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Dilemma regarding decision between two top universities

  1. Apr 28, 2015 #1
    Hello everyone :)

    For a while now I have been a lurker on this website. I absolutely love the amount answers one can find to their questions.
    However, at the moment I am facing a great difficulty in deciding which university I should go to.
    I have been accepted by several top universities however my decision has now boiled down to McGill in Canada for Electrical Engineer (ranks 51st in the STEM fields according to THE) and TU Delft in the Netherlands for Aerosapce Engineering (ranks 18th in STEM fields also according to THE).
    For a long time, I have been very interested in exo-skelotons, robotics, renewable energy etc and have always imagined myself doing a bachelors in either Electrical or Mechanical Engineering. However, the total tuition costs for McGill (if my transfer credits from high-school allow me to enter the second year, which most likely will), will be around 111,000 Canadian Dollars (92,000 USD/84,000 EUR) whereas TU Delft will only set me back 6000 EUR/6,500 USD for 3 years of tuition fees.
    My dilemma is that my mother is persuading me to study at TU Delft and although it is extremely cheap and a brilliant university, I never really wanted to do a bachelors in Aerospace Eng as it wouldn't exactly allow me to enter the field of robotics,exo-skelotons etc However I must admit that I do find the field fascinating.
    One idea which I had is that I could get a bachelors in Aerospace Engineering and then pursue a masters in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering as this is very possible (this is what I was told by TU Delft and Stanford admission officials).
    Is it worth going into Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft to avoid a potential debt of around 50,000 CAD (41,500 USD/37,000 EUR) but not end up studying the bachelors I had hoped for for nearly 2 years?
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Are you planning on grad school? If so, changing to a slightly different major is not too difficult.
  4. Apr 28, 2015 #3
    Forgive me if you are aware of this already. But something else to consider is in 2012 in Montreal there were those mass student protests over proposed tuition increases. The students would actively block other students, who didn't wish to join the protest, from attending classes. This went on for 4-6weeks and affected quite a few peoples ability to graduate.
    It now seems like every few months there is another story about a student protest, while nothing to the same scale. The potential exists.
    Here is a wiki article talking about the events http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Quebec_student_protests
  5. Apr 28, 2015 #4
    Go where the money is. Rankings are a distraction; even if Delft is not ranked as highly in EEE or ME, you will still be able to obtain a solid undergraduate foundation. Worry about advisor impact for graduate school.
  6. Apr 28, 2015 #5


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    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    You're comparing two schools that appeard to have an order of magnitude difference in tuition.

    At either school you're likely to come out (i) qualified to enter the engineering professsion and (ii) with a solid education in engineering. School name is unlikely to play a major role in hiring decisions compared to other factor like the particular classes you've taken, projects you've completed, grades, and other relevant work experience. And in either case you'll be looking at entry level engineering positions (or gradaute school) where the salaries are going to be in the same ballbark. A debt load of over one hundred thousand dollars is an enormous amount of debt to take on. This is likely to have a significant impact on your life after graduation. Not only will it take years to pay off, but it's also likely to limit the amount of money you can put into long-term savings and impact the size of mortgage you can take out to buy your first home. In contrast, the other school has the kind of tuition that can be paid off with a summer job.

    The next issue is the specifics of the programs. It sounds like you're more interested in electrical than aerospace. So if that's the case, is there a possibility of transferring at the second school? Electrical is a very common discipline. A first year engineering program is fairly universal, so if you are successful in it, it's fairly easy to move from one discipline to another (it can get get more difficult if you struggle academically though).

    One other thing to look for is whether each school has some kind of competitive robotics team. It's a big thing to be able to say that you won the ___ competition as a team member that designed the ____ for a robot that could most quickly navigate ____. Even if it's not competative, any completed project is a major bonus.
  7. Apr 28, 2015 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    I tend to agree with the others. There appears to be a very marginal difference in the schools and a very large difference in the costs. Based on the available information I would not go for the more expensive school either for myself or my children.
  8. Apr 29, 2015 #7
    1. Yes @DaleSpam, I would definitely go for a masters right after Aerospace Engineering.
    2. @Arsenic&Lace I just said that Delft is ranked in the top 20 for STEM fields :p
    3. @Choppy, thanks for the advice! The problem is that TU Delft does not offer any other programs in English. If I were to learn in the upcoming summer and next academic year and pass a language test, I would be allowed to transfer to one of the other programs. However, Aerospace Engineering seems hard enough without having more to do (only 50% of students pass the first year). No wonder it is so prestigious. Therefore Choppy, would you recommend that I do Aerospace Eng for 3 years then do a masters in the field I really like? (It's a shame as I was looking forward to studying in Canada...What a great country...However I am spending this whole summer there. I just hope it dosen't make me not want to leave :p)
  9. Apr 29, 2015 #8
    Ah I thought you had stated that it was rated 18th for aerospace only for some reason.
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