The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology - Comments and Student Experiences|
Academically, Mines is excellent. The teaching is quite superior, which comes as a surprise for a small school situated in a very remote area. You say 'how many faculty members are Ivy League graduates?' Few. But these guys and gals are well versed in their respective fields, have extensive experience, and definitely know their stuff. A few have a cool sense of humor and apply it to real world applications. Take Johnson's Statistics course for example. He configures the odds for NFL football games. Mindless you say? Not at all.
It's not all fun and games. The engineering curriculum here is tough and you need to plan and organize to be successful. My high school preparation in Math and Science, was rigorous and I entered SDSM&T with much AP credit. But the work just got harder upon matriculating here. Slackers need not apply.
Also, for a small school Mines has ample opportunities for undergraduate research and some really great labs and equipment. Mines is very successful in obtaining grant money for research and there are interesting projects going on all of the time.
Student life can be interesting if you get involved and are open minded. We have the usual assortment of college clubs. The campus has it's own type of diversity. There are students from abroad. Regarding American minorities the population is relatively small but well immersed in student life. Last year's student body president is an African-American fellow. The local kids from South Dakota are a friendly bunch in the main and very bright, from my point of view. I came here from a large metropolitan area and the students' interaction is very cool.
As for Rapid City, it's not Paris but well, you'll be busy with studies and with on-campus events. But there are various and unique restaurants downtown, which is just a short distance from the campus. And if you like the outdoors, well Rapid City and the Black Hills region is the jackpot for great recreational events. Weather is decent, too. Yeah, there is snow but it's not Minnesota. And the snow is not frequent. The day I left campus for Spring break it was 70 degrees. Something about the nearby mountains (including Mount Rushmore) tend to insulate this area from weather extremes, or so I have been told.
Over all, the educational experience at Mines compares very favorably to better known Engineering universities. Prominent employers seem to agree. Boeing, NASA, 3M, Dow and a host of others send recruiters here. Job placement is very good.The one place we need improvement in is to increase the number of female students, but that's a problem at most STEM schools. Also, more on-campus housing for upperclassmen would be nice.