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  1.    #1  
    I do not know how many TreoCentral people know this, but I am a Senior in High School, and I am actively engaged in the hunt for the right college.

    My work with VisorCentral and TreoCentral over the last 4 years has taught me everything from writing skills, to basic engineering, to appropriate etiquette when dealing in business matters. But most importantly, it has helped define what I want to do in my life. My goal in college, and in the future, is to be able to create my own devices/software. And I do not want to be stuck forever in a simple engineering job, being controlled by somebody else. Thus, I also want to know how to sell and market whatever ideas I have. It's kind of an entrepreneurship thing. Applied Computer Engineering. I'm not yet sure how to define it.

    This integrated idea of what I want to learn has led to a narrow field of colleges to choose from. This weekend I will be visiting Olin College in Boston, a brand new engineering school whose curriculum seems to fit exactly what I'm looking for, and Columbia's Fu Foundation, which also appears to offer a very integrated approach. (Updates to will be limited, or nonexistent from Friday, July 17th, to Wednesday, July 21st) Other schools that I'm looking at include Carnegie Mellon, Washington University in St. Louis, Northwestern, UPenn, and Stanford.

    I have top rate SAT/AP/IB scores, and I am a full diploma candidate for IB. I have many extra-curriculars, such as this website, 4 years on the swim team, musicals, choir, piano, NHS leader, volunteering, etc... I think of myself as a smart kid; I take the hardest courses that my school offers, and have finished both the chemistry and math curriculum at my school. (I am entering Calculus 3 this year as a PSEO student at the University of Minnesota)

    My question to the 29,000 TreoCentral members is: Does anybody have any advice, any help, any suggestions? Are you an alumni, a student, a professor, an admissions rep for a school? Are you a future employer? What should I be doing? Where should I go to college? Are you familier with any of the colleges that I listed, or can you reccomend another one?

    Overall, do you have any advice or can you help me out in any way? I appreciate everyone's help, I can be reached by email for private inquires,, or through this thread.

    Thank You Very Much

    -Michael Ducker
  2. #2  
    My only advice is I knew nothing about the school I ended up at and still really enjoyed it. With the right attitude, you'll land on your feet where ever you go. If possible, try to study abroad for a year as well.
  3. #3  
    I am not familiar with US colleges, but I deal a lot with CVs and careers. I see lots of people with great education (Ph.D. plus MBA etc.) who don't perform great, and people without proper education who do an excellent job. Don't get me wrong, education is important, but in the end, personality does the trick. Education is also not a good substitute for work experience. So maybe this shows you that the choice of your college is not THE most important decicion in your life - but nevertheless I think it is a good idea that you try to make an well informed decision. If in doubt, going for the better name is probably not wrong, because when people have to select candidates, that is always an easy way to select (apart from grades and extracurricular activities). Later, your track record at work will be much more important than your education.

    I also think it is a good idea to focus on a scientific/technical education first, and then go for the marketing/economical stuff. The other way round it is almost impossible, and the business side is much more easy to get. Good luck!
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by miradu
    But most importantly, it has helped define what I want to do in my life.
    Relax. ("Plastics" was never really the one word.)
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by miradu

    I have top rate SAT/AP/IB scores, and I am a full diploma candidate for IB. I have many extra-curriculars, such as this website, 4 years on the swim team, musicals, choir, piano, NHS leader, volunteering, etc... I think of myself as a smart kid; I take the hardest courses that my school offers, and have finished both the chemistry and math curriculum at my school. (I am entering Calculus 3 this year as a PSEO student at the University of Minnesota)
    This is the stuff that will help you get into any college, Michael. You have enough writing experience, and you write well enough to wow any admissions office on the little piece they all want with your application.

    Unless you're planningn on staying in your home town for college and then work, none of it really matters. Your h.s. experience (and you seem to have a lot) gets you into college. Your college and work experience (your work here at TC should prove invaluable!) will help land you the first job. After that it's all up to you.

    Best advice: learn how to write a resume. Education is only the key, you still have to be able to get the door opened.
  6. #6  
    RPI right nearby here in Troy, NY is a wonderful engineering school. Not sure about computer engineering, however.

    With regards to college, I think your big decision is "big" vs. "small." I went to Drew, a very small liberal arts school in northern NJ. One of the reasons I went there--bask in (gasp) 1986--was that it was one of the first schools where everyone got a computer when they walked in the door. (OK, so they didn't have hard drives.) But that computer experience was invaluable as time went on, and Drew has continued to enhance their use of computers throughout campus, both in terms of software and connectivity. They remain listed among the "most wired" campuses.

    But I digress. One of the reasons I liked Drew was that it was small--about 1500 students total. This meant that you had small class sizes, constant contact with professors, and many opportunities for one-on-one interactions. You didn't feel lost on a big campus. But you also missed out on some of the more social aspects of college. No big football or basketball games, not as much school spirit, etc. And fro the academic side, if you were advanced, you missed out on the opportunity to dabble in graduate-level courses as an undergrad.

    Personally, I did small school for undergrad, and big school for grad school. Its worked for me. There are many pros and cons to both, but I think the big school/small school decision is a big one.
  7. #7  
    Deciding where you want to start your career should be a factor in which college to chose. If you want to live in Boston, for example, chose a college located there. It will be easier to find the right job and contacts in that city if you are already there.
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  8. #8  
    When I started at Rutgers University in NJ, I thought I wanted to learn hardware design, so I started down the Electrical Engineering path. I later realized I wasn't that good at it, so I went down the Computer Engineering fork and concentrated on software. Going through Computer Engineering instead of Computer Science allowed me to learn a bit more about Computer hardware, but I basically did Computer Science through the Engineering College.

    From what you've described for what you want to do technically, you'll probably need skills in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Engineering. I would definitely recommend seeking out a school that makes learning those things easier, otherwise you'll be going nuts trying figure out what your curriculum should be over the years. I agree with clulup, that learing the business side of things would probably be easier after you've tackled the technical side of your education. You could seek out programs that try to combine the technical with business if you think you want to tackle it that way.

    With regards to working after school is all done, a lot of larger companies tend to have dedicated groups for doing hardware design and another group to do the software. It's usually in smaller companies you'd get the opportunity to do both. At least that's what I've seen, but I haven't worked at a lot of different companies to know much better.
  9. #9  
    I went to the college that offerred me the most money. I bet you can figure out which one that was!

    But seriously, don't forget the other part of college which is the social part. For me college was a blast. You meet tons of people and go to tons of parties and meet alot of umm...peers! You basically study and play hard and you'll get to where you want!
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  10. #10  
    I went to Carnegie Mellon, and I loved it there. It's great for computer science or computer engineering, and it's small. The size was one of the major factors in deciding where I wanted to go (the lack of foreign language requirement for graduation was another, but I ended up taking one anyway).

    CMU has a pretty good business school, and you could definitely double major or minor in it.

    I recommend going to a sleeping bag weekend there, if possible. I did, and it really made up my mind that I wanted to go there.

    One big benefit, being from MN, is the Pittsburgh winter won't bother you at all.

    Let me know if you have any questions about it.
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  11. #11  
    I went to UPENN. Loved it. Not so sure about the engineering but the business is top rate.
  12. #12  
    Miradu ~

    Based on your goals, I think an audience with Ronald J. Schutz may be very productive for you.

    Ronald J. Schutz chairs the firm's Intellectual Property Litigation Department and is a member of the Firm's Executive Board.

    Robins Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L. P
    2800 LaSalle Plaza
    800 LaSalle Avenue
    Minneapolis, MN 55402

    Telephone: 612.349.8500
    Facsimile: 612.339.4181
  13. #13  
    michael. i applaud you for challenging yourself as you did all throughout high school. my advice to you after attending lafayette college in pa, is to ease yourself into the first semester,... get adjusted before taking on the toughest courses in engineering, chemistry, physics, etc.

    what i learned after going to college, is that post grad institutions look at your overall gpa, rather than the difficulty of the courses you took when they consider you for admission. of course you need the prerequisites for your major, but dont OVERCHALLENGE yourself unncecessarily if you know what i mean. PROTECT YOUR GPA while you are in college.. keep it as high as you can. i admire you for taking the hardest courses while in high school, but be careful doing this in college.
    some courses are weed out courses, not that you would be weeded out by any means, but i mean to say that some profs only give out 1 or 2 A's per class out of maybe 30 students, and despite being a top notch student, sometimes you end up with a B despite a strong effort.

    this is not the rule, but just a word of caution. be wise choosing your courses. find out about the professors teaching them before taking them... this alone could be what saves you from difficult times.

    try to decide what you want to major in as early as you can.. so you can focus yourself and take the courses you need under your belt in the most timely way you can.

    i went through dental school. what was interesting was that dental admissions didnt look at the prestige or the difficulty of the school i attended, but rather at my overall gpa. i did well, but i made the mistake of taking a few of those weed out courses - gross anatomy, physiology in college, and though doing fine, was disappointed with what the prof gave me for the semester.... only one or two A`s were given.. several B`s, and many C`S. This can wreak havoc on your gpa! just be careful. protect your gpa. its your ticket to post grad education. so choose wisely the courses you take as you go from year to year in your college career. they can make you or break you.
  14.    #14  
    Thank you everyone for all of your thoughts. I will try to write a little bit more later this weekend when I have some time to slow down. (I need to be up at 4:30 am tommorow.. I really shouldn't be spending time writing things on TC at 1:30 am... *sigh*).

    I want to make one quick reply to KRam - I know that I will make any school that I end up work for me, however I also know that if I find the right specialized school, I will have more opportunities, enjoy it more, and overall get a better experience out it. Most likely, no matter where I end up, I'll be happy after settling in.

    I need to sleep, Thank you again, and I will try to put up a more enjoyable reply sometime later this weekend. (I borrowed a bluetooth enabled sprint sony ericsson t608, so I have limited net access on this trip).
    -Michael Ducker
    TreoCentral Staff
  15. #15  
    At my beloved Fl. A&M University, besides receiving a world class education, 99% of my profs cared about me and my future. This meant Sat. study sessions, numerous mentoring talks, emails about scholarships and REU's. I used their expertise and contacts to get access to excellent internships, free trips to conferences and research oppurtunities. Others that I know at a much larger FSU often complained of being a number. Just make sure that you are viewed as a person w/ real issues and you have people looking out for you. Plus with your quals I can guarentee you go completely free. I graduated in 03 with a BSEE
    When the dark clouds gather on the horizon, when thunder and lightning fills the sky, When fate is but a glint in the eye of a fallen Rattler, And hopes are lost friends, When the sinew of the chest grows weary from those hard-charging linebackers, And the muscles in the legs grow tired from those hard-charging running backs ... You must remember that the Rattlers will... Strike, Strike, and Strike again.
  16. #16  
    A few thoughts
    1) For getting a lot of jobs - it doesn't really matter what your course is, but more did you go to a well respected university. Most recruiters have no idea about what course is what - so they look for the easy indicators in your CV. Actually being able to do your job is of course a different matter!

    2) Flexibility is good - I started studying Physics (in the UK, we typically do one thing for 3-4 years). By year 2, I'd had more than enough - but barring leaving the university, there was no option for me to shift to something that interested me more.

    3) There's a lot more to University than the course. In the words of a possibly apocrophal don - "I learnt a great deal at university - though I was taught very little"
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  17. #17  
    I concur with everything that confusedvorlon said. I only want to add a

    4) Wherever you decide to go, make sure you can spend one year abroad. In today's global market, it will be very beneficial for your future career, and even more importantly, it will teach you more about yourself and what you can and want to do in life than any class in college. Oh, and it's fun, too!
  18. #18  
    Great thread.

    Makes me realize AGAIN how much of a slacker I was in high school. However, I did make it to and through college and my advice is keep up the GPA, keep your eye on your career choice pulse, seek out internship programs or real job situations to learn ASAP what you really want to do (or not do) for a living, and for goodness sakes HAVE SOME FUN while you are in college! Life is not just in the end of the journey or goal, everyday life is the journey.

    P.S. Many of us ponder what we are going to major in in college to find ourselves working outside the field anyway. And agreed, a good GPA and transcript may open the door but personality, charm and adaptability (not to mention ability) will keep you there.

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  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by GeekyMom
    for goodness sakes HAVE SOME FUN while you are in college!

    Just remember...Party School USA is The University of Colorado Boulder
    Well behaved women rarely make history
  20. #20  
    Its now August 2nd and I am interested to know what you have decided. I am especially interested in why you are not considering some fine colleges and universities in good ole Minnesota. I am not suggesting that leaving MN to go somewhere else for awhile isn't a great experience (I left Minneapolis 3 years ago to move to Boise, ID) but am now moving back.

    Remember, with your entrepreneurial spirit, your collge experience will great because you will make it great! This is perhaps the most important lesson that you can learn is that your ability to take charge of your education is key.

    Best of luck.
    "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist"
    --Verbal Kint, The Usual Suspects

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