The contents of this forum has, for me, made the prospect of becoming a theoretical physicist very intimidating. I now find myself wishing that I had become interested in the field at the beginning of high school, instead of at the end. But instead of dwelling on what I cannot change I have decided to spend the rest of my academic life ensuring that I do not look back at the end of it all with regret again. So without further ado here's the current plan and my question: I'm living in Canada so for undergraduate I want to attend Waterloo (because it is said to be best for math) for the [co-op] mathematical physics program (because it is said to be made for students intending to pursue a career in theoretical physics). Based on what I have read on these forums, my only chance to get an ideal job of doing research in physics is to get into one of the prestigious schools in the US for my graduate. How do I guarantee (or rather come as close as possible to doing so) my getting into a school like Harvard for graduate? Note that at the moment I do not have any spectacular extracurriculars, but am easily getting good grades; and am very capable of spending every waking moment doing whatever is necessary (laziness is not an issue). In short, all I want to know is what is my best course of action? - My current plan is to buy the textbooks I will be using in my first year as an undergrad and learn as much as I can over the summer (and before that as well) so that I can then achieve perfect grades without much difficulty. But what should I do about extracurriculars and whatever else is important outside of grades? ANY advice would be GREATLY appreciated.