Frequently Asked Questions for Counselors/Administrators

What is Project Lead The Way?
Project Lead The Way® (PLTW) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes pre-engineering courses for middle and high school students. PLTW forms partnerships with public schools, higher education institutions, and the private sector to increase the quantity and quality of engineers and engineering technologists graduating from this country's educational systems.

How did the program begin?
The PLTW curriculum was first introduced to 12 New York State high schools in the 1997-98 school year. It is now taught in more than 1,700 schools in all 50 states including the District of Columbia. In Missouri, the program has grown to include 372 schools, 475 programs, and more than 50,000 students in 2015-2016.

Why is Project Lead The Way promoting engineering and engineering technology courses for high school students?
There is a critical shortage of engineers and engineering technologists entering the field at a time when technology is being reinventing every few years.

Why does PLTW have a math requirement for students enrolled in its program?
Students who take the highest level of college preparatory mathematics they are capable of successfully handling during all four years of high school, will: develop a solid background in math skills and concepts, be prepared to take each level of the PLTW program, be prepared to succeed in the entry level mathematics course in college, avoid regression between high school and college by taking math each year of high school, and will have a solid background for engineering/technology.

What are the benefits of PLTW to students?
Students in the PLTW program:

  • Use the latest computer software and equipment
  • Participate in a hands-on, activity oriented program that utilizes team efforts
  • Take courses that will apply and reinforce their study of math and science
  • Participate in a program that will allow them to explore a major career path and, if they wish to continue, will prepare them for further education at a two-or four-year college in the field of engineering or engineering technology
  • Participate in a program that has developed articulation agreements with a number of colleges who will accept specified courses for credit or advanced placement
  • Be prepared to pursue a career in technology in a field where a national employment shortage exists and pay scales are among the highest levels for entry level professionals or technicians

Are PLTW courses challenging?
Students who have done well in their math and science courses and who like to use computers will find these courses intellectually stimulating and manageable. Each course has something special to offer all students because it is, depending on the course, a hands-on daily experience in problem-solving skills, in electronics, robotics, and manufacturing processes. In addition, the problem-solving/analytical skills and processes are applicable to any career field. If a student decides engineering is not for him or her, that learning will have occurred in high school and not later in college.

What support do Missouri S&T and PLTW offer to school counselors?
School counselors should attend a conference sponsored by Missouri S&T and PLTW.  The conference provides updated information on the curriculum and reviews materials that are available to counselors to use with students and their families.

What if a student doesn't start the program in grade 9?
It is never too late to start the PLTW program. Any exposure to th
e pre-engineering program will enable a student to explore the area as a career choice. Each course taken will add to the student's preparation for a technical program in college. The PLTW pre-engineering courses apply to many technical fields, e.g., medicine, telecommunications. Further, the skills learned in each of the courses are invaluable to any student -- problem solving, communication, and teamwork are all applicable to many fields of study and work.