I'm really interested in doing engineering in college but I prefer to stay away from some of the more hardcore pure engineering colleges (MIT and Cornell, for example), the reason being, I appreciate the versatile "skill-set" that you can get from an engineering degree but I do not want to pursue engineering as a career. I'm under the impression that Princeton (and Columbia) both are seen as top-notch schools to do engineering at, with a liberal arts foundation. However, does this mean that one still needs background in engineering? I have very minimal science/math extracurriculars, with the exception that I have taken some upper level math in high school (in terms of the sciences, i took part of AP Biology and didn't appreciate the teacher, took chemistry through dual-enrollment, and will be taking honors physics senior year, the highest level offered). Although I feel this shouldn't hold me back, I know that at other engineering schools science/math extracurriculars are almost a must.
There's only so much I can tell you about Princeton engineering because I'm going to be a freshman there starting next week. I have little to no background in engineering, but I am good at math and science.
They accepted me as an engineering major, so I have to assume they thought I was capable of doing well in their program. There is also an extra essay for people applying for engineering for you to explain your interest in engineering.
Many people in Princeton's engineering program go on to careers other than engineering. Some people go to med school or law school. Some become consultants, investment bankers, or entrepreneurs. With a degree from Princeton you have a lot of choice in what you want to do.
Don't worry, plenty of Princeton engineers don't go onto engineering. It's a tougher program than the A.B., but it gets good recognition outside the professional engineering world (i.e. finance and consulting like BSEs even if they're in chem e. or ELEs.)
Thanks Clibbir, but my original question was whether or not some sort of science/math extracurriculars are a must... I will be taking at least 2 science subject tests, if that matters at all, and I did well on the math/science sections of the ACT, however I am involved in music, fbla, and some other things (no math team, science olympiads, etc.).
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that you have until the spring of your sophomore year to switch to AB if thats what you really want after you get in although the BSE and AB requirements are different and you should try to figure it out sooner rather than later to make sure that you cover all your requirements. I'm pretty sure that you can't do both a BSE and AB degree.
I'm pretty sure you should say why u want to do engineering simply because you can more easily assign certain necessary skills to being an engineer, as opposed to the more broad AB. Also, BSE kids are definitely not a minority here. I meet them everyday, and I have plenty of BSE friends. My 3 roommates are BSE. (I'm AB though.)
By "higher-level" math do you mean something that's a little more derivative (haha!) in the Princeton applicant pool, (like Calc BC) or slightly exceptional (like Linear Algebra?) Or really exceptional (like Topology?)
Procrastination, I wouldn't worry so much about not having math/science EC's coming into Princeton Engineering. Your high school math/science background only makes a difference in the intro math/physics classes, and the more hardcore types tend to select advanced intro level courses in these areas. As long as you have a pretty solid base from your high school courses (misralz's SAT II scores look decent), you will be fine. Keep in mind that they try to weed out kids during freshman year, though, so the intro courses are going to be tough regardless.
BSE students are a sizable minority on campus (you will meet many engineers here). I'd say the extra essay requirement is due to the fact that engineering is a pretty serious committment, and Princeton probably doesn't want people to apply to BSE just to get into the university and then switch to AB (hence you have to show that you really want to be an engineer).