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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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May 23, 2024
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Texas A&M infielder Rylen Wiggins (2) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Aggies’ season ends with heartbreaking loss to Longhorns
Luke White, Sports Editor • May 27, 2024

Sharper play in the sixth innings of Texas A&M softball’s NCAA Super Regional series with No. 1 Texas may have been the difference between...

Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Understanding ETAM

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Guest contributor, Barbara Gastel provides helpful tips to students looking to write a paper worthy of an “A” as the fall semester winds down. 

For many engineering freshmen, the Entry to a Major Process, or ETAM, is in full swing as they begin applying for their desired engineering specialization. 
With multiple changes over the past couple of years, the ETAM program has continued to evolve, confusing students on their specific requirements. For example, the Class of 2025 requirements include a cumulative university and term GPA of at least a 2.0 as well as taking a certain list of courses during the first two semesters before transferring from general engineering to a specialization. 
For automatic entry into a first choice major students must also hit a certain objective of requirements including a 3.75 cumulative GPA. Additionally, students who q-drop a math or science course to accept course credit can experience problems with the area of expertise they may wish to pursue. 
Before ETAM, students would apply for their specific major when applying to the university, associate Dean for undergraduate programs in the College of Engineering Angie Hill Price said.
“If applications opened up on Oct. 1, you would fill up really quickly in specific majors,” Price said.
The College of Engineering faculty also found many students had not considered what they wanted to do when they graduate when choosing a specific area of study, Price said.
“What we’re focusing on is getting them to think about, ‘What do you want to do when you graduate, what is your end goal,’ and then work with that goal in mind,” Price said.
Aerospace engineering sophomore Marshall Mann said he chose engineering over other majors because he wanted more than just working in an industry he was interested in.
“Coming into A&M, I knew I wanted to study aerospace,” Mann said. “I’ve always been passionate about airplanes and … I really like to figure out problems using the scientific method and [by building] things.”
Maintaining a 3.5 GPA was a goal of Mann’s during his freshman year, and said it made him nervous about ensuring automatic entry into his first choice of major.
“It actually influenced me to take classes I probably could’ve skipped, like Calc[ulus] I,” Mann said. “I chose to retake it because I said … ‘I can easily grind out an A in this class, so it will be a little easier.’”
Materials science engineering junior Byron Brock said he knew he wanted to study engineering A&M as he liked math and science in high school, although he wasn’t as set on his choice of major. 
“Initially, [when] I came to A&M, I really wanted to be a chemical engineer, and I’d never even heard of materials science,” Brock said. “But those first couple of semesters whenever they give a lot of opportunities to learn about different types of majors, and really see and feel out what you want to be, that’s how I found out about materials science, a major that I now love.”
Not having major-specific classes for the first few semesters isn’t as interesting, although it is nice to get general classes like physics and calculus out of the way, Brock said.
“You end up having some classes that end up not applying much,” Brock said. “In a lot of the entry level engineering classes, we did a lot of coding, [but] I haven’t really used much of that since.”
When going through ETAM, if a student doesn’t end up getting any of their three major choices, they can earn offers from other departments within engineering that may still align with their career path, Price said.
“What we’ve found is that our time to graduation has gone down,” Price said. “We have fewer students who are changing majors once they’ve gotten into their major because they know more about what they’re getting sold into.”
As a solution to the previous first-come-first-serve system, ETAM has significantly improved the process for engineers to get their preferred major, Price said.
“Most of the students seem to really love it, some get frustrated and I totally understand that, but they also don’t understand the history of it and how it was actually a lot worse for them,” Price said. “We’re trying to make it better, we really are.”

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