Total Undergraduate Enrollment: 16,049
Institutional Type: Public
Curricular Flexibility: Less Flexible
Academic Rating: 4.5
1. SunTrust Bank
3. The Chlorox Company
5. Rockwell Automation
2. Procter & Gamble
4. Information Technology
4. Home Depot
2. San Francisco
3. New York City
4. Washington, DC
College Scorecard (Early Career): $79,100
EOP (Early Career): $78,900
PayScale (Mid-Career): $133,400
Downtown Atlanta is home to one of the world’s best public technological institutes. The Georgia Institute of Technology, more commonly referred to as Georgia Tech, educates more than 16,000 undergraduates as well as another 16,000-plus graduate students who are on track to be the next generation of leaders in the engineering, computer science, and related fields. While still catering to locals (68 percent are Georgia residents), Tech has managed to grow its reputation in recent years and has blossomed from a top public tech university to simply a top tech university.
Georgia Tech is divided into six colleges: the College of Design, the College of Computing, the College of Engineering, the College of Sciences, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, and Scheller College of Business. Altogether, more than 115 majors and minors are available to undergraduates; all students are held to a stringent list of core requirements that is partially governed by the state. Must-take courses include Constitution & History, Communication Outcomes, Quantitative Outcomes, and Introduction to Computing as well as requirements in humanities/fine arts/ethics, social sciences, and wellness (physical education).
Being a large research university, the student-to-faculty ratio is a less-than-ideal 23:1, leading to some larger undergraduate class sections. In fact, 35 percent of courses had enrollments of more than thirty students last year. On the other end of the spectrum, 29 percent of sections had single-digit enrollments. While not all of your professors will know you by name, there are plenty of ways that motivated students can strike up meaningful faculty student relationships. For example, 30 percent of aerospace engineering majors collaborate on research with their professors. In the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering that figure rises to 60 percent. Over half of Tech students have gone abroad by the time they graduate, with a growing number electing to complete internships in a foreign land rather than academic coursework. Last year, 135 undergraduate students participated in a global internship.
Georgia Tech’s engineering and computer science programs are at the top of any “best programs” list. The Scheller College of Business boasts top programs in management information systems, production/operation management, quantitative analysis, and supply chain management/logistics. The architecture school also receives national recognition. In terms of total number of degrees conferred, the most popular areas of study are engineering (60 percent), computer science (17 percent), and business (10 percent).
Georgia Tech’s 400-acre, wooded campus contains the vast majority of freshmen (98 percent), but only 45 percent of the overall student body lives in the school’s forty residence halls. The rest find apartments or housing in surrounding neighborhoods like Buckhead, Home Park, Westside, or Atlantic Station. The Yellow Jackets field seventeen varsity intercollegiate athletic teams. The school’s nine men’s and eight women’s teams participate in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Add twenty intramural sports, forty-three sports clubs, and one of the largest outdoor recreation programs around, and the result is an extremely athletically-inclined student body. Those who aren’t involved with sports typically find another place to connect, whether it’s in one of the more than 400 student organizations or fifty Greek organizations. Tech is a Greek-heavy school with 28 percent of men and 33 percent of women belonging to a fraternity or sorority. Campus provides plenty of chances for social engagement, but those seeking more can enjoy all that Atlanta has to offer.
The Georgia Tech Center for Career Discovery and Development, cleverly nicknamed C2D2, employs twenty full-time staff members (not counting IT professionals and office assistants). That collection of career advisors, employee relations specialists, and graduate school counselors works out to a student-to-counselor ratio of 679:1, below average compared to the pool of institutions included in this guide. Despite this unremarkable number, C2D2 is able to put on impressive, large-scale events that enhance student outcomes. The Fall Career Fair is the school’s largest, featuring over 400 employers including Accenture, Capital One, GM, and Intel, and 5,000 students attend each year. The school also forges formal corporate partnerships with big-time companies including Google, Airbnb, Qualcomm, Northrup Grumman, and ConocoPhillips. Corporations routinely host information sessions on campus.
Internships and co-op programs receive some of the highest marks in the country. Thirty-five percent of undergrads choose to enter the school’s three-semester co-op program, which leads to a five-year degree, while many others complete a one- or two-semester internship. Last year, C2D2 placed 1,068 students in internships and another 1,307 in co-op programs. Individualized appointments are encouraged as early as freshman year to begin planning potential career and graduate school pathways. Overall, Georgia Tech’s career services does a fantastic job of funneling undergraduates into the world’s premier employers at high starting salaries.
Graduates in last year's Class procured employment at a rate of 78 percent by the time they were handed their diplomas. The median salary reported by that group was $70,500. The highest median salary of $99k went to graduates of the School of Computer Science. By midcareer, Georgia Tech alumni enjoy the second highest salary of the most selective public universities in the country. You will find alumni at every major technology in the world. Just examining those who have LinkedIn profiles, 969 Yellow Jackets work at Google, 853 at Microsoft, 789 at Amazon, 759 at IBM, 586 at Apple, 327 at Facebook, and 170 at Uber. The bulk of graduates remain in the Atlanta metro area. The next three most popular destinations are San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, DC.
At the time of their exit surveys, 21 percent of last year's grads planned on pursuing an advanced degree within the next year. Many remain on campus to earn advanced engineering degrees through Georgia Tech, but the school’s reputation is such that gaining admission into other top programs including MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley, Stanford, and Caltech is an achievable feat. Those same schools are institutions where Tech alumni have gone on to work as professors and researchers.
• “There are a lot of successful businesses in the area and a lot of companies come to advertise their jobs to Georgia Tech students.”
• “When you come from a small town like me, you get to experience a lot of cool new things. Being present here exposes you to a lot of new things, which I think is a good thing for me.”
• “There are lots of different cultures and people of different backgrounds that I get to have day-to-day interactions with.”
• “There are all the different sports teams located in Atlanta, so getting to go to the sporting events is a pro.”
• “There’s always something to do and different events going on in Atlanta. Like, there are lots of music and food festivals.”
• “Atlanta is a major hub for sex trafficking, so you have to be extra careful outside of campus. The safety of Atlanta, in general, is a con.”
• “Rent around campus is really high and hard to afford.”
• “There are some sketchy areas of Atlanta at night and my parents are really not comfortable with me being out late and alone.”
• “The traffic is definitely bad during certain times of the day. If you’re trying to go somewhere off-campus that’s a little further away, it can be challenging.”
• “It’s hard to get cheap groceries and necessities because there aren’t places like Walmart nearby.
• “It’s a lot of hard work and probably the hardest thing you’ll do. One of my professors who went here told me that while you’re here you’re going to think that everyone else is having more fun than you and that everywhere else is looking much cooler, but if you stick through it, it will prepare you for real life. That’s a big thing that I’ve kept with because no matter how hard it gets, it’s worth it.”
• “It’s in the heart of Atlanta, so there are lots of opportunities for internships and different stuff happening outside of campus.”
• “Georgia Tech has an innovative and cutting-edge environment where you’re going to be in touch with what’s happening in modern-day business.”
• “The faculty want to help you succeed. They’re not doing it just because of their job, they genuinely want you to succeed.”
• “The diversity on campus. It’s cool to be around people who care about their culture.”
• “The academic culture here is if you go to a party, you might find somebody still studying. They will be sitting on a couch with flashcards [laughs]. It’s wild.”
• “If you can’t handle hard work and failure, that’s a big reason why you shouldn’t come here. I’ve failed so many times and it’s something that you have to get used to and accept that it’ll help you in the long run.”
• “There is a lot of stress and pressure from each course that you take, so you have to have time management skills and the patience to work on your goals. If you get stressed easily, maybe it’s not for you.”
• “If you want to party every weekend because most people can’t do that with the workload.”
• “If you can’t handle the heat and humidity of Atlanta.”
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