Please take all of this with the right grain of salt.
Sheepdog wrote:This is maybe a repeat of others, but I will write this anyway.
If she wants to go beyond a bachelor's degree, a degree from MIT may mean a lot in being admitted into the best graduate programs, but that does not mean that a graduate from a top public university cannot do as well, it is just that MIT has a ring to it in some academic circles. Even a private small engineering college with high "ratings" like Rose-Hulman Instititute of Technology gets better recognition than some public colleges. Graduates from Rose-Hulman are admitted to top graduate schools like MIT every year.
If she wants to go to "work" after graduating with her bachelor's degree, she can become as successful from her state school as an MIT graduate. The aforementioned Rose-Hulman has over 95% employment at graduation every year. Purdue University's engineering school employment was around 90% at graduation last year. Graduates from Purdue's undergraduate progams are also admitted to top graduate schools.
My son, a mechanical engineering graduate of Purdue in 1993, has advanced rapidly through GE to a highly rewarded corporate position. In industry, from where you graduated is not important after you are hired. As soon as the employee starts to work, advancement is based on their accomplishments, not their undergraduate degree. What she does after she is hired will determine her success.
In corporate life, having a degree from a place like MIT is a 'nice to have' for your first job. After that, no one will care.
But unless you go to a company where senior management also have MIT degrees, it can count against you. People think you are not going to be happy and there is reverse snobbery from people who went to state schools.
Where MIT probably flies, as an undergraduate, is if you are applying to McKinsey or Morgan Stanley out of undergrad. They like to pick their analysts from the top ranked schools in the world in *any* discipline. So Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, MIT etc. Much less so UWO.
The problem is that of those, MIT has a nerdy reputation, so probably less favoured. (it's probably better for working at Booz, say, than at some of the other consultancies).
And engineers have lower grades, generally, than other fields. Or at least they did, in my day. The reason being engineering departments grade to a bell curve, so a B- in 1985 was worth a B- in 1959. Actually worth more (the students were more diverse and so a more academically elite group had been admitted).
Whereas in most liberal arts, and by reputation the private schools more than the public. At least that is what those of us in Canadian public universities thought
My one friend who read engineering at an Ivy in the 80s (and was valedictorian) said that his college practised grade inflation-- but he was, and is, a well published academic genius.
There are analogies to going to a top-ranked law school in choosing a private undergrad college if your parents are not wealthy. You've kind of predestined yourself then for a 'big law' job, because you need a big law salary to service the debt. You may not be happy, but you will have a lot of prestige etc.
If you are going to have an academic or research career, you just don't want to be going into it with huge student debt. Because you are not going to make the money to dig your way out of that debt. Not in your career. You'll wind up in private industry because you cannot afford to stay a scholar.
If you are going on for a business career or law career, then getting into the highly ranked (and high priced) grad school is what counts-- you want to save your pennies for that. Being an Ivy undergrad helps (providing contacts, and those prestigious jobs right out of school like Morgan Stanley and McKinsey) BUT:
- the business schools have too many of the aforesaid, they want diversity in their class (like people who worked for real companies in engineering, as long as they had management responsibilities) and their actual preferred undergraduates are actually from the service academies (that mix of excellent academics and real world leadership-- especially Annapolis, West Point, USMC, Sandhurst etc.) rather than the Ivys. If you are a Harvard undergrad with 2 years at Morgan Stanley you are facing a *lot* of competition to get into B School, from people with very similar backgrounds when you apply to Harvard B School or Wharton
- the law schools seem to care most about undergraduate average and LSAT, and that means NOT going to the most academically tough school you can, but ranking highly in your class
Finally it comes down to having fun. Which is a mix of personal relationships with teachers, and the student life. Cannot speak to the former, but my impression of UWO from what others say here and elsewhere is that it has a diverse student life.
FWIW a friend of mine taught math at MIT and found the students unbelievable stressed. One has a sense, fair or not, that one can 'coast' at many of the Ivys (but less so in engineering) but that is not the case at MIT (and Caltech, see the film 'Real Genius', is reputed to be worse).
The great thing about engineering at Oxford or Cambridge is they seem to have time to go rowing, get drunk etc.