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How does program ranking factor in attending?


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Hey all,

I've been accepted to a number of tier-2 schools for mechanical engineering masters degrees, and I was wondering if you had input on the value of the "ranking" of the school/program versus the actual ability to get a good job upon graduation.

I've been accepted to UCLA, UCSD, Cornell (MEng), and hopefully USC.

Of these, according to US News rankings, Cornell is the highest and USC is the lowest. Now, I would much rather go to USC in warm sunny SoCal than Cornell in upstate New York, but would it reflect poorly on me if I chose the #26 ranked school (USC) over #9 (Cornell)?

Do these rankings have any merit? Should I just go to the school whose program I like the most or where I feel the best fit or whose content matches my career goals? Any input would be useful in making this difficult choice.


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I did a master's at SC and think the program is excellent.

The importance of the rep of the school is dependent on what it is you want to do after graduation.

All of the schools you mentioned would leave you in a good spot for jobs after graduation.

USC has an excellent career center and alumni network that is helpful.

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If there is a specific company that you have your heart set on working for after graduating than look into where they recruit from. Many companies based in California may actually prefer to recruit from a school based in California even if it is rated slightly lower. Most companies have lists of priority schools that they try to recruit from. Many large companies list the schedules for when they will have recruiters visiting different campuses. From these schedules you can figure out which schools they target.

In reality you will learn the exact same things in a course based masters program where ever you go to school.

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