Studying engineering at my own pace

Hi Amy.

My name is Shane, and, yes, I'm a girl. I'm 16 and from Santa Monica.

I'd really love to do a gap year and pursue engineering, specifically design. It's too late for me to apply to college for this coming fall.

I was in the local public high school, but it was inefficient use of my time, and they would not allow me to take as many college courses as I wanted so I left to pursue study at my own pace. I'm taking physics and philosophy classes at UCLA and automotive technology at Santa Monica City College. And doing math and spanish through an online high school. I have straight As since I left high school. But I do not have a GED as I was worried that might hurt me applying to colleges.

I love working with engines and anything hands on or applied sciences. I'd love to go to the air force academy, and learn to fly and work on engines, but am not cut out for the military. Can you provide me with some guidance?

Thank you in advance.

Best,

-Shane
posted by Shane, Santa Monica, CA on May 1, 2013

Answer by Zahra Khan

Shane,

Let me just first say that I admire your initiative to take your studies to the next level. I am sure universities would too.

But as far as the GED goes, I would talk to individual universities to figure out what they'll accept. Might I suggest my school, MIT? 
MIT tends to appreciate young people with initiative such as yourself. 

If you're interested in aircraft and engines, you should consider aerospace engineering which focuses on designing and building aircraft and spacecraft, including different types of engines. 

If you want to get a flavour for this, you could see if you could do an internship in the field. I believe NASA sometimes has programs for high school students so you should Google those.