Engineering and the hard sciences are very demanding subjects at any school. But some, like Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (IN) stand out as great schools to learn them. I tend to like smaller schools when it comes to STEM, and I have visited a few where undergraduates get the lions share of the attention. Cooper Union is one such school. Bucknell, Lafayette and Union are three others. But I could only take a virtual tour of Rose-Hulman, though it is well organized.
Rose-Hulman has topped US News rankings for Bachelors-Masters engineering schools for 22 consecutive years. I doubt that any other US college or university has topped a ranking this long. Even Harvard and Princeton, or Amherst and Williams, could switch places over more than two decades. An all-male school from 1874 until 1995, today nearly 30 percent of Rose-Hulman undergrads are women.
Rose-Hulman has approximately 2,000 undergrads, just over twice the number at Cooper Union, but also half the number that you would find at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), one of my favorite STEM schools.But unlike WPI and similar institutes of technology such as Lehigh, Stevens or Rensselaer, Rose-Hulman offers only one non-STEM major: Economics. However, the school offers several liberal arts minors, including Theatre, as well as specialized certificates in Semiconductors, Optical Communications and Engineering Consulting. There is also an impressive selection of hands-on learning opportunities, including study abroad for freshmen. Interestingly, the general education requirements at Rose-Hulman are quite similar to a liberal arts college such as Bucknell, Lafayette or Union, even though the majors learn towards STEM subjects. The residence life experience is similar, too. The school tries to create a supportive environment, which has helped it to remain open during the pandemic.
Ninety percent of the freshmen who arrived in 2018 returned for their sophomore year. An impressive 77 percent of the students who came to Rose-Hulman in 2013 finished in four years. That’s better than many selective schools, including some of the better known public and private research universities, Stanford among them. Among public universities that have highly regarded engineering schools, only Michigan and Virginia do better at graduating a class. One challenge to consider: Rose-Hulman operates on a quarter system. The work goes by faster than it would at a school on semesters.
The freshmen who arrived last year had an average SAT of 1350 or averaged 30 for the ACT Composite. The average GPA for the class was just below 4.0. Coming from New Jersey, these would be in-state students who might be looking at Rutgers or The College of New Jersey. Those numbers might or might not get them into WPI, Lehigh, Stevens, Rensselaer or engineering programs at more selective state universities such as Illinois or Purdue. But they might get a lot more attention at Rose-Hulman, and they would be more likely to finish on time. This school has a student-faculty ratio of 11 to 1. Only 15 classes taught in 2018-19 had more than 29 students.
Rose-Hulman’s estimated total cost of attendance is nearly $72,000 for this academic year. On-campus housing costs over $15,000, high for a Midwestern school. The average need-based scholarship covers around 70 percent of tuition and fees, and there are merit scholarships. Depending on where you rank in the admit pool, the experience might cost less than a state school for some students. If you could get into Illinois or Purdue from out of state for engineering, you might qualify for a scholarship here that will make you think twice about the public option.
Among the 15,000 Rose-Hulman alumni registered in LinkedIn.com, just over a quarter were based in Indianapolis or Terre Haute. Chicago and Cincinnati were home to the next largest numbers of graduates, followed by San Francisco and Seattle. If you come from either coast or outside the US, ask about the alumni support where you are. Terre Haute is just over an hour from Indianapolis International Airport, so recruiters can come from anywhere, especially if they also want to travel to Indiana University or Purdue. But Rose-Hulman also attracts over 330 employers to campus to each one of their job and internship fairs. Ninety-eight percent of the entire Class of 2019 had at least one offer within six months after graduation. This school is really good about collecting outcomes data.
Rose-Hulman specializes in teaching some of the most demanding majors that you will find on any college campus. It’s hard to learn how to become an engineer at any school, especially one where the faculty devote more attention to their research and graduate students. If you believe that you need better teachers to help you to become an engineer, and you can work out the costs, put Rose-Hulman on your list.
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