I'm currently in my second semester of college at university in the United States, and am currently majoring in Computer Engineering. I passed a lot of AP tests in high school, all of which gave me college credit. Because of this, if I take only the bare-minimum of required classes for my major, I'll end up averaging ~10 hours per semester for the next 6 semesters. Due to the way pre-requisite classes are set up, it's impossible for me to graduate early. And besides, I have a full scholarship, so I don't want to graduate early.
My question is this: I can take as many credits outside of my major as I need inside my major. How can I make the most of this freedom? I plan to pursue a career in robotics (Ideally at NASA, but that's a long shot), so I want to use my next three years to help that dream. The way I see it, there's a few obvious options:
- Dual Major. I could probably get a dual major with any other engineering major if I was determined enough, but Computer Science or Electrical Engineering have enough overlapping classes that they would make the most sense.
- Triple major. This sounds pretty ridiculous, but it is an option. I could potentially major in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Electrical Engineering and still graduate in the normal 4 years while taking a maximum of 18 hours per semester. Of course, this would be pushing it a little. If I had one conflict of two different classes being taught at the same time, I wouldn't have room to fix it. And then there's the problem of stress: I'm taking 18 hours now, and have loads of free time, but half of those hours are freshman-level courses. I think I'd be able to handle 18 hours of junior- and senior-level classes, but I can't know until I try it.
- Take interesting classes. There's a lot of classes that I'd like to take that aren't required by my major (artificial intelligence, digital image processing, intro to relativity). However, there's not really enough to fill the amount of space I have.
- Take fewer hours and get a job or internship. This is not much of an option, because my scholarships require that I take at least 15 hours per semester, which still leaves a lot of empty space in my schedule.
- Start a Master's degree. My university allows undergraduate seniors to begin working toward a graduate degree if they are taking few enough undergraduate credit hours. My goal is to attend a different school for a Master's degree, but that plan will probably change several times between now and when I graduate. (I'm a teenager. We make stupid decisions.)
- Research. I go to a fairly large university, so there's plenty of research opportunities.
- Study abroad. This is fairly low on my list of priorities, but who knows? That may change. It's always an option.
The idea of taking a lot of classes solely because I'm interested is very appealing, but I have a feeling that it wouldn't add as much to a resume as, say, a dual degree. And I am very interested in the material in my major, so it's not as if I'm going to have to suffer through my required classes.
So, in summary: I have room to take an entire second major's worth of classes in my next 6 semesters of college. What should I do to best further my dream of working as a NASA robotics engineer?