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A few questions about college and finding a good one ?

  1. Sep 13, 2008 #1
    A few questions about college and finding a "good one"...???

    1. What is homework like?
    Is is more of a read,understand concepts,test thing with some papers instead of the "do problems 1-100 and do this worksheet a la high school"?

    2. How hard is it to get into all the class you want?
    Such as classes being full,scheduling problems ..etc?

    3. When is it generally "recommended" to declare a major?
    I know some school say end of Sophomore, but should it be earlier to finish in 4 years?

    4. How much work is it?
    Like 10 hours a day studying work or is it like one day you have an hour of work and then have to pull all-nighters the next week? Can you have a social life? Belong to some clubs..etcs?

    My last questions is "What are some good colleges"?
    I have having a problems finding a good list. I want something with Aerospace(Astronautical) Engineering in case that is what I choose,but I can't find a clear list for it. Many Schools such as Princeton offer a B.S. in AE, but don't list it.
    I am looking for a strong program in Physics,Aerospace engineering and Electrical Engineering,
    I am from New England, but I am open to anywhere as long as they teach in English....
    I want a good school, but I don't think MIT or CalTech are going to happen....
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2008 #2


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    Homework Helper

    Re: A few questions about college and finding a "good one"...???

    I would say it depends on your college. For mine, there's very little homework which gets factored in my final grades. Most of them are non-compulsory, do it if you want, heck if you don't.

    Depends on how popular the class you want to take is. I can say that for my college, engineering (maths and some physics) courses aren't in great demand, chances are that you'll get what you want if you bid for it. Arts/business courses on the other hand, are a hell lot more difficult to get.

    When you are relatively certain you want a degree in that field. Most colleges should require you to declare majors at the end of your 2nd year, but that's a little late if you ask me.

    Depends on how many classes you're taking and whether or not your schedule is packed for a particular week.
  4. Sep 13, 2008 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: A few questions about college and finding a "good one"...???

    That depends on the subject, and on the level of the course (introductory or upper-level). In a physics course, homework generally means solving problems from the textbook. You have to figure out which concepts and equations are relevant, and you often have to derive the equations you need from ones that you've already seen in the textbook or lectures. In introductory course, it can take anywhere from two minutes to a half hour to work out a single problem, depending on the level of difficulty. In upper-level course, it can range from fifteen minutes to a few hours per problem. (In upper-level courses you usually get assigned fewer but more difficult problems.)

    Depends on the size of the school or department, the popularity of the major, the popularity of the instructor... Where I teach, seniors register first, so they get first choice, then the juniors, then the sophomores, etc.

    Usually, by the time you declare a major, you've already taken some courses in it. For example, if you're thinking of a physics major, you might take the freshman introductory course and some of the sophomore-level courses before you decide that you really want to go through the full major program. After the intro course, some people here decide that they'd really rather major in something easy like business. :wink:

    Here we're on the semester system, which means a typical course load is five courses that meet three hours a week for lectures, plus labs in some courses. The rule of thumb that we tell students is that they should figure on spending about two hours studying outside of class for each hour in lecture, i.e. 45 hours a week total. I try to assign homework based on that rule. How much time they actually spend is another matter.

    I can't speak to that from personal experience. When I was in college, my social life basically involved the group of students who hung out in the study room we called the "physics library." Studying wasn't the only thing we did in that room, and sometimes we went out to do other stuff.

    Many of my current students (physics majors) are involved in a variety of activities: fraternities, sororities, sports teams (we always have some football/basketball/baseball players), music, theater, etc. In fact, it's kind of difficult to schedule help sessions because it's hard to find a time outside of class when they can all get together.
  5. Sep 13, 2008 #4
    Re: A few questions about college and finding a "good one"...???

    Depends on the class. My Calculus courses were not very different from my high school class (granted, my high school calculus class was taught by someone who also taught college courses at night so that may have factored into it). Mostly, do a lot of problems that exemplified the current section. In my combinatorics and abstract algebra classes, on the other hand, I get maybe 5 problems that easily take 20 minutes to an hour per problem.

    Depends on how many sections are being offered, how good the school is at predicting schedules, how popular the class is, how many students per class, etc.

    As soon as you want. At my school it's impossible to get into some classes required for certain majors (even freshman courses) so you have to declare that major if you want to take that course. For example, if you wanted to study biology but weren't sure you'd still have to declare a biology major just to be able to take a course in it.

    It's however much work you want to put into it. If you can balance time and you know how to study you'll have no problems joining clubs and having a social life. Protip: get into the habit of putting a 100% into it early in your freshman year. It'll help you later on.
  6. Sep 15, 2008 #5
    Re: A few questions about college and finding a "good one"...???

    Do professors check the homework or do you do it for your own good to understand the concepts better?

    Any recommendations for schools?
  7. Sep 15, 2008 #6


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    Re: A few questions about college and finding a "good one"...???

    It depends. (I bet you're getting tired of that answer by now. :tongue:)

    In a large introductory course, the professor might not grade homework, because of the sheer volume. Or he might pick a few problems at random to grade, not telling students in advance which ones, so they have an incentive to do them all.

    Above the introductory level, classes are smaller, and most professors probably collect and grade homework regularly, and make it part of the course grade. (I do.)

    At a large university, a student assistant might do the actual grading. When I was a graduate student I did the grading for a couple of upper-level undergraduate physics courses.
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