Archive for the ‘Engineering’ Category

The Popularity of Engineering Majors

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

With the economy flatlining, practical majors are starting to look awfully good.

Heck with linquistics and comparative literature. More students are declaring themselves engineering majors.

Undergraduate engineering programs, according to an article in The Christian Science Monitor, haven’t been this popular in three decades. Since 2007, the number of undergraduate engineering students has jumped 7.5%. During the same period, graduate engineering programs have enjoyed a 9% bump in admissions.

Apparently making money in an uncertain economy isn’t the only motivation for engineering geeks: (more…)

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Free Colleges — This Isn’t a Typo

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Believe it or not, a handful of colleges charge less tuiton than a bag of theater popcorn. Actually, they are free.The New York Times wrote about one of the schools, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, in today’s edition. Not surprisingly, students submitting 2009 early decision applications to the school, which is an amazing place for engineers, artists and architecture students, jumped 70%.

Peter Cooper, an industrialist and inventor who had less than one year of formal education, founded the school in 1859. Thomas Edison attended Cooper Union and the NAACP and the Red Cross were organized here.

Here are three other schools that offer free tuition:

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, MA. I’d love for my son, a wannabe engineer, to attend this school, which focuses on project-based learning, which is how Ben learns best. But like Cooper Union, the college is incredibly selective so it’s doubtful that an unweighted “A-” kid has a chance.

Deep Spring College, Deep Springs, CA. This is a two-year school plunked down on a working cattle ranch and alfalfa farm near the Nevada state line. Last time I looked the school capped enrollment at 26 (brilliant) male students, who typically transfer to prestigious four-year schools.

Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia. Like the other three schools, this renowned college of music is extremely selective — just 11% make the cut.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution.

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The Most Lucrative College Majors

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

When I was in college it didn’t occur to me to major in something that would lead to a lucrative career. I started out as a history major and ultimately switched to journalism.

Today, however, teenagers, including my own, seem far more interested in choosing majors and careers that will lead to large paychecks. My son aspires to be an engineer and my daughter is currently a business major although she is also majoring in Spanish.

With the cost of college degrees so high, it’s only natural that students want to land jobs that can provide them with a comfortable living and help them pay off any loans. For those with this goal in mind, Forbes recently published a story that included the most lucrative college majors. The story is here.

Computer engineering topped the list of the highest paying majors. Computer science majors, who have been in the workforce less than five years, are earning an average salary of $60,500. The four highest paid majors for recent grads were all related to engineering.

The pay of engineers, however, tends to peak while those of certain other major, such as economics, finance and math, enjoy more growth potential. Interestingly, grads with economics, accounting and finance degrees all start out making about the same salary, but after a decade in the workforce, econ majors are earning almost $12,000 more than finance majors and finance majors are making $13,000 more than accountants. You can see a chart illustrating this phenomenon at this blog.

You can find more information about the highest paying college majors at

Meanwhile, here are today’s 10 most popular college majors:

1. Business Administration.

2. Psychology.

3. Nursing.

4. Biology

5. Education

6. English literature

7. Economics

8. Communication Studies/Speech Communications/Rhetoric.

9. Political Science and Government

10. Computer and Information Science.

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Engineering Majors: A Road Less Traveled

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

I’ve been a great admirer of liberal arts colleges for years. Students who  attend these colleges enjoy small classes, get to know their professors, and, per capita, they tend to go on to graduate schools in greater numbers.

My son has watched his sister thrive at her liberal arts college which prompted him to say that he’d like to attend one too. This request, however, posed one huge problem:  He hopes to be an engineer.

There are very few liberal arts colleges that offer a engineering major, which made me wonder about the effectiveness of so called 3-2 engineering programs. Here’s how they work:  You attend a liberal arts college for three years and then you transfer to an engineering school for two more years. At the end of the 5th year, the student receives a liberal arts degree and an engineering degree.

Many liberal arts colleges across the country offer these 3-2 degree programs. These colleges often align with the engineering schools at Columbia University in New York and Washington University in St. Louis. Some of the other schools that participate include Penn State, Case Western Reserve, Cal Tech and Duke.

I wondered, however, if these 3-2 programs really work. Do many future engineers participate in them? And, more importantly, do the colleges adequately prepare students for the rigors of engineering school in the fourth and fifth year of school?  (more…)

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