Mech Engineering colleges for B student

Hi All. My son had a slow start in high and a not so good sophmore year. He just finished his junior year with a cumulative 3.43 weighted GPA; 3.31 unweighted. He did well in the first semester of his Junior year and was trending really well in the second semester when COVID hit and they changed it credit/no credit :frowning:
He is very motivated to pursue mechanical engineering. We live in California, so UCs and the good CSUs with that GPA are probably out of question anyway?
What are some good out of state colleges that he should seriously consider. RIght now our top colleges for him are Michigan State, Colorado Boulder and Denver, Drexel (for it’s Co-op). Is Syracuse an option and any of the SUNYs?
Also, no sports. Strong music background- multiple in school and outside bands, teaches and mentors younger musicians, on the school Band and Orchestra student council. Does a bunch of volunteering.
Any thoughts/help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

HS GPA (weighted-capped) calculated by may be more helpful to help others help you with UCs and CSUs.

Mechanical engineering is widely available.

Among UCs, Riverside and Merced could be worth a try.

Among CSUs, San Luis Obispo, Pomona, Maritime, Chico, Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose offer mechanical engineering.

San Francisco is not impacted, and ME is not an impacted major there, so he should be admitted if he meets minimum CSU eligbility requirements.

Some information about impacted for CSU campuses and majors is available here. Some of the impacted campuses are not heavily impacted, so they could reasonable application targets.

However, any published historical thresholds for eligibility indices (e.g. at Fresno, Northridge, and San Jose) would be difficult to compare now that CSU has gone test-blind due to COVID-19 limiting access to SAT/ACT. Note: the following link lists the minimum CSU eligibility as HS GPA >= 2.50 with a-g course pattern during this time.

Will he be test optional? SUNY Bing and Buffalo are the most competitive, but coming from CA may be a boost.
Rowan in NJ has great engineering and beautiful new facilities and housing; they do give merit for OOS. Again, I think coming from CA would be a boost.

Arizona State University could be an admission safety if he meets the requirements listed: (general frosh admission requirements) (ME major admission requirements)

But does it and the other out-of-state and private schools you list fit in your budget, according to their net price calculators?

If he wants a smaller engineering-focused college, take a look at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Check into Iowa State, Arizona State, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, Kansas or Kansas State, all have good ME programs.

CU-Boulder would be a stretch for a 3.4, but the engineering department at Colorado Mesa is part of the CU-Boulder engineering department and the degree says U of Colorado. He’d also qualify for WUE tuition rates for the first two years at Mesa.

CU Denver is a good engineering school, but it is a very urban university (sharing the campus with Metro State and Community College of Denver so LOTS of students).

NJWrestlingmom Thank you. We will definitely look into those.

ucbalumnus we are looking into the cost aspect as well. Will be a bit of a stretch for some of the private schools… but will he be eligible for any merit money you think?

Beware of stretching for engineering (financially). If your son takes a semester or two to get his sea legs in college, you could be looking at an extra semester. If that’s going to break the bank, better to know that now and plan accordingly.

Drexel sounds like a good choice if it’s affordable. The kids I know have done well with their coops both career wise and financially. But you’d need to add transportation to your costs and that adds up pretty quickly.

Hofstra? Missouri M&T ?

There are schools like Milwaukee School of Engineering that may interest him. You should get some merit. Try their net price calculator.

He could do great at CCC and transfer, he may well much prefer the CC over HS. If this was my kid, that would be the route. Engineering is hard enough for kids that rocked HS APs and IBs. About 50% of students aimed at eng drop out or are weeded out. What math and sciences will he have done?

Merit money is more available if the student is at the top of the college’s range of students in terms of admission credentials. I.e. a student with a 3.3 GPA is more likely to find merit at a college that admits students in the 3.0 GPA range rather than one that admits students in the 3.6 GPA range. Of course, not all colleges offer a lot of merit to begin with.

merit money is an enticement to get students who normally wouldn’t attend a given college because they got into higher ranked colleges. Your son doesn’t appear to fall into that category, so it seems unlikely he’ll get more than token offers.

Since cost seems to be an issue, staying instate is probably the best approach. CSU admissions is a bit confusing since they have local service areas, eligibility index, impacted majors, etc. Your son should work with his GC to identify some CSU that are likely to admit him.

An alternative is to attend a CC for 2 years first. Given his rising academic achievement, if that carries over in college then he may be a good candidate for admission to a UC or CSU campus he couldn’t get into as a frosh. Some UC campuses even guarantee xfer admission for engineering based on CC GPA in a program called TAG (see It isn’t quite the same college experience as going away to college and being at school all 4 years, but nobody is getting the traditional experience right now anyway.

There are Cal states where he would have a chance for ME as suggested by @ ucbalumnus but I would focus on the schools like Chico, Sacramento, Fresno, San Francisco etc… SLO, SDSU, CSU Long Beach, SJSU would be probably a huge Reach even with local eligibility.

My nephew recently graduated from University of Nevada Las Vegas with an ME degree. He attended a California CC for 2 years and then transferred and had similar grades in HS. Loved his time there and got a great job post grad. You might also want to look into University of Nevada- Reno as another option.

Try U of Maine at Orono. It’s engineering program is quite good and he should be competitive with that GPA. They also are offering tuition discounts.

Scroll down for the flagship matching–

There’s an airport near the school in Orono. The state is friendly and gorgeous.

Many of the WUE schools have good engineering and a good price tag. Montana, Montana state, Colo State, Wyoming, New Mexico, Idaho… Most offer the full college experience with D1 sports, dorms, study abroad, etc.

Missouri S&T, UAB, UNCC, Georgia Southern

Check out SUNY Polytechnic near Utica, NY. It has an accredited Mechanical Engineering program. A bit less competitive admissions than SUNY Binghamton and SUNY U. Buffalo.

Depending on cost Michigan State University is a great choice and program. I like that all freshman engineering live together. It’s also a laid back campus and kids get jobs as their Michigan counterparts do also.

Iowa State University has also a great engineering program.
Both these schools fly under the radar. One of the largest engineering fairs out there and these kids get jobs. Plus as you will see getting accepted is by using their system for them and University of Iowa and North Iowa University. They also have merit built in if you meet their parameters. Take 4 years of a language and that’s extra money in your pocket. Many kids can shave off $6-10,000/year.

If you get any merit it should be economical to attend.

University of Iowa also has a good program. They have merit and the application is for both schools

I will warn you though. Kids love these schools and are very rah, rah. They also have sports and are very rah, rah about it. Great communities surrounding these schools also.