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You are good at math and science so majoring in engineering in college is a great idea. Now that you have picked a major you just have to choose a college to go to. This is not as easy as you might think.

Starting The College Search

There are several things you should consider when starting an engineering major college search. First, do all colleges offer degrees in engineering? Do all colleges with engineering departments offer every type of engineering degree? Lastly, do I need to know what type of engineer I want to become? The answer to all these questions is no, no, and not always.

Does This College Have My Major?

Not every college or university has an engineering department or even offers engineering degrees. In addition, many that have engineering departments don't offer programs in every engineering discipline. If you know the type of engineering you want to study, it is important to find out if the school you are interested in has that program. For example, Union College offers degrees in several engineering fields, but does not offer a degree in Civil Engineering. Likewise University of Pittsburgh does not offer a degree in Aerospace Engineering. It would be a mistake to apply to a college and then find out they do not offer a degree in the field you are looking for.

Do I Need To Declare A Major?

Some colleges like University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign require you to declare to a specific major when you apply, while others like Worcester Polytechnic Institute  do not. This is important to know when you are considering prospective colleges. Some schools are more flexible than others. If you do not apply directly into the engineering department in some colleges, such as State University of New York at Buffalo, it is not really possible to declare a major in engineering after the fact.

Can I Change Engineering Majors?

Are you stuck with that specific engineering major once you are enrolled in college? In most cases you can switch engineering majors within a college's engineering department. It is sometimes hard to know exactly what major you will be happiest with while you are still a high school student. It is a good idea to explore the different types of engineering majors to get a better understanding of them before you start looking for colleges.  In addition, it is also helpful to look into the types of courses you need to take in that major. This will give you an idea of what you will be studying to see if it is a good fit for you.

Overall, determining the engineering major that interests you most and taking the time to research school departments will make it easy to find the right college for you.

How to pay for school is a big factor when looking for a college. Fortunately, there are many scholarships out there for engineering students. The scholarships may have requirements such as certain GPA's or national test scores, financial need, academic majors or essays. There are also scholarships that are more general. It is a good idea to look into engineering scholarships even if you do not have a demonstrated financial need, as there are many scholarships that are not need based. In addition, many universities also offer scholarships specifically for their engineering students.

Below are several websites that list scholarships for engineering students and also some specific scholarships for engineering students.

American Chemical Society 

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Scholarship Program

American Society of Civil Engineers

American Society of Mechanical Engineers 

FIRST

Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) 

National Society of Professional Engineers 

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) 

SMART Scholarship Program (Department of Defense)

Society Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation Scholarships 

Society of Women in Engineering 

As a result of COVID-19, the college search for an engineering school has become more difficult. In person college visits, tours and information sessions can't occur in most cases. This is both challenging and frustrating for both high school seniors and the parents of them. As parents of a high school senior, we have been going through these frustrations ourselves. Every day things seem to be changing. So how can you make an informed decision when choosing a college for an engineering major? Many universities have been rising to the challenge by instituting new ways to get information about their schools available to potential future students. Virtual tours and virtual information sessions are two ways to visualize a college and learn more about them. Another great way to get more questions answered is to schedule virtual or phone interviews with college representatives. Signing up for info sessions and interviews does more than get you information. It shows demonstrated interest in the school.  This is something many colleges look for when choosing who to accept. Check our links to colleges with engineering programs that offer virtual tours and virtual information sessions.