Computer Engineering Programs: Advice on Selecting a College

Updated on July 28, 2016
M.P. asks from Chicago, IL
11 answers

I got such helpful responses on my questions about animals/science careers, that I'm turning to the wisdom of all of you again! My nephew graduated from college with a degree in biology, and realized that this isn't what he wants to pursue. Instead, he wants to pursue computer engineering. He'd like to get either another undergraduate degree or graduate degree in this field, but doesn't know how to find a school which would accept him with his B average, would have good financial aid and a good placement record. I'm a liberal arts type, so I don't have any direct experience. If there is an on-line directory I can tap or if anyone has direct knowledge, I'd appreciate someone pointing me in the right direction. Thank you, all!

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answers from Dallas on

My advice to him would be to go back to the college where he graduated and speak with the advisors at that school.

I don't understand why he would not do that already since he is familiar at least with 1 college. The advisors could provide options for him such as going for a Master's, what colleges would have appropriate programs, etc.

If he graduated college already, he should be bright enough to come up with ways to research what he wants instead of relying on others to research for him.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Um, if he just graduated from a university why doesn't he just ask his advisors there? I assume an adult college graduate is capable of looking up the department of engineering at his school and making an appointment. And if the school doesn't have an engineering department I'm sure his current advisors could at least point him in the right direction. Also I bet he knows how to use Google, as a starting point.

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answers from Boston on

Why wouldn't he work with college admissions since he already has 4 years of experience? He also qualifies for help from the placement office. Did he not speak with anyone while at college (advisor, computer engineering department head, career services, etc.?). It seems odd to me that he spent 4 years on a major he didn't really love, and only now is picking another field (which would have to be based, one would assume, on some rudimentary knowledge of computer engineering). I realize you can't put every bit of info in your question, but I think it would be important to know when and why he decided he didn't like his major, why he didn't try to shift majors (even if it meant, say, a 5th year), what exposure he's had to computer engineering, and why he's starting all over with no idea of how to even find a program.

Some graduates get out and are just so afraid of the real world of employment and so comfortable with being a student, they just don't want to stop the life they know. But I'm assuming he wouldn't be living in a dorm as a brand new starting-over freshman, right? So this experience would be so different even if he found a school to his liking.

Where did he get the idea that a college wouldn't accept someone with a B average? Has he explored what courses he has already taken might count toward a second degree? I would think a lot of colleges would be interested in someone who has proven he can stick it out for 4 years and get a B average - but I would think they'd have concerns if he already accepted financial aid for the first 4 years and if he has not done any preliminary work on his own to search out answers. I think it's great that you, as his aunt, want to help, but if he's 22 and has a college degree and doesn't know how to at least find information, that tells me he may have some issues with determination and decision-making. No school is going to want someone pursuing a "major of the week" - they're going to want someone with plenty of gumption and not just someone wanting to take aid money that needs to go to kids who are going for their first time out.

I think your nephew should work for a while, build up a bank account, and pursue some additional coursework part time (nights/weekends). He needs to get into the real world a bit and out of the academic mindset, and get a better sense of what's out there and what kinds of decision-making skills he needs to make a better choice the next time around.

I think he might also look into a master's program. Perhaps some of his classes undergrad classes would be applicable.

I'd direct him right back to the college that knows him the best and have him work the resources and departments who have all this info. If he's not willing to do that on his own, I think you might be wasting your time trying to look stuff up on line. His circumstances are quite different from the incoming students these colleges are looking at anyway.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Many engineers do not have degrees, but rather are self taught. Many are college dropouts. Programming is something that they can learn themselves without necessarily needing a professor to teach it. If your nephew understands the basics, he can find out what computer languages are most common in the field he wants to go into and work on learning those. He'd be better off just taking classes and certifications programs than actually going back for another degree.

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answers from Philadelphia on

My husband has a degree in accounting. He passed the CPA exam shortly after graduating from college. He now owns a small consulting business doing custom software development. He is completely self taught.

Your nephew doesn't need a bachelors of computer engineering. He already has an undergraduate degree, that is all that is needed although my husband has his MBA too. Now your nephew needs skills. There are lots of certifications he could get. If he wants the degree though and/or self study isn't for him he could go for a masters in computer engineering.

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answers from Milwaukee on

If he already has a degree in Bio, he should look into what an advanced IT degree can do within that field. I'm in school for pharmacy, & there are a number of career opportunities for someone who has additional education in IT, or statistics, or research analysis...

At this point, a master's degree might be more appropriate, to enhance what he already has, instead of starting over & reinventing the wheel. Just about any public 4-year university is going to accept him, & likely have a program that he's looking for.

If he wants a specialized school, with bells & whistles, & financial packages (VERY limited if you already have a degree!), then tell him to start putting his computer interest to work, & try Google. T. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I am from the business side of IT, data and all of that. I can code but I stink it at. I don't consider SQL code but whatever. I do know that a lot of fake school have fake computer engineering degrees so make sure the school is actually accredited by the appropriate group not some fake group like the accreditation for profits claim to have.

So far as financial aid and scholarships go, they dry up the minute you get your bachelors. This is why I did the integrated masters. You had to get the credits for your masters and your bachelors in four years, which was hell, but you had the financial aid in place and the lower tuition rate.

If I were him I would look at where he graduated from and see what classes he needs to take to get the bachelors. It would be the least amount of classes and by proxy the least amount of money. Like I could go back to SLU and get a bachelors in psych taking two classes, marketing 3, finance 2, MBA 1 (I have the MAAC). Going anywhere else would mean at least 30 hours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

BYU has one of the most sought after Engineering programs I know of. It's amazing.

Thing is they don't do government financial aid so he'd have to apply for scholarships and things through the school. They have excellent programs for students who need help. Their master's degree programs are excellent too. He could simply move on up into another program within the college he got his previous degree in. Then he'd have a shorter program and could teach alongside the professors and make enough money to live on.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlottesville on

He can try going to and select college search to just get an idea of what colleges are out there and what they offer. I'm sure there are other similar sites as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Did your nephew ask for help? Does he really not know how or is not able to research this for himself? Perhaps you're asking to know so that you can have knowledgeable information for yourself when talking/listening with him? Perhaps he's only made general conversation because he is working on a plan and is still in the general inquiry stage. Perhaps he's just intending his comments as general conversation.

When I read several of your other questions, I wonder if you are doing research for school or in preparation for opening your own business. They seem unrelated on the surface. When I gave them further thought they seem to have the general theme of research.

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