Engineering students have new online tool, G4, to improve grad rates

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For engineering majors, the workload and level of difficulty in classes can make it a challenge to graduate in four years. 

A new app developed by the Cockrell School of Engineering called G4, in reference to the goal to graduate in four years, is available to engineering students and gives them a visual representation of a student’s degree plan to better assist course planning. 

Roughly 31 percent of entering freshman engineers will graduate with an engineering degree in four years, said Gregory Fenves, Dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. He said 54 percent end up graduating in five years. 

Additionally, many classes in the engineering school require prerequisites or do not have enough room to accommodate students, said aerospace engineering freshman Andre Harris. 

“Now I’m going to have to graduate a semester later,” Harris said. 

G4, which was released this week to engineering students, is a part of a number of initiatives put on by the engineering school to encourage and increase four year graduation rates.

“There is additional academic advising, general education for math and science courses, a visualization program that helps students understand their engineering courses, and class councils which provide a cohort for all engineering courses,” Fenves said. 

This new resource consolidates the online course schedules and the need to plan schedules with flow charts provided by the engineering school, said mechanical engineering senior Andrew Duggan. 

“I feel I will be able to graduate in four years,” said aerospace engineering freshman Ryan Robertson. “But I know a lot of people who don’t think they will be able to. Between difficult classes and a heavy work load, many don’t want to take many hours so they can make good grades.” 

Some engineering students say this new online tool is helpful but not necessary. 

“Between online resources and the flow chart for mechanical engineering, I don’t think I would’ve had a problem graduating on time even with this app,” Duggan said. “There are so many resources out there for people that can help if they use them.”

Harris, who does not plan to graduate in four years, also said he is skeptical of the app’s ability to help the situation.

“It feels like an online academic advisor,” Harris said. “So it doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference.”