Throughout our many years working with college applicants, CollegeStartOnline has seen firsthand how challenging many families find the university search process. From choosing a major to reconciling college rank with student services, narrowing down your many options to a single list can seem a formidable task.
Like any difficult project, this process is much more manageable when broken down into its most important components. Focus your search for an engineering college by considering the following guidelines:
- Location. Consider the institution’s distance from home and its setting. Would you be comfortable studying on the opposite coast, or would you prefer a location within driving distance from your hometown? Do you envision yourself in a city with plenty to do beyond your college’s student life program, or would you rather a small town campus with a strong athletics program? While an institution’s academic reputation is certainly important, you primarily want to ensure that you will be happy in your new home for four years.
- Size and student services. Are you a self-motivated student who can concentrate in large lecture halls and manage your course load independently? Or do you thrive in smaller class sizes, where your professors are more accessible? Think about your learning style and the student services you will need; these factors will help to set yourself up for academic success.
- Major. If you know that you are a strong math and science student and are confident that you wish to study engineering, your college list should include only universities that offer engineering. If you are on the fence between engineering and another major, be sure to add a few larger institutions with a wide range of majors to keep your options open. Spend time researching the individual engineering departments and specialization programs to ensure that the curricula, professors, and graduate outcomes will fit your academic and professional goals.
- Co-op programs, internships, and career outcomes. Your college choice directly affects your future career. Review the college’s career center website, find out about co-op and internship opportunities, and ask about graduate outcomes. What percentage of students find a job within 6 months of graduation? What is their average starting salary? How many graduates continue on to graduate or post-graduate education?
- Campus visit. In addition to scouring university websites and getting a feel for student life through social media, visiting campuses is the best way to find out where you fit in. Take a campus tour, talk to current students about their experiences, and see if you can shadow a student or sit in on an engineering class. College is a critical investment, and experiencing the university environment firsthand will allow you to make a more informed decision in the spring.
CollegeStartOnline has helped many prospective students and their families narrow down their college lists, get accepted to their top choice engineering schools, and receive merit scholarships due to their outstanding applications. Learn more about our college coaching packages and let us help you get into the college of your dreams.