Pitt vs Penn State vs Temple for Engineering (probably Mechanical)

Son is accepted to Pitt, Penn State, and Temple Engineering, with Honors at Pitt and a small scholarship at Temple. They are all about the same price.

He cannot make it to the admitted student’s day at Penn State due to his sports schedule (tennis team is too small and they can’t do without him.) He has had a thorough visit of Temple and his sister goes to Pitt (also engineering)

Does anyone have feedback about comparisons between the three programs? Does Penn State emphasize co-ops? Do they have job fairs to help students find co-op opportunities? How strong are the research opportunities at PSU and are they readily available? What is campus life like at Penn State if you are not of the partying ilk?

He is looking for any feedback that will help him to decide.

Thanks in advance!!

Check for secondary admission to major, assuming initial admission to engineering.

Pittsburgh requires a 2.0 college GPA. Choosing a Major

PSU has higher college GPA requirements depending on major. Undergraduate Advising | ETM - New and Re-enrolling Students - Summer 2020 or Later | Penn State Engineering

Not sure what Temple requirements are.


I would find a way to visit Penn State for this decision. These are all large public schools but that’s where the similarities end.

Pitt is direct admit which is a plus. Penn State alumni network is huge.

Research is available at all but you’ll be pretty busy with engineering classes.

Internships and co-ops can be done. I knew several classmates that did co-ops at Pitt back in the day but it wasn’t pushed. Today most kids find them on their own.

Both sons wanted no part of Temple.

There’s no wrong choice.


I just noticed Honors at Pitt. Congratulations. That’s a nice perk.

There’s no bad choice here. I’m pretty sure your son will have a favorite after visiting.

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@chmcnm he is going to contact the engineering department to see if they will provide a visit for him on a day that works for him. I’m not sure whether such a big university will accommodate. Finger’s crossed.

And I know college trumps tennis but his team forfeits if they don’t have 5 players and that is the size of their team, so it’s a quandary.


There’s no wrong choice, but almost all students I see who are admitted to Engineering at Penn State go there vs the other two. They tend to be impressed with what they see and I know, at least locally, Penn St seems to be favored with hiring.

We’re semi-rural (in PA) so hiring in cities might vary based upon which of the three are closer to them. It could also affect which school is preferred with students. Penn St is also fairly rural.

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Worst case you can do a self tour. I would go even if he can’t get an engineering tour. Our HS probably sends 20-30 kids a year to Pitt and PSU so my kids just contacted some friends and got personal tours.

If your son is interested in nuclear engineering then Penn State. They have a reactor.

I’m a Pitt grad but I actually enjoy Happy Valley and the surrounding area. Your son will know pretty quickly which environment he prefers. Good luck.


I think having the registration and housing perks of honors at Pitt is a big plus. Pitt and Temple are urban campuses. I would choose Pitt for location and honors.


Congrats on your son’s three great options. I would do the following:

–Research the advantages that the honors program at Pitt will provide. At some colleges there is a huge benefit to being in the honors program. If there are significant benefits to the honors program, this could be a big positive for Pitt.

–IMO you need to find a way to visit Penn State if he is seriously considering committing to the school. It has a very different vibe as compared to the more urban schools on the list. One is not better than the other but they are different and fit is important.

–I’m sure your S can find non-partiers at any college (especially one as large as Penn State) but (this is purely anecdotal) my non-partying son felt that being in an urban setting provided some nice additional social outlets.

–FWIW I know people who have had great experiences at all three colleges. There has been some recent noise on CC about concerns regarding the area around Temple so that may be worthy of some additional research if Temple is a serious contender.

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My D works with a number of students at her co-op company from Pitt. They have a really well supported co-op program if that’s important. Their honors program is supposedly excellent. Congrats to your student!


Temple is in a terrible neighborhood, and it’s not just a recent thing. I would go with Penn State or Pitt, rather than Temple, just because of safety issues.


Thanks for all the responses. Does anyone know about Penn State Co ops? Required or optional? Does Penn State have job fairs for co-ops like Pitt does?

There are huge job and co-op fairs and employers from PA/NYS/MD/VA/DE book a year in advance to make sure they can be there. The alumni network is huge.

Assuming your child got into Honors at Pitt but not at PSU, how does he like small classes? Because Engineering classes are going to be very large and impersonal, which can be fine for some but alienating for others, so Honors at least allows him to have a few classes where he can interact with the professor and peers directly (discussion-based, interactive classes are typical for Honors classes).

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@MYOS1634 are you talking about Penn State with huge job and co-op fairs?

I know Pitt has a lot of companies involved with their co-op fairs but I’m not as sure about PSU.

Yes I was talking about Penn State.
I don’t think there’s a difference in terms of professional opportunities (though I think PSU has a bit more reach in the VA/MD/DC area and Pitt more towards the Midwest) so the big difference is going to be living in a city v. living in a college town. I tend to think the best time to live in a college town is when you’re in college because the town is centered on students’ needs/wants&there’s plenty of time to live in cities as an adult when you actually make money, but the point would be moot if your child doesn’t like college towns :slight_smile:
And the other difference is going to be Honors classes at Pitt v. regular classes at PSU. You may want to investigate whether there are special, smaller sections of Engineering for Honors students, for instance, or what part of regular gen eds would be replaced with the Honors courses at Pitt.