I admire anyone who can work full-time and get your engineering degree. There were several students working full-time, family and getting a degree in engineering while I was in college. People would make comments about how hard they thought it was for me getting my engineering degree being a single mother, but I think the full-timers and family people were way ahead of me.
I think some of this is our tendency to keep to certain educational traditions. Engineering curriculum has a certain rigor to it that is simply not for the faint of heart. This may be off topic but it always puzzled me that in order to enter a doctoral program in theology, one must obtain a master of divinity which is a 90 hours program - not for the faint of heart either. Why so many hours? Is that another tradition?
I can see the 14 hours being reasonable for a business major - that's two hours a day and theoretically they have projects to do, case studies ect. I would expect a full time engineering student to be putting in more...I remember burning the candle at both ends many times.
I'm going to make a plug for my alma mater, Cooper Union, which is number four on the second list (engineering schools where highest degree is bachelor's or master's). Sadly, though, Cooper is in the process of considering changing its century old full-scholarship (free tuition) policy. (See "Cooper Union Looks at Charging Tuition." One can't help but wonder if this will effect its future place on such lists. If students have to pay $40k per year to go there, will it still be able to attract the same high-quality student body? I'll have more to say on this in an upcoming blog. If you have any opinions, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
It's always interesting to look at the "student happiness" list in The Princeton Review's annual ratings. Engineering schools dominate the bottom (unhappiest) schools. The amazing part of that is that the only schools on the list that can be recognized as engineering institutions are those that specialize in engineering (MIT, Cal Tech, Georgia Tech, Illinois Institute of Technology, New Jersey Institute of Technology, etc). In other words, schools like Purdue and the University of Michigan don't count as engineering schools. Nevertheless, the few schools that could be called "engineering schools" all collect at the bottom. There can be only one reason for that: Getting an engineering degree isn't fun. The only fun part is when you graduate and get a load of job offers.
Well, the business majors may be engaging in some creative accounting practices when they say they study 14 hours a week outside of class.
As far as engineering seniors not being able to balance a full time job with their studies, I don't know whether it's generally true for everyone, but I decided to go from working full-time to working part-time during my last semester as an undergrad. Up until that semester, I was able to balance working full time and studying full time. But I decided that for the last semester, my focus needed to be on school.
Re business majors, I could see MBA students having to put in engineering-type hours, especially when doing case studies. OTOH, with undergrads, I agree with you -- it doesn't ring true that their study hours are the same order of magnitude as those of engineering majors. Another interesting point in the study was that engineering seniors have too much course work to hold down after-school jobs.
Regarding the New York Times story: It's not surprising to me that engineering majors study more than business majors. What is shocking to me, however, is the fact that the hours-per-week numbers are 19 to 14. Undergrad business majors study 14 hours per week? My anecdotal experience with the business majors who I knew in college would indicate that the hours of business study are much lower than that. Also, I seem to recall that engineering professors would tell us we need to study "three hours outside of class for every hour in the classroom."
I don't think anyone could possibly be surprised by the fact that students in engineering and physical sciences study more than business students. This is why there are t-shirts which say "lim(Engineering)GPA-->0 = Business".
I was struck by this passage in the New York Times article: "transfer students [...] were more likely to work off campus and care for dependents, decreasing their sense of connection to the college community."
This describes my college experience pretty well. But as more people get wise to the fact that transferring into a four-year school from a two-year school makes good economic sense as well as academic sense, I think that transfer students will become less of an invisible minority on campus.
Interesting study just realized shows what we all knew, that engineering is the toughest major. Also interesting to note that engineering students do way more work than business majors -- their future bosses. Take a look, here.
You don't really expect U.S. News and World Report to admit that you may be better off getting a job for hands-on knowledge and going to a community college for your first two years of school, do you?
If more people did this, it might exert some downward pressure on tuition for 4-year universities. Then the 4-year universities might not have as much money to advertise in the pages of magazines like U.S. News and World Report.
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