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Princeton, UIUC, vs Carnegie Mellon for MS in EE??

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Hey Everyone, let me know what you guys think... I am a bit stuck about 4 options that I have.

My background is I am finishing my EE at Caltech with a passion in circuits. I do want to just straight into industry, but I've heard that only having undergrad degree limits certain opportunities. I also ultimately want to do start-up work preferably in hardware, so I am debating whether to take one of my options or take a year off or so to reapply.


Here are my options:


1. Princeton:  

Bad - Unfunded MEng in EE, weaker overall standing in EE field tech

Good - Lasts only ONE year. Maybe great for networking later on. Plus it's Princeton :)


2. UIUC (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign)

Bad - Coming from CA, I don't really connect with the midwest feel :/. Requires thesis and lasts TWO years. Research would be in Power Electronics, which is interesting but I don't think is a very impactful field in consumer electronics (a debate that I cannot claim expertise nor will I go into).

Good - FULL RIDE w/ 50% RA. Best EE reputation out of all acceptances.


3. Carnegie Mellon (Silicon Valley Campus)

Bad - Unfunded MS. Very software engineering focused (which I am weaker at)

Good - In Silicon Valley! Most businesses and technology in SV are focused on software and computing, so I would have to swallow the pill eventually.


4. Work for 1 - 2 years and reapply for Stanford/Berkeley.

Bad - Lose 1-2 years of school environment. Likely still be unfunded (but for those two options, I would have no guilt paying). Obviously have to forgo my current options. Letters of rec from profs will be a bit outdated.

Good - Top schools with great networking in the Bay Area. Application should have better GPA then previous (since transcript fully complete). 


let me know what you guys think!


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Not Princeton. Maybe CMU. Definitely UIUC because not only is paid for but they are paying you! Stanford and Berkeley are over rated and anyone in the tech field will know how good UIUC or CMU are. People outside will only be impressed by Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton. But they won't be hiring you. And it is not even guaranteed that you will get in.


Just my two cents. Never pay for grad school.  

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congrats, to my mind UIUC is better, specially I believe the job opportunities on power electronics is the wave of future, though I don't know how well paid they are now comparing to other circuit designers.

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Name shouldnt be much of an issue, since you already went to Caltech (a big name school) for your undergrad

If you "downgrade" from your undergrad school, people will begin to wonder why. But the three schools the OP mentioned are all great schools. I vote UIUC.

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