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Engineering Applicant without relevant ECs

needfortweedneedfortweed Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
I’m a HS senior who just finished up apps
Here are the obligatory stats...
SAT: 800M 770R
SAT II: 800 M2, 770 BioM, 790 Span (not native speaker)
APs: 6 so far, all 5s— will have taken 10 by end of HS (including stats (5), bio (5), chem, calc bc, physics c
class rank: 2, GPA: 4.0 UW, 4.5 W



I only became interested in engineering a few months to one year ago when I realized I was fairly good at math and really interested by engineering (I’ve always been interested I just never thought of it as a career)... so I have no relevant ECs pretty much

But ya know— I didn’t think much of it, so I just wrote about what compelled me in engineering (pretty good essays I think) and applied to schools I thought were appropriate based on scores (Duke, Penn, Princeton, UVA, BU) - - sidenote: I was not picking these schools solely on the basis of engineering strength, so please do not jump on me for school choice based on your info

My good ECs are:
captain of sport 3 seasons (xc, indoor, outdoor track), I was top 20 @ states in xc, but I’m not fast enough to be recruited (could maybe walk on, but not relevant in admissions @ big schools with engineering programs) (this is like 20-25 hrs/week w/ practice, meets, team dinners, answering questions by text from younger guys)

academic team— state competitive, member of A team

governor’s school for Spanish


Basically I’ve just realized how I may have shot myself in the foot with no STEM ECs (I’ve never even done AMC)— everybody and their uncle has founded a robotics club, helped a professor do research, and created an app to teach disadvantaged kids math...

I have a couple of schools I’m pretty confident I’ll get into, but I’m feeling pretty silly waiting around for a bunch of prestigious rejection letters...

So I guess this is what my hopes are for this thread:
a) should I not get in any where, what the heck do I do?
b) Please let this serve as a warning...
c) If anyone has a message of hope, I welcome it
d) How do you deal with parents who (w/o really pressuring) just expect that I’ll get into to most of the schools I applied to, since scores ruled back in their day?

Replies to: Engineering Applicant without relevant ECs

  • alliernalliern Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    For what it's worth, my son applied Early Action to every university he applied to for Biomedical Engineering. He did not have any engineering related EC's whatsoever. He has gotten accepted to 5 schools so far receiving great merit aid to 4 of them. Got deferred to 2 so he's waiting to hear from those schools and rejected from 2. He has some really great choices. He is a well rounded kid with both athletics and academics plus he held a summer job for the past 2 summers and is an Eagle Scout. His stats are very similar to yours. Good Luck!
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,538 Senior Member
    I don't think not having engineering related ECs will be a deal breaker because your STEM course rigor and academics are strong.

    That said, you listed some reachy schools. Hopefully you also applied to safeties.

    I think you'll see an acceptance to BU and UVA if you are instate. If you don't see an acceptance at the schools you listed, and you didn't apply to safeties, there will be a list released of schools that didn't fill their classes where you could still apply. The other option is community college or a gap year.

    In terms of your parents, I'm sorry you are dealing with their unrealistic expectations. You should tell them to read through some of the CC posts.

  • carachel2carachel2 Registered User Posts: 2,953 Senior Member
    My daughter's two main ECs were photography and German language skills (state awards for both). She became interested in engineering only after a year of a liberal arts education (IB) in which she realized she would rather poke her eyeballs out than pursue that full time in college. We had the same concerns about her lack of STEM related ECs.

    She was accepted into engineering at UT Austin, Texas A&M, Clemson, Purdue, Pitt, Alabama and Northeastern. So basically two admissions to top 10 ranked engineering programs (UT Cockrell school of engineering and Purdue) and others that aren't too shabby.

    Schools like Princeton, Duke, etc. because we have a high EFC and absolutely won't pay it. I have no idea how she would have fared there.

    OP what are your safety schools?
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,292 Senior Member
    Your list is very reach-heavy, but hopefully you have match and likely schools you didn't list here.

    Admission staff understand how time consuming sports can be, and in doing them for the entire school year leaves little or no time to delve very deeply into any other clubs. I think the rigor and grades in math and sciences classes plus a compelling essay explaining your interest in engineering is enough to give you a reasonable chance.

    In general I think everyone should do an EC related to their area of study and one unrelated. While that may or may not help with admissions, it helps give the student an idea of what they're in for if they go into that field. That isn't always possible, though, for sports-focused students, or for students whose high schools have very limited ECs and/or nothing related to their future field of study. Also, a good percentage of students change their major once in college. The point is you aren't too late. You don't have to start engineering in 9th grade to be successful. You've got one key already: strength in math and physics.
  • tpike12tpike12 Registered User Posts: 301 Member
    My D did not have any engineering ECs, but has been accepted into the engineering schools at Pitt, Penn St, Temple, Maryland and UVA so I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.
  • carachel2carachel2 Registered User Posts: 2,953 Senior Member
    I agree 100% with @Groundwork2022: what is more important that you are strong in physics and math and have the stats and AP scores to back it up. At least that is the secret to success when you are IN school.

    Who knows, maybe your targeted schools will think it's great to have a smart STEM kid with non-STEM related ECSs? It could just as well be a feather in your cap for admissions since I'm sure their stacks are FULL of STEM kid with robotics and science fair competitions.
  • nugraddadnugraddad Registered User Posts: 1,329 Senior Member
    I agree 100% with @tpike12. My 2 NU Engineering alums had ECs like yours - and no robotics/STEM ECs. They got into every school they applied to. IMHO, relax you'll be fine.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 3,004 Senior Member
    You’ll be fine I believe. However, you did line up the collegiate equivalent of a gauntlet in your choices. Good luck.
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