Becoming an Engineer? -- Have to LOVE math?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: September 2003 Archive: Becoming an Engineer? -- Have to LOVE math?
By Alex00087 (Alex00087) on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 11:00 am: Edit

This whole "choosing a major" thing is making me sick, but I think I want to be a Mechanical Engineer, since it is the most broad engineering field.

I don't LOVE math, but I dont HATE it either. I am okay at it, during pre-calculus and AP Calculus AB, I constantly get B's. Do you think that you absolutely have to love math to survive as a Mechanical Engineering major, because I know it involves alot of math. I'm just worried that I'm gonna hate my major and then im going to hate college and im gonna drop out and blah blah blah. hahah


By Dt123 (Dt123) on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 01:37 pm: Edit

No you don't have to love math. But you have to be really good at it to make it through engineering school. The usual degree plan has 3 semesters of Calculus (Calculus for engineering and science majors, not "Calculus for Poets"), and then 2 semesters after that of higher level pure math, usually Differential Equations then a high level math elective.

Don't let that discourage you though, because the engineering courses are really cool and not that heavy in math. They are hard in their own way, but not because of difficult math. This applies to ME, Chem.E., etc. Forget EE, which is almost all math.

By Chrisd (Chrisd) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 12:59 pm: Edit

Are you a junior or senior? If you're not a senior, look into some summer programs at colleges that let you "try out" engineering as a major--there are programs in length from one week to eight, with costs from several thousand dollars down to some that are free. My daughter did a couple of these, and the experiences helped her decide that mech. eng. was her strongest interest.

If you are a senior, you might want to look for engineering programs that are "hands-on" from the beginning, rather than all lecture-style math and physics for the first two years. There are some out there!

By Rocksolid4 (Rocksolid4) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 05:02 pm: Edit

where are these programs?
(especially the free ones - $ is an issue...)

By Chrisd (Chrisd) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 08:25 pm: Edit

I know of one free one. RPI has one that is free if you're one of the "under-represented" in engineering--I think this means any female or minority. Look on their website. Purdue has (or had) a week-long program. University of Dayton has a week long summer program for girls looking at engineering. At Carnegie Mellon, h.s. students can go for six weeks in the summer, and take regular CMU courses, such as calculus and Intro to Elec. Engineering (what my daughter took). It is not free, not even cheap, but I believe there are scholarships available. Check out your largest state university; assuming they have engineering, they probably have some sort of program. If you're thinking about doing a program next summer, start looking seriously in Jan. or Feb. If cost is a serious concern, you can try to get some financial backing from groups such as local engineering societies, and local service groups like Kiwanis. We live in Northeast Ohio, have a daughter, so that obviously directed our choices to certain programs. She is now at Olin College, a new engineering school, which provides full tuition scholarships for all accepted students.

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