Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

8FillTheHeart

The advantages of a smaller university

Recommended Posts

As many of you prepare to help your students decide on a school, I just wanted to share this perspective.

 

Our ds made the decision to go to a smaller, less well known engineering school......Tennessee Tech.

 

My ds has had so many benefits from this decision that I just wanted to share them. He is well-known by all of his professors. He was recruited for a summer research internship which included funded international travel. He started a fantastic co-op job this week. His exposure has given him a balanced view of both research and industry as career options.

 

His classes are small and very interactive. Tech has a different educational philosophy than many engineering schools and students spend a lot of time designing engineering projects and working hands on with equipment.

 

He has a professor working with him via email while he is co-oping to write a proposal for a significant graduate grant.

 

In contrast, my dh earned his chemE degree from NCSU. His experience was completely unlike ds's. The interactive education and the involvement of the professors were lacking in the larger school environment.

 

Just thought I'd share.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally agree with your listing of small-college benefits.

 

My kids are at a small LAC. Dh, several of our siblings, and I all went to major research universities for our undergrad education. We all received a strong classroom education but had no involvement with professors outside of class. Even the research we did was handled mostly by grad students.

 

My kids' college experience is amazingly different from ours -- lots of attention from profs, actual help plotting out and arranging for great internships, and profs who are willing to go out of their way to enable a student to pursue his own personal dream.

 

There are good solid reasons for attending major research universities for undergraduate study, but I am delighted that my kids are at a small personal school.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son is also interested in the smaller engineering schools. His first love/choice is Rose Hulman a very small school of about 1800 - he attended their summer "Operation Catapult" program and would go back today if he could. But they are quite expensive so he will apply and then decide considering financial pkg.

 

He is also considering TN Tech as his "fall back" school so it is good to hear the positives because he is not overly impressed with campus and such. Think his words were "state institution." haha I should mention that we know from experience that the people - staff and faculty - at TN Tech are very nice and approachable as he goes there to take the AMC and TMTA math contests each year for the last 3 years even though it is a 2 hour drive for us. The math department has been very welcoming and encouraging to him. A fellow at our church just finished his degree in microbiology/biochemestry (cannot remember which major) at TN Tech having much the same experience as your son and was just accepted into Vanderbilt's grad program for this fall. His advice to my son was to go to the less expensive for undergrad and go to the other "name" for graduate.

 

Son is also considering U of Evansville, Valpo, and perhaps Vanderbilt.

 

Thanks again for posting! I am forwarding it to my son.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
. A fellow at our church just finished his degree in microbiology/biochemestry (cannot remember which major) at TN Tech having much the same experience as your son and was just excepted into Vanderbilt's grad program for this fall. His advice to my son was to go to the less expensive for undergrad and go to the other "name" for graduate.

 

.

 

This has been the same advice that professors have given our ds....."name" of institution will matter when earning a phD. They are providing him excellent guidance.

 

As far as your ds......share that our ds has zero debt from his undergraduate ed so far. You can't beat the tuition, especially when you apply the Hope scholarship.

 

I will say that the dorms are absolutely awful. If you can get an exemption from living in the dorms, that would be what I would suggest. Our ds has serious food allergies and we were able to get him an exemption based on the fact that living in the dorm prevented him from cooking for himself. A friend of his got an exemption based on asthma and allergies to mold (the dorms are old, small, cramped, and musty.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aside from one back-up state school, Vanderbilt is the largest college to which my ds will be applying. The four main choices range from 1,500 to 2,500 students, and are undergrad-only schools. Ds is enough of a loner that I do not want to give him the opportunity to hide amid the masses in a big school.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there is a brand new dorm that houses freshman that opened this fall (with bathroom per room!) and another dorm in the building stage that will open the fall 2010. But the others are... as you said.

 

The news reported this week that TN Tech is putting kids up in local hotels because of increased enrollment and limited housing. To me this is not an optimal situation. So the word is apply early and get those housing requests in extra early.

 

So question ... with living off campus, has your son felt a good sense of community or is that something that doesn't matter to him? I really want ds to have that sense of community because of his high school years have been without a true sense of it - resulting from ... move to another state, injury that took him out of sports with a long recovery time and now short time attitude with college on the horizon ... life. He really felt connected and fit in at Rose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
there is a brand new dorm that houses freshman that opened this fall (with bathroom per room!) and another dorm in the building stage that will open the fall 2010. But the others are... as you said.

 

The news reported this week that TN Tech is putting kids up in local hotels because of increased enrollment and limited housing. To me this is not an optimal situation. So the word is apply early and get those housing requests in extra early.

 

So question ... with living off campus, has your son felt a good sense of community or is that something that doesn't matter to him? I really want ds to have that sense of community because of his high school years have been without a true sense of it - resulting from ... move to another state, injury that took him out of sports with a long recovery time and now short time attitude with college on the horizon ... life. He really felt connected and fit in at Rose.

 

There are lots of decent apartments near or next to campus that are the fraction of the cost of the old dorms, let alone the new dorm. Ds's rent for a 3 bed/2 bath apartment right across the st from campus was only $275/month split 2 ways (their 3rd roommate dropped out of school and they opted to not replace him.)

 

As far as feeling like part of the community......Tech does have a high percentage of commuter students so campus is pretty barren on a lot of the weekends. But ds definitely feels part of campus life. He is an extremely studious kind of guy with very definite goals, so he started forming study groups with the other serious kids right from the very beginning. (He found this far more effective than the honors group b/c a lot of the honors kids were more into partying than serious study or weren't able to actually maintain their GPAs in the engineering/math courses.)

 

Intramural sports are also really big on campus. His roommate (a close friend since age 10) is extremely involved in all the sports activities on campus. The advantage of a small campus is that it is easier to be involved and harder to become lost in the crowd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll admit it, we never came across TN Tech before. I've just spent an interesting 40 minutes exploring their site and wishing DS was home so I could share what I was seeing. This also has me wondering as to what other small engineering schools are on the east coast to mid-west area that we should be exploring. We know about Rose-Hulman, Olin, and we've been looking at Lehigh, RPI, WPI, Drexel however I don't think they are as small in engineering as TN Tec. DS would like the smaller classes, getting to know his Profs, and doing more hands-on work than classroom work.

 

Wasn't there a thread about how we really dislike being in the role of Guidance Counselor?

 

Carole

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Union College in Schnectady, NY and the University of Rochester.

 

Union is an LAC, but an unusual one in that they do offer accredited courses in both Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. The engineering programs are small, and we were impressed by the fact that all students have to do/present a senior research project. We loved the school during the tour, and it was definitely a top choice for ds. In the end, he was sad to turn them down, but he realized that since he's really undecided between engineering & IT, Union wasn't a good choice for him because they don't have IT.

 

The U of R isn't a small school as a whole, but their engineering program is fairly small. They offer more types of engineering than Union, and the Biomed Eng program is big there because they are right next to a Med School/Hospital complex.

 

Best wishes on finding a good fit for your son!

Brenda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...