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Question about engineering college choice

  1. Feb 1, 2009 #1
    My son (act 31) is having trouble choosing his mechanical engineering college. He has been accepted by Michigan State at Ann Arbor (and offered a scholastic scholarship of $6000 + international study scholarship of $5000), Rose Hulman, and expects to be accepted by Purdue. (He has not applied to University of Illinois as they require that you choose your specialty upfront, and it's very difficult to change from one field of engineering to another.) He has also been accepted by Northern Illinois University. NIU is significantly cheaper than the other schools. The question - is the large student loan debt he would have to take on to go to the more prestigious schools really worth it? In the long run, if he was to go to NIU and do coop/internship, would he be at a significant disadvantage considering the significant savings in tuition, etc.? He doesn't want to go deeply into debt, but at the same time he doesn't want to cheapskate himself out of a good career start. Any thoughts?
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  3. Feb 5, 2009 #2
    Personally, once a student graduates, a job is a job. School prestige is only one part of the puzzle that recruiter look at. They also consider extra-curricular activities, especially if one holds an officer position (demonstrates leadership potential). Another important aspect is a co-operative (co-op) for 2 semesters (demonstrates that the major is the right choice). I recommend a school that is affordable, not one that breaks the bank (or the parents).
  4. Feb 5, 2009 #3


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    I agree. If it's not MIT, then any other accredited 4 year engineering school will be fine. If the school has a co-op program, all the better.
  5. Feb 5, 2009 #4
    Michigan State is located in Lansing, University of Michigan is in Ann Arbor.

    I concur with the posts above. I have worked with many engineering graduates from MSU and UofM along with Purdue. All were pretty sharp and successful except for UofM. I don't know how the hell that school gets such high rankings because its certainly not reflected in its graduates. Anyway, I would just pick a school that is located in a heavily engineer/industrial populated area. Such schools offer the most co-ops/internships and the professors that have real world engineering experience. If you want to be a professor then go to one of the bigger and fancier schools.
  6. Feb 15, 2009 #5
    Which schools are located in those areas (heavily engineer/industrial populated area) ?
  7. Feb 16, 2009 #6
    In the state of Texas, we have:

    UT Austin
    UT Arlington
    UT Dallas
    University of Houston
  8. Feb 17, 2009 #7
    As a former student of MSOE and finally a graduate of NIU (May 2008) I would recommend NIU hands down and not only because of the cost. But addressing the cost part, have substancial debt that is mostly from my 2 years spent going to MSOE that I will be paying off for years and have friends that graduated from MSOE who aren't making any more than I am nor have they found jobs that are any better than my own. Most everyone I graduated with from NIU did well finding a job right out of college and knowing some of the one's who didn't it definitely wasn't because of the college. I work with people from UIUC, Purdue, Penn State, Iowa State, Bradley, and the list goes on.... Your son's education will be what he makes of it and he needs to be sure not to expect to learn more simply because US New and World Report says college X is better; those ratings are not worth looking at in my opinion. I am not downgrading anyone from the schools I mentioned but just saying, they are as good as they are because they wanted to be, not because of the college they went to. If you have any other questions let me know and I would be glad to help.
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