VT questions- need to decide this week

My son was waitlisted at VT and just heard that he got accepted. They need answer in 6 days. He would like to visit but cannot do it this week as he has two more AP exams. So here I am asking for some help,

  1. How is Mechanical engineering lab? I know Eng. building is new, but how is the lab? Do they have more equipment for multiple students to work at the same time? Are they new?
  2. How is the food?
  3. Is there anything to do in Blacksburg, if they get bored and would like to venture outside of campus?
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My kid just graduated as CS Engineering so I can’t say specifically about the Mech engineering lab.

With respect to food, VT on campus dining is rated very highly and there’s a ton of different choices (including chain stuff). There’s a good amount of off campus choices too.

My kid was pretty busy doing school stuff or clubs most of the time, but there’s lots of outdoor stuff to do. Great hiking and tubing on the New River when it’s warmer. Blacksburg is a small college town, but Christiansburg is close and Roanoke is ~20 minutes away. Still not the big city, but more options.

HTH!

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what is the alternative? (ie, where has he already deposited)

Is $ an issue?

When you ask “do they have more equipment for multiple students”, more than who?

We have already given deposit to UMass Amherst (In state for us).
Price is not the issue for us (at least not the first issue!), we are ready to pay for his college as long as he wants to go there.
I meant that can multiple students work on the same type of equipment at the same time, or do they wait for their turn which may take hours or days in some instance? Main question here is, how much does university pour in mechanical engineering program?

Everyone I know that has visited Virginia Tech, says it is beautiful. I visited in the summer and I thought the same.

  1. Here is more information on mechanical engineering— https://me.vt.edu/
  2. In Blacksburg, there is not much outside of the campus, but the campus is big and there are lots of clubs and sporting events to attend. Not to mention, the food is #2 best out of all colleges.
  3. I am not sure, someone else can answer this.
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@sevmom can probably answer your questions.

I’d put little to no emphasis on food. It’s bad at a lot of campuses. It certainly was at my son’s school. It was a great ME program though. Most students adapt after first year and eat whatever and where ever they like.

My son is finishing up his freshman year in engineering at Virginia Tech and has been really happy! The food is amazing, and there are tons of dining options. There is a lot to do on campus, and off. He often walks off campus to run an errand, go to a restaurant or visit off campus friends. He’s also spent time hiking and swimming at one of the state parks nearby. I don’t think my son has taken advantage of a quarter of what is there for him to experience.

Join the VT parents FB page - someone will be able to answer your specific questions about mechanical engineering. Good luck with the decision!

ETA:
Best college food 2022, according to Niche - #1 UCLA, #2 Virginia Tech, #3 UMass Amherst

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Thank you @flyawayx2. My invitation to join that FB page is pending. State Park is a great amenity close by.

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Has your son visited other campuses, or has he committed to another school already? Personally speaking, committing to a university without having visited seems like a risky choice. Are his sensibilities more in line with an urban environment? Suburban? Rural? I could see city-minded kids having a pretty big adjustment. That said:

  • Things to do in Blacksburg: movie theater, farmer’s market, escape room, restaurants, some seasonal events and live music opportunities.
  • Things nearby: hiking (cascades, bald knob), tubing, kayaking (new river).
  • Things through VT programs: a club for virtually any interest, rec sports, - check to see if Venture Out is still a thing… they used to organize local trips for canoeing, kayaking, caving, rock climbing.

@ShenVal18 The OP said they have already deposited at instate UMass Amherst.

Virginia Tech has a beautiful campus, great food, and a great well regarded engineering program. Good luck with the decision!

@ShenVal18 ,He has committed to UMass Amherst, but now he is excited about VT. We visited VT 6 years ago when we were looking for my older son, but he was young enough not to look at it the way a college bound student should. He does remember though. Also, he only applied to those university they are in suburban/rural environment, so he is good with ‘Middle of no where’ places.
Thank you for all suggestions.

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It sounds like a good fit then! And Venture Out does appear to still be a thing. Their Spring 2022 schedule is on the page below:

Venture Out | Recreational Sports | Virginia Tech (vt.edu)

We are from MA and my friend’s D is a freshman at VT. I asked her your questions.

  1. not her major so no idea
  2. food is very good. She said housing is a bit of a pain. Her D committed to an off campus house for sophomore year in the fall of freshman year as was told that was the only way to be guaranteed somewhere to live. Friendships have since changed but she is already in a lease with the original girls for next year. The house is in not walking distance to campus so they are trying to figure out if she needs to bring a car next year.
  3. Her D mostly stays on campus but says there is tons to do. Blacksburg is a great college town so they basically consider it an extension of campus. She has done some local hikes as well.

Her mom’s biggest complaint is that it’s very hard to get to from MA. They have tried flying, taking the train and driving and they all have their pros and cons. They are doing a 4 day road trip this weekend to go pick her up. Other than that they love the school. Campus and area are beautiful. Classes have been challenging.

Good luck with the decision!

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Transportation is one of the issues we have to think about. my older son went to Pittsburgh, which is 10 hours’ drive, so I know how hard it is, but it is still one flight away. VT is a flight and a drive away or 11 hours’ drive.
Thank you for letting me know about housing situation. We have to be vigilant from early on.

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Some of the “must find your off campus housing in October of freshman year” is a little manufactured, but you will be wise to start reviewing VT’s off campus housing resources early. If you can add an extra day when you come for orientation you can take a couple hours and pretty much see everything that’s available. There are several new student housing developments coming online as well, so the crunch might not be as bad as in prior years. Be prepared for sticker shock for some of the developments.

So I think the food is a non-issue - to echo @eyemgh .

I actually think food is quite important - because how many kids don’t eat because it’s bad and get low blood sugar. Or you read about a school like Gtown that kids are spending thousands extra eating outside because it’s so bad.

But - you are considering two schools - and these two rate amongst the highest in the country. I verified UMASS with an colleague who said she’d choose it over eating at any restaurant where she lives now (in Phoenix) - and another class of 26 dad I’ve been talking to visited and said it was very good.

Va Tech I was at - nicest large campus I’ve ever been to - like really really nice - but we couldn’t eat there due to covid. It won’t let me show it - but google niche + food and you’ll find the best college food in America link.

Va Tech is 2 and UMASS is 3.

So to me, it’s of vital importance - but in this case would not be an issue as it’s going to be great at both schools.

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I forgot to mention one last thing. If your family is in a position to, I strongly recommend attending Summer Academy. It’s a 6 week summer program for freshman and transfers. The students take classes (you get a choice of tracks I think) and live in the dorm. At the end of the program, the kids go up to a retreat at a lake kind of like summer camp. My kid made lots of friends and learned all about how things work at Tech (how to eat at the dining hall, where everything is, how to do his laundry on campus, etc.). Added bonus, you get to move into your dorm a day or two earlier than everyone else (hope they haven’t changed this!).

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A little late but my D just finished her freshman year at VT. She is not an engineering major so I can’t comment on that. Some of the other things…

Food does matter to a lot of people. My daughter is always raving about the food there and sending me pics of poke bowls and other interesting things that she’s eating. The dining halls do a great job of changing things up and having lots of theme & cultural nights. My D likes to eat healthy and she finds many offerings. Conversely, her boyfriend goes to UTK and both of them contend that the dining hall food there is absolutely terrible with limited variety & healthy offerings. Many of their friends there live on Chic fil A and other fast food chains. Her bf can’t wait to get off campus and cook his own food.

Blacksburg is small, but mighty. I believe it is a quintessential college town that has a tremendous amount of VT spirit and is walkable from campus. The farmer’s market is great (they also have a vintage market with cool thrift finds) and there is a good variety of local restaurants, some bars & breweries & VT-themed shops. If you’re looking for chain & big-box stores, Christiansburg is an easy bus or car ride away. Outside of campus there are endless outdoor activities that many students take part in, either through the university clubs or on their own. On campus, VT has a vibrant sports program and with the athletic facilities conveniently located on the residential side of campus, it’s easy for students to attend games (they also have a very active club & intramural sports program).

Off campus housing - there is plenty and they are building new complexes. You don’t have to sign a lease in October/November, BUT if your kid wants the popular, nicest, closest to campus complexes OR needs a 4-5bdrm unit, those go first. My kid signed in November because she wanted a specific complex and needed a 4bdrm. FWIW, my older kid also signed this early at another university, so it’s not VT-specific. The roommate thing is always a gamble because a lot can change between November & the following August.

Having to fly in to get VT can be a challenge but people seem to work it out and the parents on the FB page are really helpful with suggestions. Travel doesn’t seem to override anyone’s love of VT.

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