Great school!

I would be happy to provide insight to parents helping their kids search for a University. My daughter is a freshman honors student at Iowa State. We are from out of state. We toured many many colleges and universities of all sizes and rankings. Ultimately Iowa State was her best choice. While it may not have as much name recognition outside its local area, it checked off all of her boxes. It was the first school she was accepted at, but didnt really consider going most of her senior year. Instead she was considering several other schools, but ISU kept coming back as something we had to consider. From the communication and mailings you will receive throughout the process- ISU is top notch! Everyone we have met or talked to has been so helpful every step of the way. Every question, and we had many, was answered promptly and thoroughly. When it came down to comparing financial packages, we couldn’t ignore ISU. They are generous and reward high performing students. They offer so many resources to help your student succeed. We didnt see the campus until orientation day. I almost seemed like it was the only school in n the country we didnt tour, lol. She was really nervous never having seen the school. But, it is beautiful! Very park like. It is a large campus, but doesnt feel like it. It is walkable and their is a great bus system. The greek houses are gorgeous! Her advisor, professors other students etc are so helpful! She made the right choice. ISU will commit to helping you student succeed- and in 4 years, not 5 or 6!

My kid is a grad student there, and I agree! The campus is really nice — I like it better than several midwestern state flagships I could name. :wink: For STEM students, the affiliation with Ames National Laboratory should be a draw, too.

@Geneticsmom Welcome to Iowa State! I am glad to hear your daughter is enjoying her first year! My son is a sophomore and just loves it. He has made some great friends.

You are right - ISU has generous scholarships and aid for out of state students, and their Soar in Four program is awesome. My son’s advisor has told him he can easily major with a minor or two, or double major, and still finish in four years!

D19 has applied and has been accepted to Iowa State. Is there a separate process for scholarships and merit aid? D19 said she received an e-mail about filling something out but I was not exactly clear on what she was saying (I have not seen the email). Just want to make sure we are doing everything we need to.

@Geneticsmom : What schools did your daughter turn down to go to ISU?

@DCNatFan Here is a link for financial aid.

There are freshman awards your student can qualify for automatically based on their admission application.
You can click Other University Scholarships to have her fill out the One App, which will be an application for other University scholarships.
You can also search for scholarship info under her academic department. For example, here is the link to the College of Business page.

The One App opens October 1st for next year, which is the same date the FAFSA opens

@uwalummom Awesome. Thanks very much for all the information.

So was accepted to the honors programs at Iowa State, Purdue, U. Alabama Birmingham, U. Vermont, U. New Hampshire, Rutgers, and Hofstra U. She was wait listed at Lehigh, U. Rochester, and U. Michigan.

My son is a Freshman @ ISU and absolutely loves this school ! He was directly admitted into their Electrical Engineering program. We too are OOS( California). We purposely only looked at OOS schools. Iowa State has the most beautiful campus. It was designed by the same designer that designed Central Park in New York.

My son is a junior at ISU, majoring in materials engineering. He is OOS from Arizona and loves ISU/Ames. He turned down scholarships at Michigan State, Alabama, Arizona State, and Arizona to attend ISU.

I love campus and Ames is a great college town. Nearby Des Moines is a very nice medium-sized city, with direct flights to Phoenix.

It’s too easy to get in which makes it feel like the rigor of classes is going to be lacking. I’m not sure anyone gets turned down. That’s a major weakness to most kids at our hs (5 hours away).

@TytoAlba The admission standards for all of the public universities in Iowa are determined by the Iowa Board of Regents. Iowa State has no say in who they admit. Rest assured, the class rigor is not lacking.

Also, the public education system in Iowa is very good.

I would also like to say that Iowa State is an excellent university! We have an intern at NASA from there who is outstanding! I can say his education has been better than some of the kids we have from more prestigious universities. The course rigor is there in engineering for sure! My S17 looked at if and we visited. I was very impressed. They have an awesome pre-vet program also. (S17 ended up at Kansas State which is similar, they let almost everyone in but the rigor in their programs is definitely there and many very smart students attend. It came down to the face they had an early admit to vet school program and Iowa State did not). I think it is a mistake for students to blow off these fly-over states. They are good value for the cost for OOS students!

@TytoAlba - My ISU junior’s three housemates are all from the Chicago area, love ISU, and are doing very well. Also,my son has two older brothers who are also engineering grads, one from Texas A&M and the other from Miami University in Ohio. ISU is every bit as rigorous. The thing with engineering is that accredited engineering schools all offer pretty much the same curricula.

My ISU junior also has gotten much better academic counseling and career placement help than his brothers got. I have been very impressed.

ISU’s job placement success is outstanding. 94% of engineering graduates have jobs are in grad school within six months of graduation.

I just wanted to say, I’m so glad I saw this thread! I am highly considering ISU as an OOS student. It is not only the most financially affordable out of all of the OOS schools I’ve applied to, but it has an AWESOME engineering program and job fair. I’m excited.

Thanks to those who have provided information and insight into ISU! The information we have gathered from this site has been extremely helpful when sorting options. We are from Alabama and my son (ME major) has narrowed his options to Auburn, TAMU and ISU. He has been accepted to all three, however we are waiting to see how scholarships shake out. Auburn and a ISU so far have been pretty generous. We are not terribly optimistic when it comes to TAMU (based on what we have read). If he could get the OOS waiver, TAMU would be his first choice. He is (and has been) in love with TAMU. However, it is my understanding that they are extremely hard to come by. ISU is a strong second. We toured the campus in November and were so impressed with the university and the town of Ames. Auburn of course is our state school (especially for Engineering). My son would be a third generation graduate (his father and grandfather). Auburn is a solid engineering school but he would really like to branch out a bit (if he can do it without breaking the bank). He currently has full tuition at Auburn, ISU’s currently at roughly in-state cost.

Please share any other information that you think would be helpful in our decision making process! My son is the oldest, so we are new to this process. Things have changed significantly since my husband and I were in college! Thanks to this forum, I have learned a lot and will be better prepared when my now sophomore daughter starts this process (sooner than I am prepared to accept).


We live in Arizona. Our first son went to TAMU, NMF with tuition waiver, and graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering. It’s a great college, no doubt. The next year, son number 2 went of Miami (Ohio) and will graduate with a degree in biomedical engineering. He wanted to go to a smaller school that focused more on undergraduate education. The next year, son number 3, picked Iowa State over Michigan State and Alabama. He will graduate next year in materials engineering.

FWIW, I thought that Iowa State struck the right balance between TAMU, a huge school that seemed to care more about graduate students and Miami, which offered a solid education, but without the career and graduate placement opportunities. Many times, my TAMU son seemed to be pretty much on his own, not even being able one semester to get an appointment with his advisor. I have been very impressed with ISU’s engineering program. They have good teachers, advisers, and career fairs. And, as you noticed, campus and Ames are great.

Anyway, enjoy the ride!

One other thought, 95% of TAMU’s students are from Texas. I believe TAMU’'s OOS percentage is the lowest of all major public universities. Texas kids are great, don’t get me wrong, but it was an adjustment for an OOS student.

My ISU son lived freshman year on an honors floor in Martin Hall (recommended). He and all three of his suite mates were OOS. I will say that most of the OOS students are from the Midwest, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc.

@Beaudreau, Thank you so much for your response! You definitely have a unique perspective given your experience with both TAMU and ISU. Did your sons have opportunities freshman year to get involved in some form of research? Also, did they participate in the Honors College (University or Eng), if so do you recommend it based on their experience?