Are you still undecided on whether or not to attend an engineering program in college? As an engineer, not only will you make a difference – by creating new technological advancements that can improve the way we live – but it’s also one of the top paying professions. If you’re still weighing the pros and cons, the following 6 tips could help you make a decision and get prepared.
STEM courses are a must
Engineering programs are STEM course heavy, so make sure you’re not only comfortable with math and science courses, but can also get high scores, as engineering programs are very competitive. If you want to get a head start on core engineering classes for college, consider taking an Advanced Placement (AP) course or attend an International Baccalaureate (IB) high school program. These are college-level classes offered in some high schools. Though the curriculum and standardized exams of these courses are more challenging, you get an opportunity to earn some college credits while in high school. And not to mention that taking these advanced courses demonstrate to colleges that you’re accustomed and even excel in rigorous academic environments.
Good habits go a long way
Developing good and consistent note-taking and study habits will not only help you excel in STEM courses (in fact, other courses too!), but these habits will stay with you and help you succeed later in the workplace. Here are some useful tips from Brian Tracy, a renowned American-Canadian author, public speaker, and business consultant. You can also get some good tips on how to stay organized in school in a previous blog post!
Practice makes perfect
During engineering, you’ll be required to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. This exam is your first step in the process of becoming a professional licensed engineer (P.E.). On top of this, it’s likely you’ll take the SAT or ACT as part of some colleges’ requirements for application. It’s better to take either exam as early as you can, so by the time you’re in senior year, you would have enough trial runs to achieve a high score. And when the FE exam comes around, you would be well-prepared because you’re familiar with testing.
Be resourceful and independent
Engineering programs are known to be rigorous and the course load often gets quite overwhelming. The sooner you learn how to be resourceful and study independently the better. In fact, the most successful students are those who reach out for 1-on-1 help from time to time. Don’t ever hesitate or feel embarrassed to ask for help from your teacher or reach out to a tutor outside of class. They’re happy to help and you’ll be glad that you’re getting comfortable with asking for help!
Learning to teach, teaching to learn
While being independent is helpful, from time to time, being able to work with classmates is more effective because it’s a good way to solve a problem from a different viewpoint. On top of that, working with others, you certainly have to explain the concepts you’re trying to learn, and hence it’s an opportunity to test yourself to see if you truly understand the material. Being able to clearly and effectively communicate complex ideas is not only essential when you’re working on a school group project, but is also important in the workplace, as an engineer’s work environment will include a lot of communication than simply technical work.
Step into the real world
Innovation comes from an understanding of why and how things work, not memorization of formulas. Engineering work in the real-world is very much hands-on. Plus, you’re no longer only focussed on closed-ended problems, instead, your work involves critical thinking and realistic problems that have conflicting goals and even unknown goals. Consider summer internships to build your portfolio of experience and network prior to college. This shows future employers that you’re passionate about the field of engineering and that you want to make a difference in people’s lives.
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