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Programs Am I a good fit for a physics major?

  1. Feb 17, 2017 #1
    I wanted to see if someone could tell me if I would fit well into a field in physics. I feel like it would be an amazing experience in college and is something I could really do for the rest of my life. The only thing is I don't know if I have the intelligence to make it happen, or the work ethic to do what needs done as stepping stones to that degree. I don't have the best grades, about a 3.5 overall average in high school. My math grades have been less than pleasant, mostly B's. They could've been A's but I never studied or did hw. It's my senior year and it's crunch time. I need to figure out what I want to do and I need to follow it through to the end. I think physics is my path, but I think I took the wrong classes in highschool. I went to a tech school for dual enrollment in an IT course, but didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The coursework just didn't interest me. It restricted my options and didn't allow me to take any formal physics classes. I took a class, with no lab, on the basics. We barely got through the laws of motion. However, I was extraordinarily talented in the projects we did and everything during the lecture kept me invested, rather than putting me asleep. I got a 99% in that class because I did all my work and payed attention. I just need to know from someone with experience if I could still make it in the field with my sub-par grades in highschool.

    Thank you for your time,
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2017 #2
    Don't worry, HS isn't important (but by all means, do learn as much math as possible as it's critical to physics). However, it's good to see that you did so well in your physics course: it's promising.

    If I were you, I'd go to college and take the proper (not lazy intro courses, but the same stuff the physics/engineering majors do) physics, chemistry, maths & formal programming in the first semester and work hard. If you find that none of it fits you, then STEM is probably not for you. If you enjoy some, or even better all, of them, then go forth and conquer.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  4. Feb 17, 2017 #3
    I think a best indicator of success for physics would be your grades in maths and physics, with maths more imp ortant imho. I would start self learning math right away and do all homework and exercises (these habits take time to change and can lead to failure in university)
  5. Feb 17, 2017 #4
    ACT scores in math and science would give a more complete picture.

    You both need a strong background AND you have to want it. Lots of easier things in life than majoring in physics.
  6. Feb 17, 2017 #5
    Thanks for the feedback. Wminus and Bipolar Demon, I will definitely learn what I can on my own. Dr. Courtney, I know that it won't be easy to get in, but I'm decently sure that this is what I want for my life. Anything I need to do to make it happen will be a necessity. My SAT scores for math were only a 570. My guidance counselour says that's good for the new SAT. I hope that it's good enough, but as long as it gets me into college it's fine by me.
  7. Feb 17, 2017 #6
  8. Feb 17, 2017 #7

    Stephen Tashi

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    Science Advisor

    Why do you think that?
  9. Feb 23, 2017 #8
    I have been looking into some colleges, as well as talking to some friends who graduated last year. They said the workload is larger, but since it's overall more in line with what they want to do, it doesn't feel as tedious as highschool courses.

    I also talked to a physics professor who says I have the soft skills required, all it would take is a bit of effort. I want to move out, too. Be on my own. Make my own decisions. I want to live my own life. I want to live that life doing something that I love, and I always loved three things: Spacecraft, Making things, and solving problems.
  10. Feb 23, 2017 #9
    You might want to also look into engineering. Some schools have specializations in aerospace engineering which might be interesting to you.
  11. Feb 23, 2017 #10
    Dr. Courtney, I have some friends in AP physics teaching me what I didn't already know. In regards to my SAT score, my precalc teacher is going to help me study for the math subject test. This way I can have a higher math score and not risk losing what I have on the English either. Do you think this will help in my deficient areas?
  12. Feb 23, 2017 #11
    I have been. I just don't want to get stuck supervising the building of something boring like airplanes. I like space and want to innovate ways to get there.
  13. Feb 23, 2017 #12

    Not much..unless he/she was a real math major, you are probably better off self studying. Usually repeating such exams doesen't raise the score by a lot. You're better off just self studying the math you need for a real physics degree rather than just sat math. The reality is sat math isnt enough to count as a real preparation. I would take the american placement exams (ap)

    You need something on the level of A level further mathematics...google it.

    http://www.cie.org.uk/programmes-and-qualifications/cambridge-international-as-and-a-level-mathematics-further-9231/ [Broken]

    Click on syllabus...its hard, but even if you do half you would be more confident and better prepared. I am in second semester engineering and we can't really solve all of the syllabus in there.
    These could help:

    I would love to. that job pays very well Only the best engineers and artisans/craftsmen/vocational people are allowed near them! :-) Everyone wants to be a space explorer or entrepreneur, it takes years and thousands of hours of slogging through some real mind numbing stuff sometimes, good luck. I am sure if you work hard to improve your math (which you already are im sure) you will make it. Also develop good habits (that takes time, believe me) that are beneficial to your studies and intellect (including health).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
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