Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is it too late for me to pursue engineering?

  1. Nov 24, 2011 #1
    I am a junior in high school and unfortunately, I have not been able to take the hardest math/science classes possible. I am currently taking Regular Algebra II/Trig, Regular Chemistry, and will start College 101 Geology in the spring. That means that I will end my high school career with Pre-Calc, Physics, and maybe a science AP or AP Stat, which I can tell isn't hard enough for a rigorous engineering program.

    There are 2 main reasons why I am not in harder math/science classes:
    1) I didn't plan on becoming an engineer early in high school or junior high (My high school considers junior high math and science grades for placement in advanced math/science courses in high school. In fact, you're placed in advanced high school math/science courses starting in 8th Grade).
    2) I would've taken summer school courses in order to place myself in advanced math/science courses, but unfortunately, my high school doesn't offer summer school and feels that summer school credit from other schools cannot be "redeemed" because my school supposedly puts a higher standard on its students than rival high schools.

    My only option now is to take Pre-Calc over the summer online and take 101 Calculus at community college during 12th Grade on the side on top of my 12th Grade courses (because remember my school doesn't take credit from other schools even colleges. That College 101 Geology course is a non-dual that I will take on my own.) I totally willing to do this in order to get accepted into an enginnering program with ABET accreditation.
    So what do I do? What are my options if I have any?
    Btw, I am from Central NY, so if so, please reccommend any engineering programs with ABET accredition that would accept me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2011 #2
    what college do you want to go to? if you go to a state school declared as sciences, you should be able to take calc 1-2, gen chem 1-2, and calc-physics 1-2 your first year and then transfer into the engineering department if your grades are high. . . there is still plenty of time, some people even start their engineering degrees as 24+ year olds.

    i wouldnt rush to take calc outside of high school unless you can do well in it, meaning while it can help you get ahead, it might hurt you if you try to take on too much and it causes your grades to suffer. so while getting the classes completed fast is nice, it is ultimately much better to complete them with excellent grades. schools want to see you do well in the classes, not just rush through them with mediocre grades.
  4. Nov 24, 2011 #3
    I don't have a "dream" college, but U of Rochester, RIT, Syracuse Engineering, St. Lawrence 3+2 do come into mind.
  5. Nov 24, 2011 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    One would then take Introductory Calculus during first year of university. It is not too late to pursue engineering.
  6. Nov 24, 2011 #5
    even if you dont take AP science courses, take the AP soc, psy, history, english, etc. you should be able to get into some of those schools, right?

    the idea is, imo, to do well in hs, and then either switch majors to engineering after freshman year, or transfer from one school to one of your preferred schools after freshman year into engineering or something.

    everyone loves to see more women in engineering, so the best thing you can do for yourself, imo, is to do extremely well in the classes that you do take. the engineering depts are going to want to see strong grades in your freshman calc/chem/phys classes.

    so even if you don't think you can get into an engineering program right away, do your best with extra curriculars, and other humanities / social sciences APs, so that you can get into a school that has a good engineering program -- then transfer into it later :P
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  7. Nov 24, 2011 #6
    I was thinking the same thing when I transitioned from being a junior to senior in high school.

    I took a pre-engineering course at a vocational school around where I live (just a fancy term for machine trade class). The summer before my senior year I got a really good co-op job at a rapid-prototype machine shop. I get pretty interested in engineering while I worked there. My senior year I just took college algebra 2 since the vocational school didn't offer calculus.

    I feared that I would easily get weeded out the first few weeks of class since I hadn't taken calculus yet. I'm currently a freshman taking mechanical engineering, and I'm one of the few that didn't take calculus in high school.

    With a good work ethic you should be good even if you don't take calculus, I currently have an A in Calc 1 since I try very hard in that class. That's jus tmy story though, good luck with whatever you chose.
  8. Nov 24, 2011 #7


    User Avatar

    I have a adult learner in some of my classes that is an engineering major. He had to take every math offered beginning at math 004 up through algebra trig and finally calc. I'm pretty sure he just took all of his gen eds and remediation classes and then applied to the engineering major.

    It seems that you will be better equipped to start then he was but I use him as an example to say that if you really want to do it you should be able to. It may take some hard work and perhaps a little more time but it is definitely not impossible.
  9. Nov 24, 2011 #8
    I started engineering last year at 26--I have a 4.0 GPA and tutor people in basic math and physics for money--are you seriously asking if it's too late while you're still in high-school?
  10. Nov 24, 2011 #9
    I stopped reading there.
  11. Nov 24, 2011 #10
    Yes, I really thought I had no chance in engineering because I'm in no advanced math/science courses.

    Not many students at my school are interested in engineering and the only ones who are (all male) took AP Calculus AB and AP Physics during the senior year of their high school. I didn't know anyone who was in my situation who ever got into an engineering program before.
  12. Aug 16, 2012 #11
    I'm an engineering major and had to take pre-cal my first two semesters. I'm a sophomore now still taking Calc 2 haha. I took 1 AP class in highscool (AP Psych) and that's all I had. Actually I know several people that are behind. Just work hard and take summer classes, you've got plenty of time.
  13. Aug 16, 2012 #12
    You'll do fine. My high school didn't offer any advanced math / science courses. I started Calculus my first year at undergrad and it was fine. That's the standard path.
  14. Aug 16, 2012 #13
    Like Carl said, starting calculus freshman year is pretty standard for many programs, with calculus based physics starting that same term or the term after. You don't need to take those classes in high school. In fact, many students don't even have access to those classes at their high school, and college academic scheduling seems to take this into account.

    In short, you're just fine!
  15. Aug 16, 2012 #14
    I never took anything like an AP course in high school and I'm doing just fine. I did take calculus, but there were some people who didn't, and they just had to take a slightly different Calc I class to get caught up. Even if you have to take an extra class or two, you'll be fine.

    It's probably worth talking to an adviser at some of the schools you're considering. These things can be very school dependent, and they'll be able to tell you if you need to do any extra stuff. You're *certainly* not too late to pursue engineering, though.
  16. Aug 17, 2012 #15
    My high school did not offer AP classes. It did offer calculus but the only way to take it was to have done summer school, which I didn't do. I started in calc I with no prior experience and ended up with an A+. I'm now in my second year with a 4.0

    Anyone can do it... The difference is MOTIVATION. Study hard and you will be fine.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook