National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

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physiorol
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National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by physiorol »

I have a high senior that is strongly considering enrolling at WPI for engineering and possibly CS. They were awarded quite a bit of aid so total costs (living and tuition) would be around $45k/year.

WPI appeals to kid because it seems like WPI is heavily project based, it is relatively easy to switch majors, and apparently students are able to fail up to three classes and not have it affect your gpa....

One concern kid is having is that WPI may not be that well known outside of the northeast? And if true would this affect ability to get internships/jobs on the west coast/Cali.

So the question I am primarily asking is, if people (bogleheads) outside of the Northeast are familiar with WPI and if there is any validity to the name recognition concern.

PS: Other schools in play include purdue engineering, colorado school of mines, RIT. Also was accepted to some good CSUs and some lower tier UCs, but is interested in getting out of California and smaller class sizes appeal
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Beachey »

I would say WPI has a national reputation as good as RIT or Colorado School of Mines. Purdue is just better known because it is in the Big 10. RIT in my mind is very similar to WPI in that its general reputation is more regionally based in the Northeast. I think Colorado School of Mines is much better know on the West Coast and does not have a national reputation again to the general public. The all are known as strong engineering schools within industry even if the general public may not be as familiar with them.

That said, many companies recruit only regionally so if you go to school in the Northeast, the companies recruiting on campus will tend to be from the Northeast. Not saying he could not get a job back in California but he would be a little bit more on his own rather than the campus placement center.

The Boston commuter rail goes all the way out to Worcester so even without a car they could go to Boston for excursions.

Has he ever spent anytime in the Northeast? You would just want to make sure he understands the weather, cultural differences before he commits.
Last edited by Beachey on Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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physiorol
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by physiorol »

Beachey wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:41 pm Has he ever spent anytime in the Northeast? You would just want to make sure he understands the weather, cultural differences before he commits.
Just a few weeks in DC in Feb, but a change in weather is one thing that appeals to them. I spent two years in Chicago and I personally would never consider a Northeast or midwest school over a California one, but people have to make their own mistakes I guess.

Thanks for the other advice.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by KlangFool »

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-sc ... tute-02083

OP,

It is ranked #89 nationally. I do not see a reason why it is worth 45K per year.

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-sc ... mpus-02057

Purdue is ranked #7.

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-sc ... logy-02250

RIT is ranked #72.

As far as I can tell, those are not better choices than what you get in California. Other than Purdue.

The top 20 list.

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/ra ... e-computer

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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by KlangFool »

physiorol wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:48 pm
Beachey wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:41 pm Has he ever spent anytime in the Northeast? You would just want to make sure he understands the weather, cultural differences before he commits.
Just a few weeks in DC in Feb, but a change in weather is one thing that appeals to them. I spent two years in Chicago and I personally would never consider a Northeast or midwest school over a California one, but people have to make their own mistakes I guess.

Thanks for the other advice.
physiorol,

With your money. Unless you are willing to pay for a second undergraduate degree, it would be their only shot. So, it would be your mistake.

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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by manatee2005 »

My son is a HS senior and we finished applying and I thought I was familiar with all top 100 schools and I've never heard of WPI. Purdue is much more well known. Colorada school of mines is unknown to me as well.

What low tier UCs did he get into? Btw at this point there are no low tier UCs since it's so competitive.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Nate79 »

I had to google this school. Never heard of it.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Beachey »

KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:00 pm
physiorol,

With your money. Unless you are willing to pay for a second undergraduate degree, it would be their only shot. So, it would be your mistake.

KlangFool
If he graduates from WPI with an engineering degree, he is going to get a job. I think you can overthink the national rankings especially since most college admissions offices try to game their rankings. I think the bigger concern is him going somewhere he is unhappy and ends up not finishing.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by MMiroir »

A good proxy for reputation is average starting salary. You can check these by school and major at College Scorecard.

https://collegescorecard.ed.gov

CS majors from WPI have an average starting salary of $95,207. This is better than most state flagships, but not up to the level of the best schools in the country which will average more than $110,000. The average starting salary for CS majors at some of the other schools mentioned are as follows:

Purdue - $85,981
RIT - $84,653
CSOM - $78,971
UCB - $125,388
UCLA - $110,878
UC Santa Barbara - $81,554

In CS, your son might have some issues getting specifically California internships, but as a graduate he should have a choice of jobs around the country.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by thatme »

I once taught a student who had graduated from WPI (he was preparing for a graduate entrance exam - think GMAT, MCAT, LSAT). I had never heard of the school and admittedly thought it was a local school I just hadn't heard of. He was one of the brightest students I've come across and had nothing but extremely positive things to say about WPI (I later learned more about the school as I got to know him).

The one thing I would say is that every student I've ever met who came from there was very entrepreneurial, including the student above. I imagine it has something to do with the project-based courses you mentioned, so it seems like it could be an extremely good fit for the right person. It definitely doesn't have the same "reputation" as Purdue, probably on par with Mines, but I don't think it will be a hinderance if your student really wants to attend and thinks it would be a great "fit" for them.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by nisiprius »

Unfortunately I live in the Northeast, so I'm not a good source... around here WPI (sometimes pronounced like "Whoopee") is well-known and has a good reputation. I think it falls in the category of names that would be recognized as a "real school" nationally by people who know engineering schools--a perfectly credible school which, when it came time to take the next step, would in itself neither open doors nor close them.

Doing the obvious thing, U. S. News and World Report ranks it #66 in "National Universities" (i.e. the big main list) which to me confirms the idea of national reputation, national name recognition. Actually, I'm a little surprised to find that it ranks as closely as it does with Rensselaer Polytechnic at #53.
Last edited by nisiprius on Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by TravelGeek »

As a west coaster and a former hiring manager at a large software company I honestly can't say that I have ever heard of WPI or come across a resume from a graduate of that school. I wasn't involved in college recruiting and internship recruiting, but I know we would not have recruited at that school.

That said, CSUs wouldn't have been on our list either. At what UCs did your student get accepted?

(I have personally always thought that our recruiting policy likely resulted in us missing great candidates, but I didn't get to make those decisions)
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by petercooperjr »

I went to WPI, though I do live in Massachusetts (and have my whole life), so my perspective might not be exactly what you're looking for. But I think WPI is reasonably well-known among engineering schools, and if the project-based approach merging theory and practice is appealing to your senior then I would certainly recommend it. I loved the 7-week terms focusing on just a few classes at a time. It certainly is expensive, but I think that's true of other private engineering schools too.

In practice, I don't think "picking a college" is as much an "important to get right or you'll be screwed up for life" as some people think it is. Pick the college that looks right for you, and if somebody doesn't know about that college then it gives you a chance to talk about how it's different and what useful skills you learned there. Make sure your resume focuses on what you've actually done, rather than trying to coast on some perceived name recognition.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by KlangFool »

Beachey wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:10 pm
KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:00 pm
physiorol,

With your money. Unless you are willing to pay for a second undergraduate degree, it would be their only shot. So, it would be your mistake.

KlangFool
If he graduates from WPI with an engineering degree, he is going to get a job. I think you can overthink the national rankings especially since most college admissions offices try to game their rankings. I think the bigger concern is him going somewhere he is unhappy and ends up not finishing.
Beachey,

1) In the best case, he graduated and cost an additional 15K or more per year. 60K can do a lot for someone in the 20s.

2) In the worst case, he did not graduate.

Why pay for 15K more per year for little to no benefits? It is not even in the top 50. Meanwhile, there are 2 top 10 schools in the California.

My son graduated VTech with 20K to 30K worth of investment. He is far ahead of most graduating fresh engineer.

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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Feel free to PM me for more insights.

I'm a BSEE grad of WPI (85) and my son graduated with a BSCE (civil) in 20.

WPI is rigorous and different in many ways. Both I and my son transferred in after our Freshman year at another college. Me, Western New England College, him Wentworth. We both agree, the amount of work you MUST do at WPI is easily double at the mediocre engineering colleges we both came from.

WPI is very project based. This happens in classes and a requirement to graduate is the major qualifying project. This takes place in the senior year and can be either a group project or individual. My son's project was to develop a modeling simulator to show dynamic stresses in buildings during earthquakes. It was 120 pages of report and a working simulator.

Requirements to graduate include the MQP mentioned, an interactive qualifying project which relates technology to society. I taught a high school computer class and developed the course clean sheet. Then a sufficiency in humanities which is a number of humanities/English courses, then a "seminar" to write up a paper using things learned in these courses. A number of courses (year and a half) in a language can be substituted (what I did) which is German on campus and any language in other area colleges.

Grades are A, B, C or NR, which means no record. You never took the course in their records with an NR. The philosophy is that it doesn't penalize the student who wants to stretch into something he might not succeed at. One can also re-take a course to improve his grade. The philosophy is that if you learned, you learned. Of course, failing too many courses means you need to pay to take qualifying courses and some number puts one on academic probation and if an acceptable progress isn't shown, asked to leave the school.

Summer courses are cheaper and there are 2 full terms of summer courses. If one has taken an NR, the course is half price to retake.

WPI has 4 normal 7 week terms. A full load is 3 classes. As mentioned, summer has 2 shorter terms even more condensed.

My own experience there was that they taught us to learn to understand the material very well. Not just to pass exams.

The campus is fairly compact and it's possible to walk downtown or to the train or bus station (I did many times). Plenty of food on Highland St, some open all night. Price Chopper (supermarket) walkable just off campus across from Elm Park.

WPI does have a not well known co-op program. I was a co-op student when I ran out of money. (I paid my way through)

WPI is the third oldest engineering college in the US. (yawn, right?)
Last edited by Jack FFR1846 on Wed Mar 17, 2021 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Watty »

...other input welcome too...
For comparison years ago I got a CS degree from University of Missouri at Rolla(Now renamed to Missouri University of Science and Technology) which is the Missouri STEM campus. It has a good reputation and is relatively well regarded in the midwest but it not well known outside the midwest.

I have worked on both coasts and when I have been job hunting a few people had heard of my college but it not being well known was never a problem.

It of course did not have the name recognition of some place like MIT, Cal Tech, etc that might get your resume pulled out of a stack and in fairness it was not at that level.

My impression is that with a STEM degree unless you went to a really top school what school you went is not that important once you have about five years work experience. Basically it just checks the box that said that I had a BS in Computer Science and that my recent work experience was a lot more important.
physiorol wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:17 pm One concern kid is having is that WPI may not be that well known outside of the northeast? And if true would this affect ability to get internships/jobs on the west coast/Cali.
You did not mention what gender your kid is but if your kid is female that would really help her be able to get internships and job offers on the west cost since many tech companies are very actively trying to recruit more female STEM employees.

If that is not the case then the big question is which companies have actively recruited at that campus in the past and where have students have gotten internships and they should be able to find that out from the college. My impression is that if your kid is not at the very top of their class then it will be real hard to get an internship on the west coast. Even getting good internships near the college will be real competitive so it would be good to ask what percentage of the students in the selected major have internships at the different colleges you are considering.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Beachey »

KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:42 pm
Beachey wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:10 pm
KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:00 pm
physiorol,

With your money. Unless you are willing to pay for a second undergraduate degree, it would be their only shot. So, it would be your mistake.

KlangFool
If he graduates from WPI with an engineering degree, he is going to get a job. I think you can overthink the national rankings especially since most college admissions offices try to game their rankings. I think the bigger concern is him going somewhere he is unhappy and ends up not finishing.
Beachey,

1) In the best case, he graduated and cost an additional 15K or more per year. 60K can do a lot for someone in the 20s.

2) In the worst case, he did not graduate.

Why pay for 15K more per year for little to no benefits? It is not even in the top 50. Meanwhile, there are 2 top 10 schools in the California.

My son graduated VTech with 20K to 30K worth of investment. He is far ahead of most graduating fresh engineer.

KlangFool
I think we are talking about two different things, you are looking at this strictly from a cost point of view. From my point of view, I think picking the right school that fits best has merit. And you are wrong that he will need to get a second degree. The rankings don't mean that someone will have a better education or a better career. Much of that is on the individual. Engineering school rankings at the undergraduate level are also convoluted by the graduate school reputation which does matter when looking at graduate programs.

I still think picking WPI would be a reasonable decision and I did not go to WPI.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

My family member paid 80K per year per kid for their undergraduate degree. Then, he gave 200K to 300K to each kid upon their graduation. Money is a non-issue for him. He had enough money to give and paid for an expensive college education. For us aka normal people, extra money spent on college education means less money to help our kids down the road.

So, is the estimated 15K per year/60K spent has a better ROI for an undergraduate degree or could be used for something else? 60K at the age of 20s could do a lot for a person getting started.

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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by KlangFool »

Beachey wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:56 pm
KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:42 pm
Beachey wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:10 pm
KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:00 pm
physiorol,

With your money. Unless you are willing to pay for a second undergraduate degree, it would be their only shot. So, it would be your mistake.

KlangFool
If he graduates from WPI with an engineering degree, he is going to get a job. I think you can overthink the national rankings especially since most college admissions offices try to game their rankings. I think the bigger concern is him going somewhere he is unhappy and ends up not finishing.
Beachey,

1) In the best case, he graduated and cost an additional 15K or more per year. 60K can do a lot for someone in the 20s.

2) In the worst case, he did not graduate.

Why pay for 15K more per year for little to no benefits? It is not even in the top 50. Meanwhile, there are 2 top 10 schools in the California.

My son graduated VTech with 20K to 30K worth of investment. He is far ahead of most graduating fresh engineer.

KlangFool
I think we are talking about two different things, you are looking at this strictly from a cost point of view. From my point of view, I think picking the right school that fits best has merit. And you are wrong that he will need to get a second degree. The rankings don't mean that someone will have a better education or a better career. Much of that is on the individual. Engineering school rankings at the undergraduate level are also convoluted by the graduate school reputation which does matter when looking at graduate programs.

I still think picking WPI would be a reasonable decision and I did not go to WPI.
Reasonable = you could justify paying 60K more.

<<Much of that is on the individual. >>

Then, there is no reason to spend 60K more without a solid justification.

<<you are looking at this strictly from a cost point of view. >>

60K is a lot of money for a normal person. And, it is significant for someone in their 20s.

If your parent tell you,

A) Study in California and I will give you 60K.

B) Study in WPI and you do not get 60K

What would you choose?

KlangFool

P.S: I told my kids that I would pay for their in-state education. If they want to spend more, they have to use their savings to come up the difference.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by mkc »

Those of us who watch Battlebots are very familiar with WPI (and their rivalry with MIT). :D

Some of the engineering-focused schools aren't as well known as the big universities (like Purdue). Thinking RPI, NJIT, Stevens Institute of Technology, Clarkson, etc.

I attended one of the focused schools then transferred to a larger university with an engineering school. Others' comments regarding the focus, technical-intense atmosphere, and social environment at the technically-focused school I attended are accurate.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Beachey »

KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:01 pm

If your parent tell you,

A) Study in California and I will give you 60K.

B) Study in WPI and you do not get 60K

What would you choose?

KlangFool

P.S: I told my kids that I would pay for their in-state education. If they want to spend more, they have to use their savings to come up the difference.
Where are you getting there is a 60K difference to the OP? He said it would cost him 45K Out of Pocket to go to WPI. To go to a California school is unknown but I would guess it is more than $0. My impression is that the cost difference is not the primary driver here to the OP. YMMV.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by KlangFool »

Beachey wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:06 pm
KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:01 pm

If your parent tell you,

A) Study in California and I will give you 60K.

B) Study in WPI and you do not get 60K

What would you choose?

KlangFool

P.S: I told my kids that I would pay for their in-state education. If they want to spend more, they have to use their savings to come up the difference.
Where are you getting there is a 60K difference to the OP? He said it would cost him 45K Out of Pocket to go to WPI. To go to a California school is unknown but I would guess it is more than $0. My impression is that the cost difference is not the primary driver here to the OP. YMMV.
And, why do you think it is cheaper to go out-of-state when OP is in the California? It would not be.

Plus, you did not answer my question. Would it be (A) or (B)?

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physiorol
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by physiorol »

Thanks everyone for your input. very helpful

Update: the two UCs we know of are Riverside and Merced both for Mech Eng I believe. Waitlisted at UCSC rejected at UCSB. Others still pending.

SDSU is $30k if you live on campus, Chico is better at $25k, on campus cost for UC Merced is >$35k. The kid is not going to live at home and go to San Jose State University at a cost of $8k/yr, so a real cheap option is out. A realistic comparison would be chico at 25k (kid owes us about 10k/yr) versus wpi at 45k (kid owes us about 20k/yr) We use a sliding scale re parents paying versus kid paying. The more it costs the more the kid needs to pay us back but of course we are sensitive to them putting themselves in an unnecessary hole.

Incidentally, they also got accepted at Santa Clara for engineering with a total on campus cost of $63k/yr
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by muddgirl »

I am a west coast based engineer and I know WPI, however I went to a similar tiny private engineering school (it can be guessed from my username). There are advantages and disadvantages to a small technical college. Personally it was the best environment for me. The lack of name recognition may have closed some doors but the tight-knit alumni network has opened many many windows. Any employer who had hired an alumni has been impressed and seeks out more graduates from the school. Many of my classmates have started their own technology companies and hire from the alumni network.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by KlangFool »

muddgirl wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:46 pm I am a west coast based engineer and I know WPI, however I went to a similar tiny private engineering school (it can be guessed from my username). There are advantages and disadvantages to a small technical college. Personally it was the best environment for me. The lack of name recognition may have closed some doors but the tight-knit alumni network has opened many many windows. Any employer who had hired an alumni has been impressed and seeks out more graduates from the school. Many of my classmates have started their own technology companies and hire from the alumni network.
muddgirl,

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/ra ... ngineering

Harvey Mudd is ranked #2. It is well known among us that look into those things.

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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Beachey »

KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:38 pm

And, why do you think it is cheaper to go out-of-state when OP is in the California? It would not be.
Didn't say that.

Plus, you did not answer my question. Would it be (A) or (B)?

KlangFool
Irrelevant and not OP's question.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by KlangFool »

physiorol wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:41 pm Thanks everyone for your input. very helpful

Update: the two UCs we know of are Riverside and Merced both for Mech Eng I believe. Waitlisted at UCSC rejected at UCSB. Others still pending.

SDSU is $30k if you live on campus, Chico is better at $25k, on campus cost for UC Merced is >$35k. The kid is not going to live at home and go to San Jose State University at a cost of $8k/yr, so a real cheap option is out. A realistic comparison would be chico at 25k (kid owes us about 10k/yr) versus wpi at 45k (kid owes us about 20k/yr) We use a sliding scale re parents paying versus kid paying. The more it costs the more the kid needs to pay us back but of course we are sensitive to them putting themselves in an unnecessary hole.

Incidentally, they also got accepted at Santa Clara for engineering with a total on campus cost of $63k/yr
physiorol,

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/ra ... ng-overall

SDSU is ranked #17. Why would you go out-of-state and pay a lot more?

KlangFool
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KlangFool
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by KlangFool »

Beachey wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:54 pm
KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:38 pm

And, why do you think it is cheaper to go out-of-state when OP is in the California? It would not be.
Didn't say that.

Plus, you did not answer my question. Would it be (A) or (B)?

KlangFool
Irrelevant and not OP's question.
It is relevant. It is easier to spend the parent's money than the kids spending their own money.

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muddgirl
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by muddgirl »

KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:51 pmmuddgirl,

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/ra ... ngineering

Harvey Mudd is ranked #2. It is well known among us that look into those things.

KlangFool
We all have our own experience. I will tell you very few employers outside of California have heard of it, unless they have had the good fortune of working with an alumni. Most employers do not check US News and World Report when they see a college name they have never heard of.
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physiorol
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by physiorol »

KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:55 pm
physiorol wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:41 pm Thanks everyone for your input. very helpful

Update: the two UCs we know of are Riverside and Merced both for Mech Eng I believe. Waitlisted at UCSC rejected at UCSB. Others still pending.

SDSU is $30k if you live on campus, Chico is better at $25k, on campus cost for UC Merced is >$35k. The kid is not going to live at home and go to San Jose State University at a cost of $8k/yr, so a real cheap option is out. A realistic comparison would be chico at 25k (kid owes us about 10k/yr) versus wpi at 45k (kid owes us about 20k/yr) We use a sliding scale re parents paying versus kid paying. The more it costs the more the kid needs to pay us back but of course we are sensitive to them putting themselves in an unnecessary hole.

Incidentally, they also got accepted at Santa Clara for engineering with a total on campus cost of $63k/yr
physiorol,

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/ra ... ng-overall

SDSU is ranked #17. Why would you go out-of-state and pay a lot more?

KlangFool
If it was me I would definitely go to SDSU, I love the beach. But my kid want's a bit of an adventure. Having said that I believe rankings are heavily influence by graduate school research publications and grant money recieved which will always be more a bigger schools, so although rankings have some relevance they don't tell the whole story. Also SDSU, we believe that SDSU has a different learning environment, more competition to get classes, bigger classes, more graduate students teaching and harder to change major. If those suspicions are true then I would be happy to pay more for WPI.
MMiroir
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by MMiroir »

physiorol wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:41 pmThanks everyone for your input. very helpful

Update: the two UCs we know of are Riverside and Merced both for Mech Eng I believe. Waitlisted at UCSC rejected at UCSB. Others still pending.

SDSU is $30k if you live on campus, Chico is better at $25k, on campus cost for UC Merced is >$35k. The kid is not going to live at home and go to San Jose State University at a cost of $8k/yr, so a real cheap option is out. A realistic comparison would be chico at 25k (kid owes us about 10k/yr) versus wpi at 45k (kid owes us about 20k/yr) We use a sliding scale re parents paying versus kid paying. The more it costs the more the kid needs to pay us back but of course we are sensitive to them putting themselves in an unnecessary hole.

Incidentally, they also got accepted at Santa Clara for engineering with a total on campus cost of $63k/yr
It really depends on what major your child is looking at. For MechE, the average salary at SDSU is $65,089, while the average at WPI is $69,123, so for MechE the higher priced schools does not pay off. If he or she goes CS, the average starting salary is $66,318 at SDSU vs $95,207 at WPI. For CS, the higher priced school is well worth the investment.

You also need to consider what happen if your child decides not to major in engineering and see which schools offer palatable choices.
Beachey
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Beachey »

MMiroir wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:29 pm It really depends on what major your child is looking at. For MechE, the average salary at SDSU is $65,089, while the average at WPI is $69,123, so for MechE the higher priced schools does not pay off. If he or she goes CS, the average starting salary is $66,318 at SDSU vs $95,207 at WPI. For CS, the higher priced school is well worth the investment.
I would be careful with these numbers as it might not reflect the school as much as the salary range for where its graduates get jobs. Don't know what the job market for software engineers is in San Diego but it is very good in Boston and could account for the salary difference in CS.
You also need to consider what happen if your child decides not to major in engineering and see which schools offer palatable choices.
This is a good point and something to consider
solargod007
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by solargod007 »

All the schools listed in the first post ( purdue engineering, colorado school of mines, RIT) are good including WPI. If they are going to pursue Engineering, opportunities for internship (& future employment) are high in California. Summer internships can pay good money. I'd recommend to factor this one as well.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by yakk0 »

KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:55 pm
physiorol wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:41 pm Thanks everyone for your input. very helpful

Update: the two UCs we know of are Riverside and Merced both for Mech Eng I believe. Waitlisted at UCSC rejected at UCSB. Others still pending.

SDSU is $30k if you live on campus, Chico is better at $25k, on campus cost for UC Merced is >$35k. The kid is not going to live at home and go to San Jose State University at a cost of $8k/yr, so a real cheap option is out. A realistic comparison would be chico at 25k (kid owes us about 10k/yr) versus wpi at 45k (kid owes us about 20k/yr) We use a sliding scale re parents paying versus kid paying. The more it costs the more the kid needs to pay us back but of course we are sensitive to them putting themselves in an unnecessary hole.

Incidentally, they also got accepted at Santa Clara for engineering with a total on campus cost of $63k/yr
physiorol,

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/ra ... ng-overall

SDSU is ranked #17. Why would you go out-of-state and pay a lot more?

KlangFool
In case OP gets misled by this. The list above has the University of San Diego (USD), which is NOT the same as SDSU.

SDSU is #102 on the USNew's list of engineering programs that do offer doctorates.

For what it's worth, I've heard of WPI but I also went to a very engineering heavy university and love watching Battlebots.
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cockersx3
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by cockersx3 »

WPI provides great data for where their graduates end up. Here's a link to the dataset from 2019 (latest available) - shows how many of the kids got jobs, whick employers they went to, and average starting salaries on a per-major basis.

My daughter has this on her short list as well. She really likes the project-based curriculum and quarter system, along with the small-college feel. I like the financial aid package they offered, along with the great retention and graduation metrics according to their common data set. Overall the cost after aid for us was very comparable to other schools to which she was admitted, but their ability to keep the kids there and graduating on time make it rise to the top for me. We also live in a state without very good state college options, so keeping my kids in-state was not practical.

Best of luck to the OP as they make the decision - go Goat Nation!
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by honduranhurricane »

My son graduated from WPI 15 years ago, roughly. When he first mentioned the school to me, I had no idea what it was. I honestly thought it was the type of school you see tear-off cards on the subway in Boston for (I am a life long Bostonian). At any rate, found out differently.

All of his friends received multiple job offers (different climate in the mid 2000's than now I know) ranging from biggie names to startups and 2 did their own start up.

Part of the beauty, as I saw it anyway, was the major projects required to graduate can be with large well established companies. One of my son's 3 projects was with Google (2 friends went there after graduating, my son declined to interview but was invited to), another was in Hong Kong studying various ways to deal with pollution (I thought it was odd for a CS major but he enjoyed it) and his other project was with United Technologies (he was recruited by UTX after the project but wanted to work closer to home than CT). There may have been other projects but those are the three that stand out to me. Couple of his friends did a project with NASA, one went to work there after graduating.

Reason for the above, plenty of opportunity to get exposed to large employers from all over during the four years.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by manatee2005 »

I’d choose UC Riverside actually.

As one poster said the winters are long and cold in north east.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by random_walker_77 »

I'd never heard of the school until I met an Electrical Engineer who had done their undergrad there, who had gone on to get their Master's from Stanford. He was a very good engineer.

As a small school, WPI isn't especially well-known nationally (at least not on the west coast), but I think it'd be perfectly fine for an undergraduate engineering degree. Would they be more inclined to settle down in the NE after college? Proximity to employers, both for internships and for full-time positions is helpful.

Employers tend to favor recruiting locally, and if they're going to fly somewhere, they tend to fly to big schools that represent prime target-rich environments for recruits. Think of UIUC, Wisconsin, Michigan, UT Austin, etc
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Elric »

Well, WPI will be well-known to anyone who watches Battlebots! :happy Two teams of WPI and former WPI students competed last year, giving the school some national television exposure.

I'm from Virginia, so I can't give you a west coast perspective, but as someone in the tech field I've definitely heard of them. Don't they also have a large internship program as part of their regular curriculum? These days, I would see that as a definite plus.

And yes, Purdue better known, RIT I think regional reputation at best.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by gatorking »

random_walker_77 wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 5:48 pm Employers tend to favor recruiting locally, and if they're going to fly somewhere, they tend to fly to big schools that represent prime target-rich environments for recruits. Think of UIUC, Wisconsin, Michigan, UT Austin, etc
Recruiter rankings as of 2015 (I could not find anything more recent):
https://www.collegeatlas.org/recruiters ... picks.html
steve r
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by steve r »

I am from the area (CT) and familiar with the school. It is smaller than most other larger schools known for engineering. Very much hands on learning.

The best way to view it is an engineering school with very much a liberal arts feel with helpful faculty.

If the student wants smaller, this may be a good fit. Otherwise I would say no. IMHO, an engineering degree has legs. So, the reputation issue shouldn't be much of an issue (but not zero).
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by jt90505 »

My son recently graduated from a UC which is typically ranked in the top 10 public universities with an excellent GPA and had some good summer degree related experience. He had more success getting interviews through the school placement office vs. applying via the web. I believe companies have recruiters responsible for schools on 'their list' who know the courses and the school and will actually read his resume and advocate. He found it much more difficult to get an interview as just another person applying on-line. Considering his interviews were each 3-5 hours long, a significant investment, this is understandable. So having an idea of what companies recruit at WPI *may* be useful.

A second consideration...it sounds like going to WPI will result in ~$80K of debt. To me that sounds like a lot to take on when he has good in-state options.

Bottom line is your son has no bad choices, congrats...

good luck!
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physiorol
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by physiorol »

steve r wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 6:10 pm I am from the area (CT) and familiar with the school. It is smaller than most other larger schools known for engineering. Very much hands on learning.

The best way to view it is an engineering school with very much a liberal arts feel with helpful faculty.

If the student wants smaller, this may be a good fit. Otherwise I would say no. IMHO, an engineering degree has legs. So, the reputation issue shouldn't be much of an issue (but not zero).
If you did say no, would it be because you could not justify the additional cost or some other reason?
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by snowman »

Not an engineer myself, but both kids applied to engineering schools. We are in Colorado, but came across WPI when my son got mailer from them due to being NMF. Scholarship money was outstanding, but he ended up not applying there as he already had better offer in hand. I never heard of the school prior to that.

CSOM has excellent reputation here in CO and the Rocky mountain region, but is probably unknown in other parts of the country. However, as others already mentioned, overall fit is very important, as well as fallback major should he drop out of engineering. It was the only school my son rejected, for both of those reasons. I suspect WPI might fall into the same category, so I would definitely visit before making decision.

Both kids had great experience at state flagships, both found internships and enjoy their jobs. It looks like you have some good options nearby, I would probably focus my effort there. Don't overthink the rankings - It seems like every engineering graduate gets a job offer, so I would watch the money and not overpay.

The other aspect of regional school like WPI is that most internship opportunities will be regional through school's placement office. He could always apply for CA internships on his own but that's a lot harder to get (though not impossible). If he finds one in MA, that means increased summer expenses vs. coming back home and live at your place for free, and not spending his summer days with his HS friends who are also home for the summer.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Elric »

steve r wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 6:10 pm If the student wants smaller, this may be a good fit.
This is a good point. Smaller schools (like WPI) are a much better fit for some, while others may be fine at a really large school and actually prefer it. There's a large size range among the schools you mentioned. I'd also think project-based may be a good fit for someone who otherwise has trouble focusing on other types of class work.

I hear you on climate. When we vacationed in Hawaii, we spoke to someone who had moved to Hawaii many years earlier to raise his family in that climate. So his son was about to head off to Colorado for college, with winter skiing being one of the attractions! :o
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blaidd
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by blaidd »

I am another WPI graduate ('87).

In my own experience, the name of WPI is not that well-known to the general public outside of the Northeast.
I don't feel that the name recognition or the US News rankings have ever held me back.
I believe that opportunities for internships are going to be more available in MA/NH/CT/RI, than compared to CA.

Things I liked about WPI:
* Project-based approach
* Grading system (others have described it already)
* Small size of student population
* Excellent Faculty and Facilities

I didn't mind the weather, but I grew up in the Northeast.
My personal experience is a bit dated, but I feel that I received an excellent engineering education at WPI.

Good luck!
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by humblecoder »

I am in the engineering field working in the mid-Atlantic.

I would consider WPI to be an excellent school for engineering, and well known within engineering circles. Obviously not on the level of MIT or Cal Tech, but it is in the tier right below that. We had an intern work at my company (not my department but an adjacent department) who was a current student at WPI. Super impressive young man.

My impression is that it is a smaller school and engineering focused, which may be good or bad depending upon your perspective. The good is that you are surrounded by like minded students and the focus of the school is on what you are studying. The bad is that if you decide that engineering is not for you, then you might be better off transferring.

Obviously you have the Massachusetts weather to deal with, which may not be to one's taste.

I'm sure there may be schools that are as good for less money within your state college system, but it's not like you'd be flushing your money away with a degree from that school.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by MMiroir »

physiorol wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 6:48 pm
steve r wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 6:10 pm I am from the area (CT) and familiar with the school. It is smaller than most other larger schools known for engineering. Very much hands on learning.

The best way to view it is an engineering school with very much a liberal arts feel with helpful faculty.

If the student wants smaller, this may be a good fit. Otherwise I would say no. IMHO, an engineering degree has legs. So, the reputation issue shouldn't be much of an issue (but not zero).
If you did say no, would it be because you could not justify the additional cost or some other reason?
One of the reasons not to spend more on an engineering degree is that, with a couple of exceptions, opportunities and thus salaries tend to be very flat. As long as you get a degree from an ABET accredited school, most graduates will find good jobs, and it won't matter that much which school you go to as the salary ranges are pretty small. This includes schools the level of WPI and most state flagships.

The exceptions to this phenomenon are as follows:

Salaries for Computer Science can vary tremendously based on the college. The following is the sames starting salary data for CS majors I presented earlier, but also added the average starting salary for Mechanical Engineering majors at each school.

WPI - $95,207 - $69,128
Purdue - $85,981 - $71,255
RIT - $84,653 - $69,218
CSOM - $78,971 - $63,463
UCB - $125,388 - $75,518
UCLA - $110,878 - $67,423
UC Santa Barbara - $81,554 - $60,452
SDSU - $66,318 - $65,089

For the CS majors, there is a $59,070 spread between the highest and lowest average income levels. For the MechE majors, there is a $15,066 difference. Going to Berkeley really pays off if you are a CS major, but the return over Purdue for MechE is minor.

The second area that engineering degrees are not flat are when you get into high end privates. At schools like Harvard, Duke and Northwestern, they don't necessarily expect their graduates to become practicing engineers. Instead, they prep their engineering students to quickly become managers of other engineers, or to move into engineering related fields in business or law. For example, Yale offers a combined CS/Econ major that has a minimum of four classes in CS. Now, someone with a CS degree with only four classes is pretty worthless as a software engineer to a FAANG type company, but they are worth alot to an investment bank or consulting firm.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by Starfish »

KlangFool wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:51 pm
muddgirl wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:46 pm I am a west coast based engineer and I know WPI, however I went to a similar tiny private engineering school (it can be guessed from my username). There are advantages and disadvantages to a small technical college. Personally it was the best environment for me. The lack of name recognition may have closed some doors but the tight-knit alumni network has opened many many windows. Any employer who had hired an alumni has been impressed and seeks out more graduates from the school. Many of my classmates have started their own technology companies and hire from the alumni network.
muddgirl,

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/ra ... ngineering

Harvey Mudd is ranked #2. It is well known among us that look into those things.

KlangFool
I am an engineer, lived an worked in California for more than 15 years, hired a bunch of people, but I heard of HM only couple of years ago when my friend's son was considering it.
I do know about WPI though. But I went to uni on the east coast.
It might depend on the type of engineer, in my field we only hire Masters and, mostly, PhDs, so that could explain my ignorance.

OP: What about Cal Poly SLO? It's also very project oriented from what I hear.
If the purpose is to come on west coast, going to school there is the right move. The difference in networking is very significant.
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Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Post by TxFrog »

Mechanical Engineer from the south here. I was accepted into WPI my senior year of high school and very close to attending. However, overall cost and the projected amount of loans I would have to take on was a big deterrent.

Within the engineering community, WPI is know as a very good engineering school. However, I would definitely not pick a school - and it’s associated cost - based on name recognition. It might help you getting your first job, but once you get 5+ years experience and licensed (if your field requires licensure), no one really cares. Some of the brightest and most successful engineers I know went to cheaper state schools (Umass-Lowell, UT-Arlington, etc.).
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