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Admittance into college, What should one do to get in easier?

  1. Feb 22, 2005 #1
    Hi all, I'm new to the board and have a question.
    First i will give some background. I'm currently in 10th grade and am doing quite well in school. In 9th grade I did not do good since i was not motivated and just did not care about it. I can tell you that now I am very motivated, and have been for almost a year. I have a gift at understanding math and am willing to do anything to succeed now. Since my gpa is rather low because of my freshmen year, if i get straight A's until the end of my senior year, the highest my gpa potentially get to is a 3.73. I fully believe that i will get all A's, because of my motivation level(and the fact i got all A's this year in 10th grade so far). I have a strong interest in physics, hence why I am on this board now, and i want to go to a prestigious college once I'm out of highschool. Now getting to the question, what is every single thing I can do to make my chances of getting into such a university higher? I am willing to try just about anything and everything just as long as it even slightly helps me get into a good university. I would get into U of A with ease, but getting into MIT is a different story, you know. I already know that i should take as many honors and AP classes as possible, but what about extra curricular activities and other things like that? I have spent countless hours finding out what things would help me get into such a college, I want to make sure that I did not miss a single thing.

    I appreciate your help.

    CLIFF NOTES: I messed up 9th grade, now im doing good in 10th grade and am motivated, what will make my chances of getting into a good college higher?

    Also, if you have any questions about anything, do not hesitate to ask.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2005 #2
    having a couple of patents, writing a paper or coauthoring one for some kind of highschool level journal or kids engineering club, might help. Winning state fairs or competitions will help too. Good luck. Even getting a black belt might help. Perhaps you may be able to internship somewhere, as well.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2005
  4. Feb 22, 2005 #3
    Thank you for your reply. Sometime within this week I'm going to join the science club on campus to check out what they do. Next year, I'm going to join the math club. Maybe the clubs might do some competitions and that might help...You also mentioned getting an internship. What should i limit the internship to, because I don't think that getting an internship at let's say a flower shop would help at all. Maybe you know of some place in Arizona(where i live), that would be a good place to do that at.
  5. Feb 22, 2005 #4


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    The more competitive the college, the more important small things become. State schools, as a generalization I would say, are most concerned with numbers. But a place like MIT has so many 1600/800/800/800's that extra-curriculars and essays become very important. I would say for the next couple years, definitely get involved in activities as much as you can. But quality, not quantity: find leadership positions in a few activities, don't just join a bunch of clubs.
  6. Feb 22, 2005 #5
  7. Feb 22, 2005 #6
    I have realized that there is no math club at my highschool, would it help if I got a willing teacher and organized a math club and was leader of it?

    I will definitely look into internships. This summer I'm going to retake a class that I got a C in, Freshmen year. Mistakes of the past....grrr, at least I have a chance to correct them.

    Another question. For next year, should i switch German 3 and 4, into AP chemistry and AP biology? I'm sure that I would enjoy Chemistry and Biology a lot more anyway....

    Thanks for everything you have said so far, I truely listened to it and will attempt almost everything that I am physically capable of to help.
  8. Feb 22, 2005 #7
    Where in Arizona? If you're near ASU (Tempe) or UA (Tucson), you'll have some solid opportunities if you're willing to go after them. The Arizona high school school system is very bad at cooperating with local universities other than the BS Rio Solado stuff (hint hint: Don't do Rio Solado unless you plan on going to ASU or UA), so you'll have to be persistent to work something out if it'll be during the school year, and you'll have to do it entirely on your own. ASU, if I'm not mistaken, does a good bit of work in optics and astronomy, so if you're particularly interested in those fields.

    Your freshman year will not hurt you as long as you do well the remainder of your three years. Admissions officers will see such a discrepancy and allow you to explain it (or just assume the obvious one, i.e. lack of motivation), and they're understanding of an initial lack of motivation.

    Go with the Bio and Chem classes. More science classes are better. Languages are not so important, and those "language requirements" are usually pretty loose. Most often, they'll just require you to take a few units of a foreign language in college if you don't meet them.

    Why are you retaking a class? What class is it? I imagine you could do something more productive with your summer than retake a class. Maybe take a new one.

    I agree with t!m in regards to extracurriculars. Starting a math club would be good. But don't forget some non-academic interests, such as a sport, which are important in competitive colleges to help handle the workload.

    I think I wrote a big long post in another thread in here about Caltech in particular, so maybe I'll hunt that down.

  9. Feb 22, 2005 #8
    I live about an hour away from ASU, two hours away from UofA, my sister actually goes to the university of arizona.

    I don't know if that is true, it could be. I know that U of A does do a lot of work in optics, my sister is Majoring in optics so I hear a lot of stories from her.

    That's what I have been hoping :smile:

    I have already taken two semesters of German, so I hope that I have that out of the way.

    The reason why I am thinking of retaking a class is that raising a grade from a C to an A, would boost my GPA far more than just a new class....I am really unsure about doing this though, mainly because of your previous point about them noticing the lack of motivation and how it shouldn't do much against me.

    Next year(which will be Junior year), im planning on joining the tennis team.

    that sounds good :smile:

    EDIT: could this be it? https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=62067
    your first post in that thread
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2005
  10. Feb 22, 2005 #9
    Biology? Heh, making the assumption that you're ready to accept things without understanding them (memorization...) then go ahead. =)
    But why not AP Physics?
  11. Feb 22, 2005 #10
    That's a problem with many (most) AP classes. Really not much way around it other than to get away from it.

    An hour away from ASU actually isn't too bad. I was 30-40 minutes away, and it's not so bad. Just stay off the 60, it's a deathtrap. The 10 isn't much better, but the 101 is pretty decent. I'd investigate opportunities at ASU. If the commute bothers you, there's plenty of housing nearby that you could rent over a summer.

    And that looks like the post.

  12. Feb 22, 2005 #11
    First of all, next year I am taking AP physics, i would be taking AP physics 2 also, but the current physics teacher is resigning and the new one does not want to teach it or something.

    Second of all, do you have any types of instant messaging programs? I really want to talk to you with direct feedback.

    I don't know if this has anything to do with anything really, but I am 15 years old, I turn 16 in Octorber....

    Sorry if i didn't catch what you said earlier, did you say to take some classes at ASU?
    Speaking of ASU, a few months ago I went there to a free physics lecture by Gerard 'T Hooft(nobel prize winner of physics '99), which was interesting.

    EDIT: I already did take Chemistry and Biology, but not the AP ones, I'm not the biggest fan of Biology but the teacher is very good.
  13. Feb 22, 2005 #12
    Damn... so I'm not the youngest one here anymore. :(
    AP Physics 2? You mean AP Physics C?
    I didn't think many schools taught that.. my school doesn't, atleast.
    Chances are that if you're totally into Physics and how great it is due to the majority of its content being understanding and logic, then you probably will hate AP Biology as much as I do. (I'm pretty sure I don't want to take it unless they somewhat reduce the memorization, heheh..)
    By the way, are you going to take Calculus next year? It's pretty helpful to take Calculus parallel to Physics since you'll end up taking similar content and it'll give you a better understanding of some topics.
  14. Feb 22, 2005 #13
    In my school, instead of letters, classes are assgined numbers...dont know why

    yes, i will be taking Calc next year
    I like biology, its not too much memorization.
    History is interesting but it takes way too much memorization. I always feel like during a history course i have to torture myself to study. While in a science course i naturally study it all without forcing myself to, so I usually do well there. In math, I am particularly good at logic and just every math class in highschool that I have take thus far(im in my 4th one of highschool) I have recieved a higher grade than any of the other students in it, its surprising because I never tried at math until this year anyway. Right now I'm in college algebra, I don't know what its called in other states...I wish i would have made some different choices, i could have been in precalc right now, or maybe even AP calc. I hate regretting things :( . All I can do now is well....everything mentioned in this thread
  15. Feb 22, 2005 #14
    Have you met Mr. Nitrogen Cycle? :\
    Anyway, I think College Algebra might be the Algebra 2 we have here... pretty much an extension to High School Algebra with the parabola, matrix, cramer's rule, analytic geometry stuff, right?
  16. Feb 22, 2005 #15
    It might be...
    I would like to get back on topic with this thread please.
    If you have aim or any other messengers, just pm me and we can chat there.
  17. Feb 22, 2005 #16
    First off, I think you can find a lot better ways to spend your time then trying to bring up a GPA brought down by a C freshman year. If it's obvious on the rest of your transcript that you wisened up after freshman year (and you mention it on the application) you will be forgiven provided your grades are exemplary on the rest of the transcript. If they stay mediocre you will be labeled as such, if you pull yourself out of it they'll realize you've turned around.
    Doing an internship/ a bit of outside research never hurt an application, along with extracirriculars. Seeing as if you're in AZ if you've got a week to spare the U of AZ's Astro Camps are a good place to start if that sort of thing interests you. You can also use data you collect there to put together an impressive science fair project that can get far as well the coming year.
    Oh, and science fairs in general are fun and highly recommended. They look good on your extracirriculars even if you don't sweep all the judging.
  18. Feb 22, 2005 #17


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    Biology isn't all memorization if you learn it right and understand it.

    moose, you seem to be on the right track. Increasing your grades during high school rather than letting them drop is definitely going to get you noticed. It doesn't happen that way very often and is a good sign a student finally realized what they want to do with life and is willing to work hard to achieve it.

    Joining a few clubs is good. Be careful not to get too carried away so you're spending all your time in meetings or practice and don't have time for studying or sleeping. Starting your own math club would be an excellent activity, and would certainly outweigh being just a member of a bunch of other clubs.

    I would also caution you away from doing three AP science classes in the same year. That's a LOT of work, and while you're going to have to handle course loads like that once you hit college, make sure you get into college first. Since you're interested in Physics primarily, stick with the AP Physics, then choose one of the other two sciences. Something else you could consider is to look at admissions information from the specific colleges you are most interested in attending (look at your "safety" schools...sounds like U of Arizona would be one of them...look at some you think are your ideal schools that you have a good chance of getting into, and then look at your reach schools...like MIT), and find out what their policy is on giving credit for AP tests. If they won't give you an credit for doing well on your AP tests, take whatever classes sound most fun to you. If they will let you opt out of required classes if you score well on the AP tests, then it's worth taking AP level classes for subjects you'd rather just get out of the way and not take in college, such as AP English or AP History if that will get you out of taking some of the nonmajor core requirements in college. You can probably handle two AP sciences, AP calculus, AP English, and AP history all at the same time, but tacking on a third AP science is asking for trouble. (Way back when, I chose AP Art History, simply because I never anticipated time to take a class like that in college; it was far more fun than I ever expected and makes traveling far more interesting because I can recognize the different architectural styles of buildings so it's not all "just another cathedral.")
  19. Feb 23, 2005 #18
    But there is a lot of memorization involved... I mean, compare it to Physics.
    That's like comparing the size of a 2 story building to a car.
  20. Feb 23, 2005 #19
    The way it is to me, is that almost any science class that I have taken so far, if you really pay attention and try to understand how something works, then you don't really have to memorize it. I just didn't like memorizing different cell names and organelles and stuff but not every class can be perfect. I like physics and math because you remember a few formulas, which you don't really have to memorize them if you understand how it works, because then you will always know how to write up the formula.

    Should I take an honors history next year, or does it not even matter? I know that I'm taking honors english but Im unsure about history...
  21. Feb 23, 2005 #20
    That's kind of (sic) if the teacher you have doesn't give you a formula sheet... it's very easy to forget or make a mistake remembering a formula.
    Anyway, I don't really think honors history would make a huge difference in your acceptance into a college... then again, I could be wrong.
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