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How competitive are engineering majors?

Specifically electrical, mechanical, aerospace, or computer engineering majors.

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Rich’s Answer

Getting into an engineering major can be very competitive at some Universities. Other universities are not as competitive, however all will generally require a strong GPA with top performance i higher level math and science courses. There is a lot of information on-line regarding specific universities acceptance data, pre-requisites and often comments from current/former students. You will want to make sure the school you choose is ABET-accredited since that is what most employers look for. Major aside, it is also important to find a school that suits you. Do you like a large school or something smaller, being in a city or separate campus, warm or cold temperatures, etc. Most 4-yr colleges have a 50%+ drop out rate so it is key that you find one that suits you. Good luck
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Blair’s Answer

Engineering, regardless of speciality, is a very rigorous major. Gaining access into an engineering school can be competitive, however with a strong high school resume of AP/IB/Honors courses, grades, SAT/ACT test scores and extra-curricular activities, it is attainable. The workload in your undergraduate program is going to be demanding and intense. It will be difficult to manage without a support system of peers. What is important to realize in college is that all of you in your major are in it together, and that by working together it will be easier to learn and succeed. Many colleges today try to help you form those bonds from Day 1. At the University of Colorado (a large public school), all Engineering students are required to live in the same dorms their freshmen year. At Colorado State University, they actively get students working as teams from their freshman engineering classes. Schools do this on purpose to help all students form connections and encourage group studying and collaboration. Find a school that promotes collaboration over individual competition.
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Mack’s Answer

Hello Ivan,

My first thought was that top flight engineering schools like MIT and Stanford are VERY competitive, and I was going to suggest looking at your in-state schools. Then I saw that you are from San Francisco! Berkeley is another outstanding and competitive engineering college. So follow Richard's advice and work on your GPA and math/science classes. Still, California has other state schools that may not be quite as competitive as your near neighbors.

With respect to which engineering disciplines, in the not too distant past many if not most colleges of engineering accepted you into the college and you selected the discipline after a year or two in school. So your first goal is being accepted to a college. Afterwards, the competitiveness among the disciplines might vary a bit from time to time depending on the popularity of a specific field. Aerospace is often a relatively small school and competition may be greater. Mechanical is usually a larger school which might allow a little less selectivity -- but it's an excellent and flexible degree (that is, mechanical engineering is applicable in a wide range of industries). Electrical engineering seems to always be "up there" near the top in popularity and difficulty.

I'm not familiar with the California community colleges, but entering a community college and transferring for a four-year degree is another approach. For example, check out City College of San Francisco which even has Berkeley listed as a transfer option:
https://www.ccsf.edu/degrees-certificates/engineering

Best of luck in pursuing an engineering degree. You have many excellent choices nearby.
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