High School Tips to Prepare for Nuclear Engineering Major

Nuclear engineering is concerned with the science of nuclear processes and their application to the development of various technologies.

Nuclear engineering major education requires a strong high school background and preparation. Subject to be studied in High School includes: Biology, chemistry, physics, geometry, algebra II, pre-calculus, calculus, English; if available, computer science, statistics, and physiology.

Following are the general preparation ways and means to pull in an undergrad course:

High School Courses

Students planning to pursue nuclear engineering should complete the following courses while in high school:
  • Mathematics Courses
    Nuclear engineering students take many courses in math to obtain their degree. Math classes begin in high school with algebra, trigonometry and geometry. In addition, some colleges will require mathematics placement testing to determine if your math skills are satisfactory. If they are not, you must take Math 130 before starting your advanced classes in mathematics. Along with calculus I, II and III, students must take differential equations and mathematical methods for engineers and scientists.

  • Science Courses
    Nuclear engineering students take a variety of classes in the various sciences before acquiring their degree. Human physiology prepares students for determining the effects of radiation on the human body. Chemistry courses teach chemical reactions and the effects of those reactions on living matter. Courses in physics teach the mechanics of producing reactions and the consequences of reactions. A nuclear explosion is an example of manipulating atoms to produce a reaction, but manipulating atoms to a lesser extent produces energy.

Key Requirements for Nuclear Engineering

The Nuclear Engineering aspirant should be Creative, imaginative, precise, and logical, with excellent math and communication skills, and knowledge of both the biological and physical sciences.
  • Spoken Communication and Presentation Skills: Communication is a process of transforming information from one entity to another and is a skill that adds and highlights to your attitude and personality respectively. No matter how intelligent you are, your communication skill is the only attribute that will help you to convince your target audience. The aspirant should have strong written and oral Expression, to ensure clear and confident articulation of ideas. Prospective nuclear engineers should take writing-intensive courses to fulfill the writing requirements required.

  • Science and math: Strong foundation of these two subjects is mandatory in order to get into the best grad school. Math is a language, shorter and more efficient than other languages. It is a tool to create mathematical models that describe physical phenomena and evaluate the merit of different possible solutions. Science helps nuclear engineers understand the constraints inherent in a problem and develop possible approaches for a solution.

  • Creative: Creativity is necessary, especially for nuclear engineering. The ability to intuit how to make innovative products is a trait needed for nuclear engineering.

Part-time job or Volunteer work

A job that lets you use mathematics or science would be a good preparation for nuclear engineering. These experiences are infinitely valuable, and could be the key to get into the best grad school or further in the job.
Give yourself a head start in building your scientific and technical skills by signing up for a voluntary work or part-time work. Volunteering is a great way to make yourself stand out in the application process. Local Community work helps students to gain workplace skills and apply classroom learning to real-world problem solving. It’s a valuable contribution to society and one’s career goal.  If you can get some experience under your belt, universities will be more impressed when they take a look at your application.

Extracurricular Resume

You can add an extracurricular resume, listing all of your after school activities. Include sections for school activities, awards and honors- both academic and extracurricular, community service, and work experience (if any). Having at least one club or activity related to your grad school major will make your application much more appealing.

Official High school Transcripts

Your high school transcript, which demonstrates your high school grades, classes and GPA, will most likely be the first piece of information a college admissions officer will go over. This complete record of your coursework, grades and credits provides concrete evidence of whether you're prepared to go to a particular college or not. When planning for college, you must keep this in mind as you take classes, study and later get grades -- the work you put into it will directly impact your ability to get into colleges. So, focus on high school courses and make your base strong.

Entrance Exam Scores

The applicants must take standardized test to enter undergrad and graduate courses in the USA. Standardized tests act as a yardstick for educators to evaluate students and their performance. So, its preparation must be started from the junior year of your high school. Standardized test scores of ACT or SAT are vital for assessing an applicant to Nuclear Engineering. IELTS TOEFL is required for international students and all other aspirants whose native language is not English.

If you abide these guidelines and work hard on these pre-requisites while in high school, you will find yourself in university of your choice. If you’re truly determined to be a nuclear engineer right from the high school, then, there is nothing stopping you.
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