UMN Twin Cities vs UMich vs U of I vs UW Madison vs Purdue (Chemical Engineering w Interest in Econ)


It’s crunch time for college decisions, and I’m not sure which school to choose. Obviously it comes down to me, but I just want to fish for other opinions/perspectives. I have been accepted into all of the above schools, either into the College of Engineering, or to Chemical Engineering directly. I plan to complete my degree in ChemE, but I do have some interest in Economics (as it may lead to a more prosperous career path), and I may choose to pursue an MBA or Masters in Econ. As far as career plans go, I’m torn between engineering and an econ job in trading or something else, but I do know that I want to work in Western Europe after a graduate degree (Econ, Engineering, or MBA, and this graduate degree may come from an international institution), and salary is definitely one of the most important factors.

Student Profile:
35 ACT
GPA (5 Point): 5.698 Weighted 4.907 Unweighted
Class Rank 10/611
Have taken a bunch of AP courses and generally scored well so any info on AP credits within the following engineering programs would also be appreciated.

Here’s a rundown of the school situations: Listed costs are BEFORE LOANS, and only consider grants/scholarships

All these pros and cons are from my pretty limited knowledge of the schools, so additional info would be much appreciated.

UMN Twin Cities
Cost: approx 26k a year (received scholarship, awaiting financial aid award)
Pros: Cheaper, Really liked the campus and location, admitted into Honors Program, seems like there are pretty good resources as far as research and stuff, highly ranked ChemE program (though there is apparently a drop-off in other engineering programs)
Cons: I don’t know if the name holds as much weight as UMich in terms of getting into grad school, residence halls (besides 17th ave) were pretty drab including their lounges and computer labs, food reportedly isn’t great,

Cost: approx 42k a year (Received grant, no scholarships, will try and write a letter of appeal for more $)
Pros: “Big name” for public universities, general academic prestige, good across the board engineering programs, good econ program, central campus was nice, student life/feel seemed great, the tech resources on campus seemed really nice and up to date which i liked, Ann Arbor was pretty cool (not quite as interesting as Minneapolis), great athletics
Cons: Price, North campus commute for engineering students, North campus wasn’t too impressive (didn’t really get to see the facilities themselves, just kinda saw the buildings and walked through one of them), I heard a couple of the residence halls were pretty bad for the less fortunate (though the better dorms were quite nice).

University of Illinois
Cost: approx 34k a year (Matthews Scholarship)
Pros: Offered James LAS and Chancellor’s Honors, Well known for engineering (not so sure about econ), Pretty up to date campus facilities, the engineering quad had a pretty sweet layout. moderately priced, a lot of people I know go here (not a big factor, but it would be nice to see some of these people every once in awhile), my Calc III credit is easily transferable
Cons: Not too much going on off campus, price is just okay (kinda expensive for in state schools),

UW Madison
Cost: approx 50k a year (plus they gave me the least amount of loan options too lol)
Pros; Madison location was cool, campus was pretty nice, reputable ChemE program, also great athletics, student life seemed buzzing,
Cons: Cost, didn’t get to see dorms/dining halls, rec center supposedly subpar

Cost: approx 24k a year
Pros: Pretty reputable all around engineering, cheapest school, offered Honors program, heard food was pretty good, facilities seemed nice (didn’t get to see much)
Cons: Campus location not the best, off campus options are limited, campus was okay (not amazing not bad).

Again, if you can add any information, please do. The anxiety is starting to set in this late in the game, and I’m realizing that I don’t know enough about some of these schools. I have visited them all, and am having some type of internal favoring towards UMN Twin Cities and UMich, but I’m not ready to discount any of the options yet.

As with many seniors, my heart is fickle and I’m afraid of making the wrong decision, but I know that I’m fortunate to have these options.

Please let me know what you guys think would be the best. (Also don’t hesitate to ask questions).


If UMich is affordable then you have some decisions to make. Otherwise UMN-TC is excellent for Chem E, only a small percentage get into the Honors program, and the economics program is also very well-ranked. The food is not too good and the dorms are okay. By sophomore year, 80% of the students live off campus. You can decide if that’s good or bad for you.