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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 


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.

Are you interested in things that fly? Choosing to study aerospace engineering in college could be for you! Aerospace engineering is the study of air and space travel. It is often referred to as “rocket science.” Aerospace engineers research, design, construct, test and maintain aircraft, spacecraft, missiles and related systems and equipment. They also are concerned with flight safety, operating costs, fuel efficiency and environmental impacts.

The field can be broken down to two major overlapping branches- aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. Aeronautical engineers concentrate on aircraft that fly within the earth's atmosphere (airplanes, jets, and helicopters), while astronautical engineers focus on spacecraft and launch vehicles. 

A good background of math and physics classes in high school is important for students applying to aerospace engineering programs. There are many colleges that offer degrees in aerospace engineering. Some of these include: MIT, Georgia Institute of Technology, Caltech, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Perdue University. Check out the U.S. News list of the top ranked aerospace engineering programs.


Due to COVID-19 the traditional college search has changed. Since campus visits can't happen, many colleges now offer virtual information sessions. These sessions are done in different ways. Many are offered in a webinar format with interactive chat for questions. Some are prerecorded slideshows of information. Some schools offer just general information sessions, while others have general sessions and sessions on specific majors. Most also offer a virtual tour of the school so you can get a better visual of the campus. Virtual info sessions are often found on the Visit Campus Page of a college's website. In addition, many colleges look for demonstrated interest in their school from their applicants. Traditionally, this would be shown by college visits and interviews, but with today's changes, signing up for virtual info sessions are also counted. Here are links to several schools with engineering programs that currently offer virtual information sessions.

Additional colleges offering information sessions can be found on this previous blog post.

Case Western Reserve University SUNY Buffalo
Colombia University SUNY Stony Brook
Cornell University University of Arizona
Drexel University University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Duke University University of Maryland
George Washington University University of Michigan
Northeastern University University of Pittsburgh
MIT University of Rochester
Ohio State University University of Texas A & M
Rice University University of Virginia
Rochester Institute Of Technology University of Washington
Stanford University Vanderbilt University
Stevens Institute of Technology


There are many courses that students should take in high school that will help them get accepted to a college engineering program. It is a good idea to take as many STEM courses as you can. These include math (calculus if possible), science (chemistry, physics and biology), computer programming and any engineering classes (such as Project Lead The Way) that may be offered at your high school. Engineering schools look for students with an interest and an aptitude in these areas. They also look to see if the student challenged themselves in the courses they took in high school, such as Advanced Placement (AP) courses. AP classes in the STEM field will provide a foundation for classes required in college engineering programs. In addition, AP classes might possibly get some courses out of the way before the student actually starts college.


Many colleges are now offering virtual information sessions due to COVID-19. These sessions are a great way to get information about a school when you can't actually visit the campus. The sessions are often conducted in a webinar format with interactive chat so you can ask any questions you might have. Some schools offer just general info sessions, while others have general sessions as well as sessions on specific majors. Many also offer virtual tours of their campus. This is a great resource to look for to help with the college search. In addition, many colleges look for demonstrated interest in their school from their applicants. Traditionally, this would be shown by college visits and interviews, but with today's changes, signing up for virtual info sessions are also counted. Virtual info sessions are often found on the Visit Campus Page of a college's website. Here are links to a few schools with engineering programs that currently offer virtual information sessions.

Georgia Tech 

Carnegie Mellon University 

Perdue University 

Virginia Tech 

Johns Hopkins University 

University of Wisconsin 

Many schools offer virtual college tours. The virtual tours are done in different ways incorporating video or photos and useful information. This is a great way to see a school when you can't physically go there. Below are links to the virtual tours of many colleges who have engineering programs.

Arizona State University Tempe SUNY Binghamton
Boston University SUNY Maritime
California Institute of Technology SUNY Stony Brook
Case Western Reserve University Syracuse University
Colorado School Of Mines Texas A & M University
Colorado State University Tufts University
Columbia University Union College
Cooper Union United States Millitary Academy West Point
Cornell University United States Naval Academy
Dartmouth College University Connecticut Storrs
Drexel University University of California San Diego
Duke Universitry University of Colorado Boulder
Florida State University University of Deleware
George Washington University University of Florida
Georgia Tech University of Houston
Hofstra University of Illonois Urbana-Champaign
Iowa State University University of Kentucky
Johns Hopkins University University of Maryland
Lehigh University University of Massachusetts Amherst
Manhattan College University of Miami
Massachusets Institute of Technology University of Michigan
New York University University of Minnesota Twin Cities
North Carolina State University University of Missouri Columbia
Northwestern University University of Pennsylvania
Ohio State University University of Pittsburgh
Penn State University College Park University of Rochester
Perdue University University of South Florida Tampa
Princeton University University of Tennessee Knoxville
Rensselar Polytechnic Institute University of Virginia
Rochester Institute Of Technology Vanderbilt University
Rutgers University New Brunswick Virginia Tech
Stanford University Washington University
Stevens Institute of Technology Wentworth Institute of Technology
  Worcester Polytechnic Institute