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Question on Engineering Progression

eagerdad17eagerdad17 32 replies2 threads Junior Member
Some of the requirements to be guaranteed to stay in the engineering major of your choice are quite demanding, 3.5 minimum GPA the core of 2 math and 2 science courses in chemical engineering and biomedical engineering. Does anyone know the attrition rate is for first year engineering students? And how hard is it to stay in a program if a student falls short of the requirements.
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Replies to: Question on Engineering Progression

  • wis75wis75 14266 replies64 threads Senior Member
    Getting a 3.5 in the courses related to your major should not be that difficult- you need the knowledge to succeed in the subsequent courses. You want to be well prepared for those classes and not struggle to keep up because you don't know enough material. If a student is interested and has the ability there should not be a problem. Remember- you earn a college degree, it is not handed to you for passing classes. Alll majors have core gpa requirements.
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  • treschicostreschicos 244 replies24 threads Junior Member
    From experience, not flexible. And the course sequence unique to WI (and/or advising) does not help. Taking Statics before Physics and concurrent with Calc 2, both of which should instead be prereqs, was a killer. And there was not an opportunity to retake the core courses to make up poor grades and stay in program. If your child is a poor tester, has a regular high school background courses, or has any tendencies that would impact first year grades (procrastination, not seeking help soon enough), I'd advise to go somewhere else. My kid is now thriving at a more supportive ABET program. From being denied opportunity to continue in engineering at WI to all As somewhere else in the very next semester with no real mitigating circumstances (eg was not a partier or immature or medical issues) to me says something about WI program and supports. My kid reports that her new school classes aren't easier, just that she has more opportunities for help when needed.
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  • treschicostreschicos 244 replies24 threads Junior Member
    Also, although WI has extra noncredit courses to help pass core classes, my kid was denied entry to them until midway through second semester by which time it was too late to recover the semesters GPA. And although there is tutoring that is free, the hours are limited and it is so busy, my child who went to all tutoring sessions often couldn't get help because it was so crowded. Her transfer school offers more tutoring hours (something like 10 hours a day vs. 3 or 4 at WI). For someone who really wants a WI engineering degree, I'd recommend community college and transfer. WI has great facilities for engineering and generally good profs, but I'd never recommend anyone except a brilliant test taker to start in the program as a freshman.
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  • eagerdad17eagerdad17 32 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Thanks treschios! He is leaning more to his other in, Purdue, which seems to have a very welcoming and collaborative environment. I may encourage him in that direction. He goes to a top 4 NJ Prep school and gets goods grades (3.8) , but he has a tendency to make small errors that prevents him from being great.
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  • eagerdad17eagerdad17 32 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Wis75 what you say is fair, but 3.5 does suggest either grade inflation or around 30% to 50% of the class does not make it. I am confident in my son's abilities. but there is uncertainty when you have an 18 year old away from home for the first time.
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  • wis75wis75 14266 replies64 threads Senior Member
    edited January 28
    I do not consider it grade inflation when students who learn the material get a good grade. Grading policies have long abandoned the notion of grading on a curve- where percentages of students get various grades. UW has figured out what should be covered in courses that can be mastered by students. Students with the intention of becoming engineers (and many other majors) are there to do the academics, it is not a "finishing school". There is a reason some colleges/U's have better reputations than others- it means something to have earned a degree from them. In STEM fields success in the next course is often based on a good foundation gained from doing well in a previous course. Requiring good grades means requiring a good foundation so students don't flounder. A student who can't get the required grades for a major likely shouldn't be in that major.

    Those 18 year olds are chomping at the bit waiting to leave the nest. Parents whose seniors are less easy to live with can attest to that! Entering college students are ready for the next phase in their lives. Time to consider your child an adult, not a five year old just leaving your care for the first time.
    edited January 28
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  • treschicostreschicos 244 replies24 threads Junior Member
    Our experience was that there was not grade inflation. While the courses are on a curve, the curve in the big courses is partially set by students who have taken the material before. For example, kids who scored a 4/5 on AP Chemistry dropping the accelerated chemistry class that they placed into after the first exam and setting the curve in beginning chem. For students who are used to high grades in high school because they are hard workers and get extra credit, they should know there is no such thing as extra credit for grades (in general) in those core classes. There did seem to be some gaming of the test taking. My kid who is a poor tester heard classmates bragging about getting extra time on exams because of disability accommodations, which also helped set the curve high. All of that is life where people game systems, and you do need to get better at tests and understand the material deeply to be a good engineer, but it's still a lot for an 18 year old to manage and only get a year to master.
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