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Hook_settr

University of Iowa vs Iowa State University

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I want to start this post by saying I am not trying to start a Hawkeye/Cyclone debate here or brag about my student.  What I am trying to do is determine if a Chem-E graduate from the University of Iowa has a better, worse or equal chance of getting hired in a quality engineering position after college graduation than an Iowa State grad.

My son will be starting his senior year of high school this fall.  He carries a 4.0 gpa, scored a 32 on his ACT (36 in science and 35 in math) and has taken at least one (sometimes two) AP classes each semester of high school.  We have toured both schools.  Toured Iowa twice and second tour of ISU is later this month.  He seems to like Iowa better because he feels like he will have more interaction with the professors due to the smaller engineering program at Iowa.  After our first visit of ISU he just felt like a number.

I don't care where he goes as long as he feels that it is the right fit for him.  However, I have always heard that ISU is the gold standard when it comes to engineering degrees.  My concern is that he will be a less desirable job candidate because his degree will be from Iowa and ISU.  Assuming he continues his academic success in college, gets involved with clubs and participates in internship/co-op, will he be a desirable candidate?

Thanks in advance!

Darren

 

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@Hook_settr

Full disclosure: I don't know much (read: anything) about Iowa or ISU, nor the hiring preferences of Iowa ChemE firms. So I'll try to keep my response general.

You should ask the ChemE program at any school you visit about their six month post-graduation employment rate.

I sort of doubt that, on a national level, that a degree from one school or the other makes for a more desirable job candidate. They are ranked nationally in undergrad engineering at 43 and 67. I glanced at the list schools ranked near them, and no offense to anyone, but they are basically in the same tier. Chemical Engineers are always in demand, so many employers care more about the candidates skills and knowledge than specifically where the accredited degree is from.

Things could be different on the local level though. Hiring managers, regardless of geography or discipline, can occasionally have biases towards one school or another. Again, I can't speak to how Iowa firms do things. But if he doesn't specially plan to stay in Iowa, or the region after school, then it really won't matter.

Some things that could affect employment would be if the undergraduate program has a co-op or internship program; which are usually feeders for employers. If co-ops are important to him, and one of those schools has a "monopoly" on potential internships, then you may want to consider that school. However most engineers easily find a job after graduation with or without an internship.

tl;dr Go to the school that's a better personal fit for him.

Edited by RBHeadge PE
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Full disclosure, I graduated from Iowa State in EE and currently working on a Masters from them as well while working. My two cents has always been if the program has a PhD Path, then the school will be fine.

IMO Iowa State is the school to go to for engineering, Vet and Agronomy where University of Iowa is the place for Medicine, business school. I  personally never felt like a number in the EE program. Specially once you start taking your actual engineering classes, my professors knew exactly who was there everyday and who just showed up for the tests. but again that is just my own experience and could be very different from others. 

RBHeadge is right, at the end of the day, most companies, (unless you are planning on working for top 1%)  do not care as long as you have a degree. So he should pick which one he personally feels is best for him otherwise he will be miserable and transfer anyways. Ultimately its where he will have to be for 4 years and be comfortable, for me it was Iowa State but its definitely based on the person. 

 

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I appreciate your thoughts.  We are headed back to ISU for a second visit later this month and then he will make his decision.  It''s good to hear that he can't go wrong with either school.

Thanks again!

Darren

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