SWEet Wisdom December 2017 – How Can SWENexters Best Prepare for College?
College application season is wrapping up, and now that SWENexters have applied and are awaiting their acceptance letters, it is time to finish strong and prepare for the next step. In this issue of SWEet Wisdom we asked women engineers, “How can SWENexters best prepare for college?” Here are some great answers from four SWE members, ranging from quick tips to in-depth advice for students of any age. Best of luck to all SWENexters in their college careers!
Leteshia A. Lowe, Electrical Engineer, IBM
“I have three pieces of advice.
- Participate in clubs and organizations. Joining a club or organization is always good for college applications, along with being a leader in the organization (for example, president, treasurer, etc.).
- Take Advanced Placement (AP) classes if offered (or dual credit if available).
- Do your research! Make sure you are well informed about the colleges you are interested in attending, understanding the majors offered, class sizes, extra curricular activities, cost of attendance, etc.”
Cynthia Reid, Mechanical Engineer, Lord Corp.
“Take all of the higher level STEM classes you can fit in, but don’t sacrifice your other interests in the process. Think STEAM (where the “A” stands for “Art”) and continue to enjoy all other subjects. Art, music, language, history…whatever interests you, don’t let it go. It enriches your life and helps your mind grow in all directions.
Volunteer and/or take a leadership position in an after-school group. All of these things will grow skills in you that will be valuable in college and long afterwards!”
Kate Nolan, Chemical Engineer, Boeing
“The best thing that any SWENexter can do to prepare for college is to engage with their prospective universities and academic departments as much as possible, whether through in-person / on-campus interactions, meeting with alumni virtually or in person, or researching what the school is like online.
For me, one of the most important experiences I had in high school was attending a week-long engineering camp, during the summer after my junior year. We explored all of the engineering disciplines the university offered, while also learning more about the university itself, interacting with different engineering student organizations, spending time learning from our “camp counselors” (all engineering students), and working in teams on an engineering challenge. It was an incredible experience that immersed me in the university community, confirmed my choice of major, and introduced me to SWE. Today, I'm a proud alum of that university, and continue to be involved in SWE. I truly believe that attending engineering camp (in combination with my other pre-college interactions with the university) made it possible.
If you can't easily interact with the campus of the school you are considering, find out if that university has events in your community or nearby, perhaps through an alumni association, info sessions at your high school, or through SWE members in your area who are alumni of that school. Look up the organizations that the school has to offer and think about the activities you could be a part of to enhance your coursework, whether that is SWE, undergraduate research, engineering competition teams, or other campus and community organizations. Don't be afraid to reach out to department chairs, student organizations, or any other area that you're interested in or have questions about! It is so important to start building your new community before you arrive on campus, so that you can make an informed decision about the right major for you, and dive right in when you start classes!”
Arshiya Anand, Computer Science Student
“To look for sources of funding and scholarships, reach out to your counselor or academic advisor. They can also help you with advice on filling out the college application.
Be regular and punctual to all of your classes. Start your studies with a one track mind. Finish your assignments on a regular basis. There is no short cut to hard work, and the success will be yours.
Seek help from professors and class mates as needed. Plan the next semester way ahead of time.
Get set and go!!! Do not look back until you get the degree. Do your best!”