What are all the different areas to engineering, and how do I know which one is for me?
I feel like I want to go into an engineering field, I'm just not sure which one is the right one for me. I have practice in mechanical engineering through my Project Lead The Way classes, along with electrical and aerospace (albeit very minimal) through a physics class. So how do I know which one to pursue in college? #engineering #mechanical-engineering #civil-engineering #electrical-engineering #stem #aerospace-engineering #chemical-engineering #industrial-engineering
Things I did that helped me figure out the right path for me (I was one of the only people in college I knew that started and ended with the same major, industrial engineering), included:
- Getting an internship over the summer with the city (it was civil engineering - which I realized I didn't like as much as I thought I would after seeing what the day-to-day was like)
- Talking to folks about what their day-today activities looked like in different careers
- Reading the coursework for each of the majors I was considering (using one college's course catalog)
- Researching the different career options for each major to understand the possibilities after graduation
Hopefully one or all of those might be of use for you! Also, it should be a given but it's extremely common for people to change majors (and even later, careers), after they've already started one path. So keep your mind open and keep exploring until you find something that's the right fit for you. And if you can't find the perfect fit by the time college applications come about, take your best guess, and shift your path as you learn more and gain experience. Can't emphasize enough the benefit of trying to get internship experiences both before college but especially while you're in college.
Best of luck!
I'm delighted to hear about your interest in engineering. As a former school counselor and current educational consultant, I find "Try Engineering.org" to be a valuable resource for high school students who have developed an interest in engineering and would like to explore more about the profession. This includes academic preparation, orientation to different careers, problem-solving games, and college planning. Visit the website at http://tryengineering.org/
Another resource is a summer enrichment program. Many are an orientation to engineering careers and others allow high school students to take college introductory courses; however, you'll need to determine whether you are adequately prepared to start earning college credit. Your grade(s) will begin your college academic record and if undesirable, you could begin your college career with a low GPA. I'd advise you to inquire about this policy should you pursue a summer program for college credit.
However, not all engineering summer enrichment programs are for college credit. My older son (43) attended an orientation to engineering careers at a two-week summer enrichment program after his HS sophomore year. He left the program determined to be a civil engineer. The next summer, after 11th grade, he had a SEAP engineering apprenticeship for six weeks that paid a generous stipend for 1990. The stipend has doubled and the experience is awesome for a high school student. Google SEAP apprenticeships; they have an early application deadline date. And yes, my son is a civil engineer!
Lastly, you need to be highly proficient in math to pursue engineering. If a senior plans to declare engineering as a major, I highly recommend the student be enrolled in calculus (AP BC, AB, or related level) or multi-variable calculus to be competitive with the other applicants during the admissions process. It's possible that <1% could be higher than MVC, but squeaking by with precalculus could be risky.
Hope this helps and good luck!!
To add to Kaylen Malley's answer, I would say determine and focus on what interests you and choose an engineering major that will directly help you pursue this interest. If there are certain technologies or problems you read about that catch your attention, follow these things as your guide to pick a major.
Attend a local University Engineering Open Day where you can explore the different branches of engineering. This may help. I entered University thinking I would pursue Chemical Engineering but after exploring it I changed to Electrical/Electronic Engineering. Be open to changing your engineering major after you enter university.