UC Davis vs. Santa Clara University Mechanical Engineering

My high school senior is trying to decide between these two schools for Mechanical Engineering. He likes the small size of Santa Clara and the new STEM buildings they are building (They were supposed to be done by fall 2021, but currently, the construction has stopped due to Covid-19). UC Davis is ranked as good and cost half as much. Any insights anyone has would be appreciated.

The kids I know who have gone to Santa Clara U have all loved the experience , and have done well post college. Their parents are all happy with what their kids got too. So there is that with schools like Santa Clara.

However, cost is a big deal issue. How much is the tuition difference going to impact your family? Absolutely, David is a fantastic school in terms of academic rep, offerings and facilities. It’s a bigger school, less diverse, less personal. Also out a ways from the bustling cities and towns of CA.

Are you a CA resident? I do know an east coaster who is heading out to Davis and there are the trepidations og brj g so far from home, and the familiar, in a vast state system not your own. I know for my son going to an OOS large public school made him an outlier there. The vast majority of students knew a lot of the fellow students whereas he hardly knew anyone, and did not share a lot of high school commonalities. Had he gone to the private Catholic school nearby, this divide would not have been as stark.

All things to consider.

Thanks for your insights. Yes, we are a Northern California residents and about an hour away from each school. My son’s an introvert and probably would benefit from the smaller classes at Santa Clara, but he did do fine in a large public high school. Cost is my major hesitancy with Santa Clara as my son may want to go to graduate school too.

Not even a question. Go to UC Davis for sure. They have a really great engineering program - mechanical engineering faculty/research and opportunities are endless. Great for grad work and industry I have heard.

By “major hesitancy”, would paying the cost of SCU without loans more than the $5.5k student loan make it difficult for you (the parents) to manage your other financial matters, including your retirement or any younger kids’ college costs?

Did you and he agree on any cost parameters beforehand?

As a graduate from SCU I can say I have really enjoyed the experience and the small class sizes. I often have found that professors are easy to access outside of class, and if you are struggling they will work with you to make sure you develop an understanding of the content. My roommate was a mech and has had the opportunity to work at NASA, conduct research at Stanford, and many more great opportunities including being hired before graduation.

I can say that your concern about the new engineering building not opening on time is valid, but construction has only been delayed at most one quarter due to the work shutdown, and the contractor is working hard to make up time to deliver the project on schedule. In your son’s time until the new building opens he will still have access to all the same engineering resources but they are housed in Heafey Hall (renovated newly in 2018) and some lab facilities are located a 5 minute walk away.