Looking for midsize to large Univ engineering w/merit

My son is from PNW area looking for mid to larger Univ for biomedical engineering. GPA 3.98 SAT 1550 (M 780/V770), will have AA complete at graduation(dual enrollment). Would like to keep cost below $45,000/yr. Likes Utah, Colorado, California, Vermont particularly. Not interested in the South, Midwest. He has his list. Just wanting last minute input.

Is he a National Merit semifinalist? If so, he will get full tuition at Washington State and it would be worth a look at its bioengineering program. (WSU will likely come in under your budget in any event.)


He is not. Yes WSU in state so very affordable option.

For California, all CA public’s are test blind this admission cycle but Cal Poly SLO is worth an application. Merit will be minimal but could meet your budget.

Private schools that could give merit is Santa Clara University and USC.


You could also try for a WUE scholarship at Oregon State, which would bring its bioengineering major within budget, I think.

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I second that recommendation. Our son chose CP from OOS (Oregon). It met our budget and he had a great experience. If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.

Utah made his final 3 also (along with WPI). The Spiral curriculum in ME is innovative. Not sure about BME though. They’re nuts about sports (check out The MUSS), the food and bar scenes are vibrant, and the outdoors is amazing. He got great merit aid (one year free, followed by three instate).

Colorado State is nice and would hit budget too. Boulder and Mines likely won’t hit your budget.

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with a sub 4 GPA, CP SLO is pretty unlikely. First-Year Student Profile | Cal Poly
The other CP Pomona (i think they are still on the WUE list) is much more likely. Chico is really mid-sized, and residential. Not sure about the bio-med specialization but, LMU and USD are so-cal privates and worth a look.
Uof Oregon, OrState, Uof Utah, NAU, UNR, Boise State are all WUE schools and worth exploring.
in state W-Wash

Appreciate the input. We realize Cal Poly is a bit of an unknown as they consider very little but considering his rigor (2yrs dual enrollment with AA @ graduation) along with his gpa (which is unweighted) he still has a decent chance. From the Common Data Set for Cal Poly.

C11 Percentage of all enrolled,degree-seeking,first-time,first-year(freshman)students who had high school grade-point averages within each of the following ranges (using 4.0 scale). Report information

       Score Range

Percent who had GPA of 4.0
Percent who had GPA between 3.75 and 3.99
Percent who had GPA between 3.50 and 3.74
Percent who had GPA between 3.25 and 3.49
Percent who had GPA between 3.00 and 3.24
Percent who had GPA between 2.50 and 2.99
Percent who had GPA between 2.0 and 2.49
Percent who had GPA between 1.0 and 1.99
Percent who had GPA below 1.0
Totals should = 100%

The Cal Poly stats for admission always use GPAs after their weighted and capped calculation. They also don’t use +/- in their GPA calculation There’s a very strong likelihood that a 3.98, will actually convert as though the student actually had a 4.0.

You can’t rely on CDS data from Cal Poly. The CDS aggregates all majors, but Cal Poly admits competitively by major. BME is one of the most selective. Roughly 15% of BME applicants are accepted.

Last year, CP rejected more than 12,000 students with 4.0+. Remember though that’s after their weighting system. It resets the top of the scale to around 4.3. It’s variable because the top GPA depends on the number of a-g classes a student takes.

On balance, I think he’ll be very competitive. Make sure he reads the application carefully. It will ask for middle school classes in math and foreign language if they are HS level classes.

I don’t have a great sense for how CP’s new no-test MCA deals with concurrent enrollment - particularly with an OOS CC so, do your own research. CP is a little different in that it includes grades from a-g courses in 9th -11 grades for GPA. I am pretty sure they cap the AP bonus credits the same way other CSUs do. OOS Honors classes are also not given a bump.

Not sure what’s included in the 3.98 reported GPA.
it would help if you broke out overall weighted, CSU/UC (which only includes 'a-g courses from grades 10-11 and is capped at 8 bonus pts) and CPSLO which adds 9th grade to the CSU.
This GPA calculator is pretty handy

if you look at the college of engineering, the admit rate is around 26% and the 25-75 GPA is 4.12-4.25.

I am not saying don’t apply but, for most people with a weighted GPA around 4.0, CPSLO is a reach for the college of engineering. Your kid could be the exception - just don’t bet the farm on it. He’s obviously very bright and very motivated. There are lots of great places to study engineering that will be happy to have him.

Apply broadly and good luck.

Per the OP, 3.98 is unweighted. I agree, a weighted/capped CSU/UC GPA of 4.0 would very likely put CP out of reach. I’m also assuming the OP has taken math through Calculus, 3+ years of a foreign language, lots of lab science, etc. As you know, it all probably matters if they’re still using the MCA minus test scores.

Yes BME is a reach at Cal Poly. He will be above the 4.3 weighted so that will be capped(4.0 on his 60 college credits so far). He will max out most of the a-g classes. Not sure Cal Poly will even be top choice as he likes Univ of Utah and Univ of WA strong choice as his CC come from a local college so they take a large amount of those students. Univ of WA not as high on his list for now.

Since CP is objective, I think his chances will be very good. You should visit if you can. It’s the only non-ski school where my son applied, but that’s where he landed. He also really liked The U. Your son will get a great merit package there. It’s nice to have good choices that will lead to great employment opportunities without getting sucked into paying $300K. Good luck.

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that clarification helps - with those stats he’s going to be competitive everywhere - even UW.

still - apply broadly 'cause there’s some subjectivity to the process.

@eyemgh - agree 100%


My son’s only non-ski school too! He’s visited Cal Poly and will do Utah in January. He’s hoping to ski while he is there visiting.

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My son still skis, travels overseas to ski, and race coaches for fun on the side. He learned to surf while at CP to fill the void and still actively does that now too. Can’t go wrong with either school! :+1:t3::+1:t3:

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The only real Vermont choice would be UVM. I can’t speak to their engineering program, but the school is very popular with kids from our area (in MA). Burlington is an awesome city and the outdoors opportunities are excellent. I’ve heard they can be generous with merit - for some kids I know it ended up being cheaper than our in-state option UMass Amherst (which is around $30k). Otherwise, popular engineering choices here (besides the obvious, MIT) are WPI, RPI and RIT - all mid-size but none in VT.


I don’t know about RIT, but WPI and RPI have race teams if the OP’s son wants to race.

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