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The outline of engineering studies in US

  1. Nov 12, 2011 #1
    Hello I am new here so my name is Lucas (at least english equivalent), I am sophomore in high school, I am a student of IB Diploma curriculum and I live in Poland. I want to study aerospace engineering in US and I have some questions.

    1. Curriculum division
    Is it true that freshman and sophomores years are only theory (maths, physics and chemistry)? How often practical exercises are carried out and on which year they start?

    2. Exams.
    I have heard that there are final exams when a semester is ending, but are there some tests during semesters which include for example 3 lectures?

    3. Top colleges.
    What are the top aerospace engineering colleges excluding MIT and Caltech?

    4. Free time.
    Do engineering students in US have to study during all school breaks, weekdays and weekends to graduate from college with high GPA? Or maybe just weekdays and/or weekends? I am asking about it because I am a big fan of American sports and it would be great to spend some time in pubs/stadiums/arenas watching live ballgames because in Poland they are late at night and I usually watch them on demand (replies).

    5. SAT preparation and more.
    Obligatory exams are maths and English right? Can you recommend me some books that would prepare me properly to maths, physics, chemistry and English exams? I do not know how to call them in English but there are a (personal/incentive?) letter and a speech with college representative that are very important when applying to college in US and are there any books or websites with tips how to write/prepare to them?

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2011 #2
    These are all pretty dependent on which university, which class, and what professor. Generally in the U.S the first two years are going to be Gen. Ed stuff (english, history, etc). Along with that you'll be satisfying various prereqs for engineering courses (math,physics, etc). You wont be able to take any real engineering courses without even knowing calculus for instance. The only practical things you'll be doing are physics and chem labs most likely. Engineering courses will function the same way where you'll prolly have a good amount of lab work. The higher you go will result in more papers and projects on top of the usual theory. Senior year you'll be working on a design project which will be 100% practical lol.

    Tests depend on professors. Even final exams at my school are professor specific. I dunno what semester course will only have 3 lectures unless its some kind of seminar type thing.

    Study time is dependent on how long it takes you to learn and get things done. I can't imagine someone studying all day everyday without going crazy. So I'd advise you to go out to those ballgames once in a while, you'll be working hard and you'll need the break.

    Do they even have SAT subject tests? Unless somethings change since I graduated, SAT is only' math and verbal.
  4. Nov 12, 2011 #3
    1) Yes, but it's pretty much necessary unless you had excellent math/physics from HS (You will probably need to). Most of those classes are basically fundamental to any engineering classes. There are cases in which some schools offer freshman "engineering" courses, but they are so watered down and there is so little theory that they basically just end up wasting space on your schedule, which could be better spent on classes that prepare you for real engineering classes later.

    2) Most classes have 2-3 exams during the 15 week semesters plus 1 final. So perhaps, 1 test every month at the most frequent with 1 month's worth of material.

    3) http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-engineering-schools

    4) You should be fine for breaks. As an underclassmen, I'd say your weekends are pretty free in general, but week days not so much. as you get into your final years of engineering classes, I'd say classes get more involved with labs and things and you end up needing to do much more work on saturday and sunday. Weekdays suck.

    5) SAT's only really test up to algebra and trigonometry, but you should have a solid background in calculus before beginning engineering an curiculum. I have no advice for how to study english.

    Decent score to get into many schools for engineering:
    english: 600

    Decent score to get into top schools for engineering:
    english: 650
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  5. Nov 13, 2011 #4
    http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/freshman/requirements/examination-requirement/SAT-subject-tests/index.html" [Broken]

    look for Berkeley

    so english counts? I must start learning harder :):)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Nov 13, 2011 #5


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    Homework Helper

    They've been around for a while. Until 1994, they were known as the Achievement Tests, and in 1994-2005 they were known as the SAT II's.

    Which SAT are you talking about? If you're talking about the regular SAT, then I'm pretty sure you're wrong in saying that it includes trigonometry. However, if you are referring to the SAT Subject Test in Math, then yes, trigonometry is included.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  7. Nov 13, 2011 #6
    English counts much more I believe as an undergrad than as a grad student. They want well rounded students

    I meant the regular SATs. They are predominately algebra, but I took the SATs something like 4 times in high school. I saw a few trig questions on there, whether they say it tests trig or not. They might call it just might call it Geometry.

    English counts also because many freshman that say they want to enter into the engineering program don't actually stay in it. Many switch to something easier that requires more English skills for this reason, even if you have high math skills, it isn't enough.
  8. Nov 16, 2011 #7
    I know that I have almost a year to send applications to colleges, but I have already figured out strategy how I would pick schools, so:

    Picks number 1, 2 and 3: TOP10 in aerospace engineering
    Pick number 4: TOP50 in engineering
    Pick number 5: TOP100 in engineering with high enrollment
    1 - Stanford
    2 - Michigan
    3 - Texas (Austin)
    4 - Florida
    5 - Central Florida

    Please give me some advise what to correct.

    Does the fact I am from Europe affect my chances for getting to a university and getting scholarship? Generally what do they count when picking students that will get scholarships? What percent of aerospace engineering class usually have covered tuition?
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  9. Nov 16, 2011 #8
    Based on rankings alone I'd say these colleges are fine.

    I see one issue, however: All of these schools are huge!

    I'd say, however, that if I had to apply to more schools, I would have preferred applying to small schools in engineering. This is not an easy task however, since most engineering programs require being a part of large schools. If you have a car, parking also will suck at all of those colleges (for some reason i care about this). Anyway...

    A couple of colleges I've found that are ranked very well and are sort of small and cozy:

    Case Western Reserve University
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Stevens Institute of Technology
    Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

    Having started at a branch campus of around 4K students and transferring to a main campus of 40K students, I often miss the little campus. Classes seemed more fulfilling and I felt like I was important to enough to ask questions more often in small class sizes.
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