To which schools should I apply for Mechanical Engineering?

<p>Hi there.</p>

<p>I am an international student and I want to study mechanical engineering in the U.S.
It's a little bit more complicated though because back in Europe I could study at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, which is considered a top school for engineering worldwide. In addition, it is a safe school for me (without taking any additional tests), it would just cost me about $1000 tuition half a year and I would receive my degree in 3 years (which is standard in Europe).</p>

<p>There are reasons why I would prefer to study in the U.S., including that I would like to be taught in English (instead of being taught in my native language at ETH, German), experience the in my opinion much more extravagant student life and university spirit, and that I would prefer to study abroad. I also want to study in the U.S. because it would make it easier to be together with my girlfriend (possibly even the only possibility). </p>

<p>So far, I want to apply to MIT, Stanford, UCB, and Caltech.
I think I am a competitive candidate but I know that under no circumstances there is any guarantee that I would get into one of these schools.</p>

<p>Right now, I am agonizing whether I should expand my list of schools I want to apply to.
I am considering to apply to UCLA and USC and Georgia Tech.
Is Georgia Tech really that good? It is ranked #3 for mechanical engineering but to me it doesn't seem to be a very competitive school.
The ETH in Zurich is ranked #8 by U.S. News and World Report for Engineering worldwide.
I just do not want to apply to less competitive and excellent schools than the ETH AND pay $40000 a year more...</p>

<p>Another reason why I would prefer studying in the U.S. is that I cannot double major at ETH.
I really would like to double major in Mechanical Engineering and Entrepreneurship.
So if that is possible at any of the Universities in the standard time of study (4 years) than this would boost my interest in that school tremendously.</p>

<p>Thank you for your help. I appreciate it!</p>

<p>Any advise?
10char</p>

<p>Honestly if you can finish school in 3yrs, I say do that. BTW, one of my friends is from Sweden whose dad is some sort of high ranked Swiss Bank official. He also got into that school, but decided to come to WPI for Mechanical Engineering. But seeing how students have to do some lit and other courses (applies to any US schools despite ur major); he decided to go back to that school and wanna finish his degree in 3 yrs now. I will add RPI, WPI, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, Carnegie Mellon , V Tech on that list. </p>

<p>If you don't mind what's ur SAT/AP/IB? Cuz if they aren't too high I say, MIT/CalTech/Stanford a long shot.</p>

<p>I have a 110/120 TOEFL Ibt, 800 in SAT MATH II.
I am going to take SAT IIs in Physics and German on October, 1st and expect 800s, too.
In November I am going to take the SAT and expect something around 2200. </p>

<p>I also have outstanding extracurricular activities:
a) A voluntary year of social service in New York City for a non-profit organization called Project Hospitality which are caring for homeless people (yes, 12 months, full-time 40h/week) as part of a German government program. I will get a top letter of rec from them (I also got awards from the Staten Island Borough President's Office and the Staten Island Network of volunteer administrators for my extraordinary work)
b) A year of traveling and working around the world (including Greece, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia and Malaysia), which I will continue until next fall term.
c) Singing in one of Germany's best youth choirs for 5 years during my high school career - we made several concert tours to music festivals throughout Europe and where ranked 1st place several times. We also took part in the German choir competition 2010 and were ranked 8th/ca. 200
d) I play guitar for 7 years and piano for 4 years and compose my own music - I want to sent in 1 - 3 of my compositions as a supplement.
Next to high school, I went to an art school for 7 years.
EDIT: e) I was a committee member of the political youth party of my hometown since I turned 13 and also acted as the president for 2 years. We organized a christmas three collection every year and collected about 60000 Euros for the eight local kindergartens (to name the most important event). </p>

<p>As a downside I didn't finish school in standard time - I repeated 6th grade because I was struggling when my parents split up. I just turned 22.
My GPA is a 1.4/6.0 which equals a 4.0 - 3.8 in the U.S.</p>

<p>What would you say? Is it worth a shot? I mean, I will try anyway. But since you asked for my scores I would like to hear your opinion.
Thanks!</p>

<p>How is a 1.4/6.0 in Germany equivalent to a 3.8-4.0/4.0 in the US? You must have made a typo. What kind of grading system do you have there where a 1.4/6 is considered almost perfect to perfect?</p>

<p>I don't know if you considered this, but you could get your bachelors in Switzerland and then get a masters in the US. It'll take the same amount of time as getting a bachelors in the US, but it'll get you farther and will be cheaper.</p>

<p>Conversion to other systems</p>

<p>"In converting German grades to the US A-to-F scale, it is inaccurate to use a 1 = A, ... 4 = D conversion (with 5 and 6 both converted to Fs). This conversion is wrong since a grade of 3, for instance, is usually much more difficult to obtain in Germany than a C in the United States. Thus official conversion tables for university exchange programs usually convert 2 to A-/B+, a 3 to B/B- and a 4 to C."</p>

<p>Quoted from Wikipedia: Academic</a> grading in Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia</p>

<p>Also:
"The academic level of the Abitur is comparable to the International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement tests — indeed, the study requirements for the International Baccalaureate differ little from the Finnish exam requirements. It is the only school-leaving certificate in all states of Germany that allows the graduate (or Abiturient) to move directly to university."</p>

<p>Source: Abitur</a> - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia</p>

<p>Therefore, my not perfect GPA in Germany can be viewed as an almost perfect GPA in the U.S.</p>

<p>One option you could look into is Olin College of Engineering. You could major in MechE and then you can do a depth in Entrepreneurship (it's not a double major but it's pretty cool). You get to take a lot of undergrad and sometimes even an MBA class at Babson College (which is a next door college famous for Entrepreneurship). So you would end up taking up to 1 business class each semester in addition to all of your engineering. It's a very competitive school and hard to get into though. But every admitted student gets a 1/2 tuition scholarship. </p>

<p>Olin</a> College : Admission : Non-US Citizens
Olin</a> College : Academics : Academic Partnerships</p>

<p>Edited to add fun fact: In 2006 one of my classmates did a Fulbright at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) after graduating from Olin.</p>

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<p>It is rather unlikely that any of the universities in the US will be competitive cost-wise for undergraduate study for an international student (graduate study is more likely to be funded). Based on what you said above, SFIT will cost about $6,000 tuition over three years, versus about $140,000 tuition over four years for any of the universities in the US (and add more for living expenses, which may or may not be higher than for SFIT).</p>

<p>@ucbalumnus:
Well, that might be right - cost-wise.
But I am looking for the best education possible and MIT would definitely be my first choice. MIT is also need-blind for international applicants.</p>

<p>Need-blind simply means that they claim to not consider need or not in admissions. That does not necessarily mean that they will offer financial aid for needy international students.</p>

<p>I feel like based on the criteria you set forth, Berkeley and Stanford are probably the best fit for you on the list. Do you have a geographic preference o a preference in urban vs. suburban vs. rural? Depending on that, UCLA, UIUC, GaTech and Purdue may all be good fits as well since you are looking for school spirit as a reason to cross the pond.</p>

<p>How about Case Western Reserve in Cleveland ? My son is very happy there .</p>

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<p>Guys, based on this portion of the original post, I think small schools like Case Western or Olin, while good schools, are out since they don't seem to be exactly what Amad3us is looking for. He/she seems to want a place with more school spirit, and in general, the smaller schools tend to have less of that than the larger schools.</p>

<p>Although MIT does meet full need of internationals, it has a strict quota on the number of internationals it admits. Also, unless your family is very poor which is unlikely coming from Switzerland, you and your parents will probably have to contribute a substantial amount to the cost of education. This could certainly be more than $100,000 over four years even with aid. </p>

<p>Admission is extremely competitive for internationals at MIT with an admission rate of less than 4%. As a group internationals tend to be even more qualified than US applicants. Just very good general ECs won't be enough. MIT really wants to see demonstrated interest in the sciences in the form of research, math and science competitions and the like. This is not easy to show coming from Europe. Most internationals fall into the category of academic superstars (Olympiad medalists) unless they beat the odds and rose through the system in a poor African or Asian country. </p>

<p>You have a much greater chance of admission and lower educational costs by applying to MIT for graduate school. You can also much easier get a visa to stay and work in the US with a graduate degree than an undergraduate degree. ETH is well known at MIT and many ETH graduates have applied and been admitted to MIT. Graduate admission is also done by department which makes it more personal as many MIT professors know their international counterparts at other top universities. Even as a grad student in engineering you could easily take classes at the Sloan School. That is the route I chose 30 years ago after attending the Ecole Polytechnique in France as an undergrad. I never moved back to Europe.</p>

<p>Check into Rice. My s is a mech E from Rice, and although the entrepreneurship program is officially at the graduate level, he was able to get involved in this Rice</a> Alliance - Home Seriously cool</p>

<p>Yes, Georgia Tech really is that good. I'm surprised you don't find it competitive. It is definitely a top engineering school and also has the university spirit you desire.</p>

<p>GT is nice with a fantastic co-op program. If you want to gain real-world experience through co-op, it's a great school for that. I also second Olin..very hands-on. </p>

<p>I'd suggest you to take a look at Northwestern also. It's ranked #11 by USN, I believe. So it's ranked as high as MIT but at the undergrad level, NU provides something unique and to me, a curriculum superior to those in number of schools ranked above it because it's not captured in rankings. The program has "Engineering First" and programs/courses with strong design/entrepreneurial focus. It's a hybrid of Olin's appraoch and traditional approach. On top of that, it got one of the best co-op programs, just like GT.</p>

<p>All-Star</a> Student Entrepreneurs: Social Media Ad Mogul - Forbes
Engineering</a> First ® Program: McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern
How</a> We Think: McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern</p>

<p>Check out U of Texas at Austin also. I think it makes more sense to go to cheaper schools like GT and UT Austin.</p>

<p>Yeah, GT is a lot more competitive than you'd think even more so since you are an international applicant. If you are going by admission rates, you have to keep in mind that GT is a state school :D</p>

<p>Other than Cal, Caltech, MIT and Stanford, I recommend the following schools for providing a great, well-rounded undergraduate experience:</p>

<p>Carnegie Mellon University
Cornell University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Northwestern University
Princeton University
University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
University of Texas-Austin
University of Wisconsin-Madison</p>