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Is It Better to Pursue a STEM Program at a Private University?

If you've always dreamed about an exciting STEM career, you should consider studying at a private college. Here are a few thoughts from an expert.

CX experts generic imageEric Grotzinger
Associate Dean, Mellon College of Science
Carnegie Mellon University
As an educator at a leading private university, of course, I think it’s smart to consider a private college or university for your undergraduate experience. Private institutions offer dynamic interdisciplinary collaborations, excellence in teaching, dedicated mentors, and student selectivity. You can also take a hands-on approach to your scientific and technical interests through unparalleled research opportunities.

There’s a focus on undergraduate education at private institutions; we seek students who can contribute to classroom and lab efforts and inspire others to work hard, intelligently, and creatively. Private schools are committed to creating diversity in student populations and a degree of competitiveness that will encourage you to strive for—and reach—your goals. Consider these additional advantages:

  • Research and teaching together: Research and education don’t compete at private colleges and universities. In fact, research faculty gravitate to private institutions because they want to teach undergraduate students and do cutting-edge research.
  • Student-faculty ratios: The top 25 colleges in the country are nearly equally balanced between private and public, and all have excellent faculty. However, faculty at private institutions are more intensely involved with their students. The student-faculty ratio is more favorable at private schools, and class sizes are generally smaller.
  • Course selection: Many private institutions allow you to create self-defined majors or combine existing majors and minors in creative, contemporary, and exciting ways that underscore our interdisciplinary approach to undergraduate education.
  • A supportive atmosphere of guidance: Through mentors, advisors, and career counselors, you’ll be equipped with the usual college survival skills but advised well after you’ve earned your degree. This commitment—and access to advisors, deans, and faculty mentors—sets private schools apart from most public institutions.

Private colleges are leaders in taking you to the level that defines you as a professional in your chosen field of science, engineering, or technology. When you combine that preparation with the excellent network of alumni and friends—plus contacts with employers—you will be another step ahead in the years to come. These are all parts of the education process that begin the day you choose a private college or university for science or engineering.

Explore our featured undergraduate research college lists to find the private school of your dreams!

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