Best High School Classes for Engineering College

Updated on October 8, 2019
KCO profile image

Katy mentors and educates young professionals beginning their careers and financial journeys to make informed decisions.

High School Classes to Prep for Engineering

Want to know which classes to take to prepare for an engineering degree?

Here's a quick list of high school classes that will prepare you for engineering in college:

  • AP Calculus
  • AP Statistics
  • AP Physics (Calculus based is preferred)
  • Computer Science Courses
  • Engineering or Design Courses
  • Robotics Courses

Read on to learn more about using high school to prepare for an engineering career.

Getting Ready for Engineering College

It takes hard work and a knack for math and science to become an engineer. High school is a great place to start preparing for an engineering education.

While you're in high school select courses that will challenge you, expose you to concepts in engineering to help decide it's the right degree for you and help you get into a great engineering school.

Checkout your options for classes to take in high school that can lead to an engineering education. These courses will be challenging even for smart, dedicated students. Hiring an experienced tutor can be a great way to make sure you're getting all you can from each course.

Software Engineering Prep

Want to be a programmer? Learn how to get into coding in high school. There are many opportunities for students to learn the basics of computer science. Get some hands-on practice before starting college by using free resources online. Coursera has some free introduction to programming courses that are achievable for driven high school students.

Read more about navigating AP Computer Science class options below.

Learning to overcome challenges in high school can prevent "burn out" when studying engineering in college.
Learning to overcome challenges in high school can prevent "burn out" when studying engineering in college. | Source

High School Requirements for Engineering

Engineering college admissions use the standard high school course requirements and then add on additional requirements.

Many universities' general degree programs will only require 3 years of math classes for admission but engineering programs need to see that you took math all 4 years.

Other minimum requirements like GPA and standardized test scores will be slightly tougher.

Math Classes

Engineering college admissions will at the very least want to see that an applicant took all 4 years of math in high school. In addition, taking a Calculus course is highly recommended.


Many U.S. high schools only offer calculus as an Advanced Placement (AP) course. Students will need to jump right into Calculus in their first semester studying engineering, so either a passing grade in an AP course or at least a basic familiarity is very helpful.


Engineering students will take at least one Probability and Statistics type course before graduation. Statistics is a specific application of a small set of math skills and introduces students to a new way of thinking about problems.

This is a good choice for a high school student looking to challenge him or herself in math but is not completely a requirement for succeeding in college.

What are you/your student doing in high school to prepare for studying engineering?

See results

Physics Classes

Physics is the real-world application of math, which is the very foundation of engineering! This course is very relevant in engineering.

Types of Physics Classes

In the United States, high school physics classes are divided into two varieties: calculus based physics and non-calculus (or algebra) based physics. Obviously, the calculus based physics course will be more challenging and requires that the student has already completed, or is concurrently enrolled in, a calculus course.

AP Physics for Mechanical Engineering

A calculus based AP Physics course is one of the best ways to give students an idea of whether they can handle studying engineering and whether they will like the available work after graduation. This course is especially relevant for Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers.


Taking "regular" or algebra based physics in high school is not a huge disadvantage for an aspiring engineer. If your other coursework is challenging or your school doesn't offer an AP Physics course then this will still prepare you for college.

Important Physics Concepts Relevant to Engineering

Students will learn a few major physics concepts that they will revisit in engineering coursework and build upon:

  • Kinematics
  • Newton's Law's of Motion
  • Electromagnetism

In general, getting practice using math to model the real-world is the big take-away from high school physics. This includes skills like:

  • Translating a problem to an equation
  • Managing long, hand-written computations
  • Applying calculus and algebra to complex problems


Computer Science Classes

More and more high schools are offering classes in programming and computer science.

AP Computer Science Principles

This provides an overview of the applications of computer science. This can be a great course to get a student excited about studying engineering, especially software engineering. Even if you don't expect your focus to be computer science, this is a great course for someone looking to study general engineering in college.

AP Computer Science A

This course teaches Java, a commonly used language, and object-orienting programming, an important concept for software engineers or any engineer working on a project requiring complex software. This course is certainly challenging but will give the student a good idea of whether they want to study computer science in college.

Other Science Classes

Besides physics there are other high school science classes that students can elect to take beyond the basics.


All engineering students will need to take basic chemistry in college even if they on to pursue a degree outside of Chemical Engineering. Starting with a solid base in high school will serve you well. AP Chemistry is a great introduction to the coursework you can expect in high school and is a good option for a student looking for a challenge.


Expect at least one economics class required to get your engineering degree. A high school economics class won't be calculus based but will give you a good introduction into some concepts you will use more in college.

Other Sciences

Other science classes offered as electives in high school like Anatomy, Astronomy, etc can be useful to learn to study but aren't as essential to the engineer as physics and chemistry are. If you really love studying these, that's a good isgn you want to look into being a scientist, not an engineer!

High GPA or Challenging Coursework?

Many high school students and their parents face the same dilemma when registering for courses:

Do I sign up for easy classes to get a high GPA?

Or the harder classes to challenge myself but risk getting a lower GPA?

It's true that your overall GPA is an important factor in college applications. But if you worked hard for the first two years of high school and can get reasonable grades in your other classes then two or three challenging courses will not tank your GPA even if you don't do well in them.

Also, if your GPA puts you on the edge for admission into a difficult program showing the difficulty of coursework is the top mitigating factor for applications.

Keep in mind that challenging classes not only teach you more in-depth material but they force you to learn better study skills, time management and how to seek out help. These are skills that smart students won't be forced to develop in classes that are too easy for them. These students are set up for a rude awakening their first semester of college when they can't get by course load.

That's why engineering college admissions look at the caliber of classes you take. Someone not willing to push themselves in high school is not likely to find the motivation to do well studying a difficult degree at their university.


AP Exam Score for College Credit

A high score on the AP exam for the higher level AP courses (AP Calculus BC, AP Physics C) often allows students to skip the first course in college. But that might not be the best plan!


Starting out an already tough education in an even more difficult math course than their peers often means that student starts out college with a failing grade. So even if you do great on the AP exam consider retaking the course in college for an easy A your first semester.

That doesn't mean that taking the AP exams doesn't have value for an aspiring engineering student! Just studying for the AP exam and learning to solve problems in the ways required by the scoring guidelines prepares students for college coursework.

Only a student with a firm grasp on the course should use the AP credit to skip a college course if pursuing engineering.

Extra Curricular Engineering Activities

Even if your school doesn't offer an engineering specific class you can still get exposure to engineering concepts outside of the classroom.

These can be more fun and relevant than taking a class and are great supplements to any high school transcript.

Look for activities like:

  • Engineering Club
  • Robotics Competitions
  • Outreach Programs from Engineering Colleges

More Research on Engineering College Prep

Still have questions about the application process to an engineering school and what you can best do to prepare?

Look on a local engineering college's website for a course schedule. This will give you an idea of the coursework in math, physics and other sciences necessary for a Bachelors of Science in engineering.

Read about the types of engineering to get an idea of what career paths you could take.

© 2018 Katy Medium


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    Shiv shankar nishad 

    19 months ago

    High school pass ke liye corse


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)