Why are schools like RPI and WPI ranked low (even for engineering)??

<p>my question exactly...i'm an RPI alum (graduated in 2008) and i've been looking into grad schools (MIT, RPI, WPI)...now MIT is MIT...as far as RPI goes...a lot of people compare it to MIT (like people usually say it's the next best thing)...and i totally agree...but why are we rated only like 40 something for overall??...and moreover...for engineering, why are we rated only in the teens or 20s?? (used to be 17ish when i started...now it's like 23)...if you look at our avg SAT scores (which i think is a good way to tell how smart the avg kid is at the school), we're at 1360...MIT is 1460...it's not even ALL that different...so how come random state schools even beat us out there...</p>

<p>okay you're probably thinkin i'm pretty biased right now bc i went to RPI...but i have an even stronger case...WPI...i didn't go there but i always had high opinions of the place...i think they're pretty similar to RPI, just RPI is a bit better...why is their engineering program ranked in the 60s?? i mean even places like Arizona State beat it out...***???...it makes no sense!!</p>

<p>last point, and prob a weak one...Caltech has a higher avg SAT score than MIT (1510 vs 1460)...and prob the highest avg in the country...AND it's a pure tech school...how come Stanford beats it out every year??...</p>

<p>Because there's more components to the rankings than SAT scores.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Caltech has a higher avg SAT score than MIT (1510 vs 1460)...and prob the highest avg in the country...AND it's a pure tech school...how come Stanford beats it out every year??...

[/quote]

Caltech's strength is in astrophysics and earth sciences...not so much engineering.</p>

<p>A lot of these rankings are asking faculty about what they think are the best programs. Faculty will look to things that distinguish a program and are visible achievements in their eyes. One of those are National Academy of Engineering membership. The top ranked programs typically have the most members.
Members</a> By Parent Institution</p>

<p>For example:
MIT: 114
Stanford: 92
Berkeley: 77</p>

<p>...</p>

<p>CIT: 31</p>

<p>...</p>

<p>Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: 7</p>

<p>...</p>

<p>Worcester Polytechnic Institute: 1</p>

<p>hmmm interesting point UCBChemEGrad....i never knew that...</p>

<p>and i know about SAT scores not showing the whole thing but it usually reflects the abilities of students (like for a large number of people...of course there are people who are just terrible test takers, but i think it's accurate for a large group of people)...</p>

<p>i guess what jumped out at me was RPI and WPI being soo far apart in rankings...i know RPI is better, but i think WPI shouldn't be ranked so low...it's a good school...maybe i'm starting to sound like a walking billboard for WPI lol...but it's just what i noticed...</p>

<p>and i also feel like large state schools get a lot of the spots for top programs...</p>

<p>"and i also feel like large state schools get a lot of the spots for top programs..."</p>

<p>Could it actually be that publics might just be good as private schools? You are from the northeast most likely. Once you leave that part of the country the quality of public universities goes way up.</p>

<p>Because those "random state schools" happen to have better engineering programs. :)</p>

<p>ETA:
[quote]
and i know about SAT scores not showing the whole thing but it usually reflects the abilities of students (like for a large number of people...of course there are people who are just terrible test takers, but i think it's accurate for a large group of people)...

[/quote]
</p>

<p>People prepare for the SAT. That skews results.</p>

<p>At a certain level, the SAT becomes about how many stupid mistakes you happen to make on a certain day, which can be affected by a number of factors. You are taking a horribly boring four-hour test. Not everyone is good at maintaining concentration under those circumstances, and I don't think that has anything to do with intelligence.</p>

<p>yeah i'm from the Northeast...</p>

<p>at Haavin...i acknowledged that some (and prob a decent number of people) just perform crappy when it comes to testing, and that they could be GENIUSES that just crapped out on the test...but i said that OVERALL for like a group of 5000 people, it's probably a decent indicator of academic potential...i mean just look at the overall trend then...obv Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale...their avg SAT scores are far higher than idk...i'm gonna say SUNY Albany or SUNY New Paltz or Siena College (see what i'm getting at??)...</p>

<p>alright what i don't get about the state school thing...now hear me out on this...</p>

<p>both RPI and WPI...i feel like both of those schools (i know RPI did for sure, and pretty sure WPI would too) have a good amount of kids that were math and science whizzes in their HS...both have great avg SAT scores AND a lot of people that were ranked high in their HS classes...and they're like PURE tech schools...</p>

<p>now i'll take purdue university...their engineering program is much higher ranked than even RPI...yet their admissions standards are far lower than either RPI or WPI...</p>

<p>just doesn't make any sense how WPI and RPI are pure tech schools with pretty high admission standards...yet a state school like purdue with not so high admission standards beats them out in their own game...almost seems like injustice to me...</p>

<p>Engineering rankings are based purely on peer review by deans and senior faculty. It doesn't matter if a school admits the best students or the worst students; you keep focusing on the students, but that's not part of the criteria for engineering school rankings.</p>

<p>well to me, i feel that the best programs should have the best students...doesn't that only make sense???</p>

<p>Engineering programs should be ranked based on the faculty and the facilities, in my opinion. The best programs tend to have the best students, but it doesn't NEED to be the case.</p>

<p>
[quote]
just doesn't make any sense how WPI and RPI are pure tech schools with pretty high admission standards...yet a state school like purdue with not so high admission standards beats them out in their own game...almost seems like injustice to me...

[/quote]

Injustice? Seriously? Purdue has a significantly larger research presence and stronger recruiting.</p>

<p>RPI is an excellent school. Being ranked in the "teens or 20s" is a significant accomplishment and attests to the quality of the school. WPI is not of the same caliber. Not even close. You may hear about it in the Northeast, but the reputation stops when you leave that area.</p>

<p>@UCBChemEGrad</p>

<p>You should know better than to make an absolute comparison like that. MIT, Stanford, and UCB have significantly more NAE members because they have several times more engineering faculty than Caltech. To do a fair comparison, you would calculate the percentage of engineering faculty who are NAE members for each school.</p>

<p>As for comparing RPI and WPI to state colleges, remember, state colleges often have a different admissions standards for their engineering colleges. Compare RPI and WPI to the admissions stats for Purdue's engineering college, and see what comes up.</p>

<p>wait colleges have different admission standards for different departments??...didn't know that...but then again back when i was applying to schools, the only schools i applied to were pure tech schools...</p>

<p>Yeah. For instance, at Cornell, Northwestern, UIUC, and Purdue, I applied to the department of engineering. Heck, for UIUC I applied directly to their materials science program. For RHIT, Caltech, and MIT, I applied to the college as a whole. </p>

<p>If I recall correctly, UIUC college of engineering middle 50% ACT range was 31-34 when I applied (not sure if that's admitted or enrolled). And knowing the kids from my high school who got into UIUC engineering, this seems to be fairly accurate.</p>

<p>one weird thing about RPI i noticed is that the avg SAT scores went up a lot in the past few years (from like 1310 to 1360)...yet their engineering rankings went down from like the teens to the low 20s...</p>

<p>and also WPI being ranked THAT much lower than RPI makes no sense...</p>

<p>
[quote]
and also WPI being ranked THAT much lower than RPI makes no sense...

[/quote]

Based on what?</p>

<p>
[quote]
one weird thing about RPI i noticed is that the avg SAT scores went up a lot in the past few years (from like 1310 to 1360)...yet their engineering rankings went down from like the teens to the low 20s...

[/quote]

It's not weird when SAT scores are not a factor in the engineering rankings.</p>

<p>Have no fear, OP, engineers who hire engineers know and respect RPI. If the rankings you are referring to are the US News & WR rankings, take them with a grain of salt. When professors around the country are asked to rank programs they think about who is doing a good job of getting grants to support their research--those are the schools the best professors want to be at. It may or may not follow that the best professors produce the best students, but their estimation of programs has little, if anything, to do with the students. I suppose it would also follow that sheer volume of alumni at the bigger schools would lead to greater access to people making decisions about which programs at which schools get the grant money. FWIW, I've got a kid at Berkeley and one headed to RPI. I consider them to be in the same league and I know for a fact that at least one CTO agrees with me. It is kind of funny how few people recognize RPI (son wore his Rensselaer sweatshirt today and people actually asked, "what does that mean?" lol Then again, I've had people say, "Berkeley...that's in Minnesota, right?" It all depends on who you're talking to.)</p>

<p>^ Around here, RPI is very well-known. But we do have a surplus of both engineers and hockey fans :)</p>

<p>Oh, and WPI can take heart that it's ranked 9th on Forbes' list of the top schools for getting rich. :D</p>