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Should I be an Engineer?

At Essential College Coaches we help our students identify their academic strengths and extracurricular interests and “play to those” when selecting high school course work, identifying a college major and ultimately, investigating future careers. Engineering with its more than 25 different areas of study is a popular choice for students (and their parents) since it dominates the the list of top-paying bachelor’s degree jobs. However, because of the rigor of the coursework engineering has the highest attrition rate with approximately 50% of the students either changing their major or dropping out of college altogether. A lack of academic success and the amount of work required are the most cited reasons for leaving engineering but the best way to avoid discovering this in college is to take related courses while still in high school to determine if engineering is truly for you.

No matter what type of engineering you plan on studying, exceptional math skills will be required. Plan to take AP Calculus (AB and/or BC), AP Statistics and Linear Algebra (sometimes offered as a College in High School course) while in high school. In addition, students interested in engineering should take AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and Mechanics, if available in your high school. The AP Physics C courses cover topics such as: kinematics, Newton’s Laws of Motion, energy, momentum, electrostatics, conductors, electric circuits, magnetic fields, and electromagnetism and will allow students to truly assess their academic skills and interest.

Likewise, other advanced sciences courses in Chemistry, Biology and Physics can help a student assess their interest and academic strength in topics that will be part of the engineering curriculum in college. Access to AP courses in high schools varies greatly across the US, so if your school does not offer these suggested courses, it is worthwhile to seek opportunities online or at a local two-year or four-year college.

Additionally, engineers need to be tech-savvy, even if Computer Science is not your area of interest, you should partake in at least some of the courses offered by your high school such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to give you an edge in college. Also, you should not neglect your humanities classes since engineers need to be strong technical writers and communicators and have a multidisciplinary education to effectively solve todays problems.

Essential College Coaches has guided many students interested in pursuing an Engineering degree. We will help you make the best academic and extracurricular choices to maximize every opportunity during your high school years, ensuring you are prepared to hit the ground running in college.


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