Higher SAT score, lower GPA - Match my kid with a Mech Eng. Program

  • US domestic student
  • Illinois
  • Larger (4000+), competitive HS
  • Male, Asian

**Engineering - Mechanical

GPA 3.24UW, 3.89W
SAT 1570 superscore (800/ 770)

AP - Computer Science, European History, Calculus BC, English Lang., US Govt., Comp. Govt. SENIOR YEAR ongoing- Physics, Statistics, Economics Micro and Macro

Engineering Courses- 3


Math Team - went to State, won in one event; the last 2 years math team events incl. State didn’t happen

Volunteering activities in the community, also around teaching younger kids to program robots, etc.

Please help with matches- we’re late to this process for various reasons, and visits and colleges that seemed good options incl. our flagship State school UIUC now seem reaches with the lower grades he received in the last 2 semesters.

Thank you!

U of Delaware and Pitt both have strong, but not tippy top Engineering programs and would be targets I think. What environment, size and location is your son interested in?


Iowa State, WVU, UCincinnati, UNebraska Lincoln, ASU


What is your budget?

What are his AP scores?

Agree that UIUC is unlikely.

Is he looking for a larger school like UIUC? And other preferences such as geography?

Look at Iowa State, Michigan State, UDayton, Milwaukee School of Engineering, ASU, Alabama to start.


For instate - Will he be applying to UIC engineering? Would that be an in-state safety? Also do any of the regional Illinois universities have engineering? Can also look into Illinois Inst of Technology. It’s private but maybe some merit money due to SAT score.


Take a look at Rose-Hulman, in Indiana. A top engineering school with a strong mechanical engineering department. It’s a smaller school: 2,000 undergrad students, average class size around 19. It doesn’t have graduate programs, it’s focused on undergrad teaching.


You might find the engineering rankings posted at College Board National Recognition Program (includes former National Hispanic Recognition Program) Class of 2022 - Specialty College Admissions Topics / Hispanic Students - College Confidential Forums helpful.

Depending on your budget and amount of merit scholarship you might get, ASU, Boston University, Iowa State University, Northeastern, Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Arizona could be good options.


@Ana4000 Something to keep in mind about the lower GPA: Engineering schools like ASU and UofA are fairly easy to get into but all engineering programs are demanding and the ability to manage time and put forth the effort into getting reasonable grades is very important. Perhaps your son is already addressing this issue with improved study habits and/or better time management in his senior year.


ME is available at the following Illinois public universities other than UIUC: UIC, NIU, SIUC, SIUE, WIU.

Budget (or any other) constraints besides major and admissibility?


Have you looked at Missouri S&T; great engineering program and competitive teams like Mars rover team and great relationship with Boeing.


Thanks tumagmom. He was interested in UIUC, but I think it was more of him knowing people going in. We went to Rose Hulman a couple of years ago- he thought it was small, and far from a larger city. At this time, its more of a good program that he can get into. OK with most locations, but yes- a direct flight from Chicago or driving distance would be great.

Thanks MYOS1634.

Do all of these look like a match? My husband thinks ASU would be good, but I thought those ideas are from his grad school time!

Thanks, Mwfan1921.

I think he had a 3 on AP European History. 4s on the 2 Government ones. 5s on the Calc BC, English Lang., CS. The 3 from this year won’t help with apps!

I think the UIUC choice was more of a place he would already know ppl from his HS, etc. The campus seems overwhelming to me, but he seemed OK. I do think a smaller campus would work better. I think the one grouse he had with UIUC is the rural/ agricultural location, and same with Rose Hulman.

Geography- a direct flight from Chicago or driving distance. Preferably not colder than it is here!
Thanks for the choices- we had not considered some on this list and in other responses.

Thanks for your response, momprof9904.

Yes, UIC for an in-state safety. NIU has an engineering program as well.

I’ll check on IIT- I thought it may be in the class of Harvey Mudd pricey, so will look.

Thanks, sfSTEM. We did visit Rose Hulman sometime ago. Its still on the list, but he’s become less attractive now in terms of merit/ aid money! Cons from the son- very small and location. Pros to my mind- professors teaching all classes, and a quarter-based system would be a pace he’d thrive with.

What would you say the downsides are with no graduate/ doctoral programs?

All listed would be matches (high matches sometimes because of Engineering). Because those are large universities, they’ll look at the weighted GPA (rigor, grades of A and B) and test score more than at a more detailed review of the transcript. Now, a match means 50-50 odds, not a slam dunk, but I’m confident he’d get into most of those 5.

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People have mentioned and a few more. Bama. Auburn. Uah. Ms state. U of Az. Arkansas. Iowa State. S Dakota School of Mines. Bradley

U think the South etc but they bring in tons from the MW


Thanks, NJEngineerDad, both for your response here and the work on that other thread- took a quick look there and will go back.

I read a mention of ASU’s Barrett being harder to graduate out of- do you know if this is common/ typical?

Yes- this is something I’ve needed to parse out with whether this was the at-home piece making things worse, or the start of a new something. He is still interested and I’m hoping this semester will help. Things came too easily early on, and all the busy-work HW last year, even in advanced classes didn’t help.

Thanks for the comment- much appreciated!

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Ah- thanks!

Interesting point on how larger universities review a transcript. Our state flagship doesn’t want a rec letter

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