Under the aegis of investigating an undergraduate engineering program’s successful achievement of gender parity, 200 undergraduate engineering and physics majors were interviewed (232 total interviews). Near the end of the conversations, students were asked what advice they would offer incoming freshman. This paper reports trends in the attitudes and advice expressed by these students. Twenty-six participants were tracked over time, allowing for analysis on changing advice. Our analysis also examines whether certain pieces of advice stemmed from personal experience or wishful thinking. The data suggest differences in advice given by male and female students, students from different classifications (i.e., underclassmen versus upperclassmen) and from students of different backgrounds. Based on the results of the data analysis, recommendations are made for incoming freshmen majoring in engineering and presented through an accessible metaphor to a stage production. These recommendations aim to create a more successful and enjoyable undergraduate experience. Overall, the top fourteen recommendations made by students fall into three general categories: academic and career planning, involvement, and specific study advice. This paper gives insight into the advice students find lacking during the beginning years of their college education and information current students believe incoming engineering students should receive.
Available from: ASEE Archive
McClure, L. S., T. S. Combrink, C. E. Foor, S. E. Walden, D. A. Trytten and T. R. Rhoads (2006). I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me: Undergraduate Engineering Students Offer Advice to Incoming Students. Proceedings of 2006 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, Chicago, IL.