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01-10-2012   #1 (permalink)
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Default Planning Ahead For Post-College--

Well, my undergraduate career ends in the next 2-3 years. Normally, I'd wait another semester or year before starting to sink my teeth into what I'll be doing after my time is up but I really put that last minute getting myself into college and I kinda want to try harder for the future. It's kind of a new year's resolution thing -- I'm gonna stop procrastinating things and putting my feet ahead into the future.

But anyway, I was just wondering what I should be looking for in grad schools. I was trying to do a bit of research for myself looking for top campuses for Civil Engineers, but I kept finding sites that I thought were a bit questionable in credibility. High school really helped me get the ball started into getting into college, but I'm a bit lost as to what I should be doing for my upper studies. Granted, I should probably start with some academic advising on campus but I've heard from a few people that they're going to try and urge me into staying with them for graduate studies (which I've heard is a bad thing called academic incest where employers think your education is a bit one-sided since you're only learning from one perspective). I want to stray away from staying in San Jose for too long. (Not my personal cup of tea, but I was hoping to get into a more urban area.)

Off the top of my head, I figure MIT would be a good top choice. But what are some good other choices? If I decided just on location, I'd probably shoot off to Vancouver or NYU. But that's only based on that fact that I like those kinds of areas. And it's kind of silly to just base off your decision because you want to live there. Another thing I'm interested in finding out are the requirements to get to those places, but I'm sure there will be more information once I figure out a place to go. Anyone care to shed some light on this?
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01-13-2012   #2 (permalink)
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I'm no pro at this, but I can try to help.
I hope I don't give out bad advice.


In general, when entering grad school, you'll want to specialize in something. So start thinking what you want to focus in civil engineering and why you want to focus in that area. Apparently, I hear that admission officers love students who do research, especially if you're aiming for a phd. So you might want to look a bit into that and ask your professors about it so you can look really good. Speaking of professors, get to know them well. If you let them know more about you, the more good things they can write about you when you need them for Letter of Recommendations.

I'm not a civil engineer major, so I don't know which grad programs are good. But you can try looking into this? Though, you probably have seen it already maybe. Best Civil Engineering Programs | Top Engineering Schools | US News Best Graduate Schools

Er, I hope this helps a bit.
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01-15-2012   #3 (permalink)
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I'd say wait on doing anything for grad school. Focus on your undergraduate studies and decide whether you want to take a specialization in CE, whether you want to take classes from other engineering disciplines or an unrelated minor. There's a lot of different disciplines that a CE can work in. Do you want to work for a small engineering consulting firm where you'd be traveling around to different jobs every six months? Do you want to work for the department of transportation making sure bridges don't collapse? Or do you want to stay in academia? As you take courses in your upper level classes, you'll find stuff you like and stuff you dislike. Also, as a CE, make your you pass the FE or PE Part 1 exam. Most organizations won't hire CEs without it.

I thought I would go to into grad school straight out of undergraduate, but I was tired of school after 4 years. I wanted to work at a company before going back to get a masters.
 
01-23-2012   #4 (permalink)
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I don't know anything about which schools are suitable for your skills and can't give any useful advice. I believe you should pursue academic advising but, as you said, be cautious about academic incest and keep your doors open for other opportunities. Don't let yourself get locked down if you don't want to be. In tune with what iFarted said, accumulate some references and establish a network to strengthen your application.
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Last edited by Adun; 01-23-2012 at 09:50 PM.
 

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