# College Decisions

#### j.jakubaitis

##### Member
I gained a lot of interesting insight from the Am I making the right college decision thread that just came and went a little while back, but thought I'd share my own situation, and see if anyone could help provide opinions, as it's time to start making decisions instead of just thinking about them...

I am in my Senior year of high school. I am currently doing paid work at a handful of venues, a couple of rental houses, park districts, etc. I'd consider myself fairly well-rounded, mostly doing lighting and electrics work, but also do a good amount of sound/staging/rigging/scene shop labor. I'm sitting at a 3.9 GPA, somehow surviving AP/honors and engineering classes while having little to no free time outside of school. Will also soon be completing my BSA Eagle Scout rank.

Long story short, I am conflicted as to go into an EE or Tech Theatre/Entertainment Technology program.

First, to get some questions out of the way, what do I want to be when I grow up? My ideal occupation would be a Technical Director, an ME, or something of the like. I do eventually want to settle down with a family, without having to be working all night and day. I would prefer to stay in the IL/midwest area. Other options that stick out to me would be working for control companies such as ETC.
The current direction my mind is heading is a major in EE, and a minor in some sort of tech theatre/design program. But also brought to the table recently is an EET degree, rather than the EE. As for my math/science skills, I'm in the midst of taking calculus, and its definitely not my favourite thing in the world, but is certainly manageable personally. Another item brought to the table recently are programs such as UNLV's EED, which surely looks intriguing. The only issue with that option is that it's a bit of a cruise from here in IL.

Now that a bit is known about myself, do you think my heading into the major/minor direction is the correct way to go? Or just a major, with room to take tech classes on the side? Are there any programs similar to UNLV's closer to the midwest area, or any schools around here that are heavily recommended in general? EE vs EET for my interests? Sorry for the lengthy post, but any insight or advice would be much appreciated!

Jason

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##### Senior Team
Senior Team

After that, get the EE from a decent school but don't go into serious debt doing it. If you get a theatre degree all the AP and other advanced classes you are taking are pretty much pointless.

Says the person that has a BFA in theatre and really wishes I would have gotten that engineering degree instead... no one even brought up to me that would be a good idea.

#### MNicolai

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
• EE, admirable pursuit that opens many doors -- lot of commitment required for studying, math, labs, and such forth. Don't plan on having oodles of time available to do theater on the side. Pathway available to earning a Professional Engineer license if that's interesting to you. Having a PE is not an end all, be all. Many engineering programs do not emphasize securing your PE -- but if you are going to, do it immediately after graduating because it is exponentially more difficult to do several years out of college.
• EET, no pathway to a PE. As mentioned above, this may or may not be limiting to you. May be more appropriate than EE depending on which topics interest you long-term.
• Theater, scratches your creative itches if a way that you will likely not experience during your first 2-3 years of engineering classes. If you are passionate about the art of theater and not so much the mechanics, this is likely a better path as you may be miserable in engineering.
If you are on the fence, it is infinitely easier to start in an engineering program and transfer to a theater program than vise versa.

Whichever path you take, most of the skills you need will come from internships. You should have 2-3 solid ones under your belt before you graduate. Community theater and summer stock don't count. You want to get in with manufacturers like ETC, theater consultants or contractors (many in the Chicago area), Cirque, Tait, or even non theater-oriented manufacturers that will allow you to be engaged in the software/hardware development process. If you want to get into theater/systems consulting, make sure learning AutoCAD and Revit are high priorities for you. Revit, in particular, can move your resume to the top of the stack when applying for jobs. In general, you should be looking for summer internships the previous fall/winter. By the time April/May rolls around everything worth while is filled up.

In general, I would say that engineering will be more applicable to the following fields:
• Show automation
• Product development (whether hardware or software)
• Theater/systems consulting