineering here:</p>

<p>Harvard</a> School of Engineering & Applied Sciences</p>

<p>All three schools you mention are excellent and offer opportunities for a broad, first-rate education in engineering and related fields. Harvard offers an A.B. in engineering sciences (which is rare among engineering programs) as well as an S.B. </p>

<p>You will hear this a lot ... the goal is to figure out what school will fit best for your needs (financial, location, etc.) and the place where your son will be happiest. And keep in mind, your son may change his mind in terms of his major (be sure whatever school you pick can accommodate).</p>

<p>Graduates from all those schools end up in top grad programs (the stats bear this out), at top firms, etc. Meaning it is pointless to "sell" you one program over the other. It is going to come down to what feels right (as mushy as that seems).</p>

<p>And for the purposes of full disclosure, I work at Harvard's engineering school (in communications). I also worked at MIT for 8 years. </p>

<p>Best of luck --- you are fortunate to have so many fantastic choices.</p>

<p>He should go to MIT, and take some classes at Harvard if he likes to. For engineering, MIT truly is an obvious choice...</p>

<p>Has he been to visit any of them?</p>

<p>Middle son's choices 2 years back were MIT, Penn's M&T program (BS from Wharton + BS in biochemical engineering in 4 years and Princeton. Since he was in EA at MIT we just thought that is where he would end up. Then with the M & T program it became not such an easy choice. And then his last acceptance was P'ton. (he had other choices but all led down a different path not relevant to this specific issue!)</p>

<p>He visited all 3 within a few days. Actually flew to MIT first, left early and went straight to Penn. Flew home for a track meet and left the next day for pton. He knew from the very beginning he did not want to be an engineer (opposite of your son) and wanted to pursue grad school afterwards but felt an engineering undergrad would be something he would enjoy and help prepare him for grad programs.</p>

<p>I was extremely surprised at his reactions to each school and their corresponding programs. I did not go with him, he went by himself. The "fit" for him ended up being at pton and yet Penn had a better financial aid offer, not a huge difference but noticeable.
He very much liked the M&T people/program and Philly but he really liked pton. He was supposed to be at MIT for 3.5 days and left after one overnight. He went thinking it was his first choice and after being there realized it wasn't for him.</p>

<p>Just to show things can change in about a year, he did visit Harvard and came back with a big NO! And yet when he was at Harvard this past summer doing research through their med school he had a GREAT time. Loved everything about the school, the program, his dorms, the students, profs and the city itself and the "charlie" card.</p>

<p>I asked him when he came back if he would have enjoyed that more for undergrad and he said no that he is right where he "needed" to be. He felt that if he had matriculated to MIT and to Penn's program he would have remained an engineering major and that is not where he would be happiest. He was not ready to make a decision that he felt would bind him into a particular field. I told him it wouldn't but he said he would feel "obligated" to do so. (Same reason for declining his appointment to West Point! heart-breaking decision here)</p>

<p>At first I did not understand son's decision, but he usually does a pretty good job making big he so often reminds me at odds with me not making such great decisions! He has taken classes he has enjoyed and others not so much but he truly cherishes his days on campus. He has grown into so much more than I would have dreamed and has really inspired his brothers and sisters to do so much more (that is a whole 'nother story, got his bro to transfer from an LAC to a service academy...).</p>

<p>If your son is pursuing his passion of being an engineer then based on son's journey I would suggest MIT. However, he needs to visit and THEN decide. Made the world of difference to my son. Also son had visited his sophomore year but visiting as an accepted student 2 years later made a HUGE difference.</p>

<p>And CONGRATS!!! He has many, many wonderful choices!!!!!</p>


ps son is headed to Yale for the summer, so will get his grad school visit done at the same time! Your son has some terrific choices!</p>

<p>Agree that he needs to visit, talk to students, and then decide.</p>

<p>However, it is absolutely false to state that due to competition, exceptional research opportunities are hard to find at MIT vs. at Harvard and Yale. The critical mass of professors, grad students, world class labs, etc at MIT (particularly in ME but across the engineering disciplines) mean that any kid at MIT who wants to do research will find a plethora of opportunities. Many of the UROP's go unstaffed-- there are more interesting research projects going on than there are undergrads to go around. Even in a tough economy, I can't imagine a federal or corporate decision-maker saying, "hey, we have a few billion less to spend on research so let's maintain our funding at Harvard and Yale but cut it at MIT and Cal Tech". </p>

<p>Pick the school that fits the best- but you cannot replicate the resources, reputation, or depth of commitment to undergraduate education of MIT's engineering program at either Harvard or Yale. 15 years from now? Who knows. Both schools are commited to building their basic and applied sciences. Right now? No question.</p>

<p>Engineering is very much out of the mainstream at both Harvard and Yale. So much so, that the vast majority of students who start studying engineering drop out and change majors before graduation. </p>

<p>The Crimson, hardly a Harvard bashing publication, estimated in article last year that less than 40 students in the Class of 2008, intend to major in engineering out of a starting group of 123, a staggering 70% drop out rate.</p>

<p>The</a> Harvard Crimson :: News :: Students Defect from Sciences</p>

<p>The article attributed the high drop-out rate to a variety of causes:</p>

Interviews with students who switched to the social sciences or humanities reveal that the disillusionment is driven by a number of problems in the University’s science curriculum—from large, impersonal introductory courses to the time-intensive nature of the disciplines and the highly competitive peers.


Younger and An both also mentioned the intense competition in many introductory science courses. </p>

<p>“I felt like no one really cared about actually learning—they were just focused on beating everyone else and were worried about what the curve was going to be,” Younger says of her experience in Life Sciences 1b last spring. “I was really turned off by the whole environment".


<p>MIT is a very different place. Engineering and the sciences represent the essence of the school. Students very rarely drop out of engineering which represents around 50-55% of total enrollment. A number of engineering students double major in another science department. </p>

<p>Wherever one studies engineering, the workload will be heavy. The big difference is that MIT provides a strong support structure for students to succeed in science and engineering and truly enjoy their experience at the school. It has by far the highest graduation rate of any technical school in the country .</p>

<p>MIT is totally non-competitive environment, with students working in teams on p-sets or projects. As a matter of school policy, there are no curved grading in classes and no grades first semester. Research is fully integrated within the undergraduate education, and the UROP program has been in place for over 40 years, longer than any other such program in the country. As others have stated, there are more research opportunities, both for credit and paid, than student applicants. My D is currently completing her sophomore year and has been involved in research all year and plans to continue to do so every semester until graduation. </p>

<p>Picking Harvard over MIT for engineering is like picking MIT over Harvard for English lit. You can do it, but it does not make a lot of sense!</p>

<p>TooTiredMom - </p>

<p>Check out the US News and World Report engineering college rankings. It is only one source for ideas about how undergraduate engineering programs are perceived, but it may give you a starting point for evaluating the three schools you named. The list gives an overall rating for engineering schools and a breakdown by discipline. </p>

<p>MIT is considered the top engineering school in the country. Havard and Yale don't even make the lists on USNWR. That's not to say that employers won't be impressed with a degree from one of these prestigious schools, but an MIT degree is more widely recognized.</p>

<p>If he is a true engineer, as you say, conderation should be given to the breadth and depth of courses available in engineering.</p>

<p>My sense is that both of these schools offer particular areas of the field that they are relatively strong in, from a research perspective, but are not comprehensive. IIRC, one or the other, or both, doesn't even have civil engineering, altogether, and thats a whole huge practice area ! That's kind of like an English department not offering European lit.
You can study engineering in a small program, but may not have the information available there for you to optimally craft your path within the profession.</p>

<p>Also, my impression is that neither of these programs produce many real practicing engineers. It would surprise me if they were heavily recruited for these jobs, since there would be few students to recruit. Which is certainly not to suggest that there won't be jobs available for them, it's a question of the breadth of what they will see, You should check more into the # engineering courses each school actually offered last semester, just count them. And ask about engineering recruiting. Not investment banking recruiting, or consulting recruiting, but recruiting on-campus for engineering jobs, by engineering companies. </p>

<p>On the other hand, there's that whole social thing. And the program of studies at MIT probably differs from the others.</p>

<p>So I don't know, no perfect option here. I'd say look into the social scene at MIT a bit more, and look into the engineering programs at the other two more, then decide.</p>