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Will I be a bad engineer?

bigbrewer299bigbrewer299 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
I'm taking advanced high school classes (AP) but I get Bs and Cs. Will I struggle through the engineering curriculum at a top university? More so, will I become a bad engineer because of this?

Replies to: Will I be a bad engineer?

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 18,841 Senior Member
    If you have a lot of B's and C's, you may not get into a top university engineering program.
  • MandalorianMandalorian Registered User Posts: 1,754 Senior Member
    It depends on the subject. You should be doing well in math/science if you plan on going into engineering.
  • MrElculver2424MrElculver2424 Registered User Posts: 163 Junior Member
    I wouldn't be too worried right now. You're still in high school.

    Not all successful people get straight As...and in fact, many of the straight A students end up working underneath the B and C students later in life.

    Plus, college is totally different than high school. Even though most students do still follow the standard, 4-year bachelor's degree schedule, you can schedule whatever classes you want at whatever pace you want. If you want to to take a little longer to make sure you master the material, you can do that.

    High school, on the other hand, you have no control over and a certain pace is forced on you that may cause you not to be able to study as hard for certain classes.

    And also, you don't have to go to a "top university" to become a competent engineer. Go whereever you want, but there are a lot of public/state colleges with great engineering programs too. And it's always worth considering starting at community college or a smaller college and taking your intro courses there first and then transferring. I wish I would have done that because I would have saved dozens of thousands of dollars.

  • EmpireappleEmpireapple Registered User Posts: 990 Member
    People who are successful employees or successful adults may or may not have been great students. Even in Engineering. There are so many other factors that go into success in one's chosen field. With that being said, try to get the very best grades you can. However, top grades aren't everything in the long run.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 7,186 Senior Member
    It's less about the grades than the education.

    What do you do when you get back a test with a less than wonderful grade? Do you crumple it up and throw it out? Or do you go back and learn from your mistakes?

    And why are you making errors? Is it that you don't understand the material? Or are you rushing, making careless mistakes? Are you familiar enough with the calculator that you're using it correctly? How are your basic skills-- are you making arithmetic and/or algebraic errors?
  • bigbrewer299bigbrewer299 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    Thank you all for the responses. It's worth noting that I'm taking AP Calc AB and getting low As/high Bs in that. I'm also taking AP Physics C: Mechanics. I've never taken any physics before (school doesn't do it that way) and AP-C is regarded by many as the hardest class in the high school (we offer 22 APs). I maintain a B average in that class, with a C average on tests.
  • MrElculver2424MrElculver2424 Registered User Posts: 163 Junior Member
    @bigbrewer299 AP Physics C is a difficult class. I also took that my senior year alongside two other AP courses, and finished with a B average, and I didn't study as much as I should have. My fondest memory from that class was cramming with my friends to finish the homework at lunch right before class...
  • MrElculver2424MrElculver2424 Registered User Posts: 163 Junior Member
    I guess the best advice I can offer is just this:

    Don't "half-***" learning material key to your major. It doesn't matter how quickly, or at what age, you learn. In college, you can choose whatever pace you want. And there are people who go back to college at older ages to study new subjects. So pace and age won't hurt you.

    What can hurt you is going through the engineering curriculum and not understanding or mastering it. So go at whatever pace and whatever timing you need to ensure you learn and understand it. Because if you come out at the end and don't know what you're doing, then you just wasted all that time and money.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 28,598 Senior Member
    B grades can make it tough for a top university. So you need to ensure you've got the right balance of other assets.

    And watch for advice about pacing yourself into a 5th year of college costs.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 4,356 Senior Member
    I see on another earlier post that you had 3.97UW GPA, 1470 SAT. From your post in this thread it looks like you grades are suffering a bit as you take more difficult classes. I also see from a previous thread that you were at least intending to apply to some very selective schools including Cornell and UMich.

    Putting this all together, it looks like you probably do have the ability to become a good engineer. However, you should understand that engineering is a very demanding subject even for very smart and hardworking students. If you are getting B's and C's this might mean that you are taking too many very demanding classes, and it might mean that you are taking APs that you weren't fully prepared for. Alternately it might mean that you are taking AP classes in areas that aren't your greatest strength. As one example, many years ago my high school did not offer APs. However, if it had I could have done well in APs in maths or physics, but I would have been lucky to pull off C's in most AP classes in other fields.

    Some students at university find that taking 5 classes at a time is too much. This is probably more likely in very demanding areas such as engineering. I have known some students and have heard of other students who have taken fewer classes at once and took 5 years instead of 4. While engineering is going to be a lot of work at any school, Cornell and U.Michigan (and a few other schools such as MIT) are going to be particularly difficult. As was said above, you definitely can learn to be a very good engineer at schools that are a bit less demanding and a bit easier to get into, and you really do not need to go to Cornell or U.Michigan to be a strong engineer. For example, if you are a Massachusetts resident then you can become a very good engineer and do very well with a degree from U.Mass.

    I am not sure what state you are from. However, many state flagship universities have good programs in engineering. In many cases students can (with some pain) afford 5 years if they really have to if they pick a relatively affordable school to attend.

    A few pieces of advice:

    - Pick a realistic list of schools to apply to and a realistic school to attend. Don't think that you need to go to a famous very highly ranked school to become an engineer, because you don't. When you are an engineer many years from now you will see engineers from MIT and engineers from Michigan and engineers from U.Mass and UNH working together and no one will care where you got your degree. I just had a civil engineer design a new system for my house, and I have no idea where he got his degree -- I do know that the new system is working well right now and looked good as it went in.

    - Keep ahead in your classes. Understand that in mathematics and engineering what you learn now is based on what you learned last year, and what you will learn next year is based on what you are learning now. Just as important, what you are going to be taught in your class tomorrow or next week is based on what you were taught today. Thus if you always keep ahead in your homework then every class will be a bit easier to understand than it would have been otherwise. This also means that you don't want to skip ahead -- learn subjects in the normal order at the normal pace.

    - Budget for 5 years of university. If you can do it in 4 then you might have a few $$ left over. However, you don't want to be stuck in a bad place if things take slightly longer.

    - Don't just memorize formulae. Understand *why* things work the way that they do.

    - Don't be shy about asking your teachers / professors for extra help when you need it.

    - Know that it will not be easy, but you CAN do it.
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