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Engineering college questions, need serious answers please.?

Hi, I'm a sophomore in high school, and I've run into a few major questions in the search for colleges. First, some information:

My GPA (as of now, but it will go up): 4.02

Classes: 1 AP, 3 Honors, French 2, Orchestra

Activities: Winterguard, Colorguard, Dance, Church youth group leader, Vice President of my 4H club, Green Club, International Club, 4H camp counselor, Fiddle Club, among others.

Predicted ACT score (from the PLAN test): 34-35

I plan to major in Environmental Engineering, so that narrows down my choices. Which brings me to my first question.

1) Which college(s) are the "best" for majoring in Environmental Engineering?

I'd like your personal opinion, so feel free to interpret "best" however you'd like.

Also, I live in Minnesota (where this major isn't offered at all). So...

2) Do you know of any good colleges close to Minnesota with this major?


3) What do you know of South Dakota school of mining and technology's environmental engineering program?

Other colleges that have caught my eye include California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Colorado State University, Northwestern University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. MIT seems like a stretch for my budget, as well as distance, but it's definitely an option. Any personal information on these would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hi Kaitlin,

    Environmental engineering is and will continue to be one of the hottest and most employable fields for the next 40 years. That is a great goal.

    Don't count on the so-called "predicted" test scores. I've known dozens of students who weren't within 25% of the predictions.

    Your ECs look great. Unfortunately, unless they have a bearing on engineering studies, they have no relevance to your college application.

    Would you consider ROTC? I know that a number of the finest engineering schools in the country set aside some slots for ROTC students. Rice and RPI are two - both are exceptionally good schools. Plus, you are guaranteed a job and direct experience upon graduation. And the ROTC program pays all or almost all of your tuition, room and board, and gives you some spending money as well each month.

    When you get your actual ACT or SAT scores, go to one of the free online services that will match you with schools that have your desired major. Apply to at least three that are likely to accept you.

    My favorite is College Matchmaker from the College Board. The web address is below.

    One last comment: the countries that will be dominating in world affairs this century will be the US, Russia, China, India, and Brazil. It's time to drop French and devote yourself to a language that will help you in life: Russian, Mandarin, Hindi, Portuguese or Spanish.

    To answer your questions:

    1. UC-Berkeley, Rice, MIT, Georgia Tech, Cal Tech, Carnegie-Mellon, RPI, Columbia, Cornell, Northwestern [Chicago - that's close to you], Air Force Academy, USMA [West Point - the military is desperate for environmental engineers], Penn, USC, Yale. Every one is a superb "name" school.

    2. Northwestern in Chicago;

    3. SoDak Mines is in Rapid City. Have you been there?

    What a dump! You can do much better.

    Source(s): It is way too early to settle on a school decision, but here it is for future reference:
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  • 1 decade ago

    Engineers do not have a good opinion of "Environmental Engineering". The field is though to be full of half-trained interfering busybodies. For this reason, "Environmental Engineering Majors consistently have lowest initial job offers among graduating engineers and their salaries stay low.

    Better you should study a traditional Engineering Field.

    If you're looking for something a bit different, consider:

    Bioprocess Engineering

    Biological Engineering

    These last two Majors will be heavily involved with developing energy production from unconventional but "natural" sources.

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  • Teresa
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Are you sure that she meant Algebra AGAIN or Algebra 2? Because you definitely need Algebra 2 in order to get to a 4-year college. I strongly do not recommend taking the same course again. You can get an independent review book of algebra and study it yourself if you need more help. Bottom line: Take geometry or algebra 2. You WILL be behind if you don't!

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  • 1 decade ago

    First of all, congrats for being a sophomore in high school and already knowing the major that interests you most. I'm in the end of my junior year in high school and am currently visiting universities that have good engineering programs. I'm fairly similar to you in that I'm looking to major in either environmental or civil engineering and would like to attend a "top" school. Not necessarily a big name school (although that never hurts xD), but certainly one with a good program. Based on my experience so far, here are a few general things to keep in mind when judging civil/environmental engineering programs:

    - Do all of the engineering majors take the same classes the first/second years? When do you start taking classes pertinent to your major? This is great to know because if for some reason you realize that say...chemical engineering is really what interests you more, you want to know how easy it will be to switch. You may feel definate now, but it never hurts to have a security blanket just in case.

    - Find out what competitions the program does (ie. steel bridge competition, concrete canoe competition, etc). This may be more relevent to civil engineering with the bridges and such, but to be honest with you the two programs share many of the same basics. All of the schools I have visited so far combine the two programs in one building, and they are fairly entertwined because environmental engineering is (for the most part) a facet of civil engineering.

    - What is the program doing abroad or as a service project? From what I've seen, engineers tend to not have as many "study abroad" options that will give credits relevent to engineering, but a lot of civil/environmental programs will build different projects in third-world countries, such as creating a clean water source.

    - General stuff about the facilities: What kind of shape is the lab equipment in, what is the working space like at the school, and more specifically WHO is using the facilities? Some of the better schools may favor their graduate students in order to gain the prestige that their school has. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just something to keep in mind when looking at schools.

    - And of course there is always class size and the accessibility of professors to consider as well. While you can't really judge the professors without going to the school and meeting with at least one of them, you can always email and ask them about their environmental engineering program. Female engineers are becoming more common, but usually they are still in the minority no matter if it is electrical or environmental engineering. This means that the professors MAY be looking to increase the number of women in their program, which might make them more accomodating to you if you plan on visiting. It may not mean this as well, it depends on the school and the professor.

    Sorry for going off on a tangent, but I thought this might help just a little bit when you are looking at schools. Because no matter what else someone tells you is a "good" environmental engineering school, you are still the one who has to make the decision on what school you like best (if you are accepted of course :D).

    Okay, I'll try to answer your questions really quickly now:

    1. "Best" colleges really varies. Penn State has a good program (disclosure: My mom is a civil engineer who was an undergraduate at Penn State University Park and went on to get her master's at Cornell. She has only good things to say about her experience, so you might want to look into it.), but it's large. I've heard Ohio State is also a good school. And of course there are the Ivy schools that someone already listed off, Caltech, and MIT. Carnegie Mellon is another good school (its one of the "new ivies"), and while perhaps not as prestigious Delaware University had a great Civil/Environmental program and building (I visited it and saw the building and one of the professors. I liked it and recommend you look into it, even if it wouldn't be a first choice school for you.) Villanova University is another school to consider, it is a smaller school (one step behind an ivy league school with a definate ivy feel) with great facilities. I've also heard about WPI and RPI, although I haven't looked into them much yet. RPI does have a junior scholarship that I applied to though, you might want to check into it next year (It might just be for New York State residents however, I'm not sure). And if you decide to go and check out MIT, you might as well visit WPI and Northeastern University (another decent school) because both are in Massachusetts.

    2) I haven't heard of any, but then again I wasn't looking into Minnesota schools.

    3) Absolutely nothing.

    Good luck!

    Source(s): Myself, College Visits, Personal Research Definately check out: ^I recommend doing the college matchmaker that both sites have a variation of. You don't have to answer all of the questions to find matches (sometimes if you do this it gets rid of certain colleges that you thought would show up, which always made me wonder if I was missing some schools by giving too much information) and it may help you find colleges in Minnesota.
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