Leila , Fairfield

AddedSaturday, May 23, 2015 at 11:33 PM

A unique challenge

Hi I'm Leila, I am almost done with my Junior year of high school and am beginning to look at colleges. Over the course of my high school career I became very ill with a cardiac condition...My grades suffered in that I received some B's on my transcript. (Mostly in classes taken at the local community college). I am looking at engineering schools right now and most of them look for 4.0 GPAs...I live in Northern California and need to stay somewhat close to home because of my condition...Is there anything that would help set me above the rest that I can do from this point forward? Also, what schools should I be focusing on in Northern California that have great engineering programs? I chose engineering because of my illness and want to be able to help people like me in the B-med engineering field. Is B-med engineering a physically demanding job? Is there another engineering major that might suit me better due to my heart condition?
Related to Choosing a Degree, Preparation for College, Unique Challenges
  • Kay C Dee , Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
    Answered Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 11:33 PM
    Hi, Leila,
    First of all, please know that although the grades on your transcript are important, they are not the only things that college admissions offices look at. Your activities, interests, hobbies, and life experiences are all also important.  So I would encourage you to not worry too much about the B's on your transcript - and don't let schools psych you out and imply that they only want students with 4.0 GPAs!!!  
    Second, I'd encourage you to map out the Northern California schools that are in your desired geographic range, and then go visit them.  There's no better way to get a feel for the learning and living environment of a school.  You'll be able to see how far you'd need to walk to get from place to place, interact with other students informally, and more, to see whether the school feels like the right place for you. 
    Finally, yes, you can pursue a career in biomedical engineering that's not too physically-demanding.  If you are primarily running computational models, for example, you'd be spending most of your time at a computer.  If you are primarily running tests or experiments you might spend most of your time sitting or standing at a laboratory bench.  This is true for other engineering fields as well, but your life experiences make you a great candidate for biomedical engineering, focusing on improving health and quality of life.
    Good luck!!  Again, don't let the 4.0 GPA thing psych you out. Grades are important, but they're not the whole ball game, and many of the best (smartest, most interesting, most creative, most productive) students I've taught in my career did not have 4.0 GPAs in high school or college.