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Profile Of A Successful Engineering Student At A Private, Liberal Arts University

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1018.1 - 9.1018.9



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Paper Authors

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Kenneth Van Treuren

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1793

Profile of a Successful Engineering Student at a Private, Liberal Arts University Ken Van Treuren and Steve Eisenbarth Baylor University


With shrinking engineering enrollments, programs are looking for ways of predicting and measuring student success. Profiling incoming and graduating students gives some insight as to what student information might be used as a predictor of success. Eventually, these identified qualities of a successful student might be used to prescreen potential students and to counsel high school students interested in an engineering career. A wide variety of factors are available for analysis using already existing University and Department databases. The first factor thought to measure student success is usually cumulative GPA however, that alone is not a sole predictor of success. Other data, such as SAT verbal and math scores, first semester GPA, high school graduation rank, high school extra curricular activities, concurrent employment, internships, math placement exams, socio-economic factors, gender and minority status, may also be indicators of student success. Preliminary data suggest involvement in student professional societies enhances graduation rates. Passing the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam indicates a minimum level of academic success on a national assessment tool. Comparisons are made between incoming freshman data and final graduating student data. Also, a comparison is made between the engineering student profile and that of a typical liberal arts incoming freshman.


Having a student enter an engineering program and successfully graduate is the desire of every university. Baylor University is no exception. The engineering program at Baylor is a small presence on the campus. Approximately 14,000 graduate and undergraduate students are enrolled during any given year and the Department of Engineering accounts for approximately 250 of these students or almost 2%. With so few students, every student that enters the program is important. Thus, the goal of an engineering program is for each student to successfully graduate from the program. In 2000, the question was asked about the retention rate of entering freshman at Baylor University and some startling results were uncovered1. Students graduating with an engineering degree in 1998 and 1999 were approximately 20% of the number that entered for these years. As other researchers have found, the largest attrition occurs during the first year2. At Baylor, approximately 50% of the engineering students leave the program during their freshman year. As a result, retention studies were undertaken and positive steps to improve the retention rate were formulated. To date, the retention strategies developed have had only moderate success with the retention rate improving to about 35%. More information is necessary to continue this improvement trend.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Van Treuren, K. (2004, June), Profile Of A Successful Engineering Student At A Private, Liberal Arts University Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12893

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