What to Expect
How many years you spend as an electrical engineering student will depend
on how much work you're willing and able to take on.
Paul Bartosek specialized in digital electronics for his undergraduate
degree in electrical engineering. It took him five years. "The faculty of
engineering has guidelines for which courses need to be completed and in which
order, to graduate from a particular discipline," he says.
"They strongly recommend doing the entire program in four years, although
very few people do this since it's a highly stressful program."
Bartosek says his education gave him a very strong foundation in electrical
engineering theory, which is highly valuable. But he says it's also important
to choose a program that offers as much practical experience as possible.
Nancy Corkett agrees. She specialized in power electronics for her bachelor's
degree in electrical engineering.
"I enjoy a more hands-on approach to learning than the theory taught in
class," she says. "I gained a lot of practical knowledge through the labs.
They're fun, informative and interesting."
No matter what institution you choose, expect a program that will require
a lot of commitment.
"The undergraduate program is tough, regardless of where you take
it," Corkett says. "It was difficult the first year to get used to the workload.
However, it was a valuable learning experience for me when the material increased
Bartosek says the good thing about college life is that students can balance
the hard work with some time for play and extracurricular activities.
He says it's important that students find a social group they can join.
"I would highly recommend taking advantage of these clubs, since engineering
is a very stressful program to choose," Bartosek says. "I learned very quickly
that you can't survive on books alone."