Engineering Admissions Criteria: Focusing on Ultimate Professional Success

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Work Integrated Learning (WIL): Transforming Futures - Practice...Pedagogy...Partnerships. WACE Asia Pacific Conference 2008: E-Proceedings, 2008, pp. 343 - 349
Issue Date:
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The majority of Australian Universities use performance in the higher school examinations as the primary basis of admission into undergraduate programs for current school leavers. In 2005 an analysis of academic performance in the UTS undergraduate Engineering program showed a relatively low correlation with Higher School Certificate (HSC) results, particularly for students outside the top performance bands. This led to a rethinking of the admissions processes, and the introduction of a broader admission scheme. This scheme incorporated the results of an admission questionnaire which was designed with substantial input from industry, and which aimed to provide an indication of both likely academic success within the degree program as well as (and possibly more importantly) the likely success as a graduate Engineer. The key criteria related to affinity with, and motivations for, an Engineering career and addressed both the attitude and aptitude of students in terms of emotional intelligence characteristics. In this paper we describe the design and introduction of this scheme, and how input from industry was used to construct a questionnaire. We provide an analysis of early outcomes from the process in terms of student performance, and the extent to which course performance correlates to questionnaire results. We also include recommendations on how these schemes may be used to improve the retention and success of Engineering students and how to better match the aptitudes of engineering graduates with the needs and aspirations of Industry and Business.
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