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NMF, OOS, and engineering major: is 3.5 GPA requirement too much of a risk to take?

tallgrasstallgrass 60 replies4 threads Junior Member
I have a question for those parents whose kids are NMFs, are from OOS, and want to major in engineering: how did you deal with the 3.5 GPA requirement in your decision making process? I ask as we will go through this with our daughter this coming fall, so I would appreciate if others could share their experience. I understand that our kids are overachievers, have 4.xxx GPA, lots of APs, good time management skills and all, but it is very hard to maintain 3.5 GPA studying engineering in college!

I spoke with admissions office, and they confirmed to me that as long as she keeps her GPA at or above 3.5, she will be treated as instate student, and her scholarships will essentially erase tuition and fees. But if she dips below 3.5, she loses not only the scholarships, but instate status as well, making it now a $30K/year school instead of $0. That’s a huge risk, as the school would end up completely unafordable to us.

Is there something I am missing? How did you approach it? Any other advise?

Thank you so much for sharing your experience!
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Replies to: NMF, OOS, and engineering major: is 3.5 GPA requirement too much of a risk to take?

  • rosegeorosegeo 179 replies5 threads Junior Member
    We had concerns about this as well. Some of the other schools my son looked at would cost more but had a much lower GPA requirement. If he loses the scholarship he will end up paying more than for these other schools. It is a bit of a gamble. I think our kids are very capable of maintaining the required GPA so long as they stay on task. I've told him to think of this as his job and he is being paid very well to put in that extra effort to keep the grades up. And also have told him that at the first sign of difficulty or a less than ideal professor, to hire a tutor. With the money we are saving in tuition we can afford to give him all the support he needs, he just has to recognize he needs it before he gets in a hole. They don't have the semester or year to adjust and figure out how to do things differently in college, they have to make those adjustments quickly.
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  • itsgettingreal17itsgettingreal17 4110 replies28 threads Senior Member
    My D is considering a 3.5 scholarship as well. After doing my due diligence, I'll let her accept it if that's what she chooses, but she isn't majoring in engineering. If engineering, I wouldn't take the risk.
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  • tallgrasstallgrass 60 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Thank you both for taking your time to reply.

    Rosegeo - is your kid an engineering major? If so, do you have a plan C if hiring tutor doesn't help?
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  • rosegeorosegeo 179 replies5 threads Junior Member
    He is going in as an engineering major. If hiring a tutor doesn't help then we are in the fortunate position that we can afford it.
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  • BeaudreauBeaudreau 1162 replies39 threads Senior Member
    @tallgrass - My son is an OOS NMF finishing up his junior year in aerospace engineering, one of the harder engineering majors. He is on track to graduate next year and will also add two minors, one in history and one in German. His GPA is about a 3.8. He has worked very hard, but that's expected in engineering. Any NMF who is also willing to work hard should be able to maintain at least a 3.5 average.
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  • tallgrasstallgrass 60 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Thank you, Beaudreau, that’s encouraging to hear. My daughter intends to study the same major, although she might switch to a different one, or completely drop out of engineering, you just never know.

    I am putting together a list of 2-3 schools with guaranteed NMF scholarships that we would like to visit over the spring break, but I am uncertain whether Texas A&M belongs there due to high GPA requirement. The other schools under consideration are Oklahoma and Oklahoma State with lower GPA requirement. The last NMF school under consideration is ASU, but we wouldn’t visit there until summer or fall later this year.

    My main concern at this point is whether to visit a school that (probably) shouldn’t be on the list to begin with. Part of me says skip it, not worth the risk, and part of me says it doesn’t hurt to visit, speak with admissions, tour the facilities, get your questions answered right there. I am sure we are not the only family in this situation.

    If you or anyone else have any suggestions how to approach it, I would greatly appreciate it.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6656 replies2 threads Senior Member
    I don't see why maintaining a 3.5 would be any harder in engineering versus another area. One issue about engineering and math is that it is rational (mostly not based on opinions) and it is possible to be perfect. I agree with others that it is not easy (I was a math major), but it should be doable.

    We faced this with one daughter who has since maintained an average well above 3.5. This can be more difficult if a nasty breakup or other personal issue shows up. The other daughter is currently choosing between universities that don't have this requirement.
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  • BeaudreauBeaudreau 1162 replies39 threads Senior Member
    @tallgrass - You should also check out Alabama. The facilities there are incredible, including new engineering buildings, honors dorm, and student union. Tuscaloosa is also a very nice college town.

    If ASU is Arizona State, then you will be very impressed with the Barrett Honors College. It's rated number one in the nation. Barrett is on its own campus within a campus, with their own dorms, dining hall, gym, classrooms, lounge etc. It's actually gated off from the rest of the university. Tempe is a great college town too. However, a summer visit to Phoenix may not be the best!
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  • Debbie7452Debbie7452 536 replies15 threads Member
    I was scared about this for my daughter. She was a chemistry major, not engineering, but those classes are challenging as well. We lightened her class load by utilizing AP credits and she took used her elective classes for some easier (for her) classes to help buffer the heavy science. It turned out she didn't need to worry because she graduated with a 4.0. They also get a probationary semester if there is a slip up, so you don't lose everything for one bad semester.
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  • tallgrasstallgrass 60 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Beaudreau

    We briefly considered Barrett when my S 15 was applying. They even offered him free airfare to visit the campus (after he was named NMSF), but he already had an offer from UMN-TC in hand that he liked much better, so we never went. If they still do that, it would make for a cheap visit.

    My son who is now a sophomore ME major says 3.5 GPA is definitely doable, but very hard and potentially stressful. He agrees with Debie7452’s approach – load up on easy(for her) lib ed requirements and electives early on, finish freshman year above 3.9, and don’t slide sophomore year below 3.8. That should provide enough cushion in her junior year with really hard engineering classes. As long as she doesn’t slide below 3.5 in her junior year, she should be set.


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  • lee6666lee6666 247 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited March 2017
    @tallgrass, I know engineering students who have achieved a 3.5 GPA and kept their scholarships -- and those who haven't. You're right -- so much depends on the students themselves, how they adapt to college, and their time management skills. However, if they are coming in as a NMF, they should be well prepared for success. I would ask the engineering school for some stats to help settle any concerns. @DadTwoGirls, I do think engineering is more difficult than some other majors, especially freshman year with so many "weed out" engineering courses. I understand your point that it is more of a science, but trust me, there are plenty of freshman engineering students who are a bit jolted freshman year when the average on their physics exams is a 50 (I also know a sophomore chemical engineering major who last semester had a 2-hour exam that consisted of one question!). I mean no disrespect to other majors as I believe all A&M students work very hard and all majors here do an exemplary job of preparing students for their future careers, however, my son rooms with engineering, business and bio-med students and the engineering students find themselves having to devote more time to their studies. @tallgrass, again, I'd ask the engineering school for stats. I recall my son saying something like 15% or 20% of his freshman class (class of 2019) achieved a 3.5 or higher, but I don't recall the specifics. He has maintained that and he is not NM.
    edited March 2017
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  • gogogogobruinsgogogogobruins 232 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I agree with @DadTwoGirls Engineering shouldn't be any harder than other fields, in fact, it would be easier because here's no subjectivity in grading. I was an astrophysics major (not at A&M but at UCLA, believe it or not, UCLA is academically challenging!) and if I didn't get 3.5, there was no hope of grad school!! So 3.5 is NOT that hard to achieve. :) yes you'd have to study for it but if you knew how to study in high school, you'll adjust and do just fine! Good luck!!
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  • tallgrasstallgrass 60 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Lee6666

    Thank you very much for taking your time to respond, you offer great suggestion. If we end up visiting campus, we will definitely ask for NMF engineering stats.

    With no disrespect to other parents and students, I also have to agree with your observation. My son, ME class of 2019 at a comparable institution (UMN-TC), pretty much says the same thing – there is no other major on campus that has to devote so much time to studies as engineering students do, while also getting lower grades. While my son still maintains relatively high GPA of 3.8, he knows of only one from his circle of engineering friends that has a GPA above 3.5 (incidentally, his friend also is NMF like my son, and got exact same scholarships as my son did).

    Like your kid, he is surrounded mostly by engineering peers, and a few pre-med and business majors. He also had to take couple of liberal arts classes to satisfy his lib ed requirements. His observation: engineering is “brutal”; pre-med/bio-med majors generally study less and get better grades; business majors study a lot less and their grades are even higher; and lib arts classes are a “joke”.

    So that’s where my hesitation comes from – I know it’s doable, my son says it’s doable, but the probability seems less than 50-50, and there is no way of knowing ahead of time. If we were in state, the risk of going from $0 to $10K seems worth taking. For OOS parents, it means going from $0 to $30K (and rising), which feels more like a gamble than a risk, since we wouldn’t have the funds to pay for it.
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  • KF7LCEKF7LCE 129 replies10 threads Junior Member
    edited March 2017
    The real question with the 3.5 GPA is what happens if you lose it.

    If you can still pay for TAMU, go ahead.

    If losing that money would force you to withdraw or transfer, then I probably wouldn't do it.

    Getting a 3.5 isn't that uncommon, it puts you in the top 15-20% of your class.If your kid is a NMF, that's very doable. Most of the NMFs I started with as a freshman are still here. That being said, having to get a 3.5 is a different deck of cards. Illness, personal issues, a C in a class you don't understand, all those could get you in trouble. And f you are depending on that money, it forces you to play your schedule as conservatively as possible, eg no minors, taking easy profs rather than good ones, and often sacrifice a social life to keep There's also the every-day pressure of knowing it's either getting As or going home.

    If you are going to take the offer, do everything you can to max out your grades your first two years. Bad grades early on in school have a much greater impact on your GPA than they do later. Bs in calc and physics in your first semester could get you put on scholarship probation, whereas two Bs for a junior with a 3.8 and 90 credits finished won't even faze them. On top of that, it's easier to get As in freshman and sophomore classes than upper level. A 3.9 or 4.0 would be ideal for freshman year, and I would want to be above a 3.7 heading into junior year. With the probation semester, I don't think you can lose that money if you have a 3.5 going into senior year.

    I'm a NMF and junior engineering major from a poor OOS family. If there's anything you want to know, just ask.
    edited March 2017
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  • gogogogobruinsgogogogobruins 232 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @tallgrass I think every science major thinks it’s harder than other sciences... :D
    so of course, I think physics is the hardest and takes most time. Engineering is for wimps. lol.
    (do you watch Big Bang Theory?)
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  • izelkayizelkay 397 replies10 threads Member
    Y'all are overthinking it. Seriously, maintaining a 3.5 GPA in engineering is not that difficult. I can see why you'd be concerned because of scholarship reasons, but I don't think a 3.5 would be that hard to maintain, especially with those credentials.
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  • bodanglesbodangles 8628 replies557 threads Senior Member
    It may not be the most difficult thing in the world, but it's not easy, and it's definitely a lot of work.
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  • TamuEngineerTamuEngineer 47 replies0 threads Junior Member
    If your student needs GPA boosters, have them take their two required ICD courses their first semester. I took both of them first semester, and received two easy A's. One was an online class (that literally almost every upper classmen has taken) and another was a lecture class. It balanced out my two math classes, and ENGR 111.
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  • Thelma2Thelma2 2608 replies49 threads Senior Member
    @TamuEngineer which one did you take online for ICD? Was it through TAMU?
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  • lee6666lee6666 247 replies3 threads Junior Member
    For incoming engineering students, there's a current Aggie Reddit post that provides some good advice: https://www.****/r/aggies/comments/60285y/tamu_engineering/
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