Tips for College Engineering Majors

MITIs your homeschooler planning to major in engineering? If so, here are a few things you may wish to consider as you plan high school and look toward college admissions.

Engineering is an Intense Major
Students who plan to major in engineering should enter college prepared to really focus and succeed. Even students who are entering college with AP or dual enrollment credits, may find it difficult to graduate on time. Most programs expect engineers to take a very heavy load, or even an overload, every semester. There are enough expected classes that students won’t have a lot of extra time to take classes “for fun” as they do with some other majors. For that reason I suggest homeschoolers who wish to major in engineering think about taking time to explore other liberal arts topics while homeschooling.

Strong Math is Crucial
The majority of students majoring in engineering will have taken calculus in high school.  Homeschooling students should think about ways to document their level in calculus. Options may include community college classes or AP exams. Students who wish to major in engineering who have not taken at least some calculus in high school may find they really need to scramble to catch up in college. Students struggling with high school calculus should understand engineering majors will be required to take more calculus in college.

Engineering Majors Need to Study More
Research finds that engineering and physical science majors put in more study time than other majors. Engineering majors will find they need to study more outside of class than students in many other majors. This trend continues throughout college as senior engineering majors were more than twice as likely to put in over 20 hours a week study time than business majors.

Internships and Co-op Experience
While the courseload is demanding engineering students are strongly encouraged to look for ways to get on the job experience while in college. Many engineering colleges have well developed internship programs. It may be time consuming, but these opportunities are important. Real world experience helps students make sure they are pursuing the right field. Also, research shows that students who have internships during college fare better on the job market.


  • Our boys are both planning on majoring in engineering but they are not far enough into math to do calculus in high school. What should we do?

    • Hello,
      One option some homeschoolers try is to double up on math or try a block schedule. With a block schedule a student might complete a full year of math in one semester. So, it might geometry in the fall and algebra II in the spring. A bit of math over the summer might be an option too. Of course your boys would have to buy in because more math is a real commitment.

    • Most future engineering majors will go through AP AB calculus at a minimum in high school, AP BC Calculus is preferable. Most students will do well using a mainstream, standard curriculum. At a lot of colleges these are “pre-major” requirements so if an engineering major has not had some calculus in high school they may have a tough time being admitted to the major at competitive schools and they will be playing catch up to graduate on time.

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