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Lou, Boston

AddedWednesday, July 24, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Am I too late to decide on an engineering degree?
I am going into my senior year at high school and I recently decided that I might want to study engineering at university. So far, I've been expecting to major in biology, and had little interest in the engineering field. However, over the past month or so, I seem to have fallen in love with the idea of materials or mechanical engineering. Is it too late for me to decide this? I enjoy math and science but I don't really have any engineering background (in terms of extra-curriculars like robotics) so I feel like this will jeopardize which schools I can get into and my success in the field. Most people I know who are interested in engineering seem to have known since birth that this is for them. What can I do at this point? Thanks for your insight!
Related to Materials, Mechanical, Preparation for College
  • Kim de Groh , NASA Glenn Research Center
    Answered Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    “Hi Lou, many students do not decide to go into engineering until their freshman or sophomore years in college.  When I graduated from high school I had originally thought of getting a math degree.  I only considered engineering during my freshman year after I decided I did not want to pursue a career in math.  I liked that engineering appeared to combine the fields I enjoyed: math, physics, chemistry and art.  So I took a one credit class during my sophomore year called “Orientation to Engineering Careers,” which was a really great class provided at Michigan State University that provided an overview of the various engineering careers and introduced me to materials science, which I found very interesting.  I declared my major in materials science near the end of my sophomore year.  So, I do not believe that your lack of high school “engineering related” extracurricular activities will negatively impact you getting into a good engineering program!  As long as you have good grades in math and sciences, and you apply to schools with good engineering programs you should have no problem.  But, I encourage you to try to shadow engineers in materials and mechanical engineering careers, or get internships in those fields, to help you decide which of the two fields you are more interested in.  Good luck!