Posts filed under ‘engineering’

Olin cuts merit scholarships 50%

One of the best buys in the country has been Olin College of Engineering in Needham, MA, which has been tuition-free for all students.  However, Olin is the latest example of colleges that have had to take drastic action as a result of the hit their endowments took in the stock market.  Here’s an excerpt from the letter my son received:

Olin was founded on the premise that financial considerations should not stand in the way of an excellent engineering education.  That has not changed.  Olin is committed to providing a merit scholarship to every student we accept.  However, due to the ongoing economic downturn, Olin must reduce its full-tuition scholarship by 50 percent beginning in the 2010-11 academic year.

…Moreover, Olin is committed to meeting the full demonstrated need of families seeking financial aid and to restoring the scholarship to 100 percent as soon as financial conditions allow.

Olin is still a good deal for many families.  That 50% off amounts to an $80,000 scholarship.

By no means is Olin the only college making changes…they just are one of the most honest and up-front about it.  It’s ironic that students graduating now are in the midst of the perfect storm….record numbers of students going to college have led to the most frenzied competitive admissions process ever, while colleges – although filled with students – are concerned about their budgets.  Kids graduating in 5 or 10 years won’t have to worry about all this.

If you’re still considering Olin, make sure Olin is truly the right choice for your student.  Engineering is the ONLY  major.  There’s no opportunity to change one’s mind, something that happens with the vast majority of college students.

July 17, 2009 at 7:21 am Leave a comment

College Visit: Northwestern University

My husband describes Northwestern University as the biggest medium-sized college he’s ever seen.  It seemed like we walked for miles and still didn’t see half the campus.  The sciences are primarily in a complex called the Technology Institute, which has an incredible 17 miles of corridors.  (Guys, you’d better learn to ask directions if you want to arrive at class on time.)

My son is intrigued by some of the accelerated programs (HPME for medicine, Integrated Science Program, MENU for accelerated math).  Be careful about choosing NU for these special programs.  Not only are they very limited in numbers but some are incompatible with each other or other programs.  For example, engineers can’t be in MENU, yet those who want the Kellogg certificate (the only business-oriented option for undergrads) MUST be in MENU.

Engineers: take note of Northwestern’s innovative approach.  Freshmen tackle a real-world problem as teams.  At places like Harvey Mudd, these hands-on projects are done as seniors.  Northwestern wants to give freshmen a good feel for whether engineering is really for them. NU also offers engineers a one-year (handsomely) paid internship program called Co-op, that often results in an employment offer.

My daughter originally was interested in Northwestern because of its journalism program, but ended up deciding that she didn’t want to attend there unless she was going to major in journalism.  After interning with a newspaper, she decided journalism wasn’t for her.  Now here we are again…my son thinks he’s only interested in NU if he decides he wants to be in one of their special programs.

July 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

Info Session: 2 Ivies + 3 nearly Ivies

5 colleges are hosting the “Exploring College Options” college tour this spring: Duke, Georgetown, Penn, Harvard & Stanford. My son and I attended the presentations in Dallas. Afterwards, we concluded that he was still interested in Harvard and Stanford, admittedly in large part because of their reputation and financial aid offers (plus the California sunshine), but the presentations didn’t get him to add any new colleges to his list or provide any more compelling information about Harvard or Stanford that he didn’t already know, perhaps because they really did not address any majors that are of interest to him.

Here are the key points they covered in their 10-15 minutes presentations:

Continue Reading May 15, 2009 at 12:52 pm Leave a comment

Find a new dance partner

Are you looking having regrets about the college you chose?  Did you aim too high and get rejected by all the colleges to which you applied?  Or have you spent a year at a college and decided it’s not the place for you?

Don’t panic. There’s still time to find another dance partner.

Every May, the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) publishes a list of colleges that still have openings after the May 1st national acceptance deadline.  This year they have 258 colleges on their Space Availability Survey 2009, and that’s only a partial list because it’s based upon a survey of only the NACAC member colleges, which represent about half of all 4-year colleges.

The list includes some interesting choices:

  • 4 colleges listed in the excellent college “shopping” book, Colleges That Change Lives:  Juniata, Evergreen State College, Ohio Wesleyan, and Whitman College
  • Some unique places like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University & South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
  • Exotic places like American University of Paris
  • Big schools like the University of Arizona and the University of Iowa
  • Hamline, a well regarded school in my home state of Minnesota
  • Smith College, which is a top brand women’s college (openings for transfer students only)
  • My daughter’s original first choice college, Seattle Pacific University  (She changed her mind before application time rolled around.)
  • My husband’s, sister’s and brother’s alma maters:  Westminster College (MO), Gustavus Adolphus, and Augsburg, which run the gamut from very small town to urban locations.

So if you’re looking for a new home at this late date, peruse the list…or check with the college of your choice to see if they are still accepting applications.

May 7, 2009 at 4:58 am 1 comment

Book Review: 3 meritocracies

* CalTech, the elite science and technology school
* Cooper Union, the NYC school of art, architecture and engineering, where tuition is free
* Berea, a school strictly for poor students from Appalachia, with free tuition

Continue Reading April 10, 2009 at 12:14 am Leave a comment

Info Session: George Washington

George Washington University in Washington, DC, has lots to offer, both because of the town it is in and because of the college’s resources. Do all the colleges in Washington DC boast these opportunities and results, simply because they can leverage all the resources that the DC area has to offer, or is there something special about George Washington University?

Continue Reading April 3, 2009 at 8:38 am Leave a comment

Colleges for future Ph.D.s

If you think your child is destined to be a researcher or college professor, which colleges and universities should you investigate?

Try this list of the top 25 baccalaureate colleges and top 25 research universities, measured on the basis of the number of their students who go on to earn Ph.D.s in the sciences or engineering.  Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) put this list together.  HHMI is a non-profit that funds biomedical research and has also taken on the mission of improving science education.

The headline of HHMI’s complete report, “A Wellspring of Scientists”, is that “when it comes to producing science Ph.D.s, liberal arts colleges are at the head of the class”.

February 16, 2009 at 7:52 am Leave a comment

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