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Problems of an Engineering Student: Top 5 Reasons Why Students Do Not Graduate From Engineering

Updated on January 24, 2016

Engineering Tools For Technical Drawing

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“Why is engineering so hard? Is it the math? Is it the curriculum?”

Well, sort of. Engineering mathematics is grueling once you pass elementary calculus and you will find yourself taking an average of 5 classes per semester (assuming you are really planning to graduate in 4 years). However, many of the problems have a lot to do with your idea of what engineering is. With that in mind, let us explore the Top 5 Reasons Why Students Do Not Graduate from Engineering.

1) They Go into Engineering for the Wrong Reasons

Many times, students enter the College of Engineering with preconceived notions that “I can make a lot of money once I graduate” and “I get to build cars and boats and stuff”. Engineering should never be viewed as a money-making profession, even though engineers do make a lot of money. Engineering should never be viewed as a construction profession, even though engineers do sometimes build things.

The ultimate goal of engineering majors is to give you the educational tools to design something that benefits society as a whole. Whether you decide to build that thing and sell it for profit is entirely up to you.

2) They Believe They Can Pass with Sheer Willpower

This is a very common mistake for high school students going into college. When these students enter college, they believe that if they study hard enough, then they will be able to pass their classes. Not entirely true. You see, like other sciences, engineering focuses on team interaction as much as it does on individual contributions. Therefore, you should never limit your success to what you alone can do.

If you have an issue with a math problem after trying to solve it yourself, then call up a classmate. See if he/she understands it. If that does not work, contact the teaching assistant or express your concerns with your study group. Usually, you have a week to complete your assignment. So take that time to contact everyone and anyone if you get stuck on a particular problem.

3) The Theories Intimidate Them

If there is one variation of Newton’s 2nd Law that turned my stomach in college, it was the one for a spherical coordinate system. The squiggles here and lines there (and letters everywhere else), made me want to cry. However, after applying the theory a couple of times to homework problems, I realized that much of it could be cut down to three or four variables.

Much like novels, a lot of these theories can be condensed to a page. So do not get caught up with the way the theory is structured. Try to work a couple of problems and note where the theory can and cannot be simplified. If you are still stuck, follow the points mentioned in #2 and call everyone and anyone in your discipline for help. Just don’t sit on that same problem/theorem for 3 days. That’s counterproductive.

4) They Overload their Schedules

You know, I have always argued that engineering is one of those majors that need 5 years to complete. The semester schedules are borderline insane and many bright students mess up their G.P.As because of scheduling. That is not to say there aren’t students who graduate in four years with very good G.P.As, but it takes a lot of discipline and interest that one has to cultivate from high school. But engineering is what it is.

So here is my advice for people who want to graduate in four years. If you wish to graduate in four years and still want to have a social life, you best create a routine in your freshman year that allows you to juggle your social life and school life. Whether it is waking up at 6 a.m, studying for 2 hours, having study group before 1st period, whatever, you have to remain consistent.

5) They Fail To Keep Up With Scheduling and Billing

This is very important. In a majority of colleges, the responsibilities of school fees and class scheduling falls on YOU. Not your parents and not your counselor. If you miss scheduling dates or fail to pay your fees on time, you are leaving a lot of your future to chance. So make a habit of doing these things:

  • Take note of the scheduling periods. When does enrollment for next semester’s classes open? When do they close?
  • A few days before classes open up, meet with your counselor or program coordinator and go through the classes you still have to complete. Make sure you have it written down somewhere.
  • Find out the last day to pay fees and place it somewhere as a reminder.
  • If you’re not paying your fees, remind your parents a week or so ahead of time.

Following these points is especially important for engineer students because, in many colleges, a lot of the classes are offered ONCE a year. So if you miss it, you’re not graduating in four years and that can be incredibly frustrating.

I hope some of the information discussed in this article is new to you. Much of it applies to all sciences, not just engineering. So if you choose not to pursue engineering in the distant future, you can still use what you learned here to succeed in whatever science you choose to go into. As always, thank you for reading and feel free to comment and tell me why you think engineering is so hard.

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