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What to Expect at Tech - Female in Engineering

macroraptormacroraptor 40 replies6 threads Junior Member
I'm recently got admitted to tech (OOS) and plan on attending. My intended major is chemical engineering.
At this point, I just want to know what I'm getting into (no pun intended), especially as a woman in a school that is majority male. What do y'all think are the hardest parts? What are the best parts? Who/what should I be wary of?
Thanks
11 replies
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Replies to: What to Expect at Tech - Female in Engineering

  • WhrlingCollegesWhrlingColleges 60 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Congratulations! As a graduate of Georgia Tech with a chemical engineering degree, you will experience amazing opportunities. The school will be very, very hard though, but not because you are a female. From what I hear, that part shouldn’t be a problem, and there a quite a few super high female achievers on campus. You will have to expend far more effort than you ever have in your life, and everywhere you look will be top students, multi-lingual types, and people who have cool credentials like patents to their name. You can no longer stand out because you were in the top 2% of your high school class, or because you got a 36 on your ACT, or because you already run a business. You will work and work and work and you still may pull some Cs. I am not aware of anyone you should be wary of. There are quite a few sororities on campus that offer substantial social and academic support. Tradition is very valued in these groups, and GT has a rich history of enduring traditions that involve the whole campus community. Rush at GT is during the first week of school, which can be a challenge, but it’s also good to be settled in a sorority right from the get-go. If you have the time, there are many, many clubs you can join; these are also sources of friendship and support. The school environment in general is one of strong support. You are very lucky.
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  • macroraptormacroraptor 40 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the advice. I'm really excited to be a part of the tech community
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  • Mom2NNDMom2NND 218 replies13 threads Junior Member
    @WhrlingColleges Thanks for answering the posters question. My D was also accepted to engineering (Industrial but is thinking of changing to mechanical). I am wondering how much of a pressure cooker situation GT seems like. I Have recently in the past few days read many comments about it being a very stressful pressure cooker type of feel for many students there. Would welcome any thoughts from anyone
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  • WhrlingCollegesWhrlingColleges 60 replies1 threads Junior Member
    GT is a pressure cooker. There’s no way around that. Students study very very hard (think late nights every night, sleep deprivation) and often don’t pull grades higher than a C. This usually comes as a shock to kids who were in the top 5% in high school. They are reminded at orientation that the vast majority will not retain their status as among the highest ranked. Dean’s List at GT starts with a 3.0, which is not easy to attain. My student is an OOS kid with no scholarship, which is probably a blessing, because we frequently hear that the Georgia residents (who collect almost all of the merit scholarship money) experience enormous stress because their scholarship money can be (and is) yanked if their grades are insufficient. And yes, there have been some suicides this year. This applies mainly to engineering and CS kids; it’s a little easier for the others, from what we hear. Despite all this, my student would never leave, and never regrets their decision to decline several offers (and scholarships) from other top schools. At Georgia Tech, there is a very palpable sense that you are in attendance at one of the top engineering/ CS programs in the world, surrounded by super smart people everywhere. My student really gets a charge out of this, loves STEM, and actually likes to study. It’s understood that an education at this level comes at a substantial cost, and it is one my student is willing to pay. It can be scary, though, when your student calls you at 2 am in a panic, which has happened. Thankfully, this is offset to some degree by the substantial support and friendship from other students. Have not heard about any backstabbing, note stealing, sabotage or incidents of a similar sort. It’s also nice that there are opportunities to partake in non-stress activities like attendance at football/volleyball/tennis/basketball events and frat parties, IF you can find the time. If you know what you are in for, it’s a truly amazing experience to attend GT.
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  • WhrlingCollegesWhrlingColleges 60 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Oh, and I should have congratulated your daughter on the acceptance. Georgia Tech is #1 in the USA for industrial engineering (according to US News) and way up there for mechanical too (which is a very popular major at GT).
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  • InPursuitInPursuit 583 replies2 threads Member
    I'm going to disagree with some of what WhrlingColleges wrote. Tech is hard, but if you've developed good study and time management habits in high school, there is no reason to work late into the night, and that is not required for success. Most students get As or Bs and the average GPA is around a 3.4.

    You can view grade distributions for various courses here: https://critique.gatech.edu/ You'll notice that grades are lower in the core classes, but improve after that. For example, Calculus II (MATH 1552) grades are generally distributed as 35% A, 27% B, 24% C or D, 6% F, and a few withdrawals. Mid and upper level classes will have better grade distributions.

    Treat the school week like a job (i.e. spend 8-10 hours going to class and studying). If you do that, and take advantage of the abundant tutoring and academic support Tech offers, when you need it, you will be successful. And you'll have plenty of free time to be involved outside of the classroom. There has over 400 clubs and Greek organizations, and I would encourage you to get involved in at least one activity you enjoy. If you're worried about the academics, you can always focus on that for the first semester and then get involved after you've settled in.
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  • GreymeerGreymeer 895 replies16 threads Member
    The GT ratio is 60 40 M to F. This is a typical ratio of most engineering programs.

    So that's 6000 girls to 9000 guys for undergrad at GT. It's not that bad.

    I saw a post from a male at Tech a few months back that said he doesn't even notice the disparity.

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  • amsunshineamsunshine 852 replies7 threads Member
    edited February 20
    This is an interesting thread asking for feedback about experience at GT as a female. There have mostly been responses from or about men and their opinions about GT. Respectfully, I don't think it's helpful to reference a male perspective when the query was looking for female perspectives. Would love to hear actual responses from/about women. :smile:
    edited February 20
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  • amsunshineamsunshine 852 replies7 threads Member
    edited February 20
    Also, I'm very concerned about the "pressure cooker" and "suicide" references made here. Would love to get feedback on those issues, particularly with regard to how women are supported at GT in ways that minimize these issues for them. I have a D21 who is interested in GT, and is confident she would be a good fit academically, but we are both turned off when we read about "pressure cooker" environments where students sabotage each other (the sabotage reference comes from another thread), and suicides are common. We have a local competitive high school where there are multiple suicide attempts per year because of the pressure the students experience, and we call it the "school of nightmares." My D has a good head on her shoulders but that type of unhealthy environment is just not appealing to either of us.

    So, hope to hear from women/parents of women at GT about these things.
    edited February 20
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  • WhrlingCollegesWhrlingColleges 60 replies1 threads Junior Member
    LOL - I can assure I am offering a female perspective! Look, the school is tough. It wouldn’t have the respect it has if it was easy. It’s very tough. My student and everyone in that friend group studies for many hours every day. So far the GPA is close to 4 but this necessitated an enormous effort and it’s unlikely to stay that high. The effort was a voluntary one on the student’s part (no pressure from parents to achieve at this level). You speak of “environments where students sabotage each other” but I have never heard of this happening at GT, not once. Also, although several suicides are recorded every year, and this is terribly disheartening, it is hardly common. I think this unfortunate circumstance exists at numerous other schools too, especially if they are large and academically well regarded. The point I would want to make is that although GT is tough and can feel unforgiving at times, there is ample support and collegiality, and there is so much to do. As an example, there is an off-campus sorority/fraternity mixer tonight. These occur pretty frequently. It’s basketball season too, and the games, which also feature performances by the band, are spirited. The hundreds of clubs on campus are welcoming of new members. And everybody is really smart! My student just loves this. Right now, the students are also planning spring break and the summer. A good number go abroad, while many others pursue internships. There is always so much going on. Sometimes, as I said, it can be tough to find the time to participate in activities, which can be a little disappointing. Sleep can also be tough to get in ample supply, at times. Women are supported by peer groups, sororities (an incredible support system on so many levels) and groups such as Women in Engineering.
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  • amsunshineamsunshine 852 replies7 threads Member
    @WhrlingColleges My apologies - I must have misread your initial posts. Great to hear this is your D’s perspective. Would love to get more of those.

    OTOH, several suicides per year does seem “common” to me in the sense they are a common occurrence.
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