What to Expect
If you can make it through the introductory stuff, you may find that civil
engineering programs become quite interesting.
Joan Gable took a graduate program at Arizona State University. She found
the first two years of her program to be the most challenging. "The material
is difficult and ... sometimes very boring," she says.
"[But] it gets more interesting and easier. You actually find you have
more free time in the later years than those students who changed majors."
And even if you decide that civil engineering isn't for you, there are
lots of other ways to use your degree.
"There are also many opportunities outside of the realm of civil engineering
that are open to people with engineering degrees. Engineering gives you
a solid background in problem solving," says former student Karen Graham.
Former civil engineering student Jennifer Endres says that students should be
prepared to work hard. Her typical day started at eight in the morning
and ended at midnight.
Graham's undergraduate program involved co-op work terms, where
students are placed with an employer for academic credit. "You do four months
of schooling, four months of working, and it cycles," she says.
How to Prepare
"Engineering has its roots in science and math," says Graham. "Courses
like calculus, geometry, algebra and physics are definitely a must-have.
Another thing to work on is your report-writing and lab skills. Computer
programming may also come in handy."
Graham encourages students who are interested in civil engineering to investigate
the field thoroughly. "Find someone who has gone to the school or is attending
the school currently. Go to the school for a visit. The school probably
has campus days where high school students and their families are welcome
to visit the campus."