Question & Answers: Mechnical Engineering in USA


Dear Sir,

I am in grade 12 and have taken the science stream. I am interested in studying Mechanical Engineering in the US of A. The Ivy League universities seem a bit out of the league for me as their tuition fee is very high. How would you rate the state run universities compared to the Ivy League universities and what would be the approximate cost of education per year. Could you provide me with a small list?



A great question and I am glad you have asked me this.. The top 100 Universities in USA are extremely competitive . . . Acceptance rates tend to be between 6-20% of applications received. In addition to academically bright students these colleges want diversity and target students from all strata of society from different parts of the world with different interests. The common denominator is all of them will be in the top percentile of their class. The intention is to make the college a lively place and stimulate intellectual discussion.

While preparing your shortlist before selecting “dream” colleges always select a couple of “safety” and “match” colleges. And a rejection from a dream college is nothing to be embarrassed about. On the contrary should you have not received any rejection it could imply that you did not stretch yourself.

Mechanical Engineering

The Ivies refer to eight schools that were formed in 1945 to regulate football competition! Today Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale have the reputation of academic excellence, are extremely prestigious and their alumni can be found in the most influential positions globally. On the flip side these schools tend to amongst the most expensive in USA.

Not as well known but academically equally rigorous, the Public Ivies are Universities that provide Ivy League collegiate experience at public school prices. The original list of eight has now been expanded to thirty and includes, University of California – Berkeley, University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, University of Florida, State University of New York at Binghamton, to name a few. You are sure to find a fair share of these schools in all surveys of top ranking schools.

Amongst the other Elites, MIT, Juilliard School, Stanford, CIT, Duke, etc are as difficult if not more selective than the Ivies. These colleges have excellent academic degrees with the brightest students and some of them cost more than the Ivies.

Many families ask me the difference between studying in an Ivy school versus state school and I always advice to select a college based on what you want to study and what you can afford. Besides MIT, Stanford, some of the top colleges in engineering are UC Berkeley, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, University of Texas, University of Illinois, Harvey Mudd College, etc. Quite a few of these are public schools and are reasonably priced.

Selecting a college should not be on the name, ranking or peer pressure but about matching it to your educational and career goals. Other factors to keep in mind would include urban or rural settings, size of the school, weather, percentage of international students, the composition of the faculty and research opportunities. You will be pleasantly surprised to know recruiters don’t go for only the Ivy graduates but look for students studying in the best programs round the country.

If you can’t organize a college tour which requires your counselor to fix appointments and plan your itinerary then do a virtual tour of the campuses as most colleges have them on their websites.

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