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Engineering Students Return; Freshmen Well Prepared

With sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s, 4,343 students began classes Sept. 3 in the College of Engineering. While final enrollment tallies won't be available until the fourth week of the semester, preliminary figures for the college show 998 graduate students, 3,305 undergraduates and 40 special students.

"We are pleased to see our continuing students back on the campus and wish them a productive and rewarding fall semester," said Dean John G. Bollinger. "And we welcome the new freshmen class of engineering students. They have enormous potential -- they are accomplished, highly recommended future professionals."

Bollinger's words came around the same time it was announced that UW-Madison's undergraduate engineering program has been ranked eleventh best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report for all schools with a doctoral program. (This annual rankings issue will be on newsstands Sept. 9.)

Bollinger encouraged the new class to take advantage of the numerous learning opportunities available with faculty, staff and one another. "Be participants in the many activities you have to choose from. Learning outside the classroom can be as important as what you do in the classroom." The "credit" for extracurricular activities, he said, comes through the opportunities to hone teamwork and communications skills, and make new friends.

Student studying by fountain

With near-perfect September weather, Engineering Mall provided an ideal location to soak up some rays while studying for the new semester. (large image)


To get the fall semester off to a positive start, a Pre-Engineering Bash was held the Friday before classes began. More than 300 new students took advantage of a picnic hosted by upper class members and engineering organizations such as Polygon, Triangle, Theta Tau, SWE, SHPE and ASME. "New students in general got the feeling that engineering is a good home for them," said Donald C. Woolston, assistant dean for pre-engineering.

Woolston also noted that new freshmen "are much more likely than their predecessors to bring credits with them from high school." He said some members of the new class already have more than 40 credits and will be of junior standing by the end of the first semester. "This trend should do a great deal to improve time-to-graduation statistics, but it also increases the need for early career advising, something that the Engineering General Resources Office is interested in providing."

The total first-day-of-classes enrollment for UW-Madison was 37,517. Students are eligible to enroll through the second week of classes and a final enrollment of approximately 39,800 is anticipated, according to Associate Registrar Thomas L.W. Johnson.