Meet Adam

I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.

Grades

“I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.”

When I was a junior, I was expelled.

Grades

“When I was a junior, I was expelled.”

I didn't know what I wanted to do.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I didn't know what I wanted to do.”

I don’t really put myself out there a lot.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I don’t really put myself out there a lot.”

I’m proud to say that I’m doing very well.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I’m very proud to say that I’m doing very well.”

I went to school for practically nothing.

Cost

“I went to school for practically nothing.”

Money is out there to help you—just look.

Cost

“Money is out there to help you—just look.”

It was stressful but rewarding in the end.

Cost

“It was stressful but rewarding in the end.”

I wanted to be a teacher.

Cost

“I wanted to be a teacher.”

I just assumed I wasn’t going to go.

Cost

“I just assumed I wasn’t going to go.”

It hits you at once.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“It hits you at once.”

I wasn’t sure what to do.

Cost

“I wasn’t sure what to do.”

Everything was in fine print.

Cost

“Everything was in fine print.”

I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing.”

I had to deal with a lot all at once.

Responsibilities

“I had to deal with a lot all at once.”

I stayed close to home so my parents could visit.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I stayed close to home so my parents could visit.”

It pretty much gave me a full ride.

Cost

“It pretty much gave me a full ride.”

People are willing to help if you ask them.

Cost

“People are willing to help if you ask them.”

I was intimidated since I was undocumented.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I was intimidated since I was undocumented.”

My father did not want to help me.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“My father did not want to help me.”

I have a good chance of becoming more stable.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I have a good chance of becoming more stable.”

Leaving the reservation is a huge step.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“Leaving the reservation is a huge step.”

Meet Adam

 

It pretty much gave me a full ride.
Adam’s family had a hard time making ends meet, but he found scholarships.
It pretty much gave me a full ride. (00:40)
Adam’s family had a hard time making ends meet, but he found scholarships.
It pretty much gave me a full ride.
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Snapshot

Year in college
Senior
Major
Aerospace engineering
Family income
$20,000–$40,000
College path
Transferred from a four-year liberal arts college to a four-year institute of technology
Published yearly in-state tuition and fees
$8,716
Financial aid received
State and federal academic scholarships, Federal Pell Grant, Federal subsidized Stafford Loan
Favorite movie
The Blues Brothers
Two things he can't live without
Internet and Internet
A late start applying to college made it harder for Adam to find a way to afford it.
His obstacle 

Adam's parents, who had little experience with college, wanted him and his two younger sisters to go. However, money was a problem: Even though his father worked up to four jobs at a time and his mother worked part-time, they barely made enough to get by. Adam was worried that he wouldn’t have enough money for college.

His parents advised him to “stay out of debt as long as you can” and “find free money,” like scholarships and grants. Unfortunately, Adam, who describes himself as a procrastinator, put off applying to colleges until February of his senior year, which limited his options. “I had to jump right into finding scholarships and grants for the following fall term.”

How he overcame it 

Together, Adam and his parents searched online for financial aid; they also filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

As for scholarships, he found that in addition to grades, sponsors were interested in seeing “what set [him] apart from everybody else.” When applying, he made sure to emphasize his extracurricular activities. “I mentioned any leadership [experience I had], whether it was leading a practice session with my marching band section or leading my scout troop through a campout.”

Adam managed to win $6,000 in scholarships. He decided to attend an in-state four-year liberal arts school, where his total aid added up to a full ride.

Life at college 

After two years at the liberal arts college, Adam transferred to an engineering program at a prestigious technological university. He didn’t choose aerospace engineering as his major until he filled out the application. “I sat at my desk and read over the list of engineering majors, and there was only one that my eye kept coming back to. I remember as a kid enjoying anything that flew, as well as the space program.”

His engineering classes were more challenging than those he’d taken before, but he adjusted. “Having friends in my class was a huge help,” he says.

Adam’s goal is to work on rocket propulsion for space flight. After graduating, he plans to take a year off from school, using the time to work and earn money. Then he wants to return to his university for graduate school.

For Adam's family, seeing him go to college was “a big deal ... I set the bar for the rest of my family, including my little sisters, who have since gone off to college as well.”

Five engineering majors

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Engineering majors come in a wide variety, including these five that may be less familiar to you than their more famous cousins, civil, electrical and mechanical.

Agricultural

Improve the way food, timber, fiber and renewable energy sources are produced and brought to the public - while protecting the environment.

Biomedical

Design and develop devices and systems - from artificial organs to medical equipment - that solve health problems.

Environmental

Protect the environment from the effects of human activity and improve public health and well-being.

Industrial

Improve the way factories, hospitals and organizations run, taking into account equipment, materials, people and other factors.

Materials

Improve existing materials like ceramics, metals and plastics - or invent and manufacture new ones.

Visit Major & Career Profiles to view all your engineering options.

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