1. How often should I go visit my advisor?
My biggest advice for students with regards to advisors is to realize the difference between high school and college advising. College is the time to begin taking ownership of your career, meaning an advisor will not tell you what to pursue nor offer a formula for guaranteed success. Rather, the advisors are here to guide you through your career at Georgia Tech and help you with getting into the necessary classes.
At the same time, it is imperative to come to advising meetings on time and prepared. As biomedical engineering is one of the largest majors on campus, the advisors will be serving many other students as well, so it is also important to be specific with questions in order to make answering easier for the advisors. If you want to set up an appointment, log in to https://schedule.advising.gatech.edu/appointments/ with your Buzzport login information.
2. Should I work with my friends or the decent group members I have in BMED 1300 for BMED 2300?
This answer really depends on the work dynamic of each set of individuals. The most important thing to remember is that forming a good group is not about spending more time with people with whom you like to hang out outside of class; rather, it is about finding those that will make a productive and effective team.
One of the biggest issues I have seen with groups of close friends is that because they are so close, they have trouble holding each other accountable when someone slacks off. As such, choose the people you are confident with who you will make the most progress because, in the end, this is about your grade and your future. If your 2300 group consists of close friends, then so be it; if not, you can still spend time with those friends outside of class.
3. I recently went to a career fair for all majors but had no luck. Are there any major-specific fairs spring semester? I’m really wanting to get an internship for the summer.
It is quite common to leave a career fair empty-handed, so stay optimistic! Although it is held in the fall (meaning that summer internships are rare) the Biotechnology Fair is a great opportunity to meet company representatives. However, career fairs are certainly not the only way to find a position. The BME career advisor, Sally Gerrish, is knowledgeable about a huge number of opportunities so you should get in touch with her in addition to keeping an eye out for her emails.
Furthermore, consider talking to friends or upperclassmen about internships/co-ops they may have had, and see if any positions are available at those companies. Having someone who interned or co-oped at a company put in a word for you can make all the difference! Last but not least, companies will also visit Tech throughout the year to hold information sessions and recruit individuals. While that may not be as viable an option to secure a position for this summer, it is still a great way to network. If all else fails, consider taking summer courses, conducting research either at Tech or elsewhere, or travel. There are plenty of great ways to have a productive and fun summer.
4. What are some good minors for a BME major? What skills do companies particularly look for?
There are several options for minors and certificates that complement a BME major, including a minor in CS, MSE, Biochemistry or another science or a certificate in Applied Physiology, Biomaterials and Nanomaterials. Our major covers a lot of areas within engineering and science, so think about which classes you have enjoyed the most so far, talk with your academic advisor and Sally and decide what fascinates you the most!
Most companies that hire BMEs from Tech are aware that we are all strong candidates, so the most prominent skills they look for are problem-solving and collaboration. However, depending on the company and the specific position, other desired skills will vary, indicating that it is best to choose something that you are interested in.
5. If I absolutely hate BMED 1300, should I switch out of this major? Are most of the other classes group-based like this?
It depends. Group work is definitely a major aspect of BME, such as in BMED 2300, 3110, 3610 and 4602, and will continue to be important throughout your career as an engineer. However, the coursework from these is different from that of 1300 because you will have a smaller group, a choice in project topic and the ability to work without someone constantly evaluating your performance; the four aforementioned classes actually let you choose your own teammates as well. I personally enjoyed all of the major group-based classes after 1300 and think they are a good preparation for your career after Tech, as you will be working with different people in different situations to achieve different goals.