Good at academics, but not much else - some engineering schools for me?

<p>Hello, I am a rising senior from Michigan, interested in studying electrical engineering. Here are some of my stats, which will hopefully provide you with enough information for some recommendations:</p>

<p>ACT: 35 (33 M 35 E 36 R 36 S)...pity that my lowest score is in math</p>

<p>SAT 2220 (720 M 720 W 780 CR), but retook it, two more days until scores come out, confident that it's at least a 2300</p>

<p>GPA: 3.98 UW (will be 4.0 pending my AP Calc exam score; I had an A- in that class all three terms, and a 4 or 5 would make those A's)</p>

<p>APs: Stats (4), US History (4), Calc AB, U.S. Gov, English Lang, Micro, Psych, Env. Science; assuming I get at least a 4 on the last six, which I took as a junior, I should have the National AP Scholar award; I plan on taking about 4 more next year, as well as Calc II (and possibly Calc III) at a local community college.</p>

<p>ECs: This is where the problem lies. Had I found CC my freshman year, I would've realized the importance of extracurricular involvement. Alas, my only ECs are DECA and BPA (both are student business/marketing organizations), which I'll have been in for two years. Fortunately, I at least managed to snag some awards in BPA at the regional, state, and national level. I'll probably do better in both next year (after decisions come in).</p>

<p>I've also got about 100 hours of community service, mostly working with children. I should get some more this summer, although I really wish I could find something somewhat related to my interests. </p>

<p>I am, of course, looking at Michigan's flagship school, U of M Ann Arbor, as well as Michigan State. But what else is there that would fit my qualifications? Academically, I don't think I'm unqualified for very many schools, and friends, family, and teachers always tell me to aim high. However, I realize that my lack of ECs will greatly impact my admission chances at top-tier schools.</p>

<p>Anyway, any recommendations? I've already looked at in-state schools, so I'm seeking recommendations for out-of-state schools. They should be selective (I want to be challenged there; I don't think I'd get that at a school where the median ACT is a 24), and have a good engineering program. It doesn't matter if they're public or private, although my family's income probably won't allow me to attend a public OOS university without some serious financial aid. So, private is probably preferable, since they are usually more generous with need-based aid. I don't really have any other criteria; once I get some possible matches, I'll weed out the ones I definitely don't like.</p>

<p>Thanks for any help, and don't hesitate to ask questions if you need more info. or clarification.</p>

<p>You may want to start with places like Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Carnegie Mellon and Georgia Tech. These are pretty competitive so EC's would certianly help but I still think you have some chance to get in with the high test scores.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Good at academics, but not much else ... I've also got about 100 hours of community service, mostly working with children. I should get some more this summer

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Not good at much else except working with children?</p>

<p>Look at Carnegie Mellon, University of Rochester, Case Western.</p>

<p>@annasdad</p>

<p>Well, I'm good at other things, but you wouldn't tell from the things I've had the chance to be involved with. Plus, I definitely don't see myself working with children as a career. It's just an opportunity to help the community.</p>

<p>Also, thanks to both of you for the suggestions. I'll be looking at these schools more closely.</p>

<p>How does a full ride at the University of Pittsburgh sound?</p>

<p>@QuandAorBust</p>

<p>A full ride almost anywhere with some reputation sounds pretty good.</p>

<p>There are lots of good choices out there. A friends daughter just graduated from WPI. She had a fabulous time, great internships and she is walking right into a very nice job as a result of one of those internships. You might want to look at Lafayette, Clarkson, RPI, RIT, Bucknell, Lehigh. All of these schools offer merit money as well as need based aid. With your stats you might very well get some good offers.</p>

<p>OP, your stats are good. So, if your EFC looks reasonable (by running the finaid calculator), it'd be probably worth to look at Northwestern or Rice. About Lehigh... It is not quite generous with merits, but for its peers, you'd probably do better at UMiami (FL), Tulane or SMU (Dallas, TX).</p>

<p>With your high GPA and test scores you should be able to score some type of scholarship to Michigan or perhaps even a full ride to MSU. Why bother going OOS for engineering when you have one of the best schools in the country for it as well as one of the best towns to spend your next four years? Unless it's MIT/Caltech or cheap/free, I don't see the advantage.</p>

<p>I do agree that Umich is probably the best option for me, provided I get in. It's just that it seems to be the default choice for good in-state students, and I want to make sure I look beyond that, even if I do end up going there.</p>

<p>You should be able to get in besjbo with those stats, still you are correct there is no guarantee. Just try not to become like so many kids in this state from top schools who just assume the grass is greener elsewhere, even in the summer! ;-)</p>

<p>Stanford and Cooper Union may be worthwhile reach tries (if you otherwise like them), based on their need aid policies.</p>

<p>Generous merit aid is often found at schools that would likely be deep safety level for you, such as University of Alabama.</p>

<p>But Michigan is an excellent school, and can be hard to beat at in-state pricing.</p>

<p>Are you a likely NMSF?</p>

<p>anyway....apply to USC, they'd probably give you at least a half tuition scholarship and any FA that you qualify for. </p>

<p>They should be selective (I want to be challenged there; I don't think I'd get that at a school where the median ACT is a 24), and have a good engineering program.</p>

<p>ahh...let me correct a very common misconception. Do NOT look at a schools "median score" to give you ANY sense of what the average scores would be for your engineering classmates. The STEM majors will have a MUCH higher "median ACT" then the university at large. You won't be going to class with a bunch of classmates whose ACTs are modest. </p>

<p>People often wrongly think that "high stats students" are somehow evenly spread out amongst all majors. THEY ARE NOT (except maybe at ivies/elites). At many/most schools, those with high scores are largely found in about 6-10 majors....engineering, math, physics, bio, chem, finance, econ, and a few others. </p>

<p>Who care what some kids in some easy major across campus are doing or what their ACT scores are? How does that affect you in any way??? They may be majoring in something that is so right-brained that a high test score has no significance.</p>

<p>That's true, mom2collegekids. It's very possible that the students I'll be around represent a more motivated faction of a school's student body. In that case, it really doesn't matter what the test scores of students I won't have classes with are.</p>

<p>And yes, I'm probably a National Merit Finalist, as my PSAT was 222, and the cutoff for Michigan was 213 last year. </p>

<p>Thanks for the advice. USC was always appealing to me, but I'm not quite sure I could afford it. It doesn't hurt to have it as an option, though.</p>

<p>Case Western, Rose Hulman (merit aid, some need-based)
Harvey Mudd, Rice, Caltech, MIT ("meet need", and in MIT's case, astoundingly well depending on your EFC)</p>

<p>My son, with very few ECs (but those he had were related to his interests), got into all of these (except MIT which he didn't apply to). I don't think your ECs are that bad - just present them enthusiastically, not apologetically, in your essays.</p>

<p>If you're interested in electrical engineering Michigan is a no-brainer; it's got one of the very best engineering schools and one of the very best EE programs in the country, and you're in-state. I think you're an absolute shoo-in as an in-state resident with those stats.</p>

<p>But if you must look elsewhere, you should concentrate on the handful of schools as good as or better than Michigan in your chosen field. That would be MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UIUC, Caltech, Georgia Tech, and Carnegie Mellon, according to US News. Three of those---UC Berkeley, UIUC, and Georgia Tech---are publics, where frankly I don't think you'd gain anything appreciable over Michigan, but you'd be paying a lot more for it; so I'd toss those out. MIT, Stanford, and Caltech are among the most selective schools in the country. Your somewhat limited ECs might keep you out of these schools, but it's worth a shot at 1 or 2 or all 3 of them. Carnegie Mellon is also very selective but not quite as extremely so. Personally I'd take Ann Arbor over Pittsburgh any day, but if you prefer an urban atmosphere or just want to get farther away from home, that might be an option. You won't get a better education there than at Michigan, but it's a reasonable alternative. Cooper Union is also interesting; it's in New York City and it's tuition-free, but that makes it extremely competitive so it seems like a longshot, but maybe worth a shot. Cornell is another possibility; terrific engineering school, Ivy cachet, not quite as selective as Stanford/MIT/Caltech. US News ranks it just behind Michigan in EE, but very close. I could see reasons to choose it over Michigan. Beyond those schools, though, it seems to me you'd just be paying more to go to a school that's not as good as Michigan in your chosen field, so why bother? Or even if you got substantial merit awards elsewhere, why settle for something less than you'd get at your in-state public?</p>

<p>I suppose another option if you're looking for something different would be to apply to one or more LACs that have a 3-2 engineering program with a top engineering school. Bowdoin, Grinnell, Haverford, Oberlin, Pomona, Reed, Wesleyan, and Whitman are some of the schools that have this program with Caltech. It's a little risky, though, because admission to the LAC doesn't guarantee admission to the 3/2 program; that decision is made by a Caltech upperclass admissions committee based on your academic achievements and recommendations from your professors at the LAC. It also means an extra year of undergrad to get your engineering degree, but some people prefer being in an intimate small-college atmosphere and calculate it's worth the risk and the extra time.</p>

<p>Thank you, bclintonk, your post if very helpful. I probably will take advantage of the fact that I'm an in-state applicant to one of the best public universities in the country, especially when it comes to engineering. </p>

<p>I'll also probably apply to MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Cornell, just so I don't shut those doors myself. </p>

<p>Pittsburgh and other similar universities are only appealing for the fact that they would cost relatively little compared to Umich. The urban atmosphere isn't something I must have--I'm not even sure I'd prefer it at all over Ann Arbor.</p>

<p>Also, I didn't know almost anything at all about Cooper Union until you mentioned it. The full tuition scholarship aspect is definitely attractive, but the very low (Ivy Leage low) admittance rate is probably too low for me.</p>

<p>The 3-2 engineering program is also an option I hadn't heard of before. Is there some sort of consolidated list of engineering schools that offer this program? For schools that do offer it, are there specific LACs from which they pick engineering students?</p>

<p>Thanks again.</p>

<p>3-2 is not conceptually much different from going to community college and then transferring to a state university (like University of Michigan) to complete a bachelor's degree. The differences:</p>

<ul>
<li>The "3" LAC is much more expensive than the community college.</li>
<li>The "2" school is likely to be more expensive than an in-state state university.</li>
<li>It does take an additional year (although some community colleges are overenrolled so that it may take an extra year there anyway).</li>
<li>The LAC may be less likely to have sophomore level engineering courses (materials, electronics, statics, etc.) than a community college with a pre-transfer curriculum aligned with the state university, which may require more "catch up" after transferring for the 3-2 case.</li>
<li>You do get an extra bachelor's degree from the LAC in the process.</li>
<li>You do get a chance to take junior/senior level courses at the LAC before transferring.</li>
<li>You do not have to transfer if you decide to change major to something natively available at the LAC.</li>
</ul>

<p>Here's a link to Caltech's 3-2 engineering program. They work with a defined group of LACs:</p>

<p>3/2</a> Applicants - Caltech Caltech Undergraduate Admissions</p>

<p>Columbia, WUSTL, Duke, RPI, and Case Western have similar programs; there may also be others. Just google the name of the school and "3-2 engineering" and you should be able to find them. But frankly, I don't think any of those universities are quite as strong as Michigan in EE, so I'd recommend that you investigate the Caltech program if you're at all interested. There have been CC discussion threads on the advantages and disadvantages of these programs in the past, e.g.,:</p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/engineering-majors/536195-3-2-engineering-programs.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/engineering-majors/536195-3-2-engineering-programs.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/engineering-majors/89004-3-2-engineering-program.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/engineering-majors/89004-3-2-engineering-program.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/engineering-majors/676627-importance-3-2-engineering-program-over-regular-4-years-engineering-degree.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/engineering-majors/676627-importance-3-2-engineering-program-over-regular-4-years-engineering-degree.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>*And yes, I'm probably a National Merit Finalist, as my PSAT was 222, and the cutoff for Michigan was 213 last year.</p>

<p>Thanks for the advice. USC was always appealing to me, but I'm not quite sure I could afford it. It doesn't hurt to have it as an option, though. *</p>

<p>Well, what is your financial situation? Are you concerned that you'll have an "expected family contribution" that your family can't/won't pay? </p>

<p>how much will your parents pay each year?</p>