Input on ID study for an Engineer

I would like to pursue an ID career after thinking about what I want to do with my life and thoroughly researched ID. I decided that ID is that right thing for me; it is where my passion resides and where I would work hard in. I’ve read all the threads on this forum about engineers switching to ID, the debate between undergrad and grad studies, and the schools in the industry. I know I would still need to do more research on the schools, visit and talk to them; however I would like to get your opinions on what is the best path for me to take.

Background Info
I’m a Mechanical Engineer major finishing my third year at UC-San Diego. I don’t want to transfer because my last and fourth year is all lab, studio work, and technical electives which I will enjoy. My GPA is way below average due to my cramming of my courses to graduate in 4 years (instead of 5) on top of working 20-30 hrs a week (lesson learned). I want to end my undergrad study strong and get my B.S degree.

I am most passionate about product design. I care more about form and functionality rather than pure aesthetic. I don’t mind the length of a program as long as I learn valuable skills and knowledge to be used in my ID career. However, cost might be an issue. If i have to stay long, I’d rather be at an affordable school.

I’ll be preparing for my GRE this summer and visit the schools during winter break. During the school year, I’ll take some outside craft classes to build my portfolio and ask for some recommendation letters from my profs before I graduate.

That is as much as I can gather. As to where and which program I should apply to, I’m not really sure. I’m looking at the grad programs at ITT and Pratt. Then there’s the UC undergrad program, if they even accept a degree holder.

Any suggestions or advices?

I have a real close friend who graduated with a bachelor’s in ME and he’s now back in as an Under-grad for Industrial Design. He took is ME degree and worked for a year or so. While working he found time to take some ID classes part time. Work paid for his school. But, he told me while he was in the ME field he networked with many ID professionals, and is using that to his advantage now. He’s moved on from ME, and is now doing ID work as an Intern.

IMO having a ME background is going to help you.

which undergrad program did he go to?