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Questions about choosing my college

  1. Mar 16, 2009 #1
    Ok so unfortunately I did not get accepted to MIT :(

    but now it looks like my options are Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia

    I am majoring in engineering and I am having a tough time choosing. Georgia Tech clearly has the best program out of the three (best public engineering school I am pretty sure), but that is out of state and will cost me $20,000 more than the other schools would. UVA is not centered around engineering but still has a pretty decent program. Virginia Tech is right in the middle, but I would not really feel any different from the rest of the people in my school if I went there. So basically my question is, is Georgia Tech worth the extra money to travel out of state to go to?

    It has the best engineering program, but I have been told that it is more of what you do than where you go, and if I work hard enough, I will have equal success at either school. How true is that statement and to what extent is "working hard enough" would make UVA and VT equal to GT in terms of success? Will GT have a lot more research I can get involved with?

    I am not sure what field of engineering I want to go into, and if I decide Aerospace, I am not sure that UVA and VT have that great of programs.

    By the way I am talking about ONLY Undergraduate, do not take grad school into account when helping me.

    Thanks for any input!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2009 #2
    I highly doubt that undergraduate-level studies have a great impact. Unless you're aiming to apply to a top grad school, then you really don't need to worry about it. If you manage to pass your degree, and especially if you get a good GPA, then you're perfectly fine. Now if your plans were to apply for graduate school at MIT in engineering....well, you might have to consider a good college to help you out.
  4. Mar 16, 2009 #3
    I'd be curious to see what other people think about this......

    I'm not sure if I agree about undergrad studies not carrying an influence. It's like saying a graduate from MIT or CalTech would be judged the same as someone graduating from a state college when applying for a job (assuming the same GPA). Quality of the school does matter, I'm just not sure how much of an impact it carries.
  5. Mar 16, 2009 #4
    I did take that into consideration. But there isn't such an incredible gap that makes MIT graduates possess a 'red carpet'. Of course, you probably won't have much success if you apply to NASA or something in the likes...
  6. Mar 16, 2009 #5
    Okay, so you have brand name schools that will get you ahead based on name , there are maybe 10 of these.

    Way down at the bottom there are religious schools that don't teach proper science and online colleges.

    But there is a vast gap in between where the difference between which college you go to makes little to no difference. I think all 3 of your choices fall into this category. They are all good schools, comes down to personal preference.
  7. Mar 16, 2009 #6
    lubuntu put it in a good way. It really comes down to: Will you need that extra edge? Are you planning to go onto something highly competitive? If not, then any of those schools should be just as good. A good GPA will be all you need.
  8. Mar 16, 2009 #7
    Out of those three, no school worths $20000 more than other schools.
  9. Mar 16, 2009 #8
    Before accepting this, you might want to check the branches they offer for engineering. In some cases, it can happen that a certain university only offers watered-down aeronautics etc...
  10. Mar 16, 2009 #9
    You are right in that most schools teach the same thing. But don't companies in the engineering field (or for that matter, any field) prefer some schools over others? How do they decipher from the masses?
  11. Mar 16, 2009 #10
    Recommendations (a couple of glowing recommendations from professors can get you from school ZZZ to job AAA), internships (try to do one every summer starting after your freshman year and you will look better than an MIT grad who never did an internship), skillsets (learn how to program, or use AutoCAD, or work in the machine shop, etc all these things go on your resume).

    I strongly recommend against paying $20,000 / year more than you have to, you will never in the future regret choosing a more affordable option. I suspect that the only people with big tuition debts who claim to be happy later in life are actually lying, to others and to themselves, because they can't face what a bad choice it was to go into debt just to pay tuition!
  12. Mar 16, 2009 #11
    If it means anything as someone who knows nothing about the programs in Aero engineering at those 3 places, UVA holds the most prestige in my brain.
  13. Mar 16, 2009 #12
    I do agree about the internships, etc. I also agree that paying $20,000 + / year higher than average is crazy. But what if the tuition difference was low (MIT, CIT and company are out of the equation) say, $5000 more with (or without) financial aid? Should you still go for the cheapest school?
  14. Mar 16, 2009 #13
    Before you make a decision based on money, be sure to talk to the office of financial aid for each college. A 20,000 difference in pricetag doesn't mean that's the difference in what you actually pay.
  15. Mar 16, 2009 #14
    This is an excellent idea. Sometimes they will adjust the financial aid package.
  16. Mar 16, 2009 #15
    what do you mean by "talk to the financial aid office"

    like say "if you don't give me really good financial aid I am not going here" or what?

    I am still waiting to receive financial aid packages that come at the beginning of April, that should make things clearer for me
  17. Mar 22, 2009 #16
    ok so just to clairfy, all three of the schools I stated are really not too different in terms of what I will get. I have worked my *** of in high school and you can bet I will continue in college. If I want to go to a top tier grad school, would I be able to feasibly do that as an undergrad at UVA? Would I need to go to Georgia Tech to give myself a decent chance at a top tier grad school?

    Also does going through the honors program help me at all? It really isnt that different other than one class and housing.
  18. Mar 22, 2009 #17
    How much do you expect to pay for your in-state schools? GT is the second cheapest school in the US News top 50 to attend out of state and the Aerospace department is very well-regarded.

    No. I know plenty of people that went to schools outside the top 50 and are now at MIT, Stanford and the like.
  19. Mar 22, 2009 #18
    I still doubt any of the schools previously mentioned will affect your chances very much. As for an honors program, I would suggest it; if you did manage to get into the program and get decent grades, then the fact that you went through an honors program combined with a few recommendation letters will both be great assets for you. I do not personally think that going out-of-state is a logical thing to do.

  20. Mar 23, 2009 #19


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    Basically. Wait to get the financial aid packages they offer... you should have some time to do something like contacting GT and asking if they can help you with some more aid because you can't afford it at the moment, and will probably need to go to an in-state public school. Worst they can do is say no.
  21. Apr 5, 2009 #20
    If you choose to go to GT, I recommend NOT being in the honors program. I go to GT, and everyone I know in the honors program regrets it. They force you to take a bunch of seminar classes - some of which are pretty cool, but you can take them if you aren't in the honors program, and it doesn't add 12 hours of required classes to your major (and some majors don't even have 12 hours of electives!). Also - and this is a gross generalization, since one of my best friends is in the honors program - people in the honors program tend to be really full of themselves. On top of all of this, you are required to register for the "honors" section of intro classes - but all those really are is concentrating the honors students in one recitation or whatever. It's not even a harder class. There are harder "honors" classes that anyone can register for (they predate the honors program), usually intended for people majoring in that field.

    GT is awesome, but the honors program is a trap.
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