Planning for an engineering college in high school can help your chances of getting accepted and ensure you are on a trajectory for success. Use this guide during all four years of high school to assess what you should be doing each year in preparation for college.

Freshman year:

  • Take a challenging course during your first year of high school instead of leaving them all for your junior or senior year.
  • Read as much as possible. The rest of high school and college will require coursework that involves more reading. Start getting used to this workload by reading books, trending topics, newsletters, etc.
  • Sharpen your technical aptitude. Become comfortable with technology since it is becoming increasingly common both inside and outside the classroom.

Sophomore year:

  • Polish your social, people and soft skills. Strong communication skills are essential to your educational career and future employment opportunities.
  • As the presence of social media increases, more people are researching connections online. Make sure you put your best self forward with everything you share. When posting, ask yourself how you would feel if your parents, grandparents, teachers or boss saw your post. Also remember, while you may control privacy settings, you can’t control whether or not others make screenshots or recordings and reshare.
  • Attend a college fair. It’s never too early. You should start thinking about engineering colleges and universities as well as which engineering disciplines interest you.

Junior year:

  • Seek internship or volunteer programs for high school students. Are you interested in engineering but not sure which of STEM majors would be right for you? Still wondering, “What kind of engineer should I be?” Consider shadowing an engineer or obtaining an internship with an engineering company to learn more about the concentrations and industries in the field.
  • Schedule your college entrance exams such as the ACT or the SAT, and make sure you have ample time to study and prepare.
  • Use time-management tools and get organized. These tools are imperative for future success starting in college when personal time management is key.
  • Consider taking SAT subject tests such as Mathematics Level I, Mathematics Level II, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. These tests are supplemental but offer necessary preparation with the specific advanced knowledge that will be applied throughout your collegiate career.

Senior year:

  • Start visiting engineering colleges and university campuses in order to narrow your college search, and apply to the ones you feel strongly about attending.
  • Continue with engineering internships or volunteer opportunities because this experience is very valuable. Colleges will heavily consider these types of extracurricular activities when reviewing your application.
  • Build a resume. This document will help you prepare for college, and you can continue to expand it during your undergraduate career.
  • Resist the urge to coast during your senior year. Make sure you keep your grades up and take any applicable AP tests.

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