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College (sigh) Answered

Alright, so I know that I'm just 14, but hey! I don't think it's too early to think about college.

Based on what I enjoy doing, I figure that my best bet would be to go into mechanical engineering. I thought about electrical and chemical engineering, but I am more of a hands-on kind of guy.

Thing is, I want to go to a college that is in the SEC (Southeastern Conference). One, because I'd rather stay down South, and two, I'd like to stay fairly close to my family (i.e., not up North/out West).

UA (Alabama) is the only one that offers courses in mechanical engineering. I'm not sure about other colleges, but because I am out-of-state, my education costs nearly $11,000 more than a resident of the state.

Geez! I don't come from a rich family, so that seems a bit, extravagant.

Now, I have and and have always had straight A's. I'm in the "advanced" classes, blah, blah, I participate in the Academic Bowl, blah, blah, ok. I'm fairly educated, so I'm sure a scholarship will come my way.

In Georgia, we have the HOPE Scholarship, which will help fund students with high grades if they go to a Georgia college.

I have yet to find a college in Georgia that offers courses in mechanical engineering. Now, Georgia Tech may have one, but I cannot go there, as they are a fierce rival of UGA.

After writing all of this, I don't actually remember my purpose of posting this here, but will continue.

Oh, that's right: Does anyone know of some scholarships that would fund out-of-state students?

Any other advice, of any kind, would be appreciated.

Didn't know picking a college would be this hard.

P.S. What exactly is your job called, Eric? (or any of the iBles staff)

Discussions

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Tool Using Animal

10 years ago

You can't go to Georgia tech because they're sports rivals? That don't compute! Check out Georgia techs engineering programs. I wish UCF offered Nuclear engineering....

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BranTool Using Animal

Reply 10 years ago

Hey! That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! ;-) I know they have great courses and are a great school, but the rivalry is too fierce. Maybe I'll change my mind, but there are quite a few other, smaller, colleges in Georgia, some near me, that offer mechanical engineering classes. I'll check 'em out. Thanks.

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its a lionBran

Reply 10 years ago

My friend is in aerospace engineering at GT. He said its incredibly difficult, but that the school is great. I would urge you to consider changing your mind. Don't let rivalries get in the way of your education. Its your future, it would suck later on in life to know that you didn't do what you wanted because of a rivalry between schools.

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jessyratfinkBran

Reply 10 years ago

Change your mind. ;) I just looked at Georgia Tech's website and it seems like a really fantastic school. I really do think the whole sports rival thing is the worst excuse I've ever heard, hahaha. But then again, I suppose I don't understand it because I don't have fierce loyalty when it comes to things like that.

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T3h_Muffinatorjessyratfink

Reply 10 years ago

My friend is a freshman @ Georgia Tech! He's planning to major in theoretical physics, and he loves it there! Definitely consider GT as a major candidate. Honestly... football man? c'mon! Anyhow, if you're looking for some easy-to-win scholarships that aren't affiliated with.. well, anything really, you should check out fastweb.com. I know a bunch of people who just enter random scholarships and walk away with 1-5 thousand per scholarship... it's insane! Actually..... I'm going to start using fastweb too... Good Luck!

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BranT3h_Muffinator

Reply 10 years ago

Alright, y'all got me, I'll check GT out. So, how do jobs work out when you're in college?

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jessyratfinkBran

Reply 10 years ago

I work full time and go to school full time and I certainly would not recommend it unless you need to. It can be really frustrating sometimes! I would recommend living on campus if you're able to (I know I couldn't stomach it, but you might be able to) and getting a job on campus or somewhere near it. You're more likely to find employers willing to work around your schedule if you stay close to school. :)

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Branjessyratfink

Reply 10 years ago

Are you going to UK? Thanks for the advice. This might sound a bit silly, but is there homework (out-of-class work) in college?

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westfwBran

Reply 10 years ago

I had a prof say that he expected the class to use about twice as much out-of-class time (homework, studying, reading, etc) as in-class time. That seems about average (technical classes, here...) The hardest thing to get used to was that you were expected to learn material that was never really covered in the class (in some classes, anyway.) I was used to breezing through high-school: show up, pay attention, ace the exams. It didn't work that way in college.

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Tool Using Animalwestfw

Reply 10 years ago

AND it's HARD HW. twice the time studying and doing HW as spent in class seems about average.

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jessyratfinkBran

Reply 10 years ago

Nope, U of L. I honestly don't like the school, but they have a good public health/health promotion program, so I'm sticking around. Only a little longer! :P And it really depends on the homework - most of my lower level classes were fine. But a lot of your teachers will expect a lot of pre-class reading to help you prepare, and that can add up really quickly. I will sometimes skip the reading and simply do the exercises at the end of chapters, haha. When you get to the higher levels, though - eek! It seems most of my teachers do not believe I am taking any class other than their class, and that I don't have to work at all during the week unless I'm doing homework for them. It can end up taking up most of your free time. Right now, for example, I'm working Tuesday and Wednesday-Sunday. I go to class Monday-Wednesday. I'll be doing a lot of homework on Tuesdays and then spreading the rest out over the week. :P

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westfwBran

Reply 10 years ago

> how do jobs work out when you're in college? There are usually two kinds of jobs "on campus." You have your "work study" jobs that are a form of financial aid, and you have your "real" jobs that are things that they need to hire people to do anyway, and might as well hire students at or near minimum wage if they can find qualified applicants (this is rarer.) Both sorts can be highly educational in their own ways, but keep in mind that your primary responsibility is your education. It can be too easy to fall into a trap of "hey, this is a fun job and I'd rather earn money than spend it on college; who needs a degree anyway?" "career growth paths" then become a significant issue: the job that was pretty cool as an 18y old student is not so cool when you're 25...

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Branwestfw

Reply 10 years ago

Well, like I said, my family ain't rich, so if financial aid and scholarships don't cover everything, then I'd like to earn money while at school to help pay for the rest.

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royalestel

10 years ago

The University of Alabama at Huntsville is an awesome school. If you have straight As and a great SAT or ACT score, they'll practically throw a full scholarship at you, sight unseen. They did to me, anyway. Highly recommend them.

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Goodhart

10 years ago

Um, has ANYONE else tried to open the ad to the right ? the Mercersburg ad ? It is giving me an error.....which isn't good.

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GoodhartGoodhart

Reply 10 years ago

I am sorry, I did mention this to Eric, the ad to the right being a broken link, but does anyone else have the same problem.....maybe it is my connection ?

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GorillazMiko

10 years ago

I'm 13, and I hate thinking about college. Too much work, bullying, fighting, stuff, I just don't like it. I would love to work at a job like the Instructables HQ or maybe an electrician.. probably working at something like Instructables would be awesomely awesome.

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Tool Using AnimalGorillazMiko

Reply 10 years ago

"Too much work" Not really, spend 40 years digging ditches. "bullying" WHAT?! "fighting" HUH? "stuff" Yeah, like smokin' hot girls (that know the difference between a scalar and a vector, IYKWIM), beer, hanging with people who actually have similar interests, sports (oops), girls. There is no correlation between the school you currently attend and college.

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KitemanTool Using Animal

Reply 10 years ago

Bullying does happen at university, at every level, by students, lecturers and professors. It's a sad fact of life that school bullies frequently do not "grow out of it" - they become uni bullies, work bullies, bullying partners - what changes is an increased reluctance to admit to being a victim of bullying as we get older. There was an awareness campaign about it in the UK a few years ago, and it is part of the reason Kitewife is currently off sick from work through stress.

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westfwKiteman

Reply 10 years ago

Interesting. I don't recall (nor do I see now) bullying or fighting being part of the US college mythos at all. Cutthroat competition among the pre-meds, drinking, cheating, pressure, drugs, sex, occasional suicides and homicidal shooting sprees, a bit of social caste system (frats vs not, etc), sure. But bullying and fighting? Less so than high-school...

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Kitemanwestfw

Reply 10 years ago

Re-reading my post, I see I made it sound commonplace. It isn't, but it does happen. I didn't mention fighting, but that also happens, mainly when students suddenly find themselves with free access to alcohol and the opposite sex - drunkenness frees jealousy.

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westfwKiteman

Reply 10 years ago

Ah, you mean about like non-college life?

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trebuchet03GorillazMiko

Reply 10 years ago

I would love to work at a job like the Instructables HQ...

Check out the instructables about page..... I'm not saying it's necessarily a requirement - but everyone is either specialized in their field or has post secondary education... In short, everyone is somehow educated....

Again, I agree with ToolUA - Whatever your situation is now... it's totally different compared to the college scene....

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Patrik

10 years ago

Also keep in mind that the lines between engineering disciplines can blur quite a bit - not to mention all the interdisciplinary programs out there. So just because a specific college doesn't offer mechanical engineering doesn't mean they might not have a kick-ass electrical engineering program with a strong hands-on robotics/industrial design/ME focus.

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WilderLust

10 years ago

well... i will tell you what i tell all my kids... it is never to early to think about college. sounds like you have already had this in mind and have ensured top grades so things will be easier for you. here is some advice. you want to go to your counselor or a financial aid office of any college/university and get a listing of all of the scholarships and financial aids. they will probably have them on the web too. then you will apply everyone of them that you can... i dont care if it is for $100! even if you dont fit exactly what they want still apply. you would be surprized how many of the small ones go unclaimed because no one applied for it... you may win it just because you had no competition! and a $100 will buy you a used book or half a new one! on that topic... always buy your textbooks used if you can and sell them after class is over. in the technical field, you do not keep your books usually because they will be useless soon. when choosing the college you want to attend, do not look at their sport team. i know... this is sacrilegious but there are much more important things in life than sport teams and as you mature you will figure this out. although it seems many people in this country never mature... that is a different story :-) it is nice that you want to be close to your family... this tells me a lot about your parents and i am impressed. but just the same... if an MIT gave you a full scholarship you would not take it? you would be an idiot! it is ok to have a preference but do not limit your education based on a whim! don't feel like you have to decide on your career now... the first two years of college are essentially the same for all physical sciences and engineering. in fact there are colleges that allow you to mix topics and come up with cool combinations like physics and inorganic chemistry for material science... i did two years each or inorganic and high temp super conductor physics research because i liked to get into things. being hands on is what engineering is all about. do not go to a college that does not share this philosophy with you... you are right and they are wrong! now the college prof side of me is going to come out... i don't teach anymore but when i did i was amazed that kids would pay a lot of money and come to my classes and seem to not really care. oh i had the hands on go-get-er kinds too but generally the majority of people were clueless! i always tell my kids this... if you are going to do something... do it the best way you possibly can. get into your field... get your hands on things. i was always in the physics machine shop or the chemistry glass shop or whatever... that is the love of what you want to do... dont loose it... dont let old idiot teachers take it out of you either because many are there teaching in body only and would prefer to do research and not teach at all. remember that college is a political place... i don't mean the elections... i mean it has its own politics. you have to learn to not allow things like that to derail you from your goal... always have your goal in front of you. if you find other hands on kids... make friends and help each other... most of the successful businesses out there were put together by kids who were friends because they liked to build things and complemented each other. look at microsoft... apple... atmel (AVR chips)... and many, many more. just keep your goal in front of you... stay away from stupid stuff that kills brain cells like alcohol, drugs, etc. i never understood the attraction to these things... its not as if people are too smart already that they take stupid juice all the time! i was always the life of the party and yet i never drank... i had more fun than everyone and many times i had to pull people's heads out of where most of the time our butts go. i know there is this stupid culture out there and just because kids are on their own they cut loose but know that the only one you hurt is you... you will never get those brain cells back... they are gone for ever... you are smart... stay smart! ah... on the finance thing... college profs are always on the lookout for active, smart kids who can help them with their research. yes as an undergrad. i worked as a researcher for five years of my undergrad which helped with finances. some of it was through work study which also helped the profs but then when that run out and they liked my work, they paid me out of their own research fund. this is the best thing because you are getting paid for learning and getting into cool stuff. you will have access to things the other students don't have access to. like the key to the machine shop! in conclusion i want to leave you with one thing... always remember that with freedom comes responsibility; if you fail to be responsible, you will loose freedom. that is a given in the world. you want respect and you want to be your own person. you want to be responsible for yourself and be an adult. i am all for that... do it with fervor! if i sound paternal... it is because i am. i care very much for our young people. you guys are going to have to fix all the things that the past few generations have screwed up in the world! remember... we all live in this world together and what we do affects others even if we do not perceive it. any way... i will not wish you luck because luck has nothing to do with it... always do the right thing for the right reasons and you will be fine. think about things deeply. and oh... the opposite sex... i am sorry to say that more than half marriages end in divorce and of the ones that don't less than half are happy. you do the math... i know the person "you are in love with" seems to be the only important thing in the world but, statistically, it is more likely that you will not want to be on the same planet with them in a while! so needless to say... dont allow "love" derail you from reality. "love" between people is just there when it is convenient. no one has unconditional love... it is a myth. the only true love is from God and that is a different topic altogether. ok... thats enough for now... you will be fine :-) WL

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OlyveoilWilderLust

Reply 10 years ago

WL, I totally agree with you about freedom being a responsibility. I am now working as a Paralegal due to a bullying instructor who had it in for Dental Assistants (I think she was paranoid schizophrenia, myself). She was afraid that we would try to tell her how to do her job. I was not a straight A student, but I made the dean's list a few times. Then in the dental hygiene program, I started making failing grades! Sure I complained to the department head and even the higher ups, but they stood behind her. Thus, I got a degree as a Paralegal and am now working for a criminal defense attorney. It is so easy to go from being a free person to getting put behind bars. Career wise, it's a real show stopper. Most of our clients are young people, ages 25 and younger, but we get a few stupid adults who I'm sure have had their heads in places where their butts should be, i. e., driving under the influence, fighting over a woman, drugs, etc... And the families of these people are the ones who suffer the most, I think. I'm very glad that you posted your comments, it's nice to see that someone else shares the same sentiments as myself. Olyveoil

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Olyveoil

10 years ago

Hey Kiddo, Have you ever heard of Facts.org? They're a free source for finding just about every scholarship available. A lot of them are looking for essay writers. If I'd been aware of such things when I was your age, writing essays wouldn't have been that big of a deal. If any organization asks you for money to search for scholarships, walk away from them. Facts.org is free. And, I believe that any money that you are awarded can be used at the college/university of your choice. UA is a good school. I've worked with several doctors who graduated from UAB, and they were some of the finest doctors I've had the opportunity to know. Hope this helps, Olyveoil

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trebuchet03

10 years ago

To me, it sounds like there's some improper priorities (I agree with Tool Using Animal). Ask yourself how much you'll put into a football program (supporting your team, going to games, etc.). Then ask yourself how much that team will give back to you (engineering experience, career opportunity, etc.). I'm not saying UA's engineering program is bad -- I've seen some of their resources, and it looks impressive... Another thing to keep in mind is the location of the school... It's going to be your home for more or less 4 years... If you hate the city and area, that's going to reflect in your academic performance in addition to personal growth/maturity (unfortunately). I've noticed that people that hate where they live are, in general, sour towards many things... Perhaps causality - but I can say from my situation... Liking where you live is a big advantage :)

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Brantrebuchet03

Reply 10 years ago

I know people who live and commute in Atlanta daily - they start heading to their 9-to-5 job at 5:00, to get a bit ahead of the rush hour. Atlanta isn't too favorable of a city to live in, though around might not be as bad.

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trebuchet03Bran

Reply 10 years ago

I don't recall where the University is in relation to the city itself.. That is, my school is in Orlando - but far far away from the dreaded OBT in the heart of Orlando :p

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Goodhart

10 years ago

I'd want the job title of Grand Poobah :-)

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Kiteman

10 years ago

Being British, I can't comment on any specific US university, but I can offer some advice:

When you eventually decide what course to take, that will automatically narrow your choices down - most universities will offer courses in every subject area, but they will all exhibit specialisms that attract you.

You will probably find yourself with a short-list of a handful of schools you can't decide between.

If you can, visit them in term-time. Have a walk around the campus, the city. Visit the areas students tend to live in, shop in, socialise in.

You will be living in that area for several years, so be sure that you will be happy there - can you easily pursue your extra-curricular interests if you go to a particular school?

If you like rock-climbing, stay away from flat states. If you love the theatre, stay away from states that have less culture than an out-of-date yoghurt. Surfers really shouldn't study inland etc.

More personally, consider the counter-culture. If you're a raving communist homosexual, would you be happier in Texas or Los Angeles?

You get my point, I hope - education aside, will you be happy in the city you choose?

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ewilhelm

10 years ago

My official job title is CEO, and you ca see everyone else's title on the about page. When you start your own companies, you can have whatever job title you please (with even more latitude if you don't have investors). Job titles are a short-cut used to describe your role in a company to unimaginative people or those that aren't interested in details. My 'How to start a company and lead it to success" Instructable isn't quite fully baked yet, so I'll stop here... My three degrees are in Mechanical Engineering. I'd love to get more in Computer Science, Meteorology, and Economics, but I've got my hands full right now. I think the topic of your degree is less important than your methodology of approaching problems. The problem solving skills I learned in MIT's mechanical engineering department have so far been applicable in a wide variety of situations. You could ask the graduates of any schools you are considering (via cold-emailing or during the interview process) if their school taught them specific skills or taught them to think. That's such an obviously lopsided and leading question that you'll never get a straight answer, so try to be more delicate. Ok, now the kid-gloves come off: If you are indeed top of your class, you would be an idiot to go to anything but the best school you are accepted to/can afford (with loans and severe financial stretching). If you did anything less, I would disappointed in you. Football?!? You can cheer for whatever team you choose regardless of whether you're attending that university, but you're only going to the classes of one place. Choose your classes carefully; your football allegiance can change overnight.

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Juklop

10 years ago

You can try robbing a bank when you graduate High School. Hell- I might even try that.

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westfw

10 years ago

So who's at UGA that makes being their rival any issue at all? I'm with Animal and Trebuchet; that's a silly reason to reject a school; even in professional sports, this year's rival is next year's team. I mean, I picked a school partially based on which one had a team I could be ON, but you're just talking about spectating, right? That's not supposed to be so serious till you graduate ((in)famous quote from our U president: "A U president needs to maintain the sexual interests of the students, the football interests of the Alumni, and the parking interests of the faculty.")

Have you seen http://collegesearch.collegeboard.com/ ? It looks like you might be being too picky in looking for "mechanical engineering" specifically. For instance, it seems that Southern Polytechnic lacks a "Mechanical Engineering" degree, but they do have "Mechatronics", "Engineering Technology", and "Industrial Technology" that sound somewhat similar to me.

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LinuxH4x0r

10 years ago

I'm 16, and still have now clue about which college i want to go to. I'm also considering mechanical engineering. Maybe UofM (Minnesota)?