UIUC vs ASU Barrett for Electrical Engineering

hello!! 5/1 is approaching - i’m stressed

ASU w/barrett or UIUC for an electrical engineering major (and possible enviro science minor)?

the factors i’m considering are rigor, resources, research available, recruiting, and social life (i dont plan to rush)

these are comments i found online:
Prestige: UIUC is always ranked top 10 while ASU is in the top 30s. the UIUC network is incredibly strong in tech hubs
Rigor: The classes at UIUC are definitely harder. Note, that’s not to say you won’t learn as much at ASU (it prepares well for graduate school). assignments at ASU are easier. also, Barrett at ASU comes with the requirement of completing a thesis before graduation, which i imagine will be a huge addition to my grad school app.
Resources: in both places, there are labs you can use, research programs for undergrads, a place to grab coffee and a bite to eat, etc. professors at both schools are really open and willing to work with undergrads. also, pheonix is a very active tech hub.
Recruiting: The number of tech companies that recruit from ASU pales in comparison to UIUC. You will definitely see some big names at ASU (e.g., Intel, Microsoft, Google, etc.) but they are only there occasionally. At UIUC, there seems to be a recruiting event going on every week.
Social Life: Both programs are at very large universities (pro in my mind). UIUC is definitely more competitive than ASU. Champaign(UIUC) is in the middle of nowhere, but campus is absolutely HUGE to make up for it - tempe(ASU) is very lively and right next to mill ave, so there’s tons to do.

some general comparisons:
they both have amazing programs and resources, but UIUC is definitely going to be more competitive, difficult, and stressful. i imagine it will be a lot harder to get research/internships at UIUC because of the competition. but the professors, atmosphere, and prestige of UIUC is genuinely so appealing to me. the people i’ve met from there so far are also SO kind and lovely and warm. (i do expect to feel mad imposter syndrome at UIUC though, grainger is full of a bunch of geniuses from all around the world). my GPA at ASU is likely going to be higher - U of I is notorious for difficult grading & tests that don’t match the practice problems done in class at all. also, i am from SoCal (weather isn’t a deal breaker, i actually don’t like arizona weather very much and would love to go far away to experience something new lol). i am also a girl and EE has a very …large… gender gap - UIUC has such a strong women in engineering network, which i love. ASU has a strong and welcoming SWE network too, but it didnt especially stand out to me. additionally, i want to work for a few years after undergrad before going into a (hopefully) top school for my masters to pursue further research and academia.

i will be taking out about 20k worth of loans for UIUC. however, i am not too concerned about paying it back within 1-2 years after graduation given the typical starting salary of an EE with the name of UIUC. ASU will require no loans bc i got wonderful merit aid.

  • 20k max, i anticipate a little less because i will move off campus, work, apply for scholarships, etc.

sorry this isnt a bullet point pro/con list!!! but with all this in mind, is UIUC worth the difficulty and the loans? my heart is set on UIUC (not going to lie, the prestige plays a role in that) but ASU is a really great option too. i know i’d be happy at both schools.

asu barret is a phenomenal opportunity and really you couldn’t go wrong with either one. if you are willing to take out the loans (although it is definitely not necessary), obviously uiuc is the better option but otherwise, barret is a great program and is a top-ranked honors program. really comes down to what you like better and where you feel you would thrive better.

How did you end up with that “20K” number? Isn’t ASU Barrett considerably cheaper than UIUC for you?

How about weather ? UIUC, depending on your perspective, isn’t the most attractive campus. Add in snow. ASU. Just looking at the desert mountains is gorgeous?

UIUC is good. But while all schools have job fairs, most recruiting is done today via indeed and LinkedIn. My son is at Alabama…so not on anyone’s radar. His two roomies at the auto manufacturer he’s at this summer…Ga Tech.

Go to the right school for you. If you are a go getter you will be fine either way. There will be plenty of successful graduates at both and there will be some that struggle and can’t find a job like any school.

Also imagine if you don’t like engineering or of engineering doesn’t like you. You have to be prepared for the possibility because you won’t end up an engineer. A large amount of students change majors…depending on the study it’s between 35 and 60%. What school would be best then ?

I do think your thoughts on one being easier or harder than another…that’s prof to prof. Many people make this assumption on perception. Yet I know someone who went to Penn for their MBA and they had less rigor than I did at ASU. Statements like that May end up true but you don’t really know.

I personally would look past a subjective rank and perceptions you associate with it and choose the school that’s right for you. I got my MBA at ASU. I looked at UIUC…they flew me in like a job interview…I found it depressing and didn’t even apply. You need to spend four years there.

You can only get one internship in a summer and one job after. So both will do that for you.

I urge you to think deeper than your list. Where can you see yourself for the next four years. That’s where you should choose. Good luck.

I’m originally from the Midwest and went to college there, but now live in SoCal. Daughter is in Barrett at ASU and I’m a big fan. I find UIUC to not be an appealing campus and town, especially compared to ASU and Tempe. The Barrett facilities are very nice.

And this article gives you an idea where Silicon Valley recruits. Illinois at 7 and ASU at 10.

That being said, maybe a change in location is right for you.

And the loans at $20K @3% are about $110/month which is easily payable.

Go where you will feel happiest. Dont pay attention to the rankings. Both are great schools and you’ll be challenged at both. The money isn’t much different.

What’s your source for this? Usually the difficulty of assignments is pretty challenging in any engineering department and the variability is between instructors, not schools (for the most part).

On a funny side note, my son had a Prof for Advanced Fluid Dynamics (his favorite BTW) that gave weekly assignments with answer keys that were 100 pages. It was possible to score below zero on lab assignments. You read that right…negative points! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

It’s good info but a better source would be one that broke it down per capita as class sizes are different.

For example, you might think that Georgetown or Harvard place more people in DC than other schools - but Sewanee + W&L place more people per capita in govt jobs - read that somewhere .

But that is good info.