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What are the main subjects/classes you need to take?

I am a student at Brennan High School looking for more information on #engineering #civil-engineering

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Elizabeth’s Answer

This depends on what college you want to go to, what AP credit they take, what your high school offers, and what you want to do.

Here is my experience. I took AP Calc and accepted 8 hours of credit for two calculus classes at college. I took AP Chem and accepted 4 credit hours of one chem class at college. I also took AP Physics and did not accept the credit for two college classes I needed to take. With my other non-STEM AP courses, I accepted 42 credit hours of classes and skipped one and a half semesters of college which allowed me to study for two minors and take some fun electives with a full 18 credit hour per semester course load.

Now let's talk reccomendations for you:

1)Math. You should be following this schedule:
9th-Geometry
10th-Algebra 2
11th-Trig/Pre Calc
12th-AP Calculus AB (I think they might have changed this though, make sure you learn derivatives. It is the first semester calculus you will take in college.)

If you are doing Common Core Math at school, go along with it for your grades but keep in mind, nobody does Common Core in college or in the real world. It is for lack of a better word, stupid. If you are learning Common Core math and you want to be an engineer, please go to Khan Academy and learn math the normal way there because that is how you will be doing it in college. Please. Just pretty please.

Now if you are good at math and you enjoy math, congratulations, you are one step closer to being an engineer. If you hate math, please pursue another career path. If you excel in the following classes at a normal level, consider taking an honors equivalent. For Calculus, take BC if you want a challenge. This will combine two semesters worth of college level math into one class.

Once you get to college, I highly reccomend retaking the last calculus course you took again, but if you get bored easily, move on. So if you took Calc AB, you would repeat Calc 1 in college. If you took Calc BC, you would just repeat Calc 2 in college. It'll help you keep the important stuff in your head while also giving you a taste of what a college course will be like your first semester.

2)Physics. With a Civil Engineering major, you will be doing a lot of Physics. You have to take physics in high school. It should be offered at your highschool. If it is not, consider using your school's partnership with a local community college to take the course there. With public schools, this should be free to you because they should offer this course as part of a basic curriculum. With Physics, I highly recommend you take at least Physics with algebra both newtonian and electrical physics. You need Newtonian physics for civil engineering. If your school offers Physics with calculus AND you have the ability to take physics with algebra, take the physics with algebra first then the physics with calculus (junior then senior year). Physics is a very difficult course. There is a reason you take it senior year.

In college you will be taking Calc 1, 2, Multivariable calc, Differential equations, Physics with calc 1, 2, and then this fun course called statics. Statics combines all those prior courses into one and is basically a bunch of really difficult theoretical math problems which is basically civil engineering in a nutshell.

3)Chemistry. I reccomend taking honors chem at least just so it looks good on your transcript. If you want to skip taking Chem in college, it is not necessary for a civil engineer so you can take AP Chem and get course credit for one semester of chemistry.

4)Other classes. If you want to solely focus on engineering in college, like I did, I reccomend taking AP Spanish/Latin/French to get your Foreign language requirement out of the way, AP US History and AP US government to get your history requirement out of the way. ALso, take AP English (Either version will do) to get your English requirement out of the way. These classes count towards your core requirements for any degree (They want you to be well rounded at college) and I reccomend getting at least a 4 on each AP test for these classes just so you can focus on the more important classes in college. I regret not taking AP English in high school because when I took it in college, it stressed me out and I almost failed an easy math course because I was struggling so much in the college level English course. Comparatively, AP courses are a breeze with college courses. Yes, you will put in more work in high school for these courses, but it is worth it because if you aren't good at a subject, you will struggle with it later when it counts.

Elizabeth recommends the following next steps:

Plan out your high school class schedule now.
See what AP credits are taken at colleges you might want to attend.
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DAVID’s Answer

  1. chemistry, advanced math like precalculus, physics for sure
  2. any advanced placement courses
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