Carnegie Mellon or Northwestern?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: Carnegie Mellon or Northwestern?
By Innsayneidiot (Innsayneidiot) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 04:47 pm: Edit

In an attempt to reduce the number of essays I'll have to write in the next 4 months (as well as save a few bucks), I'm limiting myself to 10 schools. But that means I can only apply to either Carnegie Mellon or Northwestern. The other schools I'm applying to are Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Rice, Johns Hopkins Berkeley & UCLA (in-state). Most likely going for chem or chem engineering.
Can anyone give any insight into the academic rigor/quality/atmosphere of CMU or Northwestern (how do they compare to each other)? Also, which is harder to get into and what's the neighborhood around each school like?

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 05:13 pm: Edit

Between CMU and Northwestern, I would pick Northwestern. It is a slightly better school with a slightly better reputation. Northwestern is actually excellent in Chemistry (much better than CMU) and quite strong in Chemical Engineering. Furthermore, Northwestern is merely 30 minutes away from Downtown Chicago, which is much nicer than Pittburgh. As far as selectivity, I would say Northwestern is tougher to get into. Overall atmosphere edge also goes to Northwestern.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 12:04 am: Edit

I hope you have an innsayne academic record, as you have a very selective group of schools on your list.

By Innsayneidiot (Innsayneidiot) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 12:23 am: Edit

My stats are at if that makes any difference to my CMU vs. Northwestern question (the schools changed a bit since I posted that). It's not exactly "innsayne" but should be enough to ensure UCLA. (?)

By Mosquito86 (Mosquito86) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 03:13 pm: Edit

I'd go w/ NU, too. While I think CMU is a wonderful school, NU is a bit more multi-dimensional. I think that makes for a better college experience.

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 04:01 pm: Edit

I realize this is not what you asked, but did you consider Michigan at all? The reason I am asking is that I know a young woman from our state (WA) who went to Mich. and majored in chem. engineering. She absolutely loved it there, loved the program, and they loved her too. She got to do lab work with professors plus all sorts of other special opportunities. She is now a very successful consultant. Just thought I would mention it to you.

By Reasonabledad (Reasonabledad) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 09:54 pm: Edit

I'm a chemical engineer (undergrad at USC, MBA at Northwestern), and I live near Pittsburgh, and have lots of contact with CMU (my rising junior is very interested in CMU). Not to sound partisan or anything, but the school that does not belong on your Chem. Eng. list is UCLA, especially given your superb stats. Now if you pursue pure chemistry, or biochem, I just don't know. But those two generally lead to specific graduate programs, or else to jobs that someone with your stats should not be settling for...

I think you might be accepted at all of your schools, or nearly all. You might want to think about how happy you would be at each school, as a basis for selection and drop one school that you are not really comfortable with.

In answer to your direct question, the area around CMU is fine, very close to both Duquesne and the University of Pittsburgh, and not especially noted for crime or anything. The Northwestern undergraduate campus in Evanston is comparable, perhaps a bit nicer, and certainly a bit more expensive. In my opinion CMU is a bit more rigorous for a chemical engineer. But it does depend on your exact major.

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