^^Can we concur that this has been an "off" year due to the economy? I would still ask questions of the career services center ^^.
<p>The better schools are still seeing historical placement levels, though with someone flat lining salary rates. </p>
<p>When a company needs to hire one spot, and they can get a Michigan engineer or a Montana State engineer at the same price, they usually forgo the Montana State engineering for the Michigan engineer, ceteris paribus (the same parallel can be drawn for grad schools). That's what make Michigan a "better" undergraduate school than Montana State regardless of the rankings in my opinion.</p>
<p>If my oldest daughter was looking for an engineering college right now and asked "Is X a better school than Y?" and her intent was employment, the above is how I would make the decision. Call the career services departments, get data on who is hiring, average salaries, how many offers per student, the geographical dispersion of graduates, the size of the career fair, co-op placement, co-op salaries, etc. An economic downturn makes this an easier exercise because you can observe which schools "dry up" and which schools "stay busy" during the downturn.</p>