How hard is hard: Engineering

<p>For many months and years now, I have seen many complaints about the "impossible" nature of Cornell engineering. While there is no doubt that the average GPA is below the other schools within Cornell, at one point one must back up and think "is this true?"; can engineering really be * that * hard to the degree that one would consider it impossible? Are the students that Cornell engineering admits at the same caliber as the students that MIT and Caltech admits, where caliber is defined as the capability to creatively approach mathematical and scientific problems rather than a GPA or a SAT score? Is the supposed difficulty of Cornell engineering due to students who are not quite capable of excelling in the engineering classes? I'm just wondering since I'm sure engineering at CMU, GT, or any other top engineering school is not infinitely easier than Cornell's. Why, then, is Cornell engineering regarded as so difficult? I'm not saying it's easy, but I do feel that some prospective undergraduate students are avoiding enrolling at CoE because of all this "hype" (unless it really is true). </p>

<pre><code> Also, it would help when people ask the question of "how hard something is" if they told what their background in the field is. One of my close friends currently at Cornell engineering described that his classes are taught at a merely informational level that don't challenge the kids to think on a creative level but only challenge them enough to learn the information at hand and reproduce it. He said some of the kids simply don't perform at the level they can, and then once they fail a prelim or something, they say "oh that test was ridiculous". How can you say something is too hard if you have not even adequately prepared for it? Also, when people say "Cornell engineering is mad hard," it's because they have simply not been exposed to that kind of rigor before in high school, so they're still getting accustomed to it; whereas, on the other hand, a student who has excelled at math/science competitions will have a much easier time with the material and might even gasp consider it easy.

<p>Is there any truth to this at all? I'd like to hear a current student's opinion. Thank you. </p>


Also, the distinction between performing well at "high school" math/science vs. performing well at math/science competitions does seem to matter. A lot of kids say they're "good" at math/sci, because they're excelling in what they've been exposed to. And, a few other kids performing <em>extremely</em> well in competitions think they are mediocre at "math/science" when others would be amazed by them. I'm under the assumption that Cornell admits the former group of students and maybe a couple of students that fall into the second category. So, when these two student groups mix, does it not make sense that the first category of students would struggle (with regards to [color=red] GPA ) compared to the second group? </p>


<p>EDIT: This is in no way shape or form an insult to the students in Cornell engineering; just a curiosity, and I figured what other better place to come than to the experts of CC.</p>