What do you think of Illinois Institute of Tech?

So…I recently checked out this school and REALLY liked it. I plan on doing chemical engineering, and it looks like a lot of the college courses I’ve already taken will transfer over, which is nice. Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone could tell me about the school? Anything I should be wary of? I know I need to visit, and plan to, but it wouldn’t hurt to get someone who’s GONE there’s opinion.

I’ll let students or parents of students answer the question about what they consider the good and bad points, but if you have specific questions about the academics or other opportunities i can answer as a long time faculty member.

@ xraymancs Really? That’d be fantastic! Right now I’m really interested in chemical engineering. This summer I’ll (hopefully) do a six-day program about engineering, but I’d also like to hear about it from someone else. How would you describe your engineering program? What should, or can I, do to be more prepared if I were to be accepted?

@Lambchoppi6 - The engineering program at Illinois Tech would best be described as rigorous. Students are expected to work hard and the engineering curriculum is heavy on major-specific courses. This is not too different from any other ABET accredited engineering program, of course. A plus for Illinois Tech is that it is a relatively small school (about 3,000 undergraduates) which means that classes will generally be small and you can get to know the faculty well. There are lots of internship opportunities and our engineering graduates do well in the job market.

As for preparation, the most important thing I have noticed over my years as a faculty member is that students need to have good study habits. Know how to read and understand textbooks. Have good time management skills and put the effort in to really understand the material. Realize that sometimes working alone is not the best way to learn. These kinds of things will help you in every course you take. With regards to academic preparation, take all the AP courses you feel comfortable with but make sure you have very strong basic skills in mathematics. i have seen too many students come in having taken AP Calculus and Physics but unable to perform algebraic manipulations quickly and accurately.

Alright. That’s a big help. Thank you.

I was also wondering how you treat college-level courses. Are you pretty specific about what can transfer? I know that at Vanderbilt, for example, they won’t take any credits that have been used as a replacement for high school credit. Since my sophomore year I’ve only taken college courses, so this could be a problem, especially in math. By the time I graduate from high school I hope to have taken differential equations. I saw that in the chemical engineering degree this was as far as you had to go in math. I’d hate to have to retake everything, especially since I actually tutor some of these subjects, meaning I don’t need a review.

Also, if you see college courses on a transcript, do you imagine them as equally rigorous as an AP or honors course? I’m constantly told on online college sites to take as many AP as possible, but I’m wondering how IIT sees it.

Thanks again for taking the time to write back. I appreciate it.

I am not in the Academic Affairs Office and they are the ones who determine transfer credit. There are three possible cases: (1) that they give you actual credit provided you have a college transcript and that college is recognized, (2) that they waive these courses and ask you to make make up the credits with alternative elective courses, and (3) that you are allowed to take the credit by examination for those courses you have already studied at the other college.

As I said, I am not exactly sure of the current rules but you can find out by contacting the admissions office and ask to speak with someone in Academic Affairs.

IIT has an online tool for checking transfer credit and AP credit. My daughter used it for figuring AP credit. I doubt it covers every scenario, and I’m sure the academic affairs office has the final say, but it was helpful for us to see what credit she was likely to get.


A good option…

I am a current Illinois Tech student. As xraymancs mentioned, only UGAA handles credit transfers. If the college where you took the courses is recognized, I would definitely say that they look better than AP courses on your transcript. I do want to point out that I have seen a good number of (domestic) students, who came in with AP credits and/or have taken college-level math and science courses, struggle or unable to cope with the level of math and science courses here.

ChE is one of the programs that will make you work hard. One cannot just slide through the courses with minimal effort. Apart from the time management and other things that were already mentioned, I would say that the best preparation you can have is to be strong at math and science. As basic as it may sound, there is no shortcut around it in an engineering curriculum.

Thanks a bunch for all the responses you guys! I actually got accepted, and received a scholarship of all things! Do any of you know anything about the Henry T. Heald scholarship? What are the requirements of keeping it? I tried looking on the website, but I couldn’t find anything.

Usually, if there is a specific requirement it is a minimum GPA. It should be in your letter. If there is nothing, then there should be no specific requirement except remaining in good standing academically.

Alright. Thanks!

@Lambchoppi6 …I know I’m late to your post, but just wanted to add some of my son’s experiences as a freshmen Chem E student. He is very content with his decision to attend IIT. He had a very successful first semester and has settled in very nicely. He finds everyone very helpful. He lives in SSV and LOVES it. He does sometimes wish there were more social activities offered, but he LOVES city life and spends a lot of social time exploring Chicago. Let me know if you have any questions, as I would be happy to answer what I can. Best of luck!

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! I’d love to know more about the professors. How do they teach? Is it more lecture -based, or are the students expected to participate? Does your son often need to read the book on his own to actually understand a concept, or just to clear a few things up? Is there a lot of busy work required, or are most, if not all, the assignments necessary to completely understand the material? Thanks again!

Also, this comment is for anyone who knows more about the professors. In my opinion, all other things to do with a college are nice to have, but not necessary. How well professors are able to explain concepts, and how much they expect us to do on our own (which I realize will be a lot, but I just need it to be necessary and relevant) will make or break my college experience.

As a professor, I am of course somewhat biased but in general faculty receive good marks from the students as far as accessibility and teaching. A lot of the courses are lecture-based but there are also laboratory and project based courses. As with any STEM oriented school, the workload is high. There are a lot of demands on students to do homework but I would say that the homework is relevant to learning the material if the student approaches it the right way.

An undergraduate education is worth what the student puts into it. You cannot expect to have knowledge funneled into you. The key to learning is putting in the time outside of class to internalize what the topics are. Lecture is just a small part of that and getting the most of it can be improved by doing the reading before hand and asking question in class.

I don’t mind doing a lot of work; granted, my tune may change once I’m in that situation, but overall I’m excited to have the opportunity to really push myself. I’m just afraid that I’ll be given a ridiculous amount of busy work. What would you say is the best way to approach the homework? Do many students not “approach it the right way”?

So questions are encouraged in class? Lecture is fine, but sometimes a professor will just run through their lesson, and not give students the opportunity to ask questions as they arise. I can work around this, of course, asking questions after class as an example, but I like class being more of a conversation, than the professor just talking the whole time. Would you say a lot of teachers at Illinois are like that?

Also, I had no idea you actually taught at Illinois Tech! Would you mind if I ask what department you teach in?

Thanks for taking the time to reply by the way.

I am a physics professor. I would say that most faculty are happy to have questions in class and to have students come to office hours. Of course different faculty have different styles. I would not say that homework is “busy work” as it is used to help the student understand the material.

Many students do the homework with all their resources available and open. Of course, you can find solutions to most problems somewhere but that does you no good since you will likely not have those resources on exams. The best way to do the homework in my opinion is to make an effort to work it out without the book open (I am speaking about basic physics, for example) and then use the book and other resources if you are stuck. The main value of the homework is to help you get familiar with how to setup and work out problems.

Okay. So some students just “get through” the homework? I like to work through hw problems just how you suggested, so hopefully I won’t have any problems like that. Thanks, again, for taking the time to reply. Concerning classes, I recently recieved a list of classes that would transfer. My Calculus 1 and 2 will, but I’m not sure if it would be wise to skip these courses. Do the Calc. Classes at Illinois Tech tend to be engineering oriented? Or, when going over the material, are topics that are specific to engineers mainly focused on? I remember, from my calc 1 class, that we did limits, derivatives, graphing methods, and at the end integrals. Are any other main topics covered? Basically, I’m just asking what you would recommend haha.

This is a bit off topic, but are you familiar with the Hawk Preview Days? They’re the 30th and 31st of this month. I was just wondering if a lot of future students tend to go to Illinois Tech on those days. I’m going to try and come, but if not, are there any other days that you would suggest for an incoming freshman?

If you have not visited campus yet, then coming to preview days is a good idea. It will help you make a decision whether Illinois Tech is the right place for you.

Calculus class is pretty standard, not specifically oriented to Engineering but since most of the students taking it are engineers, there is a bias. The question of whether to take the AP credit is really up to you. Many students do so and are fine. Others may have a bit of difficulty in jumping right into multivariable Calculus. In general and AP course in High School is not exactly the same as a college course so if you are not completely comfortable with the material, it might be best to retake Calculus II.

Yeah. Turns out I can’t make it to the preview days this month, which is super disappointing. But I’ll definitely find some time next month.

It’s been over a year since I took Calc., so it’d probably be a good idea to take it again. I mean, I remember the stuff that’s used all the time, but I’ve forgotten little things. I’ve forgotten a LOT OF limit stuff for example. Also, I actually took all my maths at a college. Hopefully that’ll make me a little better prepared. And I’d definitely want to retake Calc. 2. I have forgotten SOOO many techniques of integration haha. It’s ridiculous. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to respond!