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College Reputation?

  1. Aug 30, 2009 #1
    Hi everyone. This is my first post here and am looking for a little college wisdom in the engineering area.

    Here's my dilemma:
    I'd like to go to a school that is near mountains. I know, I know....I shouldn't be choosing a college because I want to be able to ski and mountain bike there. But where I live now these are right out my back door (skiing is pretty much what I live for in the winter) and the problem is that there seem to be very few decent schools that fit this category (maybe I'm missing some?). I just can't seem to convince myself that it is necessary to give up things that I love doing for four years just to go to a better school, unless I'll regret the decision later on or the difference is like night and day (is it?).

    So here's my question:
    How much of a difference is there going to be between getting a degree in engineering at a school with a very good reputation versus something more average? More specifically, let's say I went to a school such as CU-Boulder when I could probably get into something more similar to Cornell or Princeton. Am I going to be screwing myself in the long run? How different are the educations going to be for someone going for an engineering degree?

    Any advice appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2009 #2
    Let me say that going to a particular undergrad institution will not absolutely close many doors for a person compared to going to an Ivy, but those doors may require a lot more commitment and outstanding performance to open. If you were asking, "I was only accepted at (state college X), am I screwed?" my answer would definitely be no. I would just say that there are more challenges.

    From your post, it sounds like you are simply not committed to getting the best possible career for yourself that you can. This is fine, but it is this, and not the school, that will determine where you end up when you graduate. If you are at (state college X) and spend all of your time skiing, and if you don't choose to sacrifice some of your life outside of school, you will disadvantage yourself on the job market. It sounds like you may be okay with this fact though. The jobs you won't be eligible for are the jobs that will require long hours and strong performance and commitment. If you aren't willing to put in the time now, why would you want to after graduation? Everyone has to draw the line somewhere.

    Maybe you should think about what your goals are for college and your career. Then you can decide what you need to do to get there from here.

    Just to add about goals... if you are willing to work hard and make sacrifices, potential options for an undergrad from Princeton, for example, would include going to grad school anywhere you want. Want to be a hotshot lawyer? Doctor? Professor? Want to make millions on Wall Street or advise CEOs as a management consultant? Design ships for NASA? Advise Congress on energy policy? Those doors are still open until you close them.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
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