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College Admissions Tips

This is a college admissions tip; an acceptance trick I discovered after attending school at Drexel University in the early 70's.  You might think this is old news, but I do know a young friend of mine who took advantage of this collegiate applications tip in the late 70's, and there is no reason it should not work today.  And if you are truly in a hurry here's the tip: College acceptance tips.  But you truly need some background to take advantage of these college admission tips, so please read on!

Also, please see my College expenses tips.

Application to Drexel University (DU)

When I applied to  DU, I applied to the college as a Physics major.  At the time I did not really know what I wanted to do.  I really had enjoyed playing with electronics a lot more than working with physics.  I believe my father's love of physics is what drove me to apply to the College of Physics at the university.  To find a college was not a problem Penn State, and several others were within a two hours of my home.

In looking back our family lived in Princeton, New Jersey when I was young.  I just know my father revered Albert Einstein, and who does not even today; a brilliant human being.  I believe my father wanted to have a son like Albert!  Sorry did not quite happen.  So I believe my father's interests are what made me apply as a Physics major to DU.  I also applied to Penn State and was admitted off campus, I wanted on campus, and it was my own fault for applying too late.  Always apply very early to any state or large institution.

It is a very lucky thing for me, that my college application was for a Physics degree.  I guess my real interest was Electrical Engineering.  Guess what my father did for a living; he was an Electrical Engineer, imagine that.  Why would I like electronics?  Hmm, that is a tough one.

Factors for admission to school

I had done very well in high school physics, I enjoyed the material.  My SAT's were in the 700's for physics.  Are there any tests for electronics in High School?  My other SAT's were far more average.  Had I applied to Drexel as an Electrical Engineer at that time, I would not have been accepted.  It was too competitive a career path.  There were many, many applicants to DU's electrical engineering college.  Electrical Engineering is a good paying career with many diverse avenues of advancement.  Physics on the other hand is not a big career path.  Nothing wrong with it, just far less available for employment.  I believe there were only 30 applicants to the Physics program.  DU's physics program was obviously very small.  Many physics majors would be more interested in Penn State.

The College Admission Interview

I believe this interview was very important to my acceptance at DU.  I was verbally clumsy in this interview, but I did ask some acceptable questions.  If I were you I would prepare and go to this interview!  In discussing this later with classmates in Electrical Engineering, many did not go to this interview, but, the successful EE applicants had excellent high school credentials, far better than mine.  My only advantage was excellence in Physics and I strongly believe attendance at this admissions interview was very well received by the Drexel admission office.  It was a sign of respect of the college and its administration.  Go for, and prepare for, this interview if you can.  I do not know if they still do this today or not.  Embarrassingly my mother attended this interview with me.  It may have helped, but it did not show a lot of independence on my part.

Acceptance tips and courses 

What you will discover at most colleges is that science and technology students basically take the same courses for the first four quarters or the first three trimesters.  But this college acceptance tip applies to many fields of endeavor.  When I say the same courses, in many cases the courses are identical, and electrical engineers and science majors attend exactly the same lectures for the first year.  There may be some variation in courses in the third or fourth quarters.  I will use the term quarters which is the way Drexel (DU) worked at the time.  DU had four quarters in a year, Penn State had three trimesters.

Course variations

I took thermodynamics for Physic majors, but really the course material was almost identical.  The "science" thermo might have been a little more theoretical with a stronger emphasis on math.  But at DU there was no slacking off for EE's in the math department, it was basically just as tough as the science educational path.  I think the "Static's" course also had a science bias.

After the fifth quarter I knew Physical science was not for me!

Studying how to play billiards (atomic collision/ interaction science) in infinite mathematical detail just did not keep my attention.  I wanted to play with electronics hands on!  I needed a change, so I ended up in the Dean of Sciences office.  I had been doing pretty well grades wise at the time.  I told the Dean I wanted to switch to Electrical Engineering.  His reply was odd, I guess he looked at my grades and said wouldn't you rather get a math and physics degree?  No, NO, no, Dean I would like to switch to EE.  He said fine, no problem.  I did ask about the subtle differences in courses I had taken and he said that wouldn't be an issue.

So now I am an EE!

In the Junior year at Drexel there is a review of your course requirements record in preparation for graduation.  Obviously they do this a year before you graduate to give you time to correct problems, and boy did I have problems.  Turns out, I learned to my chagrin, I was missing five required courses!  But it wasn't a big deal.  I sat down with my advisor and we went through my courses.  He says you did not take humanities.  I said yes I did see here, but the course number was different.  I had taken Humanities for physicists, whatever the difference was?  Well once my advisor and I reviewed all the course content he concurred there was no problem and I had met all the requirements to date for my Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering degree.  All right!

Had I switched colleges sooner

Had I switched degree paths after the third term there probably would have been no requirements problem at all.  So what does this all lead up to.

The college acceptance tip

Regardless of your career path, when you apply to college and you think you will have problems getting accepted, because of academics or tardiness in your application, or just competition from many qualified peers, study your college's educational offerings.  Remember, for many degree paths, the course offerings the first year may be identical so you could select a less competitive educational path as I did accidentally.  Perhaps humanities to business, business to education, etc.  Every college will have differing specializations and will also have "Colleges of" that they are not well known for.  Seek out these career path Colleges and check the course requirements versus your desired career path at that institution.  You can then apply for the less popular "College of" and be accepted!

A young friend uses this technique openly

A young friend of mine was trying for acceptance at Drexel in the College of Electrical Engineering, in the late 1970's.  He was having difficulty because he had applied pretty late in the season.  He had good credentials.  He also was not applying right after he graduated from high school; does this matter?  Regardless, I told him my tips for college admission and he discussed this with DU.  I thought he might do this secretively.  DU approved his application for the college of Mathematics knowing he intended to transfer to the College of Electrical Engineering.  Why, I do not know.  One reason may be, and this is true of all colleges, after 3 terms two thirds of the students will have dropped out or changed career paths.  Many of my freshman year buddies ended up in the DU business school in their second year.

I wish you success in your pursuits and I hope these college acceptance tips serve you well.

Good luck with your college experience and college admission.  Have fun in school.  (I had way too much fun and my grades suffered).  Attending Drexel in the city was an incredible "growing up" experience.  Growing up I lived in the suburbs, you can learn a lot about living, by living in a city for a few years.  After college I stayed in city for another 4 years, and really enjoyed it.  The economics of living in the city is what drove me out!  I needed a new car and between the insurance, the city income tax, and apartment rent, it was cheaper to buy a house in the suburbs, and get that big mortgage tax break, big car insurance rates break, huge income tax reduction, etc.  By by city!

Hope this tip helped

Cut College tuition costs

When I graduated from Drexel University I had a tremendous opportunity offered to me, a job at Drexel University!  What a way to cut college tuition costs.  Educational costs are so high today.  Drexel's tuition was around $3000 a year when I attended college in the 70's

Please see my College Admission tip.

I did not know what I was going to do.

Well I have graduated BSEE Drexel University, now what.  Hey, I got out the newspaper and started looking at the Help Wanted ads.  Wow, a company way out in the suburbs has a summer job opening for an electronics technician.

I apply for the job

I apply for the electronics technician job and  one of the first questions is, "Aren't you looking for an Electrical Engineering job?"  I said well no, this fall I have been offered a position doing mini-computer systems support at Drexel University.

Why would you want to do that?

It is just another technician's job, right?  Well yes, and no.  One of the benefits of the job is  tuition is paid for any courses I want to take!  Imagine that, a job on campus, and I can take all the classes I want, at no cost.  The job has flexible hours.  This is great I can stay on campus, work for a Masters degree, and make a living too.  No commuting, and I get to stay in the city with the people I know.

I get the technician job in the suburbs

Drexel has a co-op program, so I graduated college with industrial experience.  What a huge advantage.  Also during college for two of my required papers I designed and constructed a polyphonic digital music synthesizer with a DEC PDP 8 minicomputer interface.  I wish I had followed up on this project.  I had Moog beat by a mile.  I planned to add a sampling waveform lookup table, and this was in 1974, but I digress.

The Drexel job offer falls through

Well by the time fall came around Drexel had reconsidered and no longer wanted to hire a mini-computers support technician, shoot!  Well I was very fortunate, the company I worked for in the summer offered me a job as an Electrical Engineer!  And it turned out to be a fabulous job from a technology stand point.  Digital, analog, optics, photomultipliers (tubes!), Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT), image processing, pattern recognition, microprocessors galore, mechanisms, stepper motors, microscopes, medical technology.  Wow ten years of interesting technology.  A very good first job.

So the tip is obvious

Investigate employment at your college before you are admitted, after you are accepted, before you attend, while you attend, and after you've graduated.  The benefits can be phenomenal, if your still pursuing  your education.

Hope this helped









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BHT Revised: 22 Oct 2016


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