Is liberal arts engineering program superior to university engineering education

<p>I am considering applying to both liberal arts colleges and universities this year
Intended major: electrical or mechanical engineering</p>

<p>But I was wondering whether it would be better to study engineering at a LAC or university because if I do it from a LAC I can get a dual degree.</p>

<p>On the other hand, university education is more specialized.</p>

<p>So which one would be better and would help in future if I pursue an engineering career?</p>

<p>If you're definitely planning to go to graduate school to complete your engineering studies then some LAC may be suitable. If however you plan to work after you complete your undergraduate education then the LAC route is less convincing.</p>

<p>The competition for jobs among engineering graduates is intense. At the top level it is in fact international-level competition. Companies can decide to fill a job at any of several locales.</p>

<p>What this means is that a university with a strong engineering program will give you the competitive edge that you'll need: especially one with a faculty that is engaged (consulting or otherwise) with major engineering firms, one with fellow engineering students ("kindred spirits"), one with strong opportunities/connections that will enable you to find intern positions at leading engineering firms, and one with a placement office that attracts the best engineering companies.</p>

<p>it reallydepends on the LAC and the university.</p>

<p>If I go to an LAC for engineering, then I would be getting dual degree.</p>

<p>Is that more valuable than a single degree from a university?</p>

<p>what is your dual degree in? just because you have a second degree, it doesnt make you necessarily more valuable</p>

<p>No it is not more valuable than a single degree. Double degrees, double majors are things high school seniors think are a great thing to pursue but in reality they have little or no impact on future employment out of college or even getting into grad school. If you want to impress friends and relatives get a double degree; if you want to impress employers get an engineering degree from a top engineering school.</p>

<p>"If you want to impress employers get an engineering degree from a top engineering school."</p>

<p>I totally disagree with this. It depends on what type of engineering you are going to do - Buildings, computers, cars? Also if you decide (like many before you) that engineering is not for you, you have just spent $60,000-100,000 to find out. Unless your parents are willing to foot this kind of a bill, you should consider going to a state university or another school that won't send your family to the poorhouse. </p>

<p>All a 4 year degree implies is that you can do something for 4 years, you can read, write, do most of whatever math is required, and have some (repeat SOME) skills in your chosen field. </p>

<p>The drawback of the "large top tier university" is: You will never have the opportunity to get your hands dirty. You will not have the opportunity to actually contribute to a real life project (that's for the grad students). Unless you were to go to a University where you could be assigned, as an undergrad, to a research project or be part of the design/build team specific competition (the battery powered car competition that's going on now comes to mind) or find that particular prof who is not only famous but will write you one hell of a recommendation for grad school (which you are going to need eventually if you don't want to live as a faceless drone) you should save your money. </p>

<p>The 3 instances above are all friends went to smaller, liberal arts, state universities and have entry level jobs in their chosen fields (you know: go get the coffee, sharpen the pencils, pay student loans down) and admission dates for really top tier grad schools (NYU, Columbia, & MIT).</p>

<p>They also have really good liberal arts educations and can hold an intelligent conversation with anyone, in at least one foreign language, on a large number of subjects from Aristotle to Zanzibar.</p>

<p>Upshot: Don't waste your money unless a brand name is more important than $250,000 of debt.</p>

<p>"If you want to impress employers get an engineering degree from a top engineering school."</p>

<p>that doesnt mean go to Caltech. it means go to a school tat has an excellent engineering department</p>

<p>Also where did you go to school?? I went to a "top tier engineering research university" or whatever and got my hands dirty. </p>

<p>That argument makes no sense. LAC's are also insanely expensive if you havent heard. Its not like you wont go into debt by attending Amherst</p>

<p>What kind of engineering?</p>

<p>How did going to your university help you?</p>

<p>kwood- me?</p>

<p>Could you elaborate on your question? In what way?</p>

<p>Contacts, professors, cost, financial aid, jobs...</p>

<p>got a fair number of contacts, didnt pay much at all in the end. Rice paid for me for the most part. I worked for the University for 3 years while I was there. Im now a consultant in the o&g field</p>

<p>It worked out great for me. Im also not saying that LAC's are bad. Felix was talking like the LAC is free while a good engineering school is 250k</p>

<p>I'm really confused. So Amherst, for example, would cost less in the end than U of Missouri?</p>

<p>Amherst costs 58 k per year. </p>

<p>I think the better point is whether a brand name is worth it or whether to go to a state school. Either that or im misunderstanding completely</p>

<p>Schools like MIT or Stanford might even cost less than your local university if you have a salary like 100k - low enough to get a lot of aid at the top schools, but too high for substantial aid from public schools.</p>

<p>Sorry, I thought you were saying that a brand name will almost always be better. I have to go in debt either way... I am trying to decide if $58,000 is worth it over $33,000 @ year. I don't care about brands, but I am wondering if employers do.</p>

<p>OP, so we know what the probabilities are, what are your stats?</p>

<p>Explain the caltech part.</p>

<p>Here is my two cents:
First, there are probably as many "former" engineering majors as engineering majors. There is a good chance that students will change their original major, so a school that offers a good selection a majors is a wise choice.
Secondly, the big-name, big schools often attract more recruiters. This is only anecdotal, but my son and all of his friends who graduated (various engineering) from a big mid-west school all had multiple job offers before graduation (none of them were 4.0 students either). I know of several other kids coming out of more prestigious LACs with engineering degrees who were still searching on their own for jobs well after graduation. I think it may be easier for big companies to do one-stop recruiting where there is a well organized infrastructure and lots of grads, rather than travel around to a lot of small schools.</p>