August 17, 2011


Each year the Princeton Review publishes a document that “rates” colleges and universities relative to the following criteria:

  • Academics/Administration
  1. Best classroom experience
  2. Students Study the Most
  3. Students Study the Least
  4. Best Professors
  5. Worst Professors
  6. Class Discussions Encouraged
  7. Best Career Services
  8. Best College Library
  9. Best Health Services
  10. Great Financial Aid
  11. Long Lines/Red Tape
  • Quality of Life
  1. 1.       Happiest Students/Least Happy Students
  2. Most Beautiful Campus
  3. Least Beautiful Campus
  4. Best Campus Food
  5. Dorms Like Palaces
  6. Best Quality of Life
  • Politics
  • Demographics
  • Social Life
  • Extracurriculars
  • Parties
  • Schools by Type; i.e. party schools, jock schools, future Rotarians and Daughters of the American Revolution, tree huggers, etc etc ( you get the picture )

I have not broken out specifics after Quality of Life but each category can be “unpacked” to reveal how 122,000 students felt about their school relative to the classifications given above.  The Best 376 Colleges was published in August of 2011.  On the 80-question survey, students were asked to rate their own schools.  Each of the sixty-two (62) lists reports the top twenty (20) schools in a specific category.  It appears (again) that engineering students are NOT very happy.  As a matter of fact, engineering schools seem to dominate the unhappiness list and have done so since 2008.  At least five of the ten unhappiness schools were considered “schools of engineering”.  Let’s take a look at the survey:


  • Unites States Merchant Marine Academy
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • United States Coast Guard Academy
  • Stony Brook University
  • Clarkson University
  • University of Hawaii-Manoa
  • St. John’s University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Fisk University
  • Hofstra University
  • Drexel University
  • University of California-Riverside
  • SUNY at Albany
  • George Mason University
  • SUNY College at Purchase
  • Hampton University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Rutgers
  • United States Air Force Academy




  • Brown University
  • Princeton University
  • Whitman College
  • Clemson University
  • Stanford University
  • The College of New Jersey
  • Tufts University
  • The University of Tulsa
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  • Yale University
  • St. Mary’s College of Maryland
  • University of N.C.—Chapel Hill
  • Amherst College
  • California Polytechnic State University—San Luis Obispo
  • Haverford College
  • Brigham Young University
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • William Jewell College
  • Southern Methodist University


I know that when I attended The University of Tennessee School of Engineering, we did not automatically feel we were there to “get happy”.   In my case, it was a tough slog to the end and I never felt I had time to adequately complete those assignments that just might land me that great job “on the outside” and propel me to the notoriety I just knew I deserved.  “Back in the day”, we all had classes MWF AND TThSat.  Can you believe Saturday classes?  You bet!  The College of Engineering at UT had classes beginning at 0800 hrs and running till noon—ON SATURDAY.   After the last class, we would leave our books and head to the stadium for the football game at 1400 hrs.  Please note: this was the most enjoyable part of our week because after the game, a quick meal, pick up the books and then hit the books.  Yes we studied on Saturday evening and Sunday.  Invariably, there was a lab due first thing Monday morning and, as we all know, that’s what the weekend was for.  We never really felt the “happiness quotient” factored into our overall purpose for being at the university.   We all have endured the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” i.e. running out of gas 10 minutes before the final in fluid mechanics, trying to “nail” a lab while working through a temperature of 102, knowing we had a pile of dirty clothes to be washed and dried (after studying till midnight) and the all-night laundromat was always “take-a-number”, etc.  I had a roommate who snored so loudly that four hours of sleep was a god-send. ( He failed out after the first year so there is answer to prayer!)  Added to the list; we all have  had teachers who worked diligently to see how many students could be convinced engineering was not for them; i.e. Dr. W.K. Stare, Dr. C.R. ( cold-rolled) Brooks, etc.  I had one professor ( Infinite Series Mathematics) who actually could not speak English—could not speak English.  One of my classmates spoke Cantonese and tried to get clarification on subject matter for future lessons.     The professor went ballistic.  Was insulted.  Walked out of class.  I really don’t know if he came back because I dropped the class, that day, and took the course in summer school.  Better odds of completion and a (somewhat ) better chance of getting a decent grade. 


 I will tell you what I did get from my university experience, OPPORTUNITY !  An opportunity to:


  • work within the best profession on the planet—-engineering
  •  support my lovely wife (46 years this July)
  •  provide for our three sons ( private schools all the way because public schools in Chattanooga, Tennessee SUCK!—Another story for another day.)
  •  work in the Aerospace Industry. ( Met all of the original 7—except Scott Carpenter, and  I’ve really never forgiven him for that! )
  • be a small part of a dynamic, fascinating, forward-thinking industry fostering innovation and improving the lives of people and lessening their “domestic” work-load


I am really HAPPY about all of these things and more.


NOTE:  The sources for this blog came from the following publications:

1.)       The Princeton Review, August 12, 2011

2.)      Design News—Engineering Schools Dominate Unhappiness List by  Mr. Charles Murry


3 Responses to “ARE WE HAPPY YET?”

  1. I’d like to just simply say what a relief this is to find a person who truly understands what they are speaking about online. You definitely understand how to get your position across. Lots more people ought to look at this and understand this side of the story.


    • cielotech Says:

      Many thanks–I really appreciate you taking a look at my work. Hope you will come back. I am publishing “Standing on the Shoulds of Giants” in a few hours. Hope you like it.

      Take care.
      Bob J.


    • cielotech Says:

      Hello Darwin. You are too kind but I love the comments. Thank you so much for taking a look at my site and please do come again. Bob


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