Engineering Majors Panel
Interested in majoring in Engineering and want to learn more? Join CollegeAdvisor experts and engineering graduates Bryan Aldana and Jose Ayala Garcia as they share their insider perspectives on how they chose their majors, how they applied successfully to colleges, and how they pursued their majors in college. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-08-29 – Engineering Majors Panel
Hi everyone. My name is Juliana and I’m your moderator today. Welcome to the Engineering Majors Panel. Uh, so to orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’re going to start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q&A, and on the slide bar, you can download a slides and you can also start submitting questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panel.
Hi everyone. My name is Bryan Aldana. I use he him pronouns. Um, I’m currently a co-op on J and J I’m taking a semester off, but, um, I’m completing my master’s at Columbia class 2023. And I did, um, my undergrad at Stanford, uh, in 2020 in Bioengineering.
My name is Jose. I just graduated in May with my Bachelors in Mechanical Aerospace Engineering from Princeton. I’m going back next year to get my Masters also in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Thank you for introducing yourselves. Um, so in the meantime, we’re going to do a poll. Just wondering, uh, what grade is everyone in? Um, and while we wait for those results to come in, I would love to ask the both of you, uh, what is your favorite spot on your respective campuses?
Yeah, I can answer first. My favorite spot. I, I guess I’ll answer with respect to Columbia, um, is I think the. So I’m a master’s student. I think graduate is different from undergrad, but, um, I love the actual, um, I think it’s called green library. It’s a great library, love being in it. Um, and all the floors of it are, are amazing and beautiful. And then it’s a good study spot. So it’s my favorite.
For me, I would say, um, we, we have this, um, lawn on, in the middle of campus, I guess it’s on the middle of campus near, um, some of the new residential central colleges that, that have just recently been built, but, um, just a big green lawn and a lot of students hang out there. Um, they play Spikeball or Frisbee or, um, soccer, just, you know, it’s, it’s a nice place to, to go when you’re not, um, busy with homework or courses.
Great. That’s super cool to hear. Thanks for sharing guys. Um, so the poll results are in looks like 18% are in 10th grade, 36% in 11th grade and 46% are seniors. Um, so no freshmen in the room tonight, mostly upperclassmen, um, and moving back to the presentation.
Awesome. So yeah, the first kind of walkthrough is definitely talking through my college application process and what that was like for me. Um, I am from originally from Charlotte, North Carolina. Um, one of my goals was to go out to California. That’s where most of my family was, um, extended family. And so, uh, when I was a senior in high school, ventured out to and seeing what kind of schools were there.
Uh, that included a lot of the UCs. I think I applied to four. Um, and then I applied to Stanford. Uh, I applied through QuestBridge at first. Um, and so that kind of helped me run along with my applications. Since that application due date is I. I think it’s the end of September. At least it was when I was applying.
Um, and so with that push, I was able to kind of finish all my applications by then, um, as I became a finalist for, um, QuestBridge, which was, I think in October December-ish in that timeline, I was able to, um, Start hearing back from other schools like state schools, UNC chapel hill and NC state, um, which were, was exciting part of the process.
Um, once you get that first, um, acceptance, it’s a game changer for the rest of the process, it’s kind of a relief. Um, and I’m sure, um, You’ll get there soon. Um, from there I actually didn’t get the QuestBridge scholarship. I was still, I was then thrown into the regular pool for schools like Princeton and Yale and Stanford, which were the schools as part of that scholarship.
Um, and then I was later accepted to these schools at the end of March, which then I, I decided to, to move forward with, um, as Stanford, uh, as my, uh, undergrad experience. Um, I think from there, I’m gonna talk a little bit about, you know, choosing the path to biomedical engineering. Um, from my experience in high school, uh, I always wanted to be an astronomer.
I think that was my, my dream, my goal. And so physics and astronomy was something that, uh, I really enjoyed. I was a big fan of, um, Oh, I forgot what the movie is called. I think it’s called, um, the Stephen Hawking movie that came out, I think my 11th grade. So like a couple years ago now, but I was obsessed with Stephen Hawking.
I was obsessed with, um, that movie and everything astronomy. So I that’s kind of the path that I was going to. I applied to all these universities, um, as of, uh, an, uh, perspective, uh, physics major, um, at Stanford, they have these really great. Great. One unit courses that allow you to take, um, these courses in which you can see like a career in and then insert the major.
So I took a couple of those courses, the, my first semester. Um, but the one that obviously was the most important to me was the careers in physics course. Um, and I realized there that the path within a physics major seems to be a little more theoretical. Um, and that was something that. Um, maybe wasn’t ready for, it was years of research in a lab or, you know, I think there was one professor who said he had gone to Antarctica for like six months only for his research to be like void and Noel.
And so I think that kind of, um, exposure made me realize that maybe I wanted to see something that, um, I could actually, you know, see a change in. And so from there I took biology courses. I had a lot of friends that were pre-med and so I thought maybe that’s the next, the next step for me. Um, and so I tried out some biology courses and maybe thought the med school route was for me.
Um, but I did miss the kind of. Physics aspects of mechanics, um, electricity and magnetism and, and such. And so I then took some bio coursework, which is bioengineering. And I think that really melded the two kind of concepts of biology and physics. For me, it also allowed me to do a variety of different things.
I was working at a wet lab, um, for the longest time and then working at a dry lab after, and it really felt like it. The theory and the applied meeting together, and you could really go a thousand different ways with it. And so that’s why I ended up choosing biomedical engineering in the long run. I felt like I had a lot of different opportunities and had a lot of different options.
Um, and, um, As someone who was always looking for options and wasn’t completely sure of what I was doing. I think biomedical engineering allowed me to seek for different options at all times. Um, so as a senior, I was able to work, um, car cardiomyocyte growth from human induced, potent stem cells, which is really fun.
But I was also working on, uh, a medical device for my senior capstone, um, that standardize the crowded, uh, into mid intimate media thickness measurements. And so these kinds of. Different aspects that I was working on, you know, kind of validated and, and made me feel good about why I chose biomedical engineering and what possible things I could do within biomedical engineering.
Um, and so that leads me to any advice. Um, I know, uh, as seniors in high school, I might be. Something kind of looming and slash you know, what even is engineering and what could it look like? Um, I think the first thing that I would say to everyone is no, don’t get discouraged by difficult classes, especially physics.
I took AP physics. One and two in high school. Um, and those courses were difficult. And I think I remember getting like forties or fifties on some exams in high school and it, it was difficult. And I, sorry to say that in undergrad, it’s kind of be kind of similar, um, especially in those stem classes. And so being okay with, you know, difficult classes and being okay with, uh, maybe not understanding.
Completely at first round of, of what’s going on is totally fine. And that’s normal. Um, and you know, you gotta keep doing those piece sets, um, and keep working it, but don’t be discouraged by these difficult classes. Um, the next thing I would say is to connect early on with professors and researchers at respective universities.
I think that is something that I learned, um, a little later in my career at Stanford, but I think that’s the biggest kind of, um, connection to you and your next step, um, is. You know, the professors and the researchers, those are the people that are gonna write you recommendations. If you decide to go to grad school or med school, um, those are the people.
Connect you to, you know, startups or different companies or, you know, their connections. And I think, um, if you’re pursuing a, a, a degree in engineering, those connections, uh, matter quite a bit. So making sure you do that early on is important. Um, the next one is to, to be open, to exploring different facets of engineering.
And I say this because I think for me, when I first came in as a physics major, I thought you. It’d be pretty straightforward. I would probably do something, um, if not completely theoretical, maybe mechanical. Um, but I think meeting at the interdisciplinary methods of solving problems is kind of the biggest important lesson I’ve learned in all of my undergrad experience.
And so meeting biology and engineering, meeting physics and engineering and meeting all these different facets, uh, of engineering, um, and leaning into those, whether that be micro or macro, uh, as well. Um, working with cells, or if you’re working with medical devices, I think leaning into all those opportunities and trying them out is important.
And then lastly is taking coursework outside of engineering. Like I said, these classes are difficult and sometimes could be, could be discouraging. And so taking classes outside of, uh, that, you know, what your palette and different facets really make for a, a, a well rounded individual, which I strongly encourage to be.
Kind of world and real world is to be a well-round individual that can do a lot of different things. And so taking coursework, um, and creating those soft skills and social skills as well, um, is definitely deeply important. And so I think that would be my, my, my last, um, advice on my end. Yeah.
Oh, there you go. Perfect. Thanks so much for sharing Bryan. That was super helpful. Context and advice. Um, so we’re going ask the audience here. Where are you in the application process? Um, while we wait for those results to come in, I would love to ask the both of you, uh, you know, why did you decide on the school that you did for your undergraduate education?
I go first. Um, honestly for me, I, before. Applying start the college application process. I know too much about Princeton. I honestly just, um, I similar, similar to Bryan, I also applied through QuestBridge and that’s where I was able to find, uh, research and find out more about these schools. Um, and so I just kind of, honestly, like I just kind of happened to be like Princeton ended up being one of the better schools.
Um, I got into and also. And as I learned more and more about it and how at both the strong engineering and the strong humanities, um, like, uh, education that I, something that really attracted me to the school. And, um, I, I definitely, um, and very grateful that I, I was able to attend principal for my undergrad.
Um, I think I may have missed the question. So if you can repeat it, that would be great. Yep. So it was, uh, why did you decide to go with the school that you did for your undergraduate education? Um, yeah, I think similar to, um, what Jose said, I think there was a large breadth of schools that I was applying to kind.
Shooting my shot at anything. And, and seeing what stuck, stuck, um, was my method and ended up deciding Stanford. I think mostly because of location again, California was important to me. I think the campus was unbeatable on how just like aesthetically pleasing it was. And then, uh, the academics spoke for themselves and the, and the research that was happening there.
So it was, yeah, the full package for me. Yeah, thank you guys for sharing. Um, as for the poll results, we have 25% haven’t started yet. 29% are researching schools. 34% are working on their essays and 10% are getting their application materials together. Um, and going back to the presentation, passing it over to Jose.
So, um, my name Jose, I am originally from Iowa. Um, I was first generation student. Um, my whole goal for the college process was to get accepted to the school where could attend for relatively low amount of money parents. Uh, wouldn’t be able to support me with the law of my college, um, financial. So that was my goal. Um, So the way I, I did this was by applying the QuestBridge and the gates scholarship.
Um, one, I was able to take I through QuestBridge. I applied to four non-binding schools at the time. I, the only non-binding school now is MIT, but at the time, um, Stanford, MIT, Princeton, Yale were all non-binding. Um, and I, and those were those four schools I ranked. Um, and in the summer of my, in the summer of that year, I was able to. Uh, 10 Princeton, um, sorry for.
I’ve known, uh, since like a very small like age, like elementary school, I love math. Um, it’s something that, that just like always seemed like a puzzle to me. Same thing with science. I, I always wanna learn more and more and more. So I always knew that what I would end up doing one day would be science, less math related.
At one point, I thought that was, uh, gonna be a scientist. And then once I, but once I learned where engineering was. I’m like, that’s something that was like made for me. I, I, I felt such a strong connection with engineering. Um, my high school offered engineering courses, so I took as many as, as possible. Um, I’m fortunate in that, in that regard, um, We had like a couple fundamental courses and then junior year you like take, um, more specific courses.
We offer like a civil engineering course, a course computer, our senior like design project, all which like solidified my desire to like, Go study engineering college. Um, and then one, once it came around, like selecting a major, um, I wanted a major that was, could gimme the most general overview of engineering.
And for me, in my opinion, that’s definitely mechanical engineering. Um, since you do learn a lot so much, um, you learn a little bit of sub engineering, a little bit about electrical engineering, a little bit about computer science. Um, And this all, like just builds a, a very good foundation. Um, and Princeton offers both mechanical and aerospace, um, as a joint major.
Um, and when going into Princeton, I thought that I really wanted do really wanted do more of the aerospace slide, but as I took more courses and learn more about it, I ended up liking the mechanical side of things better. But, um, something you just have to. Um, look around and, and explore to see which what you like better.
Um, so my advice is be curious, you know, uh, I think as engineers, we’re always. Fascinated about the world around us. We always wanna learn more. We always wanna figure out how things work. Um, but also we should also, um, take classes, um, and not in art, in specific engineering field and also like class in humanities.
Um, there’s a lot that you can learn, um, outside of engineering that can help you be, become a better engineer. Um, I think Bryan mentioned this before, but like engineering courses are, can be pretty tough. Um, and, but don’t be discouraged. Uh, there’s a lot of help out there with, in many of these schools that, you know, professors, teachers, assistants, um, other school, other students I’ve taken these classes.
Um, there’s a lot of help out there. Just go out there and, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Um, I think for me, it was very important form a study group. Um, someone that you could, you could discuss homeworks with, um, someone, people that you could just, that, that knew like the struggle you were going through and were able to help help each other out.
Um, and I especially encouraged to like explore different opportunities within the engineering field. I was fortunate enough to be able to do four, um, different, um, internships. Uh, and I’ve just been able to, you know, just being able to explore, um, the career path during an internship is incredible. Cause you have like three months at this, at this place.
And if you don’t like it, you can try something else next summer or just, you know, figure out what you like and what you don’t like.
Great. Thank you so much for sharing about your experiences, Jose. Um, so that actually brings us to the end of the presentation part of the webinar. Um, I hope that you all found this information to be helpful. And also remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handout. Tab. Um, so right now we’re going to move on to the live Q&A session.
So I’m just going to read through the questions that you submitted in the Q&A tab. So feel free to get those rolling in. Um, and in the meantime, there have been some questions that were already submitted, um, while you guys registered. So I’m gonna start off with those and then head over to the tab.
Um, and just as a quick heads, If your Q&A tab, isn’t allowing you to submit questions, just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. Um, so first question we have up is from a student. Who’s wondering, how did you juggle your school course load, for example, AP biology, AP physics, all of his hard stem classes, um, with the extracurriculars and research that you were doing back in high school.
I can start off answering that question. I think, um, there’s a learning curve. I think for me specifically, I think the first. Maybe couple quarters, um, were incredibly difficult to try to balance all those things. And, um, you also have to not only just extracurriculars and academics, but also social life changes a lot.
Um, you’re like living with your friends every day and, and that’s a, a big kind of, um, thing to get adjusted to as well. Um, and I think, uh, I think the balance will come naturally to each person, but I’m a big proponent of a nice formulated calendar. Google calendar is my best friend and it’s still my best friend.
Um, and even blocking out specific times for assignments, um, to get done, um, is something that I had to do just to just keep myself disciplined and making sure, um, if I. You know, to do something at seven to nine on a piece set with my friends, a homework problem, set with my friends that it’ll get done at from seven to nine.
And, and, you know, having that on a calendar for me as a visual person, um, definitely helped. And, and having those all on one calendar on my phone, on my laptop that were connected was a lifesaver for me. Yeah.
Yeah, I think it’s interesting. It’s very similar to high school in regards to what you like, just have to like, figure out like what your, your schedule is and, and work around it, you know? Um, The nice thing about college is that your, your classes aren’t all back to back to back, uh, you, they can be if you want them to be, but, uh, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.
And honestly, it’s better to give yourself a little space in between between classes, but, you know, um, being able to work in like periods of times where like you might have a break between two classes or. You have a night class and then you, you end early and you, but you have night class. So you do some work in between then just, and then during those office hours and, and, um, and getting help on there since like a lot of times, you know, you get stuck on something, you work on it for a little bit.
Um, and if you, if you can’t figure it out, you ask someone else for help. Um, and then just making sure that you like you, you, you have time in your schedule to do work and have time in your schedule. Be with friends and, and do these extracurricular that you’re interested in.
Great. Thank you guys. Um, so another student is wondering, I know that both of you were interested in stem from a young age and kind of knew what subject you wanted to go into. Um, but they’re wondering, how did you decide on your specific major within engineering? Um, and additionally, are there any other majors that you considered.
Uh, yeah, like I mentioned, I, I definitely, uh, sifted through a couple engineering kind of paths and maybe not even engineering, um, paths, uh, within my undergrad experience. Um, I think for me it was definitely just like, um, thinking of what I wanted to just. Spend the rest of my life doing. Um, and I think that question, I asked myself quite a bit in undergrad almost every week, every day.
Um, every year I was re questioning what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Um, and so I think, um, Trying to answer that after classes, after coursework that I’ve taken and, um, deciding is this aligned with, you know, the passions, the research that I wanna do, the things that I’m actually interested in, um, for me, it was a process, so it was taking classes, um, and learning a little bit about myself and learning a little bit about what I can’t see, you know, this major looking out to be and, and so forth.
Um, yeah, I think that was kind of my process. Uh, again, this coming from someone who, um, Didn’t have everything planned out all the time, uh, when it came to big picture, long term thing. So definitely just figuring it out on the way, um, is totally acceptable, acceptable, and most schools will allow you that flexibility of, of, of figuring that out.
So it’s always good to take those courses, uh, that are like one units that allow you to see what careers look like. And.
As I mentioned, um, something similar, uh, to Bryan, like a lot of these schools, um, you know, you apply and you don’t necessarily get into the major. There are some schools that, uh, um, that doesn’t apply to like UC Berkeley. Um, but most schools you are able to like take, um, youre prerequisites to the engineering courses.
So like physics, biology, chemistry, um, Computer science, um, these courses and, you know, you, you have the flexibility to take, uh, courses that, um, that aren’t necessarily on your major. So if you’re not really sure, you can always, it’s always easier to, to start in engineering and switch out than to start somewhere else and switch in.
Um, so if, if you have. If you’re interested in engineering, I would definitely recommend taking at least one of these courses and seeing it whether or not it’s, um, for you. Um, I, for me, I, I, it was, I, I didn’t really necessarily know what engineering field I wanted to go into. I, for a bit of time, I thought I might wanna go into material science, engineering.
Um, but I went, Princeton didn’t offer that. So I eventually. Uh, so that wasn’t an option for me at Princeton. I eventually ended up realizing that, uh, when I’ve been something I was interested in anyways, um, when I did take some like material science courses at Princeton, but, um, it’s, it’s a process.
Great. Thank you. Um, so we have a couple students here wondering about your essays specifically. So wondering like any advice you have for writing essays when applying to college and on that note, um, were your essays stem focused?
Uh, if I remember correctly, I, I wrote my essay about, uh, my common map essay specifically about numbers. So it was like stem adjacent, but to be quite honest with you, I think it was kind of more, um, numbers attached to, um, people socially, if that makes sense, like, um, ranking and all the way from ranking to SAT scores to GPA to, um, Uh, weight and Heights and all these different things.
Um, so I was using this idea of, of numbers and their description towards us and what that means for me personally. Um, so I, I guess that’s kind of adjacent, that’s more. I don’t know numerical, but it, it definitely hit on the more social aspects. Um, and I, so I’ve been with college advisor for, I think, three years now.
Um, and it definitely is specific to the school you’re applying to, um, whether, you know, you focus on something that’s not stem or stem related. Um, for example, I’ve helped people with getting into MIT these past two years. Um, and those schools ended up and those essays ended up being a lot more stem, heavy, and, um, trying to depict, you know, their interests and passions and, and in a more logical kind of stem, heavy, uh, space.
Um, but other schools, uh, they definitely love to see a breadth of a person. And so sometimes that. A couple essays that aren’t don’t have anything to do with stem at all. Um, and maybe it’s more humanities focused or, um, you know, sometimes schools will ask you. Uh, what are you interested outside of academics?
And if that answer ends up being, I just love school so much that I want to keep learning about this, then, you know, it might come off a wrong way, right? You want, they want someone that does more. Um, and sometimes that is aligned academically. Sometimes it’s aligned with other passions and interest, whether that be volunteering or, um, You know, other passions you may have that are outside of, of engineering as well.
So, um, long story short, it, it definitely depends on the application. It definitely depends on the different essays that you’re sending it in. Um, I feel like for me, I’m always encouraging to students to do some, some stem, heavy, some completely different out of pocket. Um, as long as they’re learning about you is the most important thing.
Um, I definitely talked a lot about essays about tutoring. Was really big on tutoring in, in high school, um, and mentorship programs. And so I talked a lot about the extracurricular activities and, um, what that meant for me in volunteering and my identities and the X, Y, Z things. Um, and so I think the biggest.
Marker for you, is, is this portraying, you know, all the different aspects of myself, then we’re good to go. And if that’s super stem and that’s your aspects, like those are your aspects. And that’s great. I think that that will translate really well. Um, I don’t think you should be forcing a narrative of everything I do is stem.
Um, so I think that’s, that’s my, uh, advice when it comes to essays.
Yeah, definitely. Um, for me, I, my. Com app was essay was definitely not engineer related or stem related. Um, but my supplements were, um, for, for all these schools, QuestBridge, it’s different. You have,
and you have like another, like longer essay that’s that’s like. Um, and that essay was more on like the, the research I, I did in high school. What, like what, um, things in stem were like gave me energy and, and motivated me. Um, something like things I, I, I liked exploring and learning more about. Um, but it, it is a, it does depend on the school and it is, um, Um, it should reflect you as, as Bryan said, um, for me, um, I did a lot of stem, extracurricular extracurriculars, but I also was heavily involved in my school’s band.
Um, and also did a lot of, um, like regional and state competitions. Um, and so for me, that’s a, that was a big, um, portion of my application as well. Um, since like, if I didn’t include that, that I. Um, showing the true, like the true me. Um, but obviously like there are, there are some points where you do wanna focus more on your, your, um, stem activities and you’ll know they, they make, I feel like, um, they make it pretty clear.
Like when they, when they want learn something about nonacademic, about you or something that you like, something that you. You went learn if like you read the rest of your application. And obviously if you’re applying engineering, you like the rest of your, application’s probably gonna have a lot of, of stem related, um, activities and things that you’ve done.
Great. Thank you guys. Um, next question here is in relation to careers. So the student is wondering what are your future career aspirations? And do you find that it’s easy to go from school straight into the workforce after graduation, when you pursue an engineering major?
Yeah. So I been able to do a couple different internships over this last couple of summers. Um, more, more so excited. Wanted to see what was out there and what was available. Um, and so the first summer I, I worked, I had a started about adult a lot with, um, solar energy. Um, the second summer I was working at ice cream manufacturing, uh, plant the last summer.
So not this past summer, the one before last year, summer, um, I was working a semiconductor company and this summer I was working at Google on the product design, um, team. And so I. Um, these internships have like really like, kind of like guide, like, um, shown me like where to like work in these full-time positions.
And they’ve definitely, um, shown me like where and where I don’t enjoy working and what type of like company culture I like and what, um, what type of work I actually enjoy doing. Um, and so for me, I’ve, um, I really enjoyed the, the interest I had this past summer with Google, um, work on their pixel phone team.
And I it’s like led me to believe it led me to, to kind know that I want work in consumer electronic space. Um, and so just, you know, explore if you, if you can’t do internships, then you can also. Reach out to alumni that, that have gone to your school, people that, um, are now that have been in your shoes and are now working in the workspace.
Um, that being said, um, I think school school, um, does a lot to like teach you how to learn and teach how to these, um, to like working, but not doesn’t necessarily like teach you, um, All the skills you need, um, to go right into the workforce. Um, that being said, it’s that we meant to, um, I think schools there give you a good foundation and then once you actually like get to working full time, you’ll, you’ll learn a lot more, um, from your team and from the, the training route, they have you do.
Uh, definitely, uh, agree with Jose, um, a hundred percent, uh, I think the internships are the biggest thing, getting that research in, um, making sure you’re making those connections. So, um, currently I am working at J and J as a co-op, which is just like an extended internship. Um, and. And I am going to be working here after I graduate, uh, my master’s program.
And so that opportunity was only made possible because I was part of, uh, mentorship connections from Stanford, um, as well as. Also looking out at different mentorship opportunities nationally that were within the field that I was interested in. So I was part of med tech and I was interested in medical devices.
I, so I joined, um, a med tech mentorship program that connected me with someone at J and J XYZ things led to another. So, uh, it was just making those connections and being able to, um, Harness what I learned in undergrad and the experiences I was able to get. You know, I talked a lot about my senior capstone project and a lot of the interviews that I had for jobs, um, leading out.
Uh, and so. And looking for more mentorship opportunities like, um, Jose said like those alumni are, are, are key to each school and they always have connections and a breadth of, of, of, of things that you can, um, ask about and even setting up calls with someone, not to ask about a job specifically, but just to give advice and, and to get advice, um, is definitely the biggest thing that has allowed me to move and move into my career and hopefully lead me into the next steps of my career as well.
Great. Thank you guys. Um, next question here is about managing the workload and the stress of stem classes in college. Um, so do you have any advice, any insights there?
I would, yeah. There as far as stressful and he. Make it more stressful for you if you don’t prepare well, uh, just like, or you don’t organize your, your schedule and, and make time to work out on the things that you need to work on. You know, there are very stressful areas like midterm and finals that like definitely do get like, like there’s a lot of things that you’re preparing for and a lot of exams, um, maybe some final projects, um, Overall, just make sure you give yourself some time to relax and, you know, hang out with some friends and just distract your mind.
Cause if you’re working, working, working, working, it’s, you’re not gonna, you’re not doing yourself any, any favors, you know, um, you definitely want to. Maybe not a ton of time, like an hour, um, you know, just over half an hour, just go on a walk with the friends, you know, get your, your mind off what you’re working on.
And you know, sometimes when you’re, when you’re working on something and you to you take a step, something else sometimes, you know, your mind still think about it in the, in the background. So sometimes you, you come up with an idea or something that you wanna try, that that’ll lead you to an answer. And, um, help you like accomplish these tasks.
Um, so yeah, just make sure you, you schedule some time to, to give yourself a break.
A agreed. And then I think Jose, you mentioned this earlier in your presentation is to ask for help. And I think that’s definitely something that I had to learn. Um, the hard way with a lot of hard classes is sometimes you’re just too embarrassed to ask a question that you might think is dumb. Um, but sometimes that dumb question helps.
Like 50% of the class, but that no, one’s no one wants to ask that question. So making sure you’re asking the questions from the get go, um, going to office hours, making connections with your TAs, your teaching assistants, and then your, um, professors, um, and keep asking those questions along the way, because it could be.
Eight weeks in and you’re completely lost. And then you go in asking for help and they’re, you know, what do you need help on? And you say everything, cuz it’s true, you might need help on everything. Um, but that could definitely be, um, avoided if you just ask those questions early and you know, don’t let the, the, you know, thinking that, you know, people are gonna think you’re dumb or stupid get in the way I.
You know, learning at your own pace is definitely important. And everyone in undergrad is doing that is learning at their own pace. So just gotta make sure you advocate and ask those questions for yourself. Perfect. Um, and kind of on that note of courses, we have a student that’s wondering what’s your favorite class that you’ve ever taken in your undergraduate?
Um, under your major.
I can go first. Um, so I am pretty interested in the design side of engineering, um, to be able, like, Design something and, and, and actually make it is what interests me. So, and one of those course that we have is mechanical design, where we go learn, use computer design software, and, you know, go and use the, the lays and actually get, build some of the things we design.
Um, and so in courses like that are courses that the, um, You know, I think every engineer kind of like, just, just we like as engineers, we really like getting our hands on things and, and, and making things, um, at least some, some of us do , uh, there are others that like the more computer side of things, but me personally, I really enjoy like actually getting to make.
Oh, and I can, re-ask the question, Bryan. Um, if your connection’s back, hopefully it is. Um, so this student was wondering about what’s your favorite class that you ever took in your undergraduate, um, stem related or within your major?
I cannot hear anything anymore. So like an awkward silence. That is the case. Are you able to hear me now? Bryan?
I can type the question to you actually. Um,
can you hear me, Jose? okay. Gotcha. That is weird. Um, but I did just send over the question to Bryan, so he should be able to answer it. Can you hear me, Jose? Can you check? Yes. Can you hear me? Okay, perfect. Then I’ll uh, um, to answer the question, what my favorite, um, class in undergrad, um, I’ll answer with, with two answers.
I think my favorite class earlier on was this plain air class, where I just. Sat outside and play like painted . Um, I think it was a good de-stressor class, as well as, um, you know, allowed me to think outside of the constructs of engineering and such and, and think of engineering in other, in other facets.
And so I think that was one of my favorite classes earlier on, and I think moving forward, I think. Um, I had a biomedical prototyping systems class, which was really exciting, cuz again, I think that was my first class where I was actually building something, um, from scratch. And so I was building an E coli for mentor with a, a group of others, um, with two others and, you know, building it from scratch, trying to think of the specs and you know, what fan do we use?
It’s the like, uh, the base that we should be using what’s to shape all these things that you take into consideration when you’re building anything, um, was super foundational and being able to actually build something, um, made all the difference. And, and again, really solidified my career path within, within engineering is how much I love loved that class.
Perfect. Thank you so much for sharing Bryan. Um, so we’re just about at the halfway point of the Q&A. Um, so for those of you in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know how overwhelming the admissions process can be. Um, both for parents and for students life. So here at CollegeAdvisor.com, we have a team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts who are ready to help you and your family navigate everything through one on one advising sessions. Um, so you can take charge of your family’s college admissions journey by signing up for a college advising session, um, by following the steps over here. And we’re gonna shift back to the Q&A, um, so next question here.
Just trying to reorient myself, let me track.
So this student is wondering what clubs and organizations were you involved with back in high school? And if you could delve a bit deeper into, you know, what you did in high school that helped you get into the colleges that you got accepted.
I can go first. Um, I wasn’t, I guess part of like any like established clubs per se, there’s a lot of things I did in high school. Um, like teachers reach out to were like, oh, do you wanna do this? Um, and just opportunities that like that, um, kind came up this way. One of the, the. I was part of the, one of the clubs I was part of is the, the crossbridge team, uh, sorry, not crossbridge quiz bowl team.
Um, and I did compete, um, all, all four years for that. Um, but other than that, like there, my school just had a lot of opportunities to just get involved. And I think one of the things I did was, um, was. Uh, was part of the will food prize and where we like learned more about, um, food insecurity and. Right.
Like this basically like an essay, like writing about how like food scarcity and food and security can like be improved in a certain country. Um, and this was something that like my teachers, like, do you wanna do this was kinda like, yeah. Why not? Honestly, that led me to like, learn more about and geo, uh, geo polls, which is normal, uh, farming, Aeros, um, which is growing plants with, with, um, with, uh, Like in air with like, uh, like it’s, um, it uses like mist, like, um, water plants, um, hydro Aqua products, which uses like fish and plants to.
It’s it’s a bit kind, very fascinating. I can talk about this for like hours, but, um, that’s not the point of this. this question? So like, yeah. Um, so, and there was really a really cool partnership between my school and some Texas schools, um, where we, where we go get, go, like participate in design, design competition, uh, down in Houston at the, uh, Johnson space center, um, that I did a couple.
And so like, I wasn’t necessarily a part of any like club, but, um, or a lot of clubs, but I was able to like explore my, my interest by, um, you know, talking to teachers and seeing what opportunities were available.
Um, for me, I, um, definitely did a, a lot in high school just because I think. It was like product of what my friends were doing. but at the, by the end of my senior year, um, I was president of the math honor society, the science national society. Um, and then I was also president of our peer mentoring group.
Uh, again, tutoring and mentoring was very important to me. And then obviously the stem aspect was also very super important to me. Um, and so that was, you know, leading. You know, leading the groups within, uh, competitions from alpha theta and then. The science honor society was mostly just running experiments in class and, you know, messing around in science, in different facets.
And so those two experiences, um, were kind of just like my leadership. And then I was also part of, um, interact club, uh, which is partnered with the rotary club nationally. Um, and so that’s where I did a lot of my volunteer service. Um, mostly focusing on the community I and Charlotte. So I was doing a lot of, um, Uh, fundraising and organizing and, um, doing walks to fundraise.
And, uh, I think one of the, the biggest things that I did for my undergrad or my high school was to, to partner with mothering across consonants. Um, I think at the time was 2012. And so, uh, is that too early? Maybe that’s too early or 2014. I think it was my sophomore junior year. Um, and that’s um, when South Sudan was becoming a new country.
And so I was partnering with mothering across con con mothering across continents, um, for, uh, leading and, and starting up, uh, an annual, uh, fundraising event at my school. Um, and so that was kind of one of the. Passion projects that really led, um, most of my, my high school career. Um, I think that sums up my kind of clubs and activities.
I was a part of. Um, yeah. Great. Thank you. Um, and the next question we have up is, you know, what is your favorite thing? What is your least favorite thing about your major and what surprised you about your major or your classes?
I think one of the things, um, I think, uh, Princeton really likes the fluid. Mechanic side of things. And also after taking a couple classes of the mechanics, I was not a big fan. So, um, yeah, those classes were a little rough for me just cause it wasn’t something, something that like particularly clicked with me and some honestly, something that like kind pushed me away from the aerospace side of things.
Um, but you know, it’s, it’s it’s good know and. You know, I got through it. Didn’t um, but there’s will and classes. Interesting.
Agreed. I think we all have that one class that truly. Annihilates you academically I think mine was, um, more, uh, statistical. Um, probability within like cellular biology. It was just like super niche class that I had to take. Um, and I think that it was difficult, but I think other than that, I think bioengineering specifically at Stanford is truly, uh, a great slew of, of professors that are, are amazing and humorous and personable.
And, um, I think how close you get connected to. The, the people in your major was surprising to me to answer the, the second part of that question is, um, and how close you are to professors. And, um, those connections you make are, are something that I, I didn’t expect as a student coming into an undergrad, like, oh, you know, you’re learning from these people, but you’re also kind of becoming friends with these people as well.
So I think that was, um, really exciting to see, uh, specifically for, for bioengineering, um, at Stanford. And I’m sure is the case for a lot of maybe smaller, um, Graduating classes and departments within respective schools. Um, so making those connections and friends with three professors and, and peers is something that I really enjoyed.
Um, and got you through those really bad classes that you had to really fight to, to learn through. Um, yeah.
Great. Um, and it does look like we’re nearing the end of this webinar. So this is kind of the last question that I wanted to pose to the both of you tonight. Um, and it’s, what’s the last piece of advice that you would wanna leave our audience with? Um, it definitely doesn’t have to be engineering related.
I know you guys spoke earlier about the advice you give there. Um, but just any advice you have in terms of college applications in general,
I would just say explore. Um, you know, I think we’ve, we’ve really touched on this before and I’m gonna keep touching on it. You know, um, engineering is so broad and stem people in general is so broad. There’s something for you out there. Um, whether, but. Again, I, if, if you have any, if any part of you wants to do engineering, I would definitely recommend taking at least a couple courses your, your first year.
And if it’s something that you’re not so sure that you wanna do, then, um, again, just, uh, give yourself the, the option. You know, some schools are, it’s a little bit harder switch between majors. Um, And again, switching out of engineering is always easier than switching into engineering. Um, but you know, explore, um, and high schools is a good time for that.
If your schools offer any like physics, any advanced physics courses, or if they they’re like my school and they offer engineering courses, definitely take advantage of those courses. Um, you know, um, . The path that that’s, that you’re gonna take up leading up to like declaring is be you it’s all gonna be a straight one.
You you’re gonna like, maybe like figure out like, oh, you like this better, or you like that better? You’ll that you don’t like engineer all. Um, that’s that’s this whole process is as far is like learn what you, what is interesting to you and what you wanna do. Um, and you’ll get there even.
Absolutely agreed. And I think I’ll, I’ll answer the same exploring, but exploring, I think the self is, is super important. So I’ll do like an inner kind of conversation. Um, I think that’s something that’s super underrated underappreciated. And, um, within the college application process, but also undergrad experience.
I think the more you spend time now asking, you know, asking yourself, what do I like, what do I find passions in? What do I wanna do? What do I see myself doing? Am I a people person? Am I more introverted? And that’s kind of what I want my career. I think the more you do that now, um, the better it is for your application process.
I think being self-aware is, um, something that colleges. Um, look for a student, right? How can, you know, what you want to do if you don’t know what you’re doing for yourself? Um, you know, what things can you provide in service and career wise and do for others if you don’t know what you wanna do for yourself first.
Um, and so being self aware about your passions and your interests and you know, what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are, um, is truly what. Someone stand out within an application, um, in my humble opinion and what I always force, the students that I work with, um, is to, to tap into, you know, Level of self awareness, um, that let’s colleges know, Hey, this student knows what, they’re, what they’re thinking about, why they’re thinking about it.
Um, and maybe possibly a path to move forward with that. And maybe that path isn’t exactly right, or exactly how it’s gonna go, but you know, the students is thinking about it and that’s what matters. Um, and so I think that’s, um, my last kind of advice that I want to give. Everyone here, whether you’re in engineering or humanities, um, is to continue asking you those, asking yourself those questions and, and trying to figure out the answers through experiences and ex exploring and, um, yeah, maybe journaling.
I don’t know. I always tell my students when I first get them or have them assigned to me, my junior or sophomore year is to start a journal. I think that’s like the 10 outta 10 would recommend to just get to know yourself better and, um, move forward. And, and your application process, knowing what your answers are to these questions that they’re asking you, that seem kind of big, but if you’ve already thought about it, you know, you might have already answered it.
Um, yeah, that’s it. Great. Thank you so much, guys. That was super helpful advice. Um, and thank you for all of the information provided. I’m sure this is super helpful to our audience. Um, big, thank you as well to everyone for coming out tonight. Um, I also just copied and pasted a link. In the public chat, uh, where you all can sign up for a free 45 minute advising session.
Um, so definitely be sure to click on that link and sign up and you’ll be able to be connected, um, with someone here at CollegeAdvisor.com. Um, thank you so much. And here is our August webinar series. Um, so the last webinar we have for the month is tomorrow, and it’s Crafting Your Personal Brand for College Applications.
Um, so hope to see some of you guys there have a good night.