No Experience Necessary
by Ken Lund
Question by josh: Does wayne state university give good degrees in civil engineering or should i go somewhere else?
i don’t want to leave the state of michigan for college
Answer by bbullough
Wayne St has been considered the 4th or 5th best engineering school in MI, for what it’s worth. It is certainly less expensive than MSU or UM, and if you live in Detroit and can commute, the overall cost of the education says, “go to WSU”.
The only 2 possible benefits of one school over another (assuming cost is not an issue) are 1) because of proximity to a major metro area or ease of visiting (or size of the program), some schools get more or a wider variety of recruiters coming thru for seniors, and 2) some grad schools might have a preference for one school over another. Regarding the second point, unless you intend to get a PhD, I have rarely seen an advantage to a MS, other than to keep yourself occupied during a 1-2 year period when jobs are scarce. For instance, the latest Chemical Engineering salary survey again shows that often there is no payback for an MS. The only employer that frequently has a preference for an MS is the US government, and they are often willing and able to help you go part-time to get it.
Engineers from any accredited school have about the same opportunities, and they get paid about the same (based more on your performance than what school you attended), right out of school, or 10 or 30 years later. I’ve worked all over the country (plus some work in Europe), in at least 4 major industries, in research, operations, design, and management, and it’s always the same everywhere. Grads of almost any school will insist theirs is the best, and some people who really don’t understand that the school does not make the engineer, the engineer is born (its like a knack, or a disease), and can even make the school look good, rather than the other way around.
I can honestly say that some of the best engineers I’ve worked with went to North Dakota, Utah, Wisconisn-Madison, Cal-Davis and W VA Tech. Some of the worst I ewver worked with graduated from WI-Madison, MIT, Cal-Berkley, and North Dakota. It really does not matter (unless you are really set on a PhD, and then it might help to go to a “higher rated” school because they tend to want to produce grad students than working engineers).
Now, you need to know and understand that at least 80 to 90% of entering freshman (into an engineering program) wash out. Engineering is the hardest, most demanding program on most campuses (I say most without knowing of an exception), including, from what many friends and colleagues who went on to become surgeons or lawyers have told me, medical and law school. So, if you are serious, unless you are just one of those very rare freaks of nature who breeze thru engineering school because they would breeze thru any program anywhere, you will only graduate if you are really determined, and won’t let a little thing like no time for a social life or even your very first C or D (or even F) deter you. If you’re not sure, pick the school that has the best business program or psych program, so that when you wash out, you have hope of a job in business, or a spot in grad school for a law degree or a PhD in psych.
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