Decision: UC vs CMU

Which school is better?

  • Cincinnati
  • Carnegie Mellon

0 voters

If you wanted to major in ID and were offered admission to both University of Cincinnati and Carnegie Mellon, which would you choose and why?

Cincinnati is ranked #2 in ID according to some statistics, i dunno where the numbers come from, but that’s what I hear. I read that the teaching style is more practical vs. research-based practice.
But Carnegie has the whole history and prestige going for it.
Also considering the locations Pittsburgh, Penn vs. Cincinnati, Ohio, Carnegie might sound a little nicer.

I’ve been surfing these boards and I don’t think i’ve ever seen someone talk negatively of Cincinnati, but it can’t be that perfect, can it?

I’m starting to doubt myself and don’t know if I’m making the right decision.
It’d be nice to hear other people’s thoughts.

Location: I liked UC’s campus better, but the surrounding area is pretty dumpy. CMU on the other hand has a decently nice campus, but the surrounding area is a million times better than Cincinnati.

UC’s campus was urban and very…vertical, which I like a lot. CMU’s is more of a traditional campus.

I guess it depends on how much time you plan on spending off-campus.

Cincinnati has the Co-Op program, which gives you 5-6 internships; CMU can’t really match that.

Cincinnati is more of a “university”, as in having a variety of types of people. CMU is pretty much a nerdy school. Only consolation is that Pitt and Duquesne are right nearby.

It seems to me that CMU has a better reputation in a few cases;

  1. In general, outside of any specific industry. A random business CEO will respect CMU more than UC, as CMU is higher regarded university (again, outside of the design world). The business school is also pretty damn good.

  2. Robotics and computer-related subjects; if you want to work on that type of thing, go to CMU. The computer science school is one of the best in the nation.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. I visited UC not too long ago and live near CMU, so I know a bit about each.

I should also add that CMU’s is a 4-year program (I believe, don’t quote me) while UC is 5.

(I didn’t apply to CMU and got into UC).
Personally, it came down to this for me; I wasn’t entirely 100% sure that ID was for me, so I didn’t want to lock into a 5-year program. If you’re into ID, but not entirely sure, I’d go with CMU. Easier to switch majors, and the other departments are better regarded.

(Ill be going to a state university in the fall for a non-id major)

I’ll admit it, I didn’t even read your post.

You’re going to base the next 4 years of your life, and your entire future upon an A or B survey, from people you don’t even know?

Both schools are expensive. Set aside $1000 (I know this is a lot right now, but steal the $$$ if you have to) and fly out and visit;
both schools,
their ID department,
their campus,
and the towns they are in.

Only you can make this choice. Don’t let it up to us strangers (we’re highly skewed and opinionated).

i wish i was in your situation- I would have picked cmu, (I am going to UC next year).
the reason:

  1. outside of design/architecture/music fields, UC is just a regular old state school. Potential employers, while they won’t look down on it, certainly won’t “wow” over it, compared to cmu.
  2. CMU’s name is better for graduate school- higher ranked schools tend to take more students from other higher ranked schools.
  3. there are WAY more chances to double major- cmu’s other schools are all stellar. The chance to be both an ID and business major/minor is amazing. At UC, their curriculum is already so full, there is just very little time to have a minor (im gonna try though by taking community college classes and transferring over g.e.s). In fact, i was looking at CMU’s senior list- almost all of them had a double major/minor- whether it be business or human computer interaction.
  4. For me personally, I want to design more consumer electronics- which is something cmu focuses on, or you can at least if desired.

Uc is just as great for design. In fact, having all the internships you have (1.5 years) allows you to graduate a working professional. Not only that, the foundation program is great, and ensures that everyone in it is up to par, in terms of drawing ability. You will graduate a highly employable designer- something not many other schools can brag they do. In addition, the on campus facilities are amazing (can’t speak for cmu, haven’t been there)- they have just built a new rec center, and the shop areas have state of the art machines.

I know a lot of my points may only apply to me/be my own impressions. If they aren’t exactly correct- I’m sorry! haha anyways good luck with wherever you choose. Maybe I’ll see you next year! I highly recommend you visit both places. Each school definitely has a different feel- by visiting them you can choose which one feels best for you (not for me).

P.s. didn’t you have to pick a school by May 1? that’s the universal college decision date in which you have to reply to them by!!!

oh- just so you know, it is incredibly hard to switch majors at cmu. each school (eg college of fine arts, mellon school of engineering, etc.) is like it’s own individual college- meaning that while it might be possible to switch majors within your department, it is much trickier to switch schools…the only exception is the humanities and social sciences…those aren’t too hard to transfer to (as they arent as competitive to get into as SCS, MSE, TSB, CFA, etc) The other ones though I believe accept very few “inter-collegiate” transfers.

I have seen both schools and think Ineo is right.

UC has a much more amazing campus and facilities than that of CMU. The UC area ,however, isn’t nearly as nice as that of where CMU is located.

As for Design, I would rate each school about equal. CMU has that nice overall name cache but UC gives 1.5 years of paid experience,which is VERY hard to beat.

For my daughter, it boileded down to money. CMU offered her nothing,nada,.zilch. Not only was UC cheaper without any scholarships,but she had a nice $5,000 per year out of state scholarship to boot. In addition, with proper planning, we were able to get instate tuition starting with her third year. This made UC about one- fourth the cost of CMU! To me, that couldn’t be passed up. She has NEVER regretted going to UC, and you won’t either.

I should note that in today’s economy, many private schools are having a harder time filling up their class for some majors. This is not true of the better state schools. UC just had a record setting number of freshmen and the highest average GPA and ACT to date.

Not sure if this has been posted anywhere but you can read about the UC seniors capstone projects here.

Good insight into what the seniors have done, were people they have co-oped and an overall glance at the work coming out of UC. Not sure if it says any of them are double majoring, but I’m sure it will be on their personal websites.

By the way, the 2009 rankings:

  1. Art Center
  2. CMU
  3. UC

says so on UC’s own site.

It was ranked #2 by Design Intelligence and #6 by News Week. Design Intelligence ranking is a quite different than most publication. They rate school by the local/regional employment statistic. For instance most RISD grad will most likely be employed on the East coast where most Art Center or Stanford grad would remain on the west coast. Then somehow they tabulate the local/regional ranking and come up with a national one. It doesn’t really take into account the quality of the program or what starting salary you start with. I personally don’t like the Design Intelligence ranking because some regions, like the south have very few Industrial Design schools, SCAD is pretty much the only one, so it will come up high regionally, which help them get a higher score nationally, where RISD for instance has to compete with Pratt, CM, Parson, etc… There are at least a dozen schools… I think it’s quite flawed statistic that’s more focus on industrial design regional employment rather that the school itself .

However to get back to the question, I think both are great schools, but if it was my only two choice I would go for CM.

so have you decided where you will be going?

I’m about to graduate from CMU. I can’t compare it to Cincinnati, but if you have specific questions about CMU I’m sure I could answer them. Send me a PM