A little over one year ago I started a series of blog posts, the engineering college search from a parent's perspective. My son, Erik, gave me permission to blog ... and now our journey is over. It is only appropriate that Erik should have the last word. Thus, the following words are Erik's.
Post Update - Christmas 2011: see the final post from this series ... Erik is about to graduate from college and has a great full time engineering job offer in hand!
Erik Hoeg's College Decision and Competitions
Well I have finally picked the college I will be attending next year, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana (about an hour from Indianapolis). The main competition for this choice was Valparaiso University which is located in Valparaiso, Indiana (an hour from Chicago). Here is the list of schools to which I applied:
o Michigan Tech
o Olin School of Engineering
o Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
o Valparaiso University
o Worcester Polytechnic Institute
I originally decided to stay away from the big engineering schools such as Purdue when I discovered that I preferred smaller schools where the professors did most of the teaching (at larger schools TAs’ do a lot of teaching). I was accepted to all of my schools except Olin, so that left me with four choices. In brief, I did not pick Michigan Tech because when I visited the school I just couldn’t get over the fact that there was very little in the way of prospering cities in the U.P. of Michigan. I didn’t need big cities, but all of the towns were kind of depressed and left over from industry that had once taken place there. I also ruled out Worcester because the school was very urban with many streets running through the campus, and the robotics degree just didn’t really seem to be quite what I was looking for. I decided I wanted to stick to a more traditional engineering degree. That left Valpo (Valparaiso) and Rose-Hulman. It was a hard choice for me, as I really liked both campuses and felt both schools really wanted me. Each college had good programs. In the end I chose Rose-Hulman over Valparaiso for several reasons:
- The number of engineering classes are more numerous at Rose-Hulman
- Given the entire college is devoted to engineering, although it is a smaller school than Valpo, there are more engineering opportunties.
- I felt that the caliber of engineering courses might be higher at Rose-Hulman
- There is more equipment available for engineering at Rose-Hulman
- Each senior on average has 4 job offers at Rose-Hulman
- Rose-Hulman is a division III school which gives me the opportunity to compete in sports.
And of course my parents would probably add as a joke ... someone comes in to change your sheets and clean your dorm room once per week at Rose-Hulman. In the end I chose Rose-Hulman because I felt that it was an excellent school and it has continuously rated number 1 for undergraduate engineering degrees by US News (schools which don't have PhD programs). I am really looking forward to attending starting next Fall.
Another thing that happened to me recently was I was chosen as 1 of 25 semi-finalists for the Vexplorer Contest sponsored by Revell and Robot magazine. One of the judges for the competition is Grant Imahara from the show Mythbusters. Anyway, I submitted an idea for their new product: a robot that picks itself up, turns on an axis, and then sets itself it back down and drives off in the new direction. As of now they are sending me a free kit and I have $100.00 to spend via VexLabs to help build my robot. I have until June 1st to make my robot, create a video and post it to YouTube, and then the final winners will be selected with the first place prize being a $5,000 dollar college scholarship.
My Dad will link my YouTube Video here when I complete my robot.