Rowan Engineering very competitive to get into for class of 2024

We live in NJ and my son has applied to a lot of in state and NE engineering schools. So far he has been accepted into Rutgers, Penn State and SUNY at Buffalo mechanical engineering programs. He receieved an acceptance from Rowan yesterday but did not get into the mechanical engineering program. He got into his second choice program instead. When I called they said they only accept a gpa of 3.8 and above for that program. I was not aware that it was this competitive to get into. He has a 3.5 unweighted in all honors, AP and IB classes and a 30 ACT. He was invited to apply for their honors program however which I thought was strange given he was not accepted directly into mechanical engineering. They said you can still get into it if you attend the univeristy and get a 3.5 gpa in your classes. I was quite surprised by this as I thought his stats were good enough for Rowan and he was accepted to 3 other competitive programs. Anyone else out there run into this?

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I haven’t run into this, but my son is a junior at Rowan. Their engineering programs are no joke. It’s super competitive. The stats are much higher for engineering that what the overall school stats are.

Honors College first cut is based just on the test score (1310 SAT so whatever that translates to on the ACT); he would still need to apply. It’s not a guarantee.

I think if Rowan is his first choice, it is likely he can get that 3.5 and transfer in to mechanical engineering. You would just want to make sure he can take all the courses that mechanical engineering students take the first semester to be on track to make the transfer seamless.

My D was in biomedical engineering and the honors college for the first three semesters. She was able to maintain a high gpa, and it seems like the friends I have met who are in engineering and honors also have high gpa’s. It’s not like when I was in Rutgers in the old days when freshman engineering students seemed to be weeded our like crazy.

As you are probably aware, Rowan has engineering clinics each semester but all engineering students take the same clinics freshman and sophomore year, so that won’t be an issue as long as he is in some engineering field.

Definitely encourage him to do the honors app. Rowan Honors is an amazing community.

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MACMiracle was spot on!

It’s also not beyond the realm of possibility that your son changes his focus once he takes classes and works on projects with other engineering students. Assuming that he won’t, he’ll still be in good shape - if you follow MACMiracle’s advice.

When it comes to Rowan Engineering, they’re not slumming. It’s built a very good brand in a short time.

Hey! I am a Rowan Engineer - ECE specifically - and in the honors concentration, but have a lot of mechE friends. Rowan Engineering is a really good value and is a very hard program - especially compared to most of the other state programs. We move at about double the rate of the Rutgers, but we also have a lot of involvement on campus and priority on campus in many cases. Me and my friends are all heavily involved on campus in clubs and research and I would rate Rowan Engineering as a Hidden Gem program that is quickly growing in Reputation.


Well after a phone call to the school it appears that they did not take my son’s weighted GPA into account so he has now been admitted to the Mechanical Engineering program. We have also been given a merit scholarship of 10k. This is certainly making our decision making harder now because this is a very nice offer. We paid a visit to the school and were very impressed overall. I am wondering if we should take this offer. Rutgers is his other top choice but no merit aid there. Any thoughts? We are still waiting to hear from other private schools such as Lehigh, Lafayette, Stevens, RPI. We also got into NJIT with merit of 7K, SUNY Buffalo with merit of $15k and Penn State (no merit) all into the engineering programs.

Rowan is a hard value to beat. Their engineering is very respected and job placement is excellent.

Rutgers and Rowan are very different vibes - several of son’s friends are at Rutgers. They need to give themselves an hour to get to class depending on the bus schedule. Rowan is large, but walkable. And newer engineering and housing.

All your schools are great picks. Good luck!


Thank you. It’s going to be a tough choice for sure but right now Rowan is by far the best value.

It doesn’t matter what amount of money was offered from each school, what matters is the total overall cost. Include travel costs for those further away - gas isn’t free :slight_smile:

Having two kids who graduated debt free from Rowan gives me a bit of distance and perspective. They don’t have to live at home, and are not saddled with big student loan payments. This gives them enormous freedom. The education both of them got (neither were engineering majors) was outstanding.

I work in a field with a large number of engineering staff members. I can’t say I’ve found that one school graduates more skilled engineers than another, but that is just a personal comment :slight_smile: Best of luck!

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@nukemaster: Spot on! Son is C/EE Rowan grad '13. Picked Rowan at height of recession over Cornell, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Lafayette, Lehigh, SUNY-Binghamton (he was also a soccer player) and others. The very generous aid was a big part of it, and the fact that he could reasonably finish in 4 years. Also liked the professors he met.

He’s now a PE doing site design in MD (married a MD girl). In his junior year, he took a summer gig doing surveying work for the AC beach replenishment program, just before Sandy. He, like everyone else in his Rowan engineering grad class, had a job or grad school acceptance before they walked. His was at a medium sized division of a larger firm in North Jersey.

They brought him along well. Of course, 50% of it was CAD design work (needed for PE), but he also did some site inspections (transportation and remediation) and forensic work. Then came the move to Maryland. Rapidly growing region - DC seems to be moving north and sprouting more suburbs.

He’s worked with grads from the other schools above (except Binghamton) and more, and doesn’t feel he’s ever had to take a back seat to any of 'em. Second child on the way, and he’s now a homeowner, thanks to paid-off debt.

He’s a Rowan missionary. Good luck to you!

@Overthebar: Other factors to consider:

Where does he want to live after graduation? First jobs tend to come in the same region as the college. Rowan engineering grads start careers primarily in the NJ/PA/DE/NYC area. What’s a more opportune region than that?

What is the likelihood of completing the undergrad in 4 years? Over the years, I’ve found that some schools (Rutgers NB especially) generally require an extra semester or two - class availability and the prof one wants is a factor. Nephew is a Rutgers Mech Eng grad. He had to go overtime and pay extra. He’s doing well but has debt my Rowan grad son didn’t have. Says all the time that if he had to do it over, he’d choose Rowan. Thing is, Rowan was 10 minutes away from his home, so he didn’t give it the props he should have.

I’ve been to Lehigh, Lafayette, Stevens, RPI. Was just thru Rensselaer on a side trip to Burlington, VT to visit my daughter (also a Rowan grad, whose career brought her to Vermont). Each school has its own flavor. It’s a small college. I’ve heard financial aid is good. Stevens is the highest $; they’ll cite the old days and the high salaries Stevens grads make (they need to; jobs are NY metro). Lehigh/Lafayette are nice and established. They’re frat schools. Rowan is a club school.

Henry Rowan, by the way, was a Stevens grad. If he thought Rutgers and Stevens were such great values for engineers, would Rowan University even exist?

Bang for the buck - it isn’t even close IF he sees himself succeeding there.

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@SpacemanEd - Henry Rowan attended Williams College and graduated from MIT. He did not attend Stevens:

“He was born in Raphine, Virginia, to Henry M. Rowan Sr. and Margaret Frances Boyd Rowan on December 4, 1923 (coincidentally the same year the school which now carries his name was founded).[3] He grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey and, after serving as a bomber pilot in World War II with the United States Army Air Forces, Rowan attended Williams College and graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with honors with a degree in electrical engineering.[3][4]”

Source: Wikipedia

Rowan is is no way equivalent to Stevens in value. Stevens graduates are the eighth highest paid engineering graduates and the thirteenth highest of all college graduates in the United States (source, Bloomberg Business Week/Payscale "What’s Your College Degree Worth, 2019:

Rowan - and Rutgers - aren’t even in the top 50 of these lists. Stevens graduates weren’t just well compensated “in the old days”, they are so to this day.

Stevens students have an average SAT score some 200 points higher than those of Rowan’s, and 80% of Stevens freshman are from the top 15% of their high school classes. Stevens having a 150 year history as a leading research university (something that Rowan will take a very long time to achieve if ever) offers undergraduate research and co-op/internship opportunities far ahead of any of the public institutions in this state. There is a distinct advantage to working with students of this caliber which strengthens the individual.

My son had four job offers in the Silicon Valley aerospace industry. All of the companies with which he interviewed were familiar with Stevens’ reputation for producing engineers who are superior interdisciplinary problem solvers, as evidenced by the high course and credit requirements of the curriculum and the depth in subjects other than the student’s direct major which most schools today do not have having become quite specialized.

Who heard of Rowan outside of the NY/NJ metro area?

Had Rowan made the donation to Stevens he would have seen far more value for his generosity given Stevens’ global reach and the track record of impact of its graduates, but that’s neither here nor there. Stevens would not have renamed the university after him, as I am certain was part of the agreement between him and the former Glassboro State College.

Rowan is certainly an adequate school as are all ABET accredited schools of engineering but claiming equivalance to Stevens (or RPI, Lehigh, or even Rutgers which are far more established) is disingenuous at best. When my son attended Stevens many of his classmates regarded Rowan, Rutgers, and most of the other public NJ institutions as safeties.

I’m not an alumnus of Stevens BTW so I have no horse in this race.


And what is the total cost for the average Stevens student? My son’s 4.0, 36 ACT friend was offered minimal money from Stevens. Rowan for a student like that would be a max of $15k/year COA (even less junior/senior year moving off campus). Stevens room cost alone is $16k+ a year, so full tuition scholarships still leave huge out of pocket payments.

We’re talking bang for the buck, Rowan will win hands down.


Bang for buck? LOL! I refer you again to the Payscale rankings, which provide return on investment taking into account the cost of attendance. ROI is the bottom line in comparing any kind of investment.

The average Stevens student has approximately half the cost of attendance covered in financial aid. While yes, this is going to be more expensive than being on the taxpayer dole at a public university, the value offered is the key not what it costs. In this respect, Stevens winds hands down. My son paid off his student loans in less than six years, while living in the high cost Silicon Valley area.

It’s unfortunate that your son’s friend with a stellar academic record was offered a minimal package from Stevens. Unfortunately, Stevens is a small university with finite resources. It has a large number of applicants with stellar high school GPAs and SAT/ACT scores and must make some painful decisions with respect to financial aid. They do try to make the cost comparable to one considering settling for state universities, but sadly cannot fully fund everybody. Very few schools can. I suspect Rowan did not offer full tuition scholarships to every 4.0/36 student who applied there either.

Stevens regularly has several times as many applicants as places in the first year class, despite the tuition being what it is. It is much more selective than Rowan despite the tuition being a major factor in many students’ decisions. Stevens graduates will overwhelmingly say that they considered their tuition to be excellent investments. If that were not the case, they would be flooding Rowan and other state institutions with applications (in which case they could afford to be as selective as Stevens - but they aren’t).

The cost of attendance is a (relatively) short term factor given one’s entire career working lifetime.

I run a consulting engineering firm. In business, there is an old saying. Everyone knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

$72K a year COA for Stevens per College Data
32K a year COA for Rowan

I participate in SWE at Stevens because I’m friends with the Dean of Students. Bright ladies, but they don’t strike me as more outstanding than the Rowan kids, but that’s subjective.


@SpacemanEd My son would be happy with being in the NY/NJ area upon graduation. To add to all of this he just got an acceptance from Stevens and a 20k merit scholarship along with that. Still makes Stevens around $50k per year and Rowan will be around $20k. Huge difference. He also got into RPI but I have yet to hear if he has any merit from them.

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As a consulting engineer myself, I would not hesitate to select Rowan for my kid if the FA award was good. As long as a school is ABET accredited, it’s fine. I wouldn’t pick Stevens over Rowan for the name.

My dad was an engineering professor at UT Austin for many years and is still consulting while in hospice! (Yesterday he was on a conference call because he’s on the committee overseeing UT’s new internship program for civil engineering students.) He knows a LOT about schools and job placement. Just yesterday he was saying that the undergrad school attended is not important as long as it’s accredited. That’s what employers are looking for. What’s critical is your job performance or the grad school you attend. Do not go into a lot of debt for undergrad!!!


@Overthebar has your son made a decision yet? My son will be choosing between NJIT & Rowan. We never got to visit Rowan b4 schools closed, so it is kind of unknown. He would have to dorm there but NJIT is commutable so more affordable even though Rowan gave more FA. He is accepted to the honors college which he did not get into at NJIT.
Thanks for any info re:Rowan you may be able to offer.

@Parent0347: I was wrong (and sloppy) about Henry Rowan & Stevens. I know where Rowan went to college without the Wiki. Don’t know why I typed Stevens. “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get”, I guess. Glad I’m not an engineer.

You are wrong about some things, too. First, value is in the eyes of the grader. Highest paid is NOT a value assessment. It’s a statement of gross wages. Considering the housing costs of Silicon Valley and NYC area, it’s not as great as the paychecks say.

“Stevens students have an average SAT score some 200 points higher than those of Rowan’s, and 80% of Stevens freshman are from the top 15% of their high school classes”? That’s a mathematical impossibility if you’re comparing apples to apples - Rowan Engineering (1,800 engineering students, acceptance rate 24%) vs Stevens (3,100 engineering students, 41% acceptance rate). SAT scores are in the same range: 1300-1480. Not sure if “top 15%” average class rank at Stevens gets you into Rowan Engineering.

Stevens should be better known. It has existed for 140 years. Rowan Engineering has existed for 25 years.

Not every engineering student wants to work in Silicon Valley or in aerospace or live 3,000 miles away. If that was your son’s dream, good for him. If Stevens helped make that possible, great. You should be proud. I don’t bash Stevens - it’s a great school, a name brand for a long time. Rowan is a neophyte, but I know a couple Rowan engineering grads working in aerospace, too. Lockheed Martin hires Rowan students, as do other firms who do work at the FAA Tech Center down the road from me, who also are engaged in aerospace.

My son is a Rowan 2013 CEE grad. Now a PE, specializing in site design and transportation. That was his dream. College debt-free. A dad of one (and one on the way) and a homeowner in a very nice community in Maryland (Howard County, similar to Parsippany-Troy Hills-Morristown area in NJ). His wife is a Biochemist/Molecular Biologist in MD working on COVID-19 solutions. Know where they’d be with a Stevens degree? Probably the same place, but probably not debt free. I’m also proud.

Everyone is working and happy. Isn’t that the “value” that counts most?

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Class of 2025 parent here. Figured I’d piggy back on this post instead of starting a new one. My daughter has 1590 SAT, 4.0 unweighted, 5s on AP Physics, Calculus, US History, Chemistry. She is accepted for MechE at CMU, RPI, RIT, Stevens, Case Western, Binghamton, Stony Brook, NJIT, Rowan, Bucknell etc. We were originally thinking of Rowan as a “safety” but we were so impressed on our tour and now it’s a top contender. Cost is a factor - we did get varying amounts of merit. She really LIKES Rowan (we do live in NJ) and I think we do too. Where should she go?

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