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Really need guidance:Should I choose physics as major?(Im struggling)

by ziweichen
Tags: college, guidance, jobs, money, physics
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ziweichen
#1
Feb27-13, 09:35 PM
P: 3
well, I'm a HS sophomore now and I have a strong interest in math(also good at it) and I want to expand to physics when I enter college, but my problem is that my family is very poor and if I want to go to a good college I might have to get student loan and if i really want to develop more,i'm gonna be in school for a long time,I don't want my parents to have any worry or pressure since they already worried enough about me. I know they are willing to help me the best they can,but there isn't much they could do. So I wonder that will I be able to even finish college on my own? Are there jobs that a physics major can do while in college? How much will it pay ?
I know we all say that money doesn't matter as long as you do what you love, but in my case I have to consider money. I'm really struggling and really need some guidance now. plz help..
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sandy.bridge
#2
Feb27-13, 10:14 PM
P: 778
I am in my third year of University, and I have done it all on my own (well, not quite....). I work construction/labor jobs during the off-season, and save what I need for tuition and bills during those months. The downside: I live in my parents basement; however, I am not charged rent during the months I am in school, and when I am working I am charged a very minuscule amount. I also do not owe a cent to student loans, lines of credit, etc.
lisab
#3
Feb27-13, 10:16 PM
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You're still a long way from college, so don't stress too much worrying about this now. But it's good that you're planning for your future.

The jobs Physics majors take while they're in college are much like the jobs English majors take, or Forestry students. You're a young person, you don't have much to offer in the job market (yet ). Most students work in restaurants, or retail, or similar positions.

Meanwhile, consider taking AP classes in your Junior and Senior years. You get college credit for them - that can save tuition costs down the road.

Other possibilities:
Some colleges offer free tuition to employees. See if you can get a job there (as a janitor, cook, library aid, etc.).
Some businesses will pay tuition (full or partial) as an employee benefit (I think UPS does this).

Ben Espen
#4
Feb28-13, 01:51 PM
P: 192
Really need guidance:Should I choose physics as major?(Im struggling)

I worked in the university's facilities department when I was a physics undergrad. I learned a lot about people and how to get things done in that position. Student jobs like this are a good opportunity, because they are designed around your school schedule.
Julio R
#5
Feb28-13, 04:10 PM
P: 35
Check if your school has a dual enrollment program where you go to a local college or university while in HS. I'm in your same situation and that's what I'll do this sunmer. The classes are free.
Choppy
#6
Feb28-13, 06:18 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 2,670
First, it's important to keep in mind that graduate school is roughly equivalent to having a job. Graduate students are given a stipend or teaching assistanceship or research assistanceship or scholarship or some combination of these. It's not a lot, but it's generally enough to cover tuition, housing and groceries for a modest lifestyle. So even if you plan on finishing a PhD, your real financial hurdle is still just undergrad.

That said there are plenty of strategies to help get you through university with minimal debt. These include:

1. Start saving now. High school students can work part-time or full time summer jobs and build up some savings prior to university. It may not seem like a lot next to the mountain of estimated costs, but cutting down even a little bit of a loan now will pay off big later. And it helps you to develop good financial habits.

2. Apply for scholarships. Don't assume that someone else will do this for you or that you will be automatically entered for anything you qualify for. It's well worth it to spend time searching for anything that can help you.

3. Work through school. University is a full time job itself, but even a job that's only four hours a week can help to cut down your debt load. If you were working through high school you now have job experience and may be qualified for something that pays more than minimum wage. And the summers are four months long. Start looking for something early so that you can maximize your academic down time. Working will also give you experience that will could be pivotal in landing your first "career" job or deciding exactly what you want to do.

4. It's not for everyone, but military service can have tremendous educational/financial benefits.
ziweichen
#7
Feb28-13, 08:28 PM
P: 3
Quote Quote by Choppy View Post
First, it's important to keep in mind that graduate school is roughly equivalent to having a job. Graduate students are given a stipend or teaching assistanceship or research assistanceship or scholarship or some combination of these. It's not a lot, but it's generally enough to cover tuition, housing and groceries for a modest lifestyle. So even if you plan on finishing a PhD, your real financial hurdle is still just undergrad.

That said there are plenty of strategies to help get you through university with minimal debt. These include:

1. Start saving now. High school students can work part-time or full time summer jobs and build up some savings prior to university. It may not seem like a lot next to the mountain of estimated costs, but cutting down even a little bit of a loan now will pay off big later. And it helps you to develop good financial habits.

2. Apply for scholarships. Don't assume that someone else will do this for you or that you will be automatically entered for anything you qualify for. It's well worth it to spend time searching for anything that can help you.

3. Work through school. University is a full time job itself, but even a job that's only four hours a week can help to cut down your debt load. If you were working through high school you now have job experience and may be qualified for something that pays more than minimum wage. And the summers are four months long. Start looking for something early so that you can maximize your academic down time. Working will also give you experience that will could be pivotal in landing your first "career" job or deciding exactly what you want to do.

4. It's not for everyone, but military service can have tremendous educational/financial benefits.
I see what your saying, thank you alot. but i have another question,
since i'm not american born, and my parents never went to school in the U.S., I don't really know how scholarships works, can u explain it for me , thank you.
ziweichen
#8
Feb28-13, 08:29 PM
P: 3
Thank you all for the advices. really appreciate it.
Julio R
#9
Feb28-13, 08:34 PM
P: 35
I wish you well. I understand how coming from that background makes things tough, but I sincerely hope it works out.
Choppy
#10
Feb28-13, 10:26 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 2,670
Quote Quote by ziweichen View Post
I see what your saying, thank you alot. but i have another question,
since i'm not american born, and my parents never went to school in the U.S., I don't really know how scholarships works, can u explain it for me , thank you.
I'm not from the US either, so to the extent that it works the same as the Canadian system, most schools will have an office dedicated to student financial aid. They will have a list of all scholarships the school's students qualify for (often these are online). You simply read through and apply for those you qualify for. Some will require an essay or demonstration of other qualifications.

There are also other external scholarships. Large corporations sometimes offer these to their employees (another reason for a part-time job - I hear even McDonald's has a scholarship program) or their immediate childeren. It's simply a matter of applying, and of course, having high marks, etc. as the scholarships are usually awarded on merit.

One thing that I don't know a lot about is that American schools tend to offer considerable scholarships within their athletic programs - particularly in those sports that generate revenue for the school. So if you happen to be good at tackling people, for example, you can talk to the coaching staff to see if there are any opportunities along those lines.
Feodalherren
#11
Mar1-13, 01:32 AM
P: 323
Join the military and do college through the GI-bill. I served for 5 and a half years and now they are paying college for me. Of course I'm much older than everyone else and all the immature people bug the **** out of me but I've got my whole education cost covered. No loan, no debt no nothing.
MarneMath
#12
Mar1-13, 05:20 AM
P: 439
I'll advise against joining the military for just the GI bill. There are other options. I went to college the first time based on a needs and academic scholarship. The process was simple. You must do a FAFSA and your high school or university of choice should have people there whose job is to help you. While in school, you can do work study or get a part time job to help pay for your needs, and at a last resort obtain a loan whose repayment depends on your income after you graduate.

Lastly, if you really do not want to take a student loan out, the military is an option. After I was kicked out of college, I did this route. It was a good experience for me, but it isn't for many people. However, if you're willing to give up 3 and half years of your life (at a minimum) then you can go to school with tutition paid for and also receiving assistance for housing.
mfZero
#13
Mar1-13, 11:40 AM
P: 8
Let some of the people on here tell it, and majoring in physics is one of the biggest mistakes you'll ever make.
ModusPwnd
#14
Mar1-13, 11:42 AM
P: 1,048
Quote Quote by mfZero View Post
...and majoring in physics is one of the biggest mistakes you'll ever make.
lol, thats hyperbole for sure. But I can understand the sentiment.
Lavabug
#15
Mar1-13, 12:10 PM
P: 880
My advice is to research every scholarship and grant, public or private, and apply to everything in sight. If your grades are above a certain threshold and your family's income below another, you may be eligible for full tuition and more.

It was the case in my country and I got a full scholarship throughout the whole degree (including a stipend that allowed me to live on my own as I had to move for university, an amount which was comparable to my household income (a mere widow's pension)).
Feodalherren
#16
Mar1-13, 03:05 PM
P: 323
Quote Quote by MarneMath View Post
I'll advise against joining the military for just the GI bill.
I don't know why. It made me the person I am Today. There are a lot of ****-ups in there but you have to put yourself above the average recruit and you'll advance quickly as the senior officers take notice of you.
You learn to really listen to orders, you learn self discipline and an honorable discharge looks great on your resume. I wouldn't have had a chance to get into the university that I did with my grades from high school. They weren't bad, definitely above average, but still not even close to a straight A student.
Ranger school, two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan plus honorable discharge. I think that's the part of my resume that sticks out. Even if I'm not at the top of my class when I graduate I'm pretty sure a future employer will weigh my service heavily.
MarneMath
#17
Mar2-13, 12:23 AM
P: 439
I tend to shy away from, "it worked for me so it should for you too" advice. The military was good for me too, but I've seen it do bad things to other people. I think we as veterans do a disservice to young kids who are need of funds for college to encourage them to volunteer for service and just emphasis the awesome benefits. Truth of the matter is, yes the military will more or less pay for your education, but it'll also ask you for a lot. If I served just for my education, I would consider it a raw deal. The GI Bill isn't worth the friends I lost, the nightmares I have, and wounds I've suffered.

As for military service benefiting your career. Maybe some employers will care, but I doubt my ranger tab or EIB has helped me get any of the jobs I have had so far. They never come up in my interview, and in fact the only military related question I have ever had was regarding how I felt about military service in general. I think that was there mostly to show that I wasn't some guy living in my glory days.
Feodalherren
#18
Mar2-13, 01:34 AM
P: 323
I don't know what other frame of reference there really is to use except if it works for A it should work for B. What you get out of your service depends largely on yourself. Some people at boot camp will be high school dropouts and have very little motivation. Some will be redneck hillbillies who will take any chance they get to brag about how great it is to be an American, God's selected people. Some will be much like you and these are the people who you will suffer through a whole lot with. I was fortunate enough not to lose anyone who I was close with. Maybe that brings some bias into my view. I did get shot (the Kevlar saved my life but it hurt like hell), however, and that was scary. Sure I have nightmares sometimes but I don't think it's more often than the average person.
Anyway, we're getting off topic here. I just wanted to throw the GI-bill possibility out there because the poster doesn't come from money. I didn't join up with the idea to have college paid for me either, but it's a really positive thing. If you're lucky you might get stationed in Germany or Japan or something like that and never even see active combat and still get the GI-bill. I think it's for less $ but it gets you through the whole thing.

It might not come up in an interview depending on where you work but I'm positive it makes your resume stick out from the mass. If I were an employer I would certainly be impressed if somebody completed ranger school. Knowing the torture that we went through there it shows the right attitude in a person - never give up.
Rangers lead the way!


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