AddedMonday, October 15, 2018 at 9:14 AM

I am interested in Biomedical Engineering. What I can do now to prepare and increase my chances of getting into a good school and a scholarship?
I'm a sophomore in high school and I specifically want to get into designing prosthetics and trying out new devices. I'm I feel kind of overwhelmed with all the options out there.
Related to Bioengineering/Biomedical, Choosing a Degree, Engineering Branches, Medicine, Preparation for College, Self Doubt
  • Jenny Boothby , PhD student at UT Dallas
    Answered Monday, November 5, 2018 at 5:52 PM

    Hi Danielle! It's wonderful that you're thinking about college and career options so early!

    So I'm going to talk about applying to college and following your career path/classes separately, as they are pretty different topics.

    Applying for college-
    The most important criteria for getting into good colleges and getting scholarships will be your GPA, test scores (SAT, ACT), and extracurriculars. It is not so important that you have experience related to your expected major yet. Your extracurriculars should show a bit of diversity and a lot of depth. Volunteering is also a good application booster. Get started on your scholarships early and have lots of people read your personal essays for your applications.

    Career path-
    I would choose a school that has very strong engineering programs as a whole if you want to get into biomedical engineering. In general, biomedical engineering programs are young, which means no school has figured out what their optimal curriculum looks like to get optimal career placement. Both programs I have been in have changed the curriculum at least once while I've been there. I would actually recommend majoring in a related engineering field like Mechanical Engineering and focusing your electives on biomedical applications. There are not many companies (at this point in time) that would take a biomedical engineer over a mechanical engineer with a biomedical focus. The truth is that biomedical engineers do not get as much in-depth engineering knowledge as other engineers due to the breadth of the major. So, when it comes to engineering positions, companies prefer more traditional engineering majors with specialty knowledge in their applied area. However, if you are thinking of staying in academia and becoming a professor, Biomedical Engineering is a hugely growing field at universities, especially on the research level.

    Overall, I would encourage you to start thinking about your GPA and extracurriculars now so you can build a strong application for college. If you want to see if biomedical engineering and prosthetics are right for you, I would get into an engineering summer camp or try to volunteer at a nearby university lab over the summer. Universities frequently have programs to get high school students involved, especially for girls! I would also encourage you to keep asking people questions about what they do and to keep getting involved in things you are interested in. There are many paths you can take to get where you want to be!

    Best of luck!