Electrical engineering undergrad

i will be an undergraduate student of electrical engineering this fall. i have some questions about what i may have to expect.

for some clarification: i will be studying at ryerson university.

i generally want to know how much of what we learned in my final year of highschool i will need to know? will i need to know basically everything?

i did well in math and physics. my chemistry was not as good. it wasn't bad but i'm not sure if a 70 in chemistry would cut it. i'm reviewing some of my chem basics because i forgot some things.
ur gonna need math and a little bit of physics. As for chemistry, u don't really need it.
will i need to know practically every formula? i know how to do most problems in final year physics except for the electricity and magnetism section. they didn't cover that for us. i'll be covering it myself during the summer.


pl_terranine said:
will i need to know practically every formula? i know how to do most problems in final year physics except for the electricity and magnetism section. they didn't cover that for us. i'll be covering it myself during the summer.
Don't worry about memorizing formulas before the new term starts. You'll get what you need in your classes. Any head start that you have from AP classes is a good thing, but they'll be covering the material in class and on HW that you need for the tests.

Probably the biggest thing that you can do is figure out an initial organization technique for your classes and homework. Being organized and on top of your assignments it a big help, and it helps you to optimize your study time. If you can get the book list for the first term's classes, it doesn't hurt to buy them early and start reading. I also found that keeping a good (evolving) crib sheet of important points and equations for each class really helped me in my study work and test preparation.

And for me, my mantra in my work and studying is "Be positive. Relax and focus." Good productive study habits will get you a long way in school, and also in life. Have fun! -Mike-


One other suggestion for this summer before school starts would be to buy a couple electronics kits from Radio Shack and put them together. Maybe even a BASIC Stamp Kit to start learning about microcontrollers ("uCs"):


One of the most helpful things you can do, IMO, is to work with practical electronics projects in addition to doing the regular school classwork and labwork. When you're actually building things and working with real-world things, you end up learning what things are important, and what things aren't really used much in practice. This has taught me to "ask the right questions" of myself and my instructors, and has made me a much more practical engineer.

Like, you could use the BASIC Stamp Kit with its prototyping area and some infrared RX/TX widgets to build and program a Universal Remote Control. That would be a fun and very informative side project.


Great advice, Berkeman! I have just a couple of points that I would like to bring up that I don't think get enough attention.
1. I think engineering students should realize early on that "just getting a grade" in their math/science courses is not the objective. From what I have seen (as a 3rd year engineering student), we have to achieve a pretty high degree of mastery of these subjects. Calculus, for instance, is a huge part of many classes. It is not sufficient to merely "get a grade". Being able to apply what you have learned is paramount.
2. I do not intend this one as a personal affront, but I do feel it needs to be mentioned. I have noticed that many people tend to be very casual in their written communications. Not capitalizing to begin a sentence, not capitalizing the pronoun "I",
using "u" instead of "you", and my own personal favorite-poor spelling- all lend a flavor of informality that will not serve you well in the future. From "English Composition 101" to "Technical Writing to" generating reports both in your academic and professional life
you are judged on these things. Make a practice of being as clear and concise as you can while observing all those pesky rules now- it will make your life easier in the future.

I hope this helps- I'll be getting off my soapbox now...


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I totally agree with Berkeman. And very good advice BillBLack.

I attended Ryerson for one year, but that was MANY years ago, when it was still called Ryerson Polytechnic Institute. In any case, I believe it is still geared more towards preparing graduates for work in the field rather than Research and Development. (If you want to go on to a Masters Degree, or a Ph.D., with the intention of doing R. & D. work, you would be better off going to the University of Toronto. Their Engineering Science program is excellent and from there you can go anywhere.)

While I attended Ryerson, I did not find the work there mind-blowing. There was enough homework to ensure you covered all aspects of the topic under study, but we were not asked to provide many proofs. If you did well in high school, you should do well at Ryerson. The first year of Calculus, Physics, Circuit Analysis, etc. wasn’t too different than the last year of high school. High school introduces you to all the concepts, first year Ryerson now expects you to get a solid grasp of them.

Some important advice I can give you: be disciplined with yourself and be prepared to work. Engineering is quite different from many of the other programs available at university; in engineering, it is not good enough to just be smart, you also need an excellent work ethic. The work load is heavier than most other programs, and I saw many smart people fail simply because they lacked the self-discipline to stay on top of their work. Assignments and your work load will quietly pile up if you don’t stay on top of them; before you know it, you will be overwhelmed and will find yourself back at home explaining to your parents that you failed out of your first year at university.


very helpful

DuncanM, when you mentioned you weren't required to provide many proofs is this related to the math courses?

this thread has been very helpful and i appreciate everyone's advice. thank you.
>> . . . is this related to the math courses?

Yes, I was referring to the math courses. At Ryerson, they just expected students to be able to do the differentiation, integration, etc.

At the U. of T., in addition to expecting students to do all that, they also expected students to prove theorems, hypotheses, etc. Since students were being educated for R. & D. roles, they were pushed harder, to prepare them for the day they, too, might break new ground in their fields.
alright. i guess the only way to get around that is to just *try* to get more indepth in the mathematics that i'll be using during the summer or breaks.

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