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  • Advice for Engineering Students

    Discussion in 'The Leisure Lounge' started by mhjones12, May 8, 2012.

    1. mhjones12

      mhjones12 Well-Known Member

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      My advice, after almost 10 years of collage education and having applied for multiple positions for both internships and jobs at all degree levels, is NOT to strive for a high GPA. Instead, focus that extra effort on joining extracurricular engineering projects and groups (like Formula SAE, etc.) and get as much experience doing real engineering as possible. Also, every summer you need to make getting an internship a top priority. Your first couple years will likely be more math, physics, and humanities than engineering, but there are still internships out there for first and second year students.

      From my experience, companies gloss right over my 3.9 GPA and go straight to “Oh, you don’t haven any internships?†Considering how much time, pain, and self-denial it took to maintain that GPA, it sucks big time, believe me. Looking back, I would trade my GPA for more extracurricular experience and internships. Companies care much more about your experience than about having a great GPA. You should still strive for a respectable GPA, but I would suggest putting priority on real engineering experience. At my school at least (UC Davis), the coursework focus is very “academic†and not nearly as directly applicable to real-world engineering as a young engineering student might hope. Of course, your school may be different, in which case my advice is not quite as applicable, but I would still hold to it. Even if you have to come up with your own projects, do it. You should have invaluable resources at your school that you can pull on (CAD programs, computer labs, metal shops, library, etc.)

      Hope this helps.
       
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    3. MDR

      MDR Active Member

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      I think you're right. I look for experience first, communication skills second, and grades third.
       
    4. estrivera

      estrivera New Member

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      Thanks for the heads up.

      I'm an engineering student about to finish my Associates in Arts in pre engineering then heading to University of Central Florida and also getting an Associates in Science in Computer aided drafting and design. At this moment I'm looking for a drafting internship preferably mechanical in the Orlando area.

      Looking forward to learning more from this forum regarding mechanical engineering and mechanical Drafting.
       
    5. Starlet

      Starlet Member

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      You advice is good. I think it's not only suitable for engineering students, but also for greenhand in other industries.
       
    6. MDR

      MDR Active Member

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      Luckily many engineering schools now offer 'capstone' programs which feature real projects that span several school terms. These are great experience. If a student can also bring their own outside experience to the table, from hobbies, jobs, etc. - even better!
       
    7. jkf1192

      jkf1192 Member

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      I'm thinking of making a 10ft a380 paper model, as a small project for my summer holidays. Do you guys think thats a good idea? I've just finished my foundation and have 4 months holidays :)
       
    8. Dan Pohly

      Dan Pohly Member

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      Mr. Jones' advice is excellent. Being a well-rounded student with real experience and extra-curricular activities as well as good academic success is good for both your job prospects and for you as a person.

      However, I would add that Mr. Jones may not realize that without his grades he may never have even gotten to the point where employers were speaking with him long enough to consider his experience. At one point in my career I did on-campus recruiting and interviewing for my employer at a couple of top engineering schools. I can assure you that GPA was the key to further consideration. When 50 or more students are interviewed in a day by a team of a few recruiters, the list has to get quickly pared down to the best candidates for further consideration and GPA was critical in that process. So do get other experience but also as Scott indicated don't kid yourself that experience can make up for low grades. The top jobs will demand both.

      Another important point: be extremely well prepared for interviews. A job interview is vastly more important than any final exam you'll ever take, so treat it that way. Study for it! Read up on interviewers' techniques and typical questions and have answers ready. Literally write out notes and study them before every interview. Practice with friends or in front of a mirror. Be clean, well-dressed and well-rested. A strong resume (grades and experience) get you in the door, but a good, sharp interview on-campus gets you the plant trip. And a good interview during the plant trip gets you the job.
       
    9. gentlered

      gentlered Member

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      Hey Mr Dan, you are right and experienced too.
       
    10. mhjones12

      mhjones12 Well-Known Member

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      Well, the employers I am referring to are at career fairs and they sort-of have to talk to me. The companies I've applied to don't even bother to send me a "Thanks for the interest but..." So far the only thing grades have done for me is get me into graduate school.
       

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