April Rieger at Colorado State University

Why did you choose to attend CSU?

image1When I first started looking at colleges I knew I wanted to stay in Colorado, so I only looked at CU and CSU. I took tours of both campuses but still wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I think what really made my decision was Engineering Exploration Day. Getting to talk to the professors, see the engineering facilities, and tour through the engineering dorms really showed me what studying engineering at CSU would be like. I could see myself living in the academic dorms and walking through the plaza on my way to class. Campus didn’t feel intimidating to me it felt very comfortable which was really important to me. Both schools have great engineering programs and excel academically so for me my decision was more based on where will I enjoy living and studying for the next four to five years. I couldn’t have made a better decision and love living in Fort Collins and attending CSU.

What was appealing to you about Mechanical Engineering that made you pursue it as your degree?

After I decided to study engineering (I really liked Calculus and Physics in High School) I was trying to decide between Civil and Mechanical engineering. I really wanted to go into Aerospace engineering but CSU didn’t have the program and I didn’t want my degree to be so narrowly focused. I’ve always been interested in the way things work and are put together and after taking Engineering 101 I knew that Mechanical Engineering would be more interesting to me. With this degree I will be able to apply it to a number of different industries and projects instead of being stuck in one field. I hope that one day go back and get a Master s in Aerospace engineering but if I decide differently my degree will still be useful.

What is your work load like as a mechanical engineering student?

In terms of the work load it has depended on what classes I am taking that semester, how much I am involved in, and the professor. My first year in the engineering program has definitely been the easiest. The work load was not the lightest but there was a lot of repetition with classes I took in High School. My second year was a lot harder. The classes start to become all engineering classes and I also became involved in things more outside of school. The third year has been the busiest so far but not the hardest. The transition to harder classes was hard my sophomore year but now I know how to handle it. In terms of how much work is assigned it is expected that all engineering classes will have homework assigned every week. If I have classes with a Lab I will have a lab report due every week and could also be assigned group projects that require out of class time. The farther into a mechanical degree the more group projects and labs that will require additional time outside of class. Engineering is hard but it is possible with discipline and work ethic.

What are you involved with on campus at CSU?

My freshman year I was not involved in anything outside of engineering, so come my sophomore year I wanted to make sure that I had more going on than just engineering. I really wanted to get involved with the college and had friends working as student ambassadors. I have loved being a student ambassador because I get to help prospective students see how awesome CSU and studying engineering is. While it was important to me to be involved in the college I really wanted to get to know more people in different majors, so I joined a sorority. Joining a sorority has definitely been one of the best decisions of my college career. I have made some incredible friends and I have had the opportunity to do things I never would have imagined. I have been able to do philanthropy work, give back to the community, and now hold a leadership position as Vice President. These things paired with engineering keep me very busy, but I really loved being involved and working hard.

What statistics about The College of Engineering at CSU would be useful to students searching for schools?

  • Five Year Average (2009-2013) of Graduates with an Internship: 70%
  • 40% of 2013 Graduates were hired for a full time position by Internship Organization
  • 93% of 2013-2014 Graduates had plans for after graduation (67% employment, 25% continuing Education)

For students in the engineering program generally the summer after their Junior Year is when internships are most common. By then they have three years of engineering classes under their belt and employers are looking at interns they can hire for a full time position. Before applying for jobs and meeting with employers, students often use the resume review and mock interview resources the Student Success Center provides. In addition the College of Engineering Hosts two Engineering Career fairs, one in the fall and one in the spring. Some students choose to do a co-op where they take a semester off to work for a company. As the stat above states, sometimes summer internships turn into full time positions. Employers look at the internships and jobs students have held in college, any leadership positions or involvement they have, and GPA when considering them for a position.

Ben Lorden at Colorado State University

unnamedWhat set CSU apart from your other schools of interest?

I chose CSU because I wanted to be a part of a diverse community. I wanted to go to a school where I would be challenged academically in my program, but also where I could interact with students who are studying for different majors. I love that I can go to seminars and symposiums on other topics beyond the breadth of engineering because that makes me more knowledgeable about the world in which I live. There is more to life than engineering alone, at least in my mind, and I am thankful to get the chance to learn about other things I am interested in while I delve into engineering.

What are your interactions with other peers and professors like in class?

Some of the classes in the engineering school are a bit large but that was something that was not too hard to get used to. It is awesome that every class that is offered in engineering is taught by a professor who is knowledgeable in their field and who wants to help us become the best engineers possible. One thing that I do to make the classes seem smaller is to sit in the first few rows of the class. This allows me to interact with the professor and have the professor know me. If a professor sees you putting in work, they will want to help you succeed. If they do not see you putting forth much effort, they will be less inclined to put effort into developing your understanding of the material. I have found that in the classes where I apply myself the most, the professors are great at helping me, even if it is outside of class on their own time. The professors I have had is one of my favorite things about the program!

What is your workload like as an engineering student?

Engineering is hard. There is no way around that fact. I have found that it is not so much a test of intelligence but one of work ethic. I have met a lot of people who were much more intelligent than I, but engineering was too hard for them because they did not want to put in the work that it takes to succeed as an engineering student. That being said, you can look below to find the other things that I have been able to be involved with around campus. I need to prioritize my time very well, but it is possible to do other things outside of your engineering curriculum. I have spent many weekend nights studying, doing homework, or working on projects, but I also do plenty of fun things. It is not overwhelming if you stay on top of things and make sure that you do something which will help relieve stress when necessary.

In what ways are you involved with the campus?

I have been able to be involved in many different things here on campus. My first year here I played Club Volleyball, which was a blast. It was less serious than high school sports but was still competitive and it was a fun way to stay active. Later on I became an Resident Assistant (RA) on campus, which has been a great opportunity to pour into people and have an impact on my community here. That takes up a lot of my time here, but I still find ways to stay active at the Rec Center or out on the beautiful running trails throughout Fort Collins. I also have found a great church near campus and have found a great community through that. Finally, I love working for the College of Engineering as a student ambassador. I enjoy the opportunity to assist people and to have the opportunity to talk about CSU, the campus, the community, and the engineering programs here.

As an RA, which housing options are most beneficial to freshmen in the engineering program?

As a Resident Assistant on campus, I work to make sure that the residents living on campus are comfortable, safe, and feeling at home within the residence halls. I have lived on campus for three years now, and I know that there are several places to live that would be great for engineering students. The first hall that I would recommend is the Engineering residence hall in Academic Village (AV). AV is one of the newest living spaces and the Engineering residence hall is a beautiful building with a great community. It is awesome to be able to live with people in the same classes so that you can study together, surround yourself with a driven group of students, and spend time with peers who share the same interests as you. Another building in the Academic Village complex is the Honors Building. This is a great place as well because everyone takes there studies seriously, but they are from many different backgrounds and studies and again, share many similar interests. This is a cool option because it makes your education multi-faceted and you can learn things about topics beyond the general scope of engineering through being a part of the honors program.

Currently I am an RA in Braiden Hall were every student is a part of a Key Community, which is another opportunity to find a group of students who are committed to learning together. There are several different Key Communities, including: Key Health, Key Academic, Key Explore, Key Service, and Key Plus. These communities have an emphasis on different things, but it is a great chance to be with people who have similar values and interests.

The other building that I have lived in during my time here at CSU is Laurel Village. This is the newest set of buildings and has a very similar feel to Academic Village. I would not say that there is a huge difference between the halls, but it was like staying at a really nice hotel every night! I would recommend Academic Village over Laurel Village because there are fewer resources for engineering students within Laurel Village, but it was still a great place to live!