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Before Calvin: Advice for High School Students

Academics / Departments & Programs / Engineering / Before Calvin

Planning ahead for your academic career at Calvin might seem like a daunting task, but we want to give you the tools to prepare in high school for a possible career in engineering.

The field of engineering is diverse by nature and has something specific to offer you. The principles, concepts, and theories that engineers use in their work are founded on math and science. Engineers add engineering design principles to this foundation.

  • How do I know if engineering is for me?

    Here are just a few attributes engineers commonly exhibit:

    • A natural curiosity for how things work
    • An enjoyment for taking things apart both mentally and on a work bench
    • An interest in finding the links between scientific principles and how they affect real-world problems
    • An excitement for new technology
    • A fascination for God’s creation and how it could be used to better society
    • An investigative perspective on the world in an effort to improve people’s lives
  • What classes should I take to prepare for Calvin's program?
    • Four years of math including at least pre-calculus (AP Calculus if possible)
    • Four years science including one year each of biology, chemistry, and physics
    • Two years of a foreign language
    • Four years of English
    • Not required but helpful to have: CAD, drafting, or some other industrial design course
    • Not required but helpful to have: an intro computer programming class
    • Not required but helpful to have: an AP Calculus course. If you have to choose, AP Calculus is preferred over AP Statistics.
  • How can I use my degree in engineering?

    Here are just a few examples:

    • Design a new building
    • Properly execute embedded software
    • Optimize the operation of a chemical plant
    • Design an energy-efficient vehicle
    • Work in a lab on advanced research
    • Use CAD software to create a schematic
  • How can I get started?

Typical first-year engineering courses

FallSpring *
Chemistry 101 - General Chemistry Engineering 205 - Material Science
Engineering 101 - Intro to Engineering Design Mathematics 172 - Calculus II
Engineering 181 - Graphical Communication Lab Physics 133 - Introductory Physics: Mechanics and Gravity
Mathematics 171 - Calculus 1 Core Foundations - Foundations of Christianity 1
Core Foundations - Community and Commitments Core Comp and Skills - Foundational Writing

* Students interested in chemical engineering should refer to this worksheet

First-year Scholarships

High school students that want to be considered for scholarships should apply through Calvin’s main scholarship page. As a prospective first-year student (must be admitted to Calvin), you may start applying now and must complete the general application online and any other required steps by February 1.

Buying a computer

We support both Windows and Mac computers for student use when connecting to ResNet (wired) and eduroam (wireless). Most of Calvin’s resident students bring their own computers to campus each year.

Calvin's general computer recommendations.

Engineering department's computer recommendation.

Calvin uses the Microsoft Office suite of software: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access. Professors expect electronically submitted files to be in a Microsoft Office readable format.

Calvin Information Technology provides computing, printing, telephone, and
cable television services to the Calvin community.

Transfer information

It's possible to transfer to Calvin's engineering program from another engineering program. See the Transfer Students page for full information on this process.

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