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Am I on the right track to engineering?

  1. Dec 3, 2014 #1
    Hello everybody, 1st post (please don't bite :P)

    I am a freshman student from Arcadia, California (near Pasadena) and I have an interest in engineering, and hopefully I will major in either biomedical, computer, electrical, industrial, or mechanical engineering. I understand that I have little to no experience and have a lot to learn but I would like to get help and knowledge from those who are, simply put, better than me.

    My goal is to make entry into one of the top engineering schools in the nation (Harvey Mudd, CalTech, MIT, Berkeley, etc.).

    I am self studying AP Biology, Psychology, and Chinese and am taking Algebra 2 Honors (completed Geometry and Algebra 1 in middle school) in my current year. Unfortunately I had a difficult teacher and I currently have a middle C. By the end of the semester I can probably work my way up to a high B. Will this B kill me later in life or when applying to college? I understand the biggest principle behind all engineering is math, but I am working more to hopefully turn this C around and ensure an A in the next semester and future years.

    Over the next 3 years, I plan to work my way into Physics Team, Math Team, Solar Cup, and be an officer in Robotics Club. I also plan to take Advanced Placement courses in Calculus BC, Statistics, Human Geography, Chemistry, Physics C, Environmental Science, English Language and Literature, Computer Science, and MAYBE Studio Art and Music Theory. I will be a part of Concert Band for 4 years.

    My biggest 2 questions for creating this thread are how badly getting a B in Algebra 2 will affect me, and what extracurriculars I should do, specifically for summers and internship/volunteer. I am also curious as to what other forum members pursuing engineering did as well.

    Any input or feedback would be appreciated, and thanks in advance to all replies I receive.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2014 #2


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    I can't say how the colleges you hope to apply to will view your HS grade transcript, but if you don't test well in the SATs or the ACTs, it probably won't matter anyway. Colleges use these tests as a guide to see which incoming students will do well in a college environment.

    Since you are currently a HS freshman, you may want to plan on taking the PSAT/NMSQT test before taking the SAT. Students who do well on the PSAT qualify for National Merit scholarships, while taking the test will give you experience in what types of questions are asked on the regular SATs:


    If your HS has an academic or guidance counselor, perhaps you should talk with them to find out more about these tests.

    Space is limited in some of these colleges, so it is important that you do well in your academics. You're competing against kids from all over the country, and some international students, to be offered admittance.
  4. Dec 3, 2014 #3
    I actually have taken the PSAT and some model SATs (best score ~1960, unofficial). My PSAT result will come in later weeks.
  5. Dec 5, 2014 #4
    Well it turns out I have a 74 in Algebra 2 Honors. I am determined to work my 455 off and get a B or a B+ by the end of the semester, but how detrimental is a B in math?
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