Hi. I would like to ask you about the best college type for a student of mine who is applying to US colleges this year. I'm pretty sure he's an ISTP: he has played Legos since being a little kid, loves to tinker with things inside his house, taking things apart then and putting them back together. He can be reserved and aloof in social circumstances when not talking to like-minded people. He has a logical mind and could have achieved a brilliant SAT score if he'd made more efforts in the Reading/Writing section instead of pursuing his robotics hobby at the most critical study time, etc. I mean he has all signs of a typical ISTP. Besides, he knows pretty well that he wants to study Mechanical Engineering and probably EE & CE in college.
His parents can afford an US education and they want an environment that is most suitable for him. Together we have discussed a few options, but still unsure so I would like to ask for your opinions. I believe that different college environments can have effects on the academic development and general happiness of different personalities.
Here are the options that we have:
1. A large state university like Purdue or Virginia Tech. Here classes are big and low-level classes can have hundreds of students. He'll need to be proactive if he wants a research opportunity with professors, being an international student.
2. A medium private university with a strong co-op/internship focus and urban setting, like Northeastern (Boston) or Drexel (Philadelphia). Still, I think my ISTP student needs to reach out more to compete for co-op opportunities.
3. A small tech college like Rose-Hulman Institute, where most students are tech focused and enjoy the benefits of small classes and close interaction with their professors.
4. A reputable liberal arts college with strong engineering programs, like Bucknell or Lafayette. I have mixed feelings about these schools. On the one hand I hope that their well-rounded education will help my student improve his social knowledge and skills; on the other, I'm worried that he will fail miserably at the humanities subjects. (I can't imagine him taking time to do research and discuss about abstract philosophical ideas although he can stand a technical writing course.)
5. A small, LAC-like research university where students can design their own curriculum, like University of Rochester.
I'm not sure if you're familiar with US colleges but hope you get the point via my descriptions. All in all it boils down to:
- intimate vs. big-class environment
- flexible in changing major vs. rigid
- tech-heavy vs. liberal arts
- project based/co-op vs. traditional research
- large urban city vs. college town vs. rural
Do you have your favorite? Please vote for one and give an explanation. Thank you.