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What are the top 5 colleges in the Northeast for engineering?

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I am on the college search as I am a junior right now. I think I would like to study some type of engineering in college, I just do not know where to look. #engineering #college #university

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10 answers

Debbie’s Answer

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Congrats and good luck on your journey! This is an exciting time for you, even though it may seem overwhelming and stressful.

There are many different rankings (and opinions) of engineering schools and the rankings can differ based upon the engineering major and change each year. Some popular sites to look at in your research are:

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/engineering
https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-engineering/
https://www.bestvalueschools.com/top-25-ranked-engineering-programs-with-the-best-return-on-investment/

As the others have noted, what is important for you is to find a school(s) that is right for YOU. MIT is always noted in the top tier in all engineering rankings. But is it right for you? Can you get in? Can you afford it? Does it offer the engineering major you want (Electrical, Civil, Aeronautical, etc.)? Academics are certainly important, however, there is so much more to college.

The school rankings are great information as part of your research. I would start with listing what you think you are looking for in a college, in order to narrow down the schools to consider. Big or small? Rural or city? Location/distance from home (further away adds travel costs and limits returning home on short breaks) . Are you accepted to the engineering school as a freshman or do you have to apply after freshman/sophomore year? Do freshman take engineering courses? Is it a four year degree or do students take longer to complete their degree? Does the school have partnerships that open doors for internships and employment after graduation. Financial aid offerings.

I say 'think' because when you visit the school, you may change your mind. Or when you get started, you may change your major (this is totally fine!).
Point 1, my son was considering civil engineering or physics as his major and wanted a rural school. He toured schools in the top rankings and they didn't 'feel' right to him and he got this feeling within minutes of the campus tour. He attended University of Pittsburg (city not rural) and graduated with an electrical engineering degree last year and loved the entire experience.
Point 2, my daughter wanted a school in a city where there was a lot to do and she wanted to be 3-5 hours away (new experience but could come home on short breaks). She chose a large rural school 12 hours away and loves it!

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John’s Answer

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Hi Dakota,

The Best Colleges for Engineering ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. The ranking compares the top engineering schools in the U.S.

Top 10 Universities

1) Princeton University – 16 engineering programs
2) Massachusetts Institute of Technology – 42 engineering programs
3) Yale University – 30 engineering programs
4) Harvard University – 12 engineering programs
5) Columbia University – 47 engineering programs
6) University of Pennsylvania – 30 engineering programs
7) Dartmouth College – 9 engineering programs
8) Brown University – 9 engineering programs
9) Cornell University – 39 engineering programs
10)Northeastern University – 26 engineering programs

Good Luck Dakota
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Syed’s Answer

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Hi Dakota,

According to US News, these are the top engineering schools in the Northeast region:

1. MIT (Greater Boston Area/Cambridge, MA - private) - so many great inventions of the 20th and 21st century have come out of here

2. Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburgh, PA - private) - Great school with rigorous grading scheme (i.e. deflation). Uber is testing out self-driving technology in Pittsburgh.

3. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY - private) - Ivy League school with great engineering programs across the board. Very pristine and beautiful city, although cold and remote at the same time.

4. Princeton University (Princeton, NY - private) - Campus looks like Hogwarts (this was a contender for the movie set at one point). Rigorous academic school requiring a junior year and senior year thesis.

5. Columbia University (New York, NY - private) - Beautiful campus in the heart of NYC
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Jenny’s Answer

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I attended Boston University. It's a large University, but the College of Engineering is a family-like community. I grew up in a socio-economically disadvantaged situation, so attending any college was daunting. I was encouraged and supported there, and I continue to volunteer with BU today because of how much they helped me to become the successful engineer and manager I am today. They're also dedicated to increasing diversity of all types (including socio-economic) and currently have a program where students who are eligible for Pell Grants, and are accepted into the University, get a full ride.
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Riley’s Answer

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I have done some research online about this topic and the top private university engineering program I have found is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. If you prefer a public school, however, the top 3 schools for engineering are the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Penn State University, and University of Connecticut.

If you were wondering, the difference between a private school and public school is the way they fund their school. Public universities are paid for by state governments, but private universities use their students' tuition fees to fund the school.
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Karen’s Answer

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Hi Dakota,

BCC's Bridge to College programs allows high school seniors to take one FREE course at BCC right in Pittsfield. This is a great way to test the waters and see what you like. At BCC you will find a small classroom setting where faculty members will know you by your first name as well as having dedicated advisors. You might spend your junior or senior years at BCC taking classes in person or online.

Our Engineering degree program follows the first two years at most institutions offering a baccalaureate degree in engineering so that students who complete the program can successfully transfer to colleges like Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of Massachusetts, Clarkson University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Below are the links to the programs I mentioned. -Karen R.L.
https://www.berkshirecc.edu/admission-and-aid/early-college.php
https://berkshirecc.smartcatalogiq.com/Current/Catalog/Programs-Of-Study/Engineering-and-Engineering-Technology/Engineering-A-S
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Daesha’s Answer

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I attended the University of Maine, Orono and got a great engineering education. One of the biggest assets at this school is the small campus. I was able to have face to face time with my professors and work hands-on in an amazing research lab as an undergraduate. Large schools are much harder to have that kind of experience at and that hands-on experience has been incredibly valuable in my career. So, don't just look at the 'top 10 schools' lists - think about the kind of experience you want to have.
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Jenny’s Answer

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I attended Boston University. It's a large University, but the College of Engineering is a family-like community. I grew up in a socio-economically disadvantaged situation, so attending any college was daunting. I was encouraged and supported there, and I continue to volunteer with BU today because of how much they helped me to become the successful engineer and manager I am today. They're also dedicated to increasing diversity of all types (including socio-economic) and currently have a program where students who are eligible for Pell Grants, and are accepted into the University, get a full ride.
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Kamalesh’s Answer

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Hey Dakota!

First, congrats on approaching the end of high school and moving on to college! The choice of college can seem like a daunting one, for sure. John Frick made some excellent recommendations. I would add to this as follows:

-You can get a great undergraduate education at many, many institutions, not just the "brand name" schools. If you get into one of these schools that is within your budget and other constraints, fantastic! If not, be assured that going to a lesser-known school can still be a gateway to a great graduate-level education or post-grad career. I can say this from personal experience, as I got admission to top-shelf engineering schools but ended up going to a lesser-known one that was more affordable for me, yet still had no issues going to the grad school of my choice and getting a job I love post grad school. Some thoughts, irrespective of which school you go to-

-Pick a place you can afford, and preferably in a location and ambiance you like (visiting campuses before picking one would be great) ! Even if this means going to a community college for 2-3 years first. Going to a top-shelf school and paying sky-high tuition simply isn't the "guarantee" it once was for professional success (if it ever was a guarantee to begin with). It simply isn't worth indebting yourself for years or decades to say "I went to X university."

-These factors matter FAR more than the school you go to, in my opinion:

a) studying hard and learning the subject well,

b) getting internships (especially if you want to get a job right after undergrad),

c) getting involved in extracurricular activities (not just as a "resume builder", but more importantly to explore yourself and meet other people),

d) getting involved in research (especially if grad school's your next step or something you eventually want to do).

Some other schools in the Northeast that come to mind: UMass Amherst, UConn, NJIT, Univ of Rochester, Rutgers, and on and on.

I know you didn't ask about this, so skip it if you wish: For grad school, there you want to be more selective, but with respect to which research area you're interested in. THERE it matters a lot more who the faculty are, what their areas of expertise are, and (and this isn't widely advertised... watch out!) their demeanor and attitude towards research and how well they treat and mentor their students (many faculty are brilliant, but egotistical slave drivers! Note- My adviser was fantastic, but many friends I know suffered and slogged through grad school). Getting funding for grad school, if not through an employer, is a lot easier if you do a PhD (many universities offer a combined MS+PhD program that you can do in 4-5 years typically, which is what I did, for example). Many faculty don't find it worthwhile to fund your studies if you do just a masters. If your prospective adviser wants you to fund your own PhD by being a TA or paying, move on! =) Finally, if you can, find and apply for external grants to fund you, vs relying on your adviser to chase $; research dollars are slim nowadays and getting slimmer, so even the best faculty are constantly harassed by the need to get $, so your research program, if not funded by a stable, multi-year grant, could keep changing based on your adviser's funding source. Again, I speak from observing other friends in school; I had a multi-year grant so I could observe the impact having one vs. not having one has.
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Rita’s Answer

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Top 5 engineering schools in the Northeast are listed below:

Rita recommends the following next steps:

  • 1. Princeton University
  • 2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 3. Yale University
  • 4. Harvard University
  • 5. Columbia University in the City of New York
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