Choosing an Engineering College

Deciding on an engineering college can be daunting. There are many schools in the United States that offering engineering degrees at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. There are many factors that can affect your decision, such as location, cost, class sizes and available programs.

The first step in choosing an engineering college is finding a college or university that offers the program of your choice. Engineering is a broad field, so you will need to decide on an area of focus. Civil engineering is the oldest and most well-known type of engineering. However, there are more than a dozen other types of engineering you may be interested in, with all paying higher than average salaries. The hottest (and highest-paying) ones are petroleum, chemical and aerospace engineering. Biomedical engineering is expected to grow the most in the next decade. These are some fields you may want to consider when choosing an engineering college. No one college offers every specialty in engineering. Each engineering college has one or two types of engineering that they specialize in.

Another factor you will want to consider when choosing an engineering college is tuition. Annual tuition fees can vary dramatically by college. Although you can find about 10 schools with tuition fees in the $2,500 to $5,000 range, most are in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. There are several dozen schools that have tuition in $10,000 to $15,000 range. If you live in California and plan to attend engineering college there, expect to pay tuition in the $15,000 to $20,000 range. There are about 50 schools that charge tuition in the $20,000 to $25,000 range. If you plan to go to school out-of-state, many universities charge annual tuition in the $25,000 to $30,000 range. There are a couple dozen schools, mostly private, that have tuition in the $30,000 to $35,000 range. There are more than 20 schools, mostly in California, that charge tuition in the $35,000 to $40,000 range. Many schools in the Midwest and eastern United States charge in the $40,000 and $45,000 range. At the top of the list for highest tuition is the University of Southern California, which charges a whopping $55,000 a year for tuition. So if an engineering college is what you are looking for, there are many options depending on how much you are willing or able to spend.

Location is another factor to consider when choosing an engineering college. You may want a school that is close to home or even within commuting distance. Plus, in-state tuition is generally cheaper than attending engineering college in another state. However, staying local may not always be feasible, depending on the type of program you choose. For example, if you plan to study petroleum engineering, you will find that most colleges are in states that have active oil fields. Therefore, you may have to go to engineering college in Texas or Oklahoma.

Another factor to consider when choosing an engineering college is class size. Many of the more popular schools have classes with hundreds of students, allowing little student-teacher interaction. Private schools, although costly, tend to have smaller class sizes, allowing for more interaction with professors. If you are unsure about this information, you can visit the school's website or contact the school's engineering department for more information.

Something else you may want to consider when choosing an engineering college are the other types programs offered. These can be extracurricular activities, such as sports and clubs, or programs within the department, such as internships and job placement assistance. These opportunities will help you find engineering jobs once you graduate from engineering college.

Finding the right engineering college can take a lot of time, but will be worth it once you find the college that meets your needs and leads you to your dream job in engineering.

Last Updated: 06/08/2014

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