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Re: College Selection
Old 10-16-2006, 10:00 PM   #81
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Re: College Selection

Ah, how far away that college decision seems now. I was a National Merit Scholar, and some school (may have been UT Austin) was offering me a full ride. I ended up going to an Ivy league school instead, which actually wasn't that expensive because my parents were poor and I got financial aid. But over four years my parents could have bought a very nice car with what they ended up spending on my education. My father offered to buy me a used car if I accepted the full ride, but not if I went to the Ivy school.

I am glad I went to the Ivy league school... I think it helped me get my software job that I worked at for 13 years, because someone I knew from school was working there, saw my resume, and put in a good word for me. It seems that joining that network of movers and shakers is one real advantage of elite schools for many.

But on the downside, it was a little overwhelming keeping up with all the work and in retrospect I think I might have ended up a more balanced person if I went to a place that allowed me more time to socialize and generally figure out who I was. I feel like now in my mid 30's I'm having to do some of that "who the heck am I" stuff that I didn't have the bandwidth to do in college because I was focussed on my pre-engineering track.

Also, and I think this has been mentioned, going to a better school will probably result in a lower GPA. I felt a bit disadvantaged in the job market with my 3.2 college GPA even though that is quite decent for where I went. Especially these days when resumes are scanned and ranked by computers, that's something to think about.


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Re: College Selection
Old 10-16-2006, 10:27 PM   #82
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Re: College Selection

Free4now,

I concur that a degree from a prestigious school may open many doors because of its reputation and/or networking especially for business and law majors. However, it may be better to attain a graduate degree from it. The chance of getting in is greater if you were a star (A+) from a respectable (but not necessary top-tier) school than a good student (B or B+) from a top-tiered school. The likelihood of participating in research and receiving rave recommendations from professors is greater from a smaller school than a big university.

P.S. We are not eligible for any financial aid because of our income and assets.

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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 08:32 AM   #83
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Re: College Selection

It appears you are trying to identify best value for the money. If you haven't done so already, I would suggest spending time visiting some of these schools to help narrow your list and then target schools that your daughter is most comfortable with. Many of the schools you mention will have very large class sizes for the first couple of years of instruction and often times classes are taught by graduate assistants and/or foreign professors who are very difficult to understand. This structure can be a turn off to many very bright students and can sour them on engineering. Therefore, don't discount some of the smaller engineering schools. Back in my day some of the smaller/better engineering schools included:

Rensselaer Polytechnic Insititute (oldest engineering school in North America)
Carnegie Mellon
Cooper Union
Lehigh
Cornell
WPI

and some larger ones that may not have been mentioned in this thread include:

University of Illinois
Purdue
Georgia Tech


Also, depending on her area of interest, there might be some benefit in selecting a school based on its specific area of strength, especially for fields like petroleum engineering and biomedical.

Further, concur with what one of the others posted about selecting a school that has a good work/study program. This provides great experience and might defray some of the costs as well.

Good luck with your admission process.

Doug

PS - Aside from the above, I have a son at A&M and he loves it.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 09:02 AM   #84
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Re: College Selection

Quote:
Originally Posted by DFW_M5
It appears you are trying to identify best value for the money. If you haven't done so already, I would suggest spending time visiting some of these schools to help narrow your list and then target schools that your daughter is most comfortable with. Many of the schools you mention will have very large class sizes for the first couple of years of instruction and often times classes are taught by graduate assistants and/or foreign professors who are very difficult to understand. This structure can be a turn off to many very bright students and can sour them on engineering. Therefore, don't discount some of the smaller engineering schools.

PS - Aside from the above, I have a son at A&M and he loves it.
Doug,
Thanks. We should visit Texas A&M since they are offering to reimburse travel expense up to $300.
We are also considering the Honors Program at the U of Minnesota (local state U) because of small class size and possibly individual attention.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 10:51 AM   #85
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Re: College Selection

My son also goes to A&M and also loves it. You need to visit the campus to understand why students choose A&M. We had visited other schools and there were more on the list for us to visit during our college search. My son was/is a good student and other schools really wanted him. Once we visited Texas A&M, that was it...he was sold!

By the way, I went to Purdue and loved it. The spirit of Purdue is similar to A&M. They are both large schools but there is a strong feeling of community that is wonderful. Aggies truly help one another and there is a strong network after college that helps in one's career.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 11:20 AM   #86
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Re: College Selection

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
let's get back to college selection - just received a letter from University of Nebraska at Lincoln. They will pledge free tuition plus $2000 for room and board if you name them as the first college of choice. Does anyone know the resason that a college would insist on that?
My sister used to teach there.........they are definitely trying to get enrollment up. It's a good school, but the town (Lincoln) is kind of boring, IMO. However, Omaha is "only" 50 miles away..........
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 11:37 AM   #87
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Re: College Selection

Spanky:

my parents went through similar gyrations a little over 10 y ago with both of my brothers who were engineering bent. To the deep consternation of my mom, both turned down full merit scholarships plus room/ board/ negotiable stipend to UT Austin, Georgetown, etc, and attended Harvey Mudd, which has no merit based scholarships.

The one brother stayed on at Harvey Mudd for graduate school, which is entirely scholarship/stipend for the 5 or so a year. At Harvey Mudd, they had the option of taking non-requirements at the other Claremont Colleges like Pomona, etc, which my brothers told me were effective ways to meet non-geeky girls.

The one who stayed at Harvey Mudd went on to start a business with his college classmate, other business ventures, etc.

The other brother transferred midway to an Ivy league where he met his future wife, and now is in a 1st tier phd program.

I think my parents wouldn've like to save money (shoot, they always like to), but don't regret funding my brothers b/c their college experiences really went on to define/affect who and what they became/are becoming.
But this is almost a decade after they graduated. Time was required for this perspective, as I'm sure if you would have asked them 5 y ago, they would still be fondly reciting those scholarship letters
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 11:55 AM   #88
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Re: College Selection

P.S.,
Harvey Mudd does offer merit scholarship $40,000 (distributed over 4 years) for recipients who have almost perfect test scores:
SAT Test: Critical Reading = 700+; Writing = 700+; Math = 750+
SAT Subject Tests: Math II = 750+
They also have a Corporate Scholar Award that gives out full-scholarship. The chance of getting that is probably very slim.

It seems to be a highly regarded small engineering college that competes with Caltech.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Spanky
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 11:56 AM   #89
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Re: College Selection

I remember harvey mudd recruiting me when I was applying to colleges. I guess I fit their SAT score profile.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 12:08 PM   #90
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Re: College Selection

Spanky:

I was so curious about this that I immediately called my mom, who confirmed that both brothers got scholarships to Harvey Mudd, and the one who stayed for grad school got almost full scholarship.

Okay, silly un-informed sister. But I will say that my parents griped alot for people that didn't qualify for FA and still got scholarship money.

My mom did add that she doesn't recommend it except "unless (she) is advanced," and cites for example one of my brother's 1st year classmate who was valedictorian of her Fairfax county (good school system), but wasn't invited back for year 2. Both brothers went to a science tech highschool so were familair with the firehose approach to learning.

Justin:
reading your posts reminds me alot of listening to my brothers' and their friends' banter. I think you would have fit right in and had a blast at Harvey Mudd. Anyways, you're doing very well and no doubt your parents are proud (as I say from my 30-somethings perch).
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 12:52 PM   #91
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Re: College Selection

Every time I see the name "Harvey Mudd", I think of the beer shown below.

I looked at the Harvey Mudd Engineering curriculum. Can't say I'm impressed. They offer a general engineering degree. No discipline specific concentrations. I would think that would hurt you in obtaining a job after college. Where would you get the specific skill sets needed in most entry level engineering jobs? Based on a brief review of Harvey Mudd's website, I think their response would be that college isn't about obtaining a job, but rather broadening your horizons and expanding your mind. If only broadened horizons and expanded minds put food on the table and dollars in your retirement accounts.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 01:03 PM   #92
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Re: College Selection

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Originally Posted by P.S.
My mom did add that she doesn't recommend it except "unless (she) is advanced," and cites for example one of my brother's 1st year classmate who was valedictorian of her Fairfax county (good school system), but wasn't invited back for year 2. Both brothers went to a science tech highschool so were familair with the firehose approach to learning.
Reminds me of my husband, who after being the top math/science dude in an excellent school system (Greenwich CT), was barely above average at MIT--where EVERYONE was the top math/science dude(ette) at their HS!
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 01:38 PM   #93
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Re: College Selection

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Reminds me of my husband, who after being the top math/science dude in an excellent school system (Greenwich CT), was barely above average at MIT--where EVERYONE was the top math/science dude(ette) at their HS!
That's one of my concerns about getting into MIT or Caltech - keeping a good grade. The director of admission warned us about that but also said that graduate schools, in general, would raise the GPA by a point for MIT or Caltech graduates. I am not sure this is really the case.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 01:46 PM   #94
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Re: College Selection

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
If only broadened horizons and expanded minds put food on the table and dollars in your retirement accounts.
Uhhhhh...... highly overrated Justin. DW and I, products of inner city Chicago Public Schools, never struggled excessively to make a living using street smarts and common sense.

We always wished we could have had one of those fancy private educations that "broaden your horizons and expand your mind." So, we read a lot and pay attention to life......... But no help in that regard from our educations.

But earning a living........ that's not so much of a mystery.

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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 03:23 PM   #95
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Re: College Selection

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
Every time I see the name "Harvey Mudd", I think of the beer shown below.

I looked at the Harvey Mudd Engineering curriculum. Can't say I'm impressed. They offer a general engineering degree. No discipline specific concentrations. I would think that would hurt you in obtaining a job after college. Where would you get the specific skill sets needed in most entry level engineering jobs? Based on a brief review of Harvey Mudd's website, I think their response would be that college isn't about obtaining a job, but rather broadening your horizons and expanding your mind. If only broadened horizons and expanded minds put food on the table and dollars in your retirement accounts.
Their response might be more along the lines that the BS is not an adequate professional qualification, and that the purpose of undergraduate education is to get you into a good grad school. As you may know, there has been a lot of talk about making the MS or the Doctor of Engineering (as different from the PhD) the first professional qualification for engineers, thereby moving engineering toward parity (in terms of credentials, at least) with law, optometry, and so forth. I think that a number of schools now call the BS major "pre engineering."
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 03:57 PM   #96
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Re: College Selection

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Their response might be more along the lines that the BS is not an adequate professional qualification, and that the purpose of undergraduate education is to get you into a good grad school. As you may know, there has been a lot of talk about making the MS or the Doctor of Engineering (as different from the PhD) the first professional qualification for engineers, thereby moving engineering toward parity (in terms of credentials, at least) with law, optometry, and so forth. I think that a number of schools now call the BS major "pre engineering."
Yeah, the talk about making a grad degree the first professional degree has been ongoing for, what, a decade at least? A similar thing happened with law degrees many years ago. A bachelor's (LLB) used to be the professional degree, then they got all sophisticated and figured they'd hand out doctorates (JD) and charge a few bucks more. Is the pre-engineering degree going to turn in to a general ed degree and the first professional degree going to become the MS/PhD? Seems silly and expensive.

My employer has a master's as the standard "entry level" degree for traffic engineering. A BS is sufficient for roadway design.

By the way, what discipline are you in?
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 03:58 PM   #97
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Re: College Selection

Spanky, I haven't read all 7 pages of responses, I stopped somewhere about page 4. I won't try to convince you that school xxx or yyy is the best.

But I did go to a top-rated (#2) Engineering school in the 70's. And I have hired many many Engineers, both right out of school, and Engineers with various levels of work experience. All for Design Engineering.

Many HS kids who say they want to be Engineers really don't have a clue what Engineers do. The general public sure does not. The dropout rate from the Engineering curriculum is very high. Highest during the common core Engineering classes (aka, the flunk-out classes) of the first two years, and trails off through the second semester Jr. year.
HS counselors who steer kids who "are good in math" towards Engineering do those students a great disservice, IMHO.

Unless your daughter has shown a real actual interest in some facet of Engineering via her past actions and accomplishments, I would respectfully suggest that it be assumed that there is a finite chance that she may transfer to some other curricula after a while. If the school chosen has many other curricula, then she has not only another place to go, but will meet people in those other curricula. And hearing about those other areas, and seeing the textbooks, may truly spark her interest. But sending her to a school that is pretty much Engineering-only will box her in, and raise the stress level higher vis-a-vis parental expectations.

I have seen people switch from say, EE, to ornamental horticulture!

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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 04:05 PM   #98
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Re: College Selection

Pay attention to the comment about internships and work study. That is where the student learns what the field is really about and develops professional relationships that last a lifetime. The community in which the school is located often provides these opportunities. If the school isn't located in a community with research centers then the school doesn't benefit from exchange between profs and the real world. One of the reason why there are so many bio-science firms around San Francisco is Berkley.

Even within a given specialty in engineering there are situations that are research focused and others that are application focused. Employers such as Tektronix and Intel can be both.

Concurr with Telly, my daughter, who planned to be an engineer, switched to finance. Similar core skill set. Her school is located in the Bay area so there were lots of internship (and work) opportunities whatever her major.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 05:36 PM   #99
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Re: College Selection

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
Yeah, the talk about making a grad degree the first professional degree has been ongoing for, what, a decade at least? A similar thing happened with law degrees many years ago. A bachelor's (LLB) used to be the professional degree, then they got all sophisticated and figured they'd hand out doctorates (JD) and charge a few bucks more. Is the pre-engineering degree going to turn in to a general ed degree and the first professional degree going to become the MS/PhD? Seems silly and expensive.

My employer has a master's as the standard "entry level" degree for traffic engineering. A BS is sufficient for roadway design.

By the way, what discipline are you in?
I don't think anything much is going to happen along these lines, and anything that does will be visited upon students rather than current practitioners. As you said, this discussion has been going on for some years, with not much to show.

The Doctor of Engineering has never really gotten off the ground in the US, although it has in the UK. Not to be confused with the PhD -- the former is a professionnal degree, the later a research degree.

I'd bet that for civil engineers (which I have never been), the most important credential will continue to be the PE. So unless the state licensing boards say otherwise, the BS will continue to be adequate.

I no longer work as an engineer, although I did for many years, and was involved in engineering education and with professional issues for a while.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-17-2006, 06:04 PM   #100
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Re: College Selection

Brat and Telly,

Thanks for bringing up the possibility of changing major. As I recall my engineering school days, more than 50% of students dropped out of the program. That's one of reason not to attend schools that focus primarily on science and engineering, e.g., Caltech.

Spanky
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