October 21, 2014

The road to an LSU College of Engineering degree is paved with dedication and determination. In addition to earning high ACT/SAT scores, aspiring engineers must enroll in and succeed at challenging courses while in high school if they want to be prepared for the College’s rigorous curriculum. No matter how well a student prepares, however, the transition from high school to college can be challenging, and getting to the finish line as a graduate can be arduous. The College of Engineering wants students to succeed from orientation to graduation, and it provides access to resources that will ensure their success toward building a career.

Mentorship is a key component of the college experience, and computer science, construction management, and engineering students have multiple opportunities to interact with advisors and senior faculty the moment they arrive on campus. At freshman orientation, each student is paired with a College advisor who will counsel that student throughout his or her time at LSU. The orientation-to-graduation approach benefits students because their advisors not only help them chart a path to success, but they also guide the students through completion of the plan with a focus on their unique academic needs.

“We want students to start with us,” said Joe Odenwald, assistant dean for counseling and advising. “From the first day a student walks on campus until the day he or she crosses the stage to receive a diploma, every student will be offered guidance about topics ranging from academic direction to typical college dilemmas.”

In addition to the overall College counselor, students also have a major advisor within their discipline who helps them navigate the nuances of their particular field of study. This faculty member is able to advise students about their coursework as well as internship and career opportunities.

Connecting with other students early is a vital component for successful students. Prior to the first week of class, many incoming freshmen get a jump start on their LSU career by attending the Encounter Engineering (E2) camp. Students participate in team-building activities and group design competitions that prepare them for college-level projects.

“E2 helped me get through my first year, and it is one of the things that the university is doing to help enhance the retention of incoming engineering students,” said Austin Cooley, mechanical engineering graduate. “It aided my transition to the LSU engineering way of life. I have now worked with the program as a peer mentor for three years to help freshmen adjust to the university lifestyle and the responsibility of becoming the next generation of LSU engineers.”

New Tigers also find involvement opportunities during Engineering Tiger Connection, a student organization fair held during the first week of class. Students learn about student chapters of professional engineering societies at the fair, and they have the opportunity to join those that pertain to their major.

More than 350 College of Engineering freshmen connect each year by living and learning together in the Engineering Residential College. Combining a social atmosphere with academic commonality gives incoming students a strong community of peers.

“The ERC’s main focus is student retention,” said Mark Rabalais, ERC Rector. “From supplemental instruction, study review sessions special course scheduling, even crawfish boils, ERC students are actively involved in the College of Engineering.” 

Peer mentoring is another important facet of mentorship, and the College maintains a peer-to-peer tutoring program for freshmen and sophomore students who need additional help with math, physics, chemistry, and other challenging courses. Students are eligible for up to four hours tutoring each week free of charge. Upper class peer mentors can help students navigate difficult coursework, answer any general questions about the College, or direct students to additional resources available to them.

LSU College of Engineering alumni are one of the College’s most valuable resources, and students can connect with former students through many programs, including the E2 camp industry luncheon and senior design projects. Starting in 2014, students can participate in “Take a Tiger to Lunch,” a professional development program with volunteer alumni who can answer questions about life as a working computer scientist, construction manager or engineer. The program is student-driven, so lunch can be as informal as a chat about college life, or as engaged as an informational interview about industry developments, internship opportunities, or the job market.

Gaining hands-on experience is essential for any aspiring engineer, and the College has numerous opportunities for students to gain internship or research experience. Many students find full-time jobs from the internships or are inspired to pursue graduate school in their field.

From orientation until graduation day, LSU’s College of Engineering has the strategy and resources to progress every computer scientist, construction manager or engineer toward future career success.

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For more information contact Mimi LaValle, mlavall@lsu.edu, 225-578-5706



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