South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (6)
As a student-athlete, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology was challenging academically. It helped refine my time management, networking, and communication skills. This university offers many opportunities for professional development through professional societies and clubs on campus. The mechanical engineering department engages in a lot of professional development and promotes extra-curricular activities such as the CAMP teams that give students meaningful hands on experience. There are also multiple opportunities for undergraduate research within all of the departments. Professors want to see you succeed and will almost always accommodate to students if you cannot make it to their office during designated office hours. The department prepares you well for what you should expect in your future career. The senior electives that are available cover a wide variety of topics and interests; I believe this allows students a closer look into what industries or careers they would potentially want to enter into. I would recommend taking courses outside of your department, such as a safety engineering course. You will be better prepared and a more well rounded engineer when it comes to exploring potential career paths.
So. The school of mines. I dreamed about attending an engineering school for years as a kid. So far I have picked the wrong school. I work very very hard at my education. I unfortunately was prevented from attending high school and worked privately to achieve a high school math level. I succeeded. Taking a college given accuplacer test, scoring into the college algebra level. I was absolutely excited! Finally made it! Now learning should be easy right? With teachers there to help me learn, it wouldn't be half the struggle of learning on my own. Wrong! First and foremost. The forced upon you computer program that grades your homework called My Mathlab from Pearson. What a nightmare. You can tell it is cheap upon cheap. Formatting is horrible there is absolutely no consistency. So you will be getting wrong answers just by adding or removing spaces ( there is absolutely NO universal formatting guide that I have found because it changes question to question without any directions). It supposedly saves the teacher time in grading. Two teachers so far absolutely hate it, but upon asking the school president apparently the board of regents cut a deal with pearson and that is why they use it. Even the programing students laugh at it. -_- But if your in SD for school say hello to mymathlab for up to pre- calculus ( possibly calculus as of 2017). Secondly- the financial aid dept. Oh my goodness. Don't waste time here, they just love to blame the government. There are 4 employees you can speak to. 2 are fantastic and amazing. They go the extra mile! They make life so easy! They are kind and care! They should definitely get a huge raise! The other 2 have absolutely no clue most of the time, blame the government for late paperwork, fafsa going wrong, everything. They drive me and the rest of the student population up the wall with excuses and no communication. In essence, choose wisely. Not an all bad department, but if you find the wrong people the experience will be horrible. Trust me, I am not the only been there done that case. Third- Ego, oh my. Everyone seems to think this tiny engineering school, in the middle of nowhere, is the only coke in the Sahara. And it shows a lot in how the teachers talk to you. Many are arrogant and rude because they (seem) to believe they are above teaching. I had an instructor recently who, whenever I asked a question or came to office hours it was no joke ( i timed it) a 1/2 hour lecture about how he had said this all in class and he was a good teacher so this was all my fault, he wasn't a private tutor so I shouldn't be coming to him etc.... on and on and on..... yet in class he told us over and over- if you are confused come see me and I can explain it. Made the class awful, I dreaded asking him for help. Fourth- Sad, sad, pathetic lectures ( unless you are very lucky and find the right people) High school level, PowerPoint based, Lectures. They literally read you the slides. READ THEM TO YOU. AND THAT IS CALLED CLASS! A lot of teachers here seem to be fans of the power points that come pre-prepared with their online homework programs. Definitely expect it in Chemistry, and larger College Algebra Classes when you begin and be prepared to see them for a long time unless you find the right teachers. Those foundation classes set the stage for continued education, I really expected them to put more effort into it. But seriously, it really is about 5 bullet points a slide. They read it to you then click on to the next slide. Heck I even had 1 instructor just click through and add commentary saying that he had emailed us the slides and we could read them ourselves. Needless to say with such teaching styles I learned very little, to my great disappointment. Paid for it to which really irks me. It is all bundled up and marketed under "technology for learning" type of attitude from staff. Sixth- Teachers who can't communicate Well, a lot of them are foreigners. Which is weird being smack dab in the middle of the country. So expect accent issues! A LOT!! And writing issues!! Quite a few still get the letters on the board mixed up, d and g or u and e most often ( and spelling) so reading what they write can really be interesting. Most are from India, with a few Chinese and European. There are many American also, and I have noticed quite a few hide from students (yes, other students besides just me) or are unfriendly in general or just don't care. Want to see it for yourself? Compare the Chemistry department to the Mechanical Engineering department. The difference between the two cultures is amazing ( and I am not the only student to notice). Everyone in the ME area seems to just be friendly and generally helpful, talkative , etc. Staff say hello or just chat with students. But in the chem department, you see hardly any instructors. Most will ignore you even if you know them, very closed off, very hard to get office hours unless you have the right teacher. Seventh- The Blame Game For some reason the attitude here is strictly- if there is a problem it must be the students fault. So for those of you who work hard and genuinely have trouble, are confused, or slightly lost. Be prepared for rude emails from staff, or rude behavior in general blaming you for your lack of success ( because you are young, you must just be lazy right?) This attitude shows from financial aid, to student residence dept., to the classroom. Though you are in luck! Not all teachers are effected! There are still a good many who believe you are putting forth your best when you don't sleep because of homework and come to their office nearly every other day! Eighth- The Lack of "Why?" This is an engineering school. Science, cool stuff, learning, etc.... So why does no one ask why? Most of the teachers here are the type who memorize facts rather than understand the underlying logic and principles of what they do. Anyone who hated getting the - "just because"/" it just does that"/ "that's how it is"/" it doesn't matter" - type answers from grade school will find the same thing here. Most can't tell you why a curve or equation behaves the way it does, how the Arrhenius equation works, how spin numbers are accounted for etc. I expected to find a love of knowledge here, but most of what I see is a knowledge of process and a love of the money that process can get you. This leads to a classroom setting of - don't ask questions, don't be curious, memorize what I give you, and just get a degree and leave. Few instructors have a passion for teaching, or for what they teach. Mostly just the pay check. So it's hard to actually learn more than the tiny bits they give you. And as a student, most teachers don't tell you- love what you do, love the beauty of chemistry, love the beauty of engineering. Not at all- from administration to teachers most of what you will hear is - think of how much money you can make! Not that I expect them to know it all, but when Chem 112 turns into the memory match game instead of logic and underlying theory that's kind of sad. Ninth- Fees $500 a semester laptop fee- even if you don't need it or are part time ( you are required to pay it) $100-200 $ parking fee- even though the parking is so overloaded most people have a nice walk anyway. Online books you must purchase a code for, but never get to keep the book you pay 100$-200$ to "Access" the book. ( not optional most times) Fees to actually place a payment for school if you don't give them access to your bank account directly Etc.. lots of fees in general. Separate from your tuition payment of course. And apparently they can somehow take away FAFSA money you qualify for- they decide how much you get of your financial aid. Not sure where the rest goes. So you may never see the full Pell grant amount. ( just something I and a few students around me have noticed that seems really fishy. Though maybe it's legal and for a good reason and we just haven't been clued in.) Tenth- Cheaters gonna Cheat Cheating, happens a ton! Most don't get caught. But when you can't understand your teachers, stay up all night trying to figure it out on your own and can't really get the help you need most students seem to opt out of ethics. If you work hard and choose to do things fairly, expect to see most everyone else either cheating or putting no effort in at all and playing piggy back on group members. Most will get passed anyway at the mid- levels. Not a mar on the staff since they can't prevent students from making bad decisions. But really, you have students camping overnight in the library for not just a day but 2 or 3. That should be a sign something is wrong. Some classes are hard yes, but really. Our future engineers take 3 days to do a problem only to be wrong and have to go back and start over? Something needs to change. For those just starting- A few teachers Mrs. Donna Kliche- Likely to teach math like College algebra or trigonometry - Great teacher, she is a smart cookie for sure. Naturally gifted so those not so will have a bit of a hard time. But she certainly has shown me and others she cares! Very willing to help! Very much wanting you to succeed! Be kind and courteous she really deserves it ( students have a tendency to be rude with her)! What makes her a great teacher is how willing she is to try, if you don't understand she wants to help and goes out of her way to explain in different ways. She speaks math in class though so unless you can translate to English when you need it you might find it difficult. Mrs. Robin Rudy Hinker- likely to teach- college algebra, trigonometry Another fine teacher! I found her very hard to understand personally. Though she also is so, so willing to help! Very kind and considerate. She is very thoughtful! She is not naturally gifted ( I would say) but learned with more effort than others.So she knows what it is like to have to work very hard and can understand what it is like for students who struggle. Very kind, very humble, she is great at giving advice on not just this class but any others you have trouble with. Both of these two will go the extra mile for you- great if you are just starting out here in math classes. IF you are lucky one will teach the lab ( 300$) and one will teach the class ( 900$) , if you are unlucky a student TA will teach the lab. Hopefully that nonsense ended. Though I still find it ridiculous that somehow math needed a lab. Mr. H.- likely to teach- Chem 112, Chem 114- Mr. H. seems to value entertainment more than teaching. He has a habit of clicking through slides without explanation and making rude or inappropriate jokes. I'm sorry if you land him, office hours hardly exist at all. As an individual the rude and crude jokes seem to be for classroom only as he is more polite in person. Most students don't find this class helpful. If you prefer to hear about how sitting in hot tubs of alcohol could kill you from a chemistry stand point and why certain bars are better than others ( with a recommended drinks list) you have found your spot. If not, opt out. I wouldn't take this class with him again for quite a sum of money due to the frustration of trying to learn from him and many jokes I really didn't need to hear about. As for caring about students. He does care( I think). Just, in a strange way that doesn't seem exceptionally helpful. Though if I remember correctly he has some interesting stories about the times he worked at area 51. Mr. J.M.- likely to teach- Chem 112, Chem 114- Mr. M. is quite the opposite of Mr. H. and while I still struggled through this class I found him much more likeable and more tolerant of student questions. Also very willing to help! He is another natural talent it seems, though he is also very patient. Still goes through the slides and uses power point to quickly, though you are lucky because he has often done in class examples of some cool reactions. He is more likely to write on the board than Mr. H. is. So more time to write and take notes. He seems to learn primarily by examples and spends a lot of time going through problem examples in class to help students. He is friendly though stand offish at first and willing to speak with you and offers good sound advice ( at least from my experience). He however, will also take no non sense. And no rude, crude, jokes here. He speaks respectfully and kindly during class. Note: Both theses classes are often 200+ students. College Algebra is often smaller than the Chem 112 or Chem 114 classes. Good luck if you decide to start. Not everyone here is bad. There are some great people here! But still. I recommend going somewhere else.
I attend SDSM&T in 2015. To be honest you don`t want to do a master or PhD here in mechanical engineering (I can`t judge other departments since I was in mechanical department). The quality of what has been taught is so poor. The department is not supportive and most of faculties are going to be retired. They don`t have enough budget to support graduate students. If you want to make a decision based on my review and still you are not sure, Just check the website of department or send email to faculties ask if they have any fund to support graduate student. You will find out that almost none of them has any grant. It is basically due to not having any active research and most of them just want to teach and get done with everything. So disappointed with this school so I have to transfer to somewhere else.
Its a great school for this program. Professors are very friendly and helpful. It offers a great career prospect.
This school is tough. Homework loads are pretty high, especially after sophomore year. If you work hard it'll get you a great job, almost guaranteed. A lot of companies recruit at Mines, but mostly for Midwest positions. It's not too difficult to do your own job hunt and get interviews anywhere in the country, which is what I did. Mines helps you evaluate job offers and improve your resume, which was great.
SDSMT is a tough school, but the job prospects at the end are great. I loved the campus and facilities. A lot of the staff are super easy to talk to and good to work with. There is a large number of student organizations and teams active for the size of the student population, and getting involved with them really improved the college experience by applying a lot of the classroom knowledge and building connections. Overall a great experience.