Northeastern v. RPI?

<p>My son, (who plans to major in mechanical engineering but is also interested in business and finance) has narrowed down his choices to these 2 schools. We'd be particularly interested in hearing from folks who are, or were in recent years, in the same position (putting aside the obvious differences like Boston v. Troy). Factoring in merit aid, RPI would be a bit cheaper. As the risk-averse parent, RPI seems to me the safer bet -- my impression is it offers a better classroom education, has a better reputation among engineers, and draws harder working and conventionally smarter kids. But my son thought the students at RPI seemed a bit nerdy. NEU did a great job of selling itself to us on Accepted Students' Day this past weekend (the uniform paens about the coop program bordered on cult-like), but I wonder if they can deliver. They seem to be growing/changing very fast, and I wonder how that affects the student experience? Also, are 2 or 3 coops in an established coop program superior to the internships plus opportunity for a coop junior year he would get at RPI?</p>

<p>Academically, there is no question RPI is at a different level than NEU. NEU has a superior location. Yes, RPI has a higher fraction of “nerdy” students. But that’s true of all predominantly engineering schools. NEU will be more diverse. Only about 20-30% of RPI students do go on coop. I’m not sure if that is good or bad. RPI graduates are highly sought after graduation, so it doesn’t seem to hurt. In some ways a coop can be negative as it delays future life/earnings/graduate school.</p>

<p>First off, both are great schools and will lead to a successful life post-grad in my opinion. Great to have to make this choice.</p>

<p>As a student choosing Northeastern over WPI for CS, I will say this.</p>

<p>If you only care about academics, RPI is the way to go. But I believe the college experience is about a lot more than that.</p>

<p>I chose Northeastern for the co-op program, location, an diversity of the student body, all in addition to the academics. While WPI/RPI probably have a slight edge academically, I know that Northeastern is comparable enough that the other factors vastly outweighed WPI for me. While I am a nerd on the inside, I like to be surrounded by others not like me. From the start of the college process, I know I wanted a big city as well.</p>

<p>As far as co-ops and Northeastern’s rise in popularity and rank go, I believe the rise is due to the philosophical ideas of Northeastern. It places experience over prestige and embraces it in every student with the popularity of the co-op program. While you can certainly utilize this in other schools, at Northeastern it will be the norm, a part of life there. The growth I have heard and seen is not affecting the experience in a single case I know of, having talked to two recently graduated students in depth and followed the Northeastern CC board closely. In short, the answer to the question “Do they deliver?” seems to be a complete yes. Both graduates I know were employed by co-op companies they made connections with in school, and both are doing very well. One was a Chemistry major, and the other was science/business combo I believe.</p>

<p>While Northeastern is growing, I don’t think they are changing at all, but rather the opposite.</p>

<p>While CS is somewhat engineering related, I have not researched the Engineering program specifically, and seeing how comparable the two programs are is probably a good step.</p>

<p>I think this all boils down to how your son feels at RPI. If he feels comfortable there, I would say RPI is the right choice without question.</p>

<p>If Northeastern’s engineering program is somewhat comparable, your son likes the co-op philosophy, and there is significant difference in comfort, I would go Northeastern.</p>

<p>Edit / Note: I considered but did not apply to RPI due to location / social life (heard it was drink and be depressed or be in the nerd crowd by multiple “objective” sources/guides), but that was noted to be put aside in the OP.</p>

<p>PengsPhils comment re RPI “heard it was drink and be depressed or be in the nerd crowd by multiple “objective” sources/guides” to be categorically false. Likely as untrue as any equally negative stereotype I’ve heard of Northeastern students.</p>

<p>I agree on location. RPI is a decent enough school but located in an awful location. I couldn’t live there for four years. </p>

<p>I would also add that if you are interested in getting your son’s career started early, Northeastern will provide much better employment opportunities both during college and immediately at graduation. </p>

<p>Academically, both are fantastic schools and should provide a great education. Both are expensive so make sure you can afford them.</p>

<p>Touring Northeastern you will see LOTS of foreigners. Its very appealing to internationals because of the city. You talk though about RPI being in crappy location. NU borders the ghetto so no difference…</p>

<h1>informative - you are incorrect on another point - RPI will ALSO provide a great jump start on career after graduation.</h1>

<p>Sorry, but I’ve got to disagree with Streeetcred about NEU’s location. The campus borders multiple neighborhoods. The areas near Massachusetts Avenue are no ghetto.</p>

<p>Foreigners? Ghetto? I guess streetcred hasn’t read the diversity memo. </p>

<p>NEU borders and is partially in Roxbury.</p>