Engineering students are trained to use cutting-edge technologies in a
wide variety of industries. They combine creativity with technical knowledge
and learn to create new technologies.
Students can choose to specialize in such fields as agricultural, electrical,
industrial and mining engineering. If you already know which field of
engineering interests you most, choose a school that specializes in that field.
But if you're not sure yet, don't worry. Many engineering programs take
a general focus for the first year or two. Students choose a specialization
in the later years, after they been exposed to several aspects of the field.
Many engineering programs have cooperative education programs, which
alternate school terms and work terms. These programs may take longer to complete
than a straight academic track. But they also provide you with valuable hands-on
industry experience and allow you to make important industry contacts.
Also, these work terms are paid, which will make it easier for you
to finance your education.
Good grades are important. It can be tough to get into an engineering
If you can't decide which area to study, remember that many branches
of engineering overlap. For example, robotics can be approached from a
computer, electrical, mechanical or systems design standpoint.
The first semester of an engineering program is basically a continuation
of the courses taken in high school. Expect subjects like calculus, algebra,
chemistry and physics. An English-language proficiency test may also be
"Student applicants should have good study habits and time management habits,"
says Michael A. Driscoll, an engineering professor at Portland State University.
He says high school students should take math (including calculus),
physical science and writing classes.
Computer literacy is important. "We expect most applicants to have a basic
understanding of how to use computers as word processors, [and be able to
use] other software packages," says Driscoll.
A student's extracurricular involvement is also important. "Particularly
useful are activities that build leadership and technological skills," Driscoll
Programs must be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering
and Technology (ABET).
Engineering programs tend to be more expensive than average. But
remember that many programs offer paid work terms. There are also lots of
scholarships out there for good students.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Engineers
"The national electronic mentoring network for women in engineering
This site has science and engineering resources for you to explore
Mechanical Design Engineering Resources
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