Engineering consists of broad spectrum cross-disciplinary subjects that uses mathematics and sciences to solve a wide variety of problems. There are hundreds of subfields in engineering career – Biomedical Engineers, Software Engineers, Nuclear Engineers, Environmental Engineers, Civil Engineers, Chemical Engineers and many more. If you are keen to be part of the engineering industry after graduation, you should start the preparation now to make sure you are prepared for the engineering career!
Here are some pointers we’ve gathered to help you get a head start in your journey.
Get involved in challenging mathematics and physics courses
Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry are important subjects you should take to embark on an engineering career. If you have set your mind to embark on this path, you should be comfortable working with these subjects at a high level. In high school, AP Calculus, AP Physics, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science, and AP Statistics are all important subjects you have to take.
What if your school doesn’t offer AP courses?
Admission officers take this into account when reviewing applications. Other than related AP courses, they also look out for students who took the initiatives to participate in related extracurricular activities. So, find an interest area and enrich your academic background. Join an engineering club in school, find an internship, find a mentor and work on his project together or join an international competition. Who knows, the mentor you meet may even give you tips on your road to an engineering career. Here is a list of engineering-related competitions students can take part in.
- American Math Contest AMC
- American High School Modeling Competition
- International Mathematical Olympiad
- Princeton Math Competition
- Harvard MIT Math Competition
- Duke University Math Competition
- Yau Chengtong Mathematics Competition
- International Olympiad in Biology
- International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition
- Princeton University Physics Competition
- International Young Physicists Competition
- International Physics Olympiad
- Physics Bowl
It’s important to realize that by participating in these activities, you can gauge for yourself at the same time whether you are a good fit for the profession. Do you enjoy working on these competitions? Are you a strong critical thinker when it comes to solving the problems? Is an engineering career what you want in life?
In your spare time, studying math and science independently is also a good idea. Work on problems you can’t solve in school and ask your teacher if you are still stuck. Borrow books from your local library, watch videos from leading field experts, and making the most of your studies with the resources around you will provide excellent support for your future university life.
Participate in STEM-related extracurricular activities
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. Most STEM employees make use of computer technology in their daily jobs. What if the school doesn’t have a STEM club? Then start your own STEM club! Talk to teachers about your plans in starting a new club at your school and try to get their support. Whether you’re starting your own club or joining an existing organization, make an effort to get involved, see yourself as part of the team, actively participate in the organization, and lead the event as much as possible.
Admission officers want to see not only your rich experience in extracurricular activities, but also your commitment, leadership and contribution. They want to see you are passionate about an engineering career.
Gain engineering career experience
Course study and extracurricular activities expand your knowledge and skills, but the actual work experience is different. It allows you to go deep and hands-on, experience the real working environment and life, and experience the wonders of the engineering career world.
Proactively seek out resources, connect with local engineering firms, and participate in internships or volunteer activities locally or out of the country.
Take part in Engineering Summer Programs
Summer gives high school students the longest holiday of the year. Students have plenty of time to go on holidays, engage in volunteer work, rest and participate in summer programs abroad. There are a few more months until the summer holiday is here, but it’s never too early to look into the programs you will potentially have interest in.
- Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science from MIT
- Summer Engineering Exploration Camp from University of Michigan
- Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) from Boston University
- Carnegie Mellon University Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS)
- California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS)
- ESTEEM/SER-Quest Summer Program from University of Maryland
- National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) on Engineering Summer Program
- Anson L. Clark Scholars Program from Texas Tech University
Engineering is a tough but rewarding career which requires years of learning to be able to excel in it. Start preparing for your engineering career now. Study relevant courses, take part in extracurricular activities, find practical opportunities and don’t forget to find a relevant internship.
By taking these steps, you will set yourself up as a competitive college applicant!
Next, you may be interested in having a look at the research work our Science and Engineering students had done.