college decision: UIUC or UF for ECE?

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acegolfer
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college decision: UIUC or UF for ECE?

Post by acegolfer »

A few months ago, I posted "T5 vs T35 engineering" (viewtopic.php?t=417838) and got great feedback with diverse opinions. But some responses focused on CS and FAANG jobs, which was irrelevant to my kid. Now with several decisions in, I want to start a new thread and provide more information so that you can help my kid make the best decision for her future.

daughter: HS senior in FL, excels in physics/calculus, intends to major Electrical Engineering (EE) or CompE, but not CS. She does well on things that she is told to do. But until HS, she rarely took initiatives. I would like to see her be more proactive and build this skillset in college. At college, she wants to work at research labs, coop and summer internships. Upon graduation, work full time for 2-3 yrs and then pursue a MS degree. (For now, no interest in PhD)

parents: Asian immigrants living in FL. diehard bogleheads but are willing to and capable of paying full out-of-state cost of attendance out of pocket. In short, we have the fund and will invest $200k for her better future.

accepted: Purdue FYE, UIUC EE (direct admit), NCSU EE, UCF EE
expected acceptance: U of Florida (UF) EE
deferred: Georgia Tech (family consensus dream school), USC.
no rejects. there are other schools waiting such as UCB but super reach or irrelevant for this discussion.

If she gets accepted to GTech RD, then this is all over, as she will commit. Otherwise, she may need to make a decision between UIUC and UF. Out of pocket annual costs are $63k for UIUC and $0 for UF thanks to Benacquisto scholarship, which covers full CoA.

Everybody says the education itself will be similar between the 2 because they are all ABET accredited and I agree. But we all know that college is not just about lectures/courses. Outside the class is where the key differences are and here are my thoughts on each.

1. UIUC: She got directly admitted to EE, which she wants to study. 50+ ECE research labs with undergrad research assistant opportunities. Network for research park and summer internships. Midwest will be a shock to my kid because of climate, rural environment. 2+hr drive from major airports. So 7+ hrs door to door from FL home.

2. UF: Brand new building focused on AI research thx to Nvidia. CE and CS are moving in to this together, which will have synergy effect. (Previously, they were in 2 separate buildings 15 min apart.) She will also be eligible for a brand new dorm. She will have many friends from HS attending together but this is my concern. Most of her friends are pre-med. She should branch out and make friends in her field. I don't like the new UF president (ex-politician) and how UF system is changing. 5-hr drive from home.

What would you do if you were in our shoe?

This conundrum is an example of high opportunity cost. We are fortunate to have multiple excellent options and we would be happy with either choice. Of course, she will make the decision and we will respect it. My job is to gather as much relevant information/insights and present them to her so that she can make the right decision.

UPDATE: She has not indicated her preference because she hasn't seen UIUC. We already registered for UIUC Grainger/ECE admitted events.
UPDATE2: She is getting 4 merit scholarships from UF totalling full tuition + $20k/yr stipend for 4 yrs. We visited UF a few days ago and it couldn't have been any better. All the people we met convinced me that UF is the right environment for DD to grow. I'm sold but not sure how wife and DD think. Seems they will wait for the GaTech (late march) decision.
UPDATE3: She committed to UF, after spending 6 days in Chicago/UIUC/Purdue.
Last edited by acegolfer on Fri Mar 29, 2024 5:16 am, edited 13 times in total.
steadyhand
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by steadyhand »

I would choose UIUC. Much better reputation for research and graduate school if that is something in the pipeline. I can only think of sports when I think of UF unfortunately. However, the tuition difference makes me feel they are not so different either.
brownogram
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by brownogram »

At first blush, the full-ride at UF is the obvious choice - it's unlikely that one state school offers an incremental better outcome that justifies +$252K extra tuition cost over 4 years.
What may change the decision: which school has a preponderance of graduates at the companies/roles they're interested in? Finding out adds another data point to your consideration - doesn't mean they automatically choose a school based on the answer. It may end up that taking the full-ride is the right choice, as you have future optionality to use the money for a grad program or another opportunity that presents itself 3-5 years from now.
Last edited by brownogram on Mon Jan 29, 2024 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
GreendaleCC

Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by GreendaleCC »

Does she want to move to the Midwest for college??
Normchad
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by Normchad »

Take the full ride….
tjtv
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by tjtv »

It's hard to imagine that the lifetime earnings of a UIUC graduate would exceed the lifetime earnings of a UF grad when you factor in a $252k head start for the UF grad.
er999
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by er999 »

Might be worth asking UIUC if they will give a better offer in light of the UF package.
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Vulcan
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by Vulcan »

Neither UIUC nor GT are worth a quarter mil when UF is free.

Signed,
MIT dad x2
Last edited by Vulcan on Tue Jan 30, 2024 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kosh976
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by Kosh976 »

UIUC CompE graduate, but I was in state and it was dirt cheap in the 80s. I already knew how cold and gray the winters can be. Some days I wore my ski bib overalls walking to the engineering buildings due to sub zero temps. As you noted, central Illinois and Florida are very different weather and culture wise, and $63K a year versus $0 is a lot. 17 year old me would gladly have gone to Florida.

Based on what I have seen, UIUC's consistently good engineering ratings are a factor, but it sounds like your daughter will excel regardless of where she goes.

UF at 5 hours away is still far enough away for her to feel on her own, but still close enough for an emergency visit.

Like steadyhand says, if advanced degrees are something she might be interested in, then the school reputation may be a bigger factor.
bubbly
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by bubbly »

UIUC ECE grad here. I believe it’s still a requirement to live in the dorms for freshman living on campus. Would look for dorms close to the ECE campus and not get stuck somewhere far away. The closest dorms are ISR or Busey-Evans. Allen Hall is pretty good too. Made a noticeable change in my grades just by proximity and motivation to get to class. Those long cold winters were brutal and being close to the classrooms was a huge luxury. The weather is really understated and I truly think that the remote location of the school is contributing to rankings declining year over year. It used to the a top3 EE school, with notable EE faculty like Bardeen (inventor of the transistor) and his first PhD student Nick Holynak (inventor of the Red LED). I think in recent years, with it being far from a city and the midwestern winters, it has dissuaded the younger generation to apply there, both as students and faculty.

Stranger story, I actually had this exact choice between UF ECE full ride vs UIUC ECE (in state tuition). The full ride was covered at UF since I was a national merit finalist. I ended up choosing UIUC based on the prestige. To be honest, I think I would have turned out the same had I gone to UF, saved some money too probably.
Curb Fan
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by Curb Fan »

acegolfer, congratulations on your daughter's success! Having attended two large state universities (undergrad and grad), my view is to go with the cheaper one. UIUC is an excellent school but so is UF. I think any flagship state school is going to provide a great education and all these schools will provide solid networking opportunities. The fact that it's free means you could help her down the road with grad school or a down payment or something else. I'm a professor and if one of my kids is offered free ride at a flagship state school, I'll do everything I can to convince him/her to enroll. I'll also tell them how tough it is to have college debt through their 30s. Finally, I get your apprehension about the direction of the FL state university system. I know of faculty looking for jobs in other states. However, these are people in the humanities and social sciences. I'm sure FL will want to invest in engineering programs.
LeftCoastIV
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by LeftCoastIV »

It looks like the UF scholarship may only be available for students enrolling directly after high school (https://www.sfa.ufl.edu/types-of-aid/scholarships/). I bring this up because you need to consider the possibility that she attends UIUC for a year, determines that it is not the right fit (weather, culture, etc.) and then wants to transfer to UF but the scholarship may no longer be available.

I would suggest that you take her to visit both schools, in person, preferably soon so she can experience the weather difference while getting a feel for both schools, their facilities, etc.

Ideally, she would form a preference based on these experiences, which can then be combined with your parental viewpoints.
bubbly
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by bubbly »

I don’t want to start anything controversial but the fact that your daughter wants to pursue an engineering career will open her up to many advancement opportunities if you grow her leadership abilities. Every single engineering company I’ve worked at, there is a mass shortage of women in upper management (not surprising since the gender ratio at UIUC is 80/20 for engineering and closer to 90/10 for ECE when I was there). Companies devote tons of resources in identifying women in engineering with leadership potential and then career development for these individuals. I imagine the faculty route at colleges are the same way. So in a sense, the college choice isn’t as important as certain skillsets that companies and colleges are looking for, especially for women in engineering.
Last edited by bubbly on Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
tenkuky
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by tenkuky »

LeftCoastIV wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 9:53 pm
I would suggest that you take her to visit both schools, in person, preferably soon so she can experience the weather difference while getting a feel for both schools, their facilities, etc.

Ideally, she would form a preference based on these experiences, which can then be combined with your parental viewpoints.
+100
A friend's young person got into UCB and UMich. Went to visit in April. Brrrr in A2.
Off to Berkeley. :P
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celia
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by celia »

I would wait and see what all the options are.

As the student, I would also look online at all the courses offered and how often they are taught. Does one school have a much larger list than the rest and have "niche" classes that appeal to her?

Just because she can go somewhere on a free ride doesn't mean it's the best value for her. Think of which schools admit which students. Does she want to be in the middle of other students like herself or be somewhat "advanced" compared to other students? Her peers (who were also admitted) will likely drive the conversations in and out of class. So which peer group would she prefer?

PS. By visiting the campuses, possibly she can sit in on a class and meet a few students afterwards. Even a student-led campus tour will give her some "feel" for the school.
realclemsongrad
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by realclemsongrad »

acegolfer wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 8:01 pm A few months ago, I posted "T5 vs T35 engineering" (viewtopic.php?t=417838) and got great feedback with diverse opinions. But some responses focused on CS and FAANG jobs, which was irrelevant to my kid. Now with several decisions in, I want to start a new thread and provide more information so that you can help my kid make the best decision for her future.

daughter: HS senior in FL, excels in physics/calculus, intends to major Electrical Engineering (EE) or CompE, but not CS. She does what she is told to do. But until HS, she rarely took initiatives. I would like to see her be more proactive and build this skillset in college. But there's no guarantee. At college, she wants to work at research labs, coop and summer internships. Upon graduation, work full time for 2-3 yrs and then pursue a MS degree. (For now, no interest in PhD)

parents: Asian immigrants living in FL. diehard bogleheads but are willing to and capable of paying full out-of-state cost of attendance out of pocket. In short, we have the fund and will invest $200k for her better future.

accepted: Purdue FYE, UIUC EE (direct admit), NCSU EE, UCF EE
expected acceptance: U of Florida (UF) EE
deferred: Georgia Tech (family consensus dream school), USC.
no rejects. there are other schools waiting such as UCB but super reach or irrelevant for this discussion.

If she gets accepted to GTech RD, then this is all over, as she will commit. Otherwise, she may need to make a decision between UIUC and UF. Out of pocket annual costs are $63k for UIUC and $0 for UF thanks to Benacquisto scholarship, which covers full CoA.

Everybody says the education itself will be similar between the 2 because they are all ABET accredited and I agree. But we all know that college is not just about lectures/courses. Outside the class is where the key differences are and here are my thoughts on each.

1. UIUC: She got directly admitted to EE, which she wants to study. 50+ ECE research labs with undergrad research assistant opportunities. Network for research park and summer internships. Midwest will be a shock to my kid because of climate, rural environment. 2+hr drive from major airports. So 7+ hrs door to door from FL home.

2. UF: Brand new building focused on AI research thx to Nvidia. CE and CS are moving in to this together, which will have synergy effect. (Previously, they were in 2 separate buildings 15 min apart.) She will also be eligible for a brand new dorm. She will have many friends from HS attending together but this is my concern. Most of her friends are pre-med. She should branch out and make friends in her field. I don't like the new UF president (ex-politician) and how UF system is changing. 5-hr drive from home. If she decides to go to UF, $200k will still be hers in some form like future house down pmt (she doesn't know).

What would you do?

This conundrum is an example of high opportunity cost. We are fortunate to have multiple excellent options and we would be happy with either choice. Of course, she will make the decision and we will respect it. My job is to gather as much relevant information/insights and present them to her so that she can make the right decision.
UIUC is great school but the commute is absolutely brutal esp in winter. The flight schedules got reduced since pandemic and only American flies to Chicago and DFW. So the fares are significantly higher..
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celia
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by celia »

tenkuky wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:02 pm A friend's young person got into UCB and UMich. Went to visit in April. Brrrr in A2.
Off to Berkeley. :P
Our CS/ ECE kid was accepted at UCLA, UCB, and CMU (and others). We visited Pittsburgh during Spring break (and other East Coast schools). Pittsburgh looked so desolate with no leaves on any trees compared to the evergreens in Cali. The weather was not a major criteria for us and our kid chose CMU. (They also have underground tunnels open during the winter.)

Many of his classmates got a Bachelors plus Masters in 4 years. Our kid opted for a double major instead. (Most admitted ECE and CS students have enough AP credits to knock off a full year of college but they stay around to get more than their original degree (and finish in 4 years, which is often hard to do at the largest public colleges).
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StewedCarrot
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by StewedCarrot »

UIUC Grad here.

The opportunities that student have at UIUC were night and day compared to what I experienced at my podunk undergrad school.

I recommend she go to the best school she can. Undergrad will set her trajectory.
DoubleComma
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by DoubleComma »

Give your daughter the $250k lump sum, right now, and then let her pick. If she realizes it’s her money, she keeps what she doesn’t spend, she will make the best decision for herself. Maybe that’s spending it at UIUC or investing it for the potential grad school aspirations in 7-10 years.
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by slicendice »

The reason UF got a pile of money from nvidia i suspect is because it is the alma mater of one of its three founders all of whom were ee's i think. None of whom attended uiuc, gtech, ucb or cmu for undergrad. Apparently, the UF pedigree was not too much of a handicap. $65k is a fair amount of money for undergrad lab experience and prestige. I would be surprised if such experience wouldnt be available at UF. Has your daughter visited urbana-champaign? If not she should do so asap.
livingalmostlarge
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by livingalmostlarge »

You'd better take her asap to UIUC because the weather is awful. She might run back to florida no questions asked.
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by nalor511 »

Normchad wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 8:12 pm Take the full ride….
This. I do not regret going to an excellent top tier state school where I paid less than $3k/yr out of pocket, and it never hurt me professionally (there were times it seemed to have helped)
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by SB1234 »

Academics aside, the weather is going to be brutal at UIUC I think.
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by harikaried »

acegolfer wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 8:01 pmUIUC: She got directly admitted to EE, which she wants to study. 50+ ECE research labs with undergrad research assistant opportunities
Anybody more recently go to Illinois with assistantships as undergrad vs graduate student? I believe there's MS/BS programs that allow for earlier tuition waiver and stipend. https://grad.illinois.edu/assistantships
privateer79
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by privateer79 »

just my human bias: as someone who's screened/ interviewed ~200 candidates over the years in the ECE space, I would expect a UIUC grad to be of higher quality....
not that you couldn't get a good education at UF... but there's also a really good chance of not getting great education at UF if you don't fight for it, and so I'd look a lot more closely at the course of study from someone from UF than from UIUC.

the thing about baren frozen wastelands is, you have nothing to do but go to the lab/library and study (ok maybe beer ;) )... warm tropical climates offer much more opportunity for distraction...
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by Valuethinker »

celia wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:54 pm
tenkuky wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:02 pm A friend's young person got into UCB and UMich. Went to visit in April. Brrrr in A2.
Off to Berkeley. :P
Our CS/ ECE kid was accepted at UCLA, UCB, and CMU (and others). We visited Pittsburgh during Spring break (and other East Coast schools). Pittsburgh looked so desolate with no leaves on any trees compared to the evergreens in Cali. The weather was not a major criteria for us and our kid chose CMU. (They also have underground tunnels open during the winter.)
CMU is one of the top 5 schools in North America for software? I think EE also. Yes, the Pittsburgh winter is worth facing for that.

UCB would also be on that that list. I imagine UCB is ferociously competitive given how they treat their staff (friend who is a professor of CS at a university in Canada "*I* would not want to work at UCB" -- a comment on the pressure they put on heir young tenure track academics).

The Midwestern winter is ... something you acclimatize to. I have friends who love living in Pittsburgh (one of the most affordable big cities in America, and with access to nature etc). Also they are really into ice hockey. But the weather is... I don't miss the northeastern winter.
Many of his classmates got a Bachelors plus Masters in 4 years. Our kid opted for a double major instead. (Most admitted ECE and CS students have enough AP credits to knock off a full year of college but they stay around to get more than their original degree (and finish in 4 years, which is often hard to do at the largest public colleges).
All true (having attended a large public university in North America for CS).
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acegolfer
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by acegolfer »

GreendaleCC wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 8:09 pm Does she want to move to the Midwest for college??
She's not against UIUC. otoh, she was so against U of Mich and didn't apply. Soon, we will visit UIUC (and Purdue, where she also got admitted)
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acegolfer
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by acegolfer »

er999 wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 8:29 pm Might be worth asking UIUC if they will give a better offer in light of the UF package.

"$63k" didn't account for any merit/assistantship/internship. UIUC has so many merit scholarships at different levels: UIUC, Grainger, ECE. We (despite being OOS) may still get some merit but it won't make up for the $63k spread. This is one reason I used "$200k" figure (instead of 4 * $63k = $252k)
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acegolfer
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by acegolfer »

Kosh976 wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 8:40 pm UIUC CompE graduate, but I was in state and it was dirt cheap in the 80s. I already knew how cold and gray the winters can be. Some days I wore my ski bib overalls walking to the engineering buildings due to sub zero temps. As you noted, central Illinois and Florida are very different weather and culture wise, and $63K a year versus $0 is a lot. 17 year old me would gladly have gone to Florida.

Based on what I have seen, UIUC's consistently good engineering ratings are a factor, but it sounds like your daughter will excel regardless of where she goes.

UF at 5 hours away is still far enough away for her to feel on her own, but still close enough for an emergency visit.

Like steadyhand says, if advanced degrees are something she might be interested in, then the school reputation may be a bigger factor.
She is planning for MS in ECE because DW read/heard that EE field is so wide and deep and MS ECE is warranted for EE career. But we are not in this field so could be totally wrong. Is it true?
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acegolfer
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by acegolfer »

bubbly wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 9:22 pm UIUC ECE grad here. I believe it’s still a requirement to live in the dorms for freshman living on campus. Would look for dorms close to the ECE campus and not get stuck somewhere far away. The closest dorms are ISR or Busey-Evans. Allen Hall is pretty good too. Made a noticeable change in my grades just by proximity and motivation to get to class. Those long cold winters were brutal and being close to the classrooms was a huge luxury. The weather is really understated and I truly think that the remote location of the school is contributing to rankings declining year over year. It used to the a top3 EE school, with notable EE faculty like Bardeen (inventor of the transistor) and his first PhD student Nick Holynak (inventor of the Red LED). I think in recent years, with it being far from a city and the midwestern winters, it has dissuaded the younger generation to apply there, both as students and faculty.

Stranger story, I actually had this exact choice between UF ECE full ride vs UIUC ECE (in state tuition). The full ride was covered at UF since I was a national merit finalist. I ended up choosing UIUC based on the prestige. To be honest, I think I would have turned out the same had I gone to UF, saved some money too probably.
I love this community. There's always something new that I learn. Thx for the insider information.

Many ppl said they would choose free ride over $63k. But if the spread is <$30k, I bet many would pick UIUC just like you did.
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acegolfer
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by acegolfer »

LeftCoastIV wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 9:53 pm It looks like the UF scholarship may only be available for students enrolling directly after high school (https://www.sfa.ufl.edu/types-of-aid/scholarships/). I bring this up because you need to consider the possibility that she attends UIUC for a year, determines that it is not the right fit (weather, culture, etc.) and then wants to transfer to UF but the scholarship may no longer be available.

I would suggest that you take her to visit both schools, in person, preferably soon so she can experience the weather difference while getting a feel for both schools, their facilities, etc.

Ideally, she would form a preference based on these experiences, which can then be combined with your parental viewpoints.
Correct about UF full-ride.

We will visit UIUC (and Purdue). We are signing up for admitted student events and will also meet the department ppl.
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acegolfer
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by acegolfer »

bubbly wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:02 pm I don’t want to start anything controversial but the fact that your daughter wants to pursue an engineering career will open her up to many advancement opportunities if you grow her leadership abilities. Every single engineering company I’ve worked at, there is a mass shortage of women in upper management (not surprising since the gender ratio at UIUC is 80/20 for engineering and closer to 90/10 for ECE when I was there). Companies devote tons of resources in identifying women in engineering with leadership potential and then career development for these individuals. I imagine the faculty route at colleges are the same way. So in a sense, the college choice isn’t as important as certain skillsets that companies and colleges are looking for, especially for women in engineering.
TY for your insight. I agree. If she can build those leadership skillsets (which she currently lacks) at college, I can see a bright future ahead of her. Will UIUC offer more opportunities and provide the environment to her to build these skillsets is my million dollar question.

There's some truth to the outcome will be the same, no matter which college one attends. But the peer group I interacted with at college arguably had a bigger impact on who I'm today.
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acegolfer
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by acegolfer »

celia wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:32 pm I would wait and see what all the options are.

As the student, I would also look online at all the courses offered and how often they are taught. Does one school have a much larger list than the rest and have "niche" classes that appeal to her?

Just because she can go somewhere on a free ride doesn't mean it's the best value for her. Think of which schools admit which students. Does she want to be in the middle of other students like herself or be somewhat "advanced" compared to other students? Her peers (who were also admitted) will likely drive the conversations in and out of class. So which peer group would she prefer?

PS. By visiting the campuses, possibly she can sit in on a class and meet a few students afterwards. Even a student-led campus tour will give her some "feel" for the school.
Of course, she will make the decision in April after seeing all the options. But with 50%+ chance, I expect the decision will be between these 2 schools. (GA Tech, please accept her!!!)

We will visit UIUC/Purdue soon. So many events for engineering admitted students. We can also schedule in-depth tour with the ECE department. In addition, we are contacting SWE (society of women engineering) chapters and its HQ in Chicago to arrange meetings. UIUC has WECE group who responded to my email. otoh, no response from the UF group.
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by acegolfer »

StewedCarrot wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:59 pm UIUC Grad here.

The opportunities that student have at UIUC were night and day compared to what I experienced at my podunk undergrad school.

I recommend she go to the best school she can. Undergrad will set her trajectory.
I absolutely agree. The difference between UIUC and UF is not the education but the opportunities/environment they offer. It will be "easier" for her to find internship/research at UIUC.
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acegolfer
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by acegolfer »

livingalmostlarge wrote: Tue Jan 30, 2024 1:08 am You'd better take her asap to UIUC because the weather is awful. She might run back to florida no questions asked.
Brutal winter will indeed be a factor of consideration. We are "timing" the campus visit :)
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acegolfer
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by acegolfer »

privateer79 wrote: Tue Jan 30, 2024 1:27 am just my human bias: as someone who's screened/ interviewed ~200 candidates over the years in the ECE space, I would expect a UIUC grad to be of higher quality....
not that you couldn't get a good education at UF... but there's also a really good chance of not getting great education at UF if you don't fight for it, and so I'd look a lot more closely at the course of study from someone from UF than from UIUC.

the thing about baren frozen wastelands is, you have nothing to do but go to the lab/library and study (ok maybe beer ;) )... warm tropical climates offer much more opportunity for distraction...
True. And it's not just the course but also the internship/research. UF students will have to fight for them because of less openings. I was floored by the number of UIUC ECE labs with undergrad assistants.
Valuethinker
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by Valuethinker »

[edited]



I don't know Georgia Tech, but I have heard good things since.

With one of my nieces or nephews, their father actually visited the university and said "yes, if you admit my child from your waitlist, they are sitting on excellent offers from other universities, but they will attend yours if accepted" and it's worth making sure GA Tech knows that?

The mantra "not the best college, the best college fit for your child" is very true. UUIC would be tough if you grew up in Florida. But also growth.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Tue Jan 30, 2024 6:32 am, edited 4 times in total.
stoptothink
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by stoptothink »

Vulcan wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 8:31 pm Neither UIUC nor GT are worth a quarter mil when UF is free.

Sidned,
MIT dad x2
If Vulcan says the more prestigious school (for CS or ECE) isn't worth it, it's pretty much consensus. UF is a highly regarded public school with a really good CS program and pretty good ECE program, in-state, and free. Unless $250K+ is absolutely nothing to you, I can't imagine anywhere but UF in this scenario. $250K would be a heck of a graduation gift for your daughter.
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by Kagord »

DoubleComma wrote: Tue Jan 30, 2024 12:01 am Give your daughter the $250k lump sum, right now, and then let her pick. If she realizes it’s her money, she keeps what she doesn’t spend, she will make the best decision for herself. Maybe that’s spending it at UIUC or investing it for the potential grad school aspirations in 7-10 years.
+1

With EE, 30-40 years ago, I'd say no branier, go with Stanford, Ivies, MIT...etc, these degrees were a fast track to getting to be a principal in the firm very quickly. Sucks to watch, when you just have a flagship state school. But these days, I question if this is still the case, particularly with ECE.
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

stoptothink wrote: Tue Jan 30, 2024 6:28 am
Vulcan wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 8:31 pm Neither UIUC nor GT are worth a quarter mil when UF is free.

Sidned,
MIT dad x2
If Vulcan says the more prestigious school (for CS or ECE) isn't worth it, it's pretty much consensus. UF is a highly regarded public school with a really good CS program and pretty good ECE program, in-state, and free. Unless $250K+ is absolutely nothing to you, I can't imagine anywhere but UF in this scenario. $250K would be a heck of a graduation gift for your daughter.
For the record, I occasionally disagree with stoptothink, but I believe this is the first time I’ve disagreed with Vulcan, ever. Respectfully, I think Vulcan might just be having an off day. He, of all people, knows how quickly an apparent $250k cost differential is swallowed up by internships and job opportunities.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by ILnative »

My cousin (who lives less than 90 minutes from the UIUC campus) took both her kids on campus visits there - thinking it would be the obvious choice for both of them - living so closely. They were completely underwhelmed both times with the visits - disorganized, low level of information shared, and not compelling at all for the student. She also took both her kids to Purdue to visit as well which they both really enjoyed -completely opposite experience in every way from the UIUC. In the end, both her kids did apply to UIUC and got in but ended up somewhere else (Iowa and Minnesota - in non-science disciplines) - but the visit was truly underwhelming at UIUC - she felt like they just didn't care and didn't feel like they had to do anything special to get students - with all the in-state kids that just automatically go there. Be interesting to see your impressions. Agree with other posters though - if your daughter has never lived through a midwest winter any big 10 school is going to be problematic - we literally have not seen the sun here in over 12 days right now (yes, I'm counting)...
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by ScubaHogg »

The full ride hands down

I had to think long and hard what school “UIUC” stood for. That should say something about the name brand appeal (ie, it’s not MIT, Caltech, Harvard, etc.). It’s definitely not worth an extra $250k

Ask your kid if they would rather go to UIUC or get handed a $250k check upon graduation. That should clarify the issue

(Besides coming out much richer I’m guessing UF will be an order of magnitude more fun)
Last edited by ScubaHogg on Tue Jan 30, 2024 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by Beachey »

I think you need to take a weekend and make the 7+ hour car/plan ride to UIUC and let her see the place for herself. Considering you are a 5-hour drive from Gainsville likely means you are in Southern Flordia. My experience with Florida weather is there is a big difference between Northern Florida and Southern Florida. A Midwest winter would be a whole other experience entirely.

There have been many threads on here on whether a college choice is primarily a financial decision or an experience decision. The financial aspect of the decision is clear but if the finances are doable I lean to the side of picking the college where your daughter will be happiest. She likely has a good feel for UF, but she needs to understand what she is choosing.

And while the typical 18-year-old likely has no idea, projecting where she likely will want to live and what industry she is interested in should factor into the decision. What companies recruit at UF and UIUC? If she sees herself in Florida long-term, UF is probably the better choice. If she has ambitions to live in Chicago, UIUC makes a lot of sense,
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by ScubaHogg »

StewedCarrot wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:59 pm UIUC Grad here.

The opportunities that student have at UIUC were night and day compared to what I experienced at my podunk undergrad school.

I recommend she go to the best school she can. Undergrad will set her trajectory.
A lot of posters anti-southern bias is coming through pretty clearly

According to US News and world report University of Florida is ranked the #6 public university in the nation (28th overall). A far cry from “podunk.”

By comparison UIUC is #35 nationally.

So if you want to drop a quarter mill on a lower ranked university, by all means. But don’t delude yourself into thinking that’ll be the difference between a successfully career and an unsuccessfully career

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/ra ... iversities
“Conventional Treasury rates are risk free only in the sense that they guarantee nominal principal. But their real rate of return is uncertain until after the fact.” -Risk Less and Prosper
Lisbon2022
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by Lisbon2022 »

Please UF

As the father of two children ( one at UCB ) I can say the tuition now is only the beginning. The cost goes up each year plus other fees.

UF is a globally known university. As a UF graduate, I have made
Numerous contacts because of it‘s popularity.

You are the one with life experience , the amount of money is huge.
Save it for graduate school which will be very expensive. Or a future residence for her.
mecht3ach
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by mecht3ach »

I'm an engineering prof in a field somewhat adjacent to ECE, who is familiar with the faculty and outcomes in my field at UIUC and UF, and decently familiar with the ECE outcomes there. For graduate school, I would choose UIUC in a heartbeat. For an undergraduate, though, I would argue that the opportunities at UIUC vs UF are not demonstrably better, and for a highly-motivated UG (this may or may not be your daughter, reading your other comments), they will be very successful at either school.

As others have said, though, *definitely* consider going for a visit to UIUC (register for the visit, to get the most out of it, on their website), possibly over President's Day weekend, if you have a 3-day weekend for that. It looks like UIUC still has classes on that Monday (most universities do), and she could get a feel for campus life. Even if it costs you $$$ for that type of last-minute visit, $$$ << $63k/year.

(One note which you also mention in your first post - my biggest concern with the UF system right now is how they have already been eviscerated in terms of funding, given state political priorities, and what is to come with that. We've been able to recruit top faculty away from UF, UWisc, etc., when that sort of thing happens. It is probable that your daughter will still be fine within the 4.5-year timespan, but applying for a transfer is always an option if not.)
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by White Coat Investor »

brownogram wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 8:09 pm At first blush, the full-ride at UF is the obvious choice - it's unlikely that one state school offers an incremental better outcome that justifies +$252K extra tuition cost over 4 years.
What may change the decision: which school has a preponderance of graduates at the companies/roles they're interested in? Finding out adds another data point to your consideration - doesn't mean they automatically choose a school based on the answer. It may end up that taking the full-ride is the right choice, as you have future optionality to use the money for a grad program or another opportunity that presents itself 3-5 years from now.
You're not JUST comparing schools. You're comparing one school and $252K to another school. I know if I were 20 again which of those I would choose. Can you imagine the power of having an extra $252K in your portfolio at age 18? With 8% returns, that's an extra $9.4 million at age 65. All so one might have 1 or 2 classes that are slightly more enjoyable or more educational than they would have been at the other school? No way. Value still applies even at your level of wealth. College education costs what you are willing to pay and there is very little correlation between the quality of the education and the price you pay. Far less than most other things in life.

$252K is the cost of medical school, not an engineering undergrad degree. The value isn't there. Seriously, ask your kid if she'd rather go to UIUC or go to UF and have $9 million.
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by LiveSimple »

UF please, do have many friends kids went and well settled, do not see a disadvantage with other kids we know of from different schools across the US.

Settling in life, earnings potential etc are individual based...


Invest the $250 K in Total stock index fund as a gift / inheritance.
Last edited by LiveSimple on Tue Jan 30, 2024 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Invest when you have the money, sell when you need the money, for real life expenses...
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by Glockenspiel »

I had to google some of the acronyms in here, which may or may not say something about name recognition. But I can't imagine not taking a full-ride if the difference is paying full out-of-state tuition at a slightly better school. If your daughter is highly motivated, she'll succeed almost anywhere. A female 3.8+ GPA engineering major in undergrad, who has good communication skills, should have no problems finding an internship almost anywhere. And college choice does not matter much once a person is looking for their 2nd/3rd job.
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Re: college decision: $63k UIUC ECE or full-ride UF ECE?

Post by ScubaHogg »

mecht3ach wrote: Tue Jan 30, 2024 8:30 am
(One note which you also mention in your first post - my biggest concern with the UF system right now is how they have already been eviscerated in terms of funding, given state political priorities, and what is to come with that. We've been able to recruit top faculty away from UF, UWisc, etc., when that sort of thing happens. It is probable that your daughter will still be fine within the 4.5-year timespan, but applying for a transfer is always an option if not.)
The University of Florida (as an entire system) is literally spending billions of more dollars than it did even five years ago. Hardly “eviscerated.”

https://www.flbog.edu/wp-content/upload ... y-Book.pdf

The “news” isn’t real life
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