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Accept ME grad school admission offer for 1 school?

  1. Feb 26, 2010 #1
    I just graduated with my BS degrees in physics and applied math in Dec 09. I chose not to apply to grad schools in December because I didn't know what field to choose to apply to. Also, i figured taking a year or so off, and working in industry would better help me decide what to do in the future. Also, i was hesitant about getting a MS or phD. But now that I've taken 2 ME classes (heat transfer and fluid mechanics) this quarter, I'm sure I want to do mechanical engineering. Also, I did apply to my current school's ME graduate program, since the deadline was much later than the other schools I was considering such as Stanford and MIT

    Well, a few days ago, I just got accepted into my school's ME phD program this week. However, I'm strongly considering not accept the offer since I have changed my mind and would rather pursue a MS instead of a phD (I think I want to do the thesis option and do research though), and I prefer to do my graduate studies at a different school, such as MIT or Stanford. If I had applied and got accepted into the other top schools of my choice, such as Stanford, I'd take the offer in a heartbeat since I'm not getting any job offers in industry for months now since the economy is really bad right now. I've been applying for 100s of technical positions, preferably mechanical engineering ones at defense contractors, but have only gotten a few interviews but no offers for programming/analyst positions. So while I don't really want to take the admission offer, its really tempting. Do you guys have any input on what I should about this? What factors does one take into account for choosing what schools to attend for a MS in engineering, other than the prestige of the school?

    Also, I don't know how much this matters, but I will probably get accepted into the summer research program at one of the national labs for the DOE. I was thinking of only accepting the offer if I can't job by then
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2010 #2

    ranger

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    Not really the prestige of the school. I think thats something undergrads look at. You have to pay attention to the reputation of the specific department you are applying to. There should be notable faculty members within the department. One of which could hopefully be your supervisor. Look the research labs they have which are specific to your interest and current research that lab is engaged in. Whats the point in going to Stanford engineering if they don't have notable faculty and research labs to accommodate you? A friend of mine applied to engineering grad schools, but got accepted to a school which doesnt do much research relevant to his interest. So he had to change his research interest to suit what they had to offer. This should never happen as you shouldnt even be offered admission if they cannot accommodate you.
     
  4. Mar 1, 2010 #3
    how do i know which faculty members are notable and have good reputation?
     
  5. Mar 3, 2010 #4

    ranger

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    Don't use ratemyprofessor.com :p

    You measure that by the quality of research they/their lab output. Research papers in the area is also a good way to gauge. You can also look at past graduate students for whom the faculty member served as a supervisor and see what sort of research they were working on.

    Most likely the ME department will be divided into several research groups/areas and when you apply for grad school you indicate the area you are interested in. Take a look at the faculty members in the group. You can start by visiting the faculty member's website to get a rough idea of what they are about...then the rest should unroll itself through your own research.
     
  6. Mar 6, 2010 #5
    Well i barely know anything about the research they're doing, since I don't have much of a background in ME, as I've only taken intro to fluid mechanics and intro heat transfer. So how can you tell the quality of the research papers?
     
  7. Mar 6, 2010 #6

    ranger

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    This is a little tricky, especially since you don't have the necessary background to make a sound judgement. You will most likely be looking at research papers (not conference papers). All I can say is you can check which journal its published in and the number of citations the articles receives. Feel free to approach your faculty members for additional help with specific research papers.
     
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