What We DoAbout ExCITE
HALF OF THE STUDENTS WHO ENTER ENGINEERING AS FRESHMEN, DROP OUT BY THEIR JUNIOR YEAR…
Nationwide, the attrition rate for undergraduate engineering students is approximately 50%. Furthermore, more than 90% of graduating seniors in engineering began their academic careers as engineers (compared to 50% and 60% in the social and physical sciences, respectively). This means that, while the engineering attrition rate is not extraordinarily high, students typically do not decide to become engineers once they reach college. Therefore, in order to produce more engineers nationally, we must retain and recruit better. (Source)
Engineers are “applied” in nature. We believe that the unfavorable attrition rate in engineering is due, at least in part, to the difficult (and typically theoretical) science and math courses that students must take in their “engineering core” before they’ve had the opportunity to take some of the “real” engineering courses. Therefore, ExCITE seeks to provide a context for these upper-level math and science courses. We want to show high school students why they need the upper-level math/science courses, before they actually take them.
Engineering has gotten a bad reputation. The ExCITE teams are presented with real-world, open-ended, engineering problems, and we walk with them through the solution and design process. We think the best way to get people interested in engineering (and recruit more engineering students), is to introduce it to them when they are young, before they come to the false realization that engineering is hard, potentially scary, and a field devoid of creativity. We want to show the high school students how fun, exciting, and varied real engineering can be.
We Are Providing an Environment for Our Students to Grow & Excel
- Create more engineers
- Create better engineers
- Lay foundation for engineering
- Show spectrum and breadth of engineering
- Provide a context for upper-level math and science courses