Engineering acceptance rates v. liberal arts

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: September 2003 Archive: Engineering acceptance rates v. liberal arts
By Fishercochran (Fishercochran) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 09:07 am: Edit

I have been trying to find data on the acceptance rates for engineering v. other schools or majors at various top-tier universities. Especially interested in Cornell, Columbia, Brown, Virginia (out of state),Tufts, Wash U, Carnegie Mellon. Also other info on what it takes to be admitted as an engineering student at these schools would be greatly appreciated.

By Pgs1300 (Pgs1300) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 09:53 am: Edit

Out of that list Columbia and Brown are the hardest to get into.Most ivies have acceptence rates of about 15-25%.Engineering schools like Carnegie Melon have different acceptence rates for different coarses.For example CIT(Carnegie Institute of Technology) has an acceptence rate of about 40.While it's school of computer science has acceptence rates ranging fromm 10-16.You should not be worried about acceptence rates if your stats are good.If you have a GPA of about 3.5+ sat score ranging 1350-1450,you should get into one of those colleges.Please eval my stats under:
Chances at engineering schools.

By Dadx (Dadx) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 10:02 am: Edit

Cornell has a handout on the tour, (which perhaps is also on their website?) giving the applications and acceptance breakdowns for all of their schools. I suspect that it appears a bit easier to be admitted to the engineering school if you simply look at applications vs acceptances. However, the engineers are extremely strong in math and sciences, particularly physics and calc. You need to factor that in when looking at the numbers.

For instance, in the USNews data, Caltech and MIT have acceptances rates of 21% and 16%, but if you look at their SAT ranges (higher than all but Harvard), you can see it is misleading to compare them to other schools based solely on acceptance rates. Clearly they have a different applicant profile, as does nearly every quality engineering program.

Engineers need very strong grades in their science and math courses, and very high scores on the tests.

By Fishercochran (Fishercochran) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 08:33 am: Edit

Helpful responses. Doe anybody have more specific information?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 09:07 am: Edit

For Tufts,
Here are the admission facts for 2002:

Liberal Arts: Applied 11,990, Accepted 2,643
Engineering: Applied 1,710 Accepted 535

Liberal Arts: Applied 947 Admitted 424
Engineering: Applied 180 Admitted 99

There are further breakdowns available in the bulletin as to who applied and was accepted in Liberal Arts and in Engineering as far as class rank and SAT scores as well.
Hope this helps.
I agree with someone above who said that applicants to engineering might have better stats in certain areas as a pool of applicants so may not be totally comparable.

Good luck to you!

By Dadx (Dadx) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 09:30 am: Edit

COrnell 2006 class stats
Cornell Engingeering
Apps 5346
Accept 1753 (32.7%)
Enroll 736

SAT V 700+ 39% SAT M 90%
650-699 27 8
600-649 21 2

Cornell Arts & Sciences

Apps 9484
Accept 2435 (25.7%)
Enroll 1004

SAT V 700+ 48% SAT M 57%
650-699 25 22
600-649 17 13

There you have it. My guess is that similar schools have similar relationships between their liberal arts and engineering schools. Engineering appears slightly less selective based on acceptance rates, but not if you look at the scores. Obviously if your math score isnt well up into the 700s you are swimming upstream in engineering. You can also guess from that profile what the sat ii scores look like for the two groups.

By Dadx (Dadx) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 09:35 am: Edit

(trying to fix the table formatting)

COrnell 2006 class stats

Cornell Engingeering
Apps 5346
Accept 1753 (32.7%)
Enroll 736

700+ 39% 90%
650-699 27 8
600-649 21 2

Cornell Arts & Sciences

Apps 9484
Accept 2435 (25.7%)
Enroll 1004

700+ 48% 57%
650-699 25 22
600-649 17 13

By Fishercochran (Fishercochran) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 09:58 am: Edit

Thanks to you both. My son has a 680V 710M -- I think a really top engineering school like Cornell is a stretch (and he wouldn't like the intense pressure I suspect goes with it), but perhaps one or two tiers down (Rochester, U Maryland, Lafayette) would be a good fit. Any comments?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 10:26 am: Edit

I do not know enough about your son other than his SAT scores to make appropriate suggestions. SAT scores are just one piece of the puzzle. His scores, however, are still in range to try for competitive schools. Kids with those scores do get accepted at those schools. Obviously with those scores, it helps to have some other very strong factors on his app....SAT2s, GPA, rank, strong ECs, essays, level of math courses, etc. So, while his scores are still ok for admittance, the rates of admittance are lower with those scores than say with scores 100 points higher but other factors could offset those scores, so do not count him out on scores alone.

That said, his entire list of possible schools above are all pretty top tier. So, yes, it would be good to go for some of them but add some a few steps down. What about Lehigh? Very good school and known for engineering? My daughter is applying there as her safety school, for example. For your son, it could be a good match school (again, I only have his scores to go by which is not nearly enough). I would keep Tufts and WUSTL in there at least. How did he do on SAT2 in math or any AP in math? or what are his achievements academically, particularly in math and science? Any awards? how are grades and class rank? Again, his SAT scores are in range for some very good schools but he needs some other things to boost the rest of the app. Also, if he feels he could improve a little bit on SATs, it might be worth one more shot, just to get that aspect of his app up (particularly if he has other very strong factors). Keep some of those schools on his list but add a few a little lower. Rochester was a good choice as well. Just make sure the whole list is not made up of reach schools.

Good luck.

By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 07:18 pm: Edit

I just graduated from Tufts engineering, so a few insights: while the acceptance rate of engineers has been higher, the stats of admitted engineers are slightly better. The average class rank for liberal arts is 7%, while it is 6% for engineering... SATs of engineers are slightly higher, with verbal being comprable and math being slightly higher. There is a fair amount of self-selection which occurs in engineering, so the acceptance rate can be deceiving. Good luck!

By Fishercochran (Fishercochran) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 10:42 pm: Edit

Ariesathena: How did you find Tufts engineering in terms of the intensity, workload and competitiveness of students? My son would like to have a life (sports, friends etc) while studying hard as well. Plus, he is excellent at the hands-on side of things and less interested in the pure theory. He is also good in team and group projects, although not always an individual superstar. Would Tufts be a good fit?

By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 05:24 pm: Edit

FisherCochran: I was in chemical engineering, which is the most rigorous of the engineerings... but the engineering school is still tough, regardless of specific major. While there is a substantial workload, the students all help each other out. Many of my classmates did things like Ultimate Frisbee, ski team, or track... you just have to be more organized to pull that off in college. Certainly, there is less time to do extracurricular activities and hang out with friends as an engineer rather than as a liberal arts person, but Tufts does not demand that students subvert their lives to studying.

Regardless of where your son goes, he should take a brief course in time management and organization (unless he is obsessively organized now), as it will help tremendously. Especially with engineering, there is no way to get all the work done that one would like: there is always more to study, learn, derive, etc, and you just have to know when to stop. When I was organized and managing my time well, I took six classes, did well in them all, ran 40-50 miles a week, and went out a couple nights a week with my friends... but when the time management skills lapsed, things went downhill quickly.

The competitiveness of students is minimal, if it is there at all - I was quite surprised (and happy) to see how willing everyone was to help out and work together. When there are especially difficult assignments, we got together in study groups, met at someone's apartment, and worked through it. I think the best example of how willing Tufts students are to help each other out was in my organic chemistry class, which is required for pre-med students. I had someone approach me in the library and ask to do a group study; when I sprained my ankle, people helped me out with my lab work.

Some professors encourage working together: in smaller classes, the scale on exams will be determined beforehand so that we wouldn't feel that helping someone out would hurt our chances of getting a good grade. A few of my engineering classes had teamwork exercises: thermodynamics involved group homeworks on tough thereotical problems, and senior design project has to be done with two or three other group members.

Unfortunately, most engineering curriculums (if not all) have little room for hands-on applications... which is bad in that you end up learning a lot in a vacuum, and the real-life research is quite different from school. (My boss was talking about this the other day, btw.) Your son will end up spending a good deal of time solving equations, programming computers to solve equations, and doing problem sets. Though the curriculum is not always ideal, engineering does allow for more hands-on experience than other majors. Chemical engineering, between chem, physics, and core classes, has between eight and twelve lab courses - which can be enormously helpful. There is also a lot of computer work, MathCAD, AutoCAD, etc... would your son want to spend a good deal of time on things like that?

I absolutely loved Tufts and happily recommend it to anyone. Unless your son thrives in a competitive environment, he would be a great fit at Tufts. They make you work, but even the most obsessive people there like to play.

By Fishercochran (Fishercochran) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 10:34 pm: Edit

Wow -- this is really useful info. Does anybody know of an engineering school in which hands-on project work plays a larger role, or is it really all so theoretical? I have always thought it ironic that although engineering is a quintessentially practical profession, the training is so abstract.

By Chrisd (Chrisd) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 10:46 pm: Edit

There are more engineering program slots than a dozen or so years ago, but fewer students, and part of the reason is reflected in your post. Look sometime at The Urgency of Engineering Education Reform, by William Wulf. . . .you can find it on the web.

Some schools are reforming their curriculum, but not radically. My daughter was impressed with the freshman hands-on curriculum at Ohio State. She's just started her freshman year in a project-based engineering program, Olin College. The school seems like a good match for her, others will find something else they prefer.

By Fishercochran (Fishercochran) on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 11:36 am: Edit

Crisd: I am very familiar with Olin, as I live in Needham. It's a wonderful program, and your daughter must be quite exceptional. If you need any specific information about the Needham area, let me know.

By Chrisd (Chrisd) on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 05:01 pm: Edit

We took her up to Olin last weekend--still feeling those departure blues. . . . .

What's the best way to get out there from the airport, without spending $50 on a cab?

Is your son interested in Olin--or is he looking more to re-locate for college? My daughter spent a summer at CMU, and was accepted there to CIT, so I might be able to answer some questions about CM.

By Fishercochran (Fishercochran) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 12:08 pm: Edit

Chris: I know of no really good and cheap way to and from airport other than cab. There is a limo service from some of the hotels (e.g. Sheraton Needham)that's somewhat cheaper but you have to get to the hotels.

Olin is probably out of his reach academically and way too close to home. I'm even concerned about Tufts in that regard. Our guidance counselor suggested CMU. My main concern is that it may be to high on the intensity/competitive scale and too low on the social/athletics scale. What do you think?

By Chrisd (Chrisd) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 12:34 pm: Edit

I'd strongly suggest your son attend one of their sleeping bag weekends to get a feel for the school and students, if he's very interested in the school. As a parent, I found their info sessions to be among the more useless of ones we attended. It is a pretty intense place. . . . there is a a social life for those who seek one, but I think your concern could be correct for your son.

My daughter is interested in mechanical engineering, and CM did not offer a co-op opportunity in mech. e., and that was a negative for her. I think there is a hands-on project for freshman . . .making a wrench sounds vaguely familiar. She took an intro to elec. eng., and as teams they made small robots. She really like the Oakland area, and foud it easy to get around Pittsburgh with public transit. The campus food service is truly terrible. Some dorms are lousy, some are nice, and I think they just opened a new freshman dorm this year. Six of her friends from the summer program are now enrolled at CM as freshmen, so soon we'll be hearing how they like/dislike it.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 05:34 pm: Edit

CMU is definitely a good choice and you should also look at Case Western (yeah, I know, too close to home), Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Bucknell, Lehigh, Lafeyette, Johns Hopkins. From what I am told by engineering majors, the curriculum is very difficult regardless of where you go. What makes life a bit easier is the more personal attention some schools give such as Bucknell, to help the kids get through. I hear that Swarthmore is also very personal with its small engineering department. The big schools offer fine resources but if you want a little nurturing, go smaller.

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