I got my BSME from a small not well known school(Oakland University) and am currently getting my MSME there as well. When applying for grad schools I looked at some of the bigger name and higher ranked engineering schools but got frustrated very quickly by being treated as just a number and being denied support so I stuck with OU. I'm also not a big fan of the "academic only" kind of learning that top schools have. I have a good amount of industrial experience and worked with many other graduates from a lot of the top schools in the NE and I was never impressed by their education. They could solve any problem in a text book but when it came to the real thing they just couldn't keep up very well. So I'm thinking about maybe trying to get into a larger and better rated school for engineering to get my PhD but I feel that if I do I will be taking a hit in my education. Although a degree from a higher rated school might open many more doors for me. I'm looking to go into research and development in the industry more specifically alternative energy. So what should I do? Stay where I am at in a school that is surrounded by industrial research and development but to small to be rated, or go for the best school that I can get into?