Grad prospects of a current International Senior in HS

In summary, the conversation is about a 16-year-old North African female who is conflicted between 2-3 paths for her undergraduate studies, with a plan to major in physics and pursue a PhD and post-doctorate research in academia or quantum computing. She is currently applying to US universities while also considering a gap year in Germany to improve her language skills and gain research experience. She also discusses her mental health struggles and potential neurodivergence. The main concern is whether attending the International Physics Studies Program (IPSP) at the University of Leipzig would jeopardize her chances of getting into a top grad school like MIT. The conversation ends with two questions regarding funding and the impact of attending IPSP on future grad school admissions.
  • #1
MRB29
3
4
Hello everyone,
[I underline portions of the text that are most essential to my enquiry ( 2 questions at the bottom). I immensely appreciate the generous act of reading everything otherwise.]

Background Info: North African, female-identifying, 16, below average ECs, no awards, no notable honours (these aren't awarded where I study), a 18.5-19.4/20 average in HS ( +3.7 US scale)

I am conflicted between 2-3 paths as to my undergraduate studies, I plan to major in physics, my area of interest in QM in which I intend on pursuing a PhD then post-doctorate research either in academia or quantum computing industry.
I am currently in the process (personal statement and supplement writing, SAT, additional documents) of applying to quite a handful of US universities (private and LACs), simultaneously applying for financial aid. My college list currently includes Carleton, Reed Williams, Harvey Mudd, Colgate, Pomona, Bowdoin, Northwestern + Texas A&M Qatar campus (double major with engineering). I plan on shotgunning Columbia Harvard MIT Princeton, JHU as my chances are the dimmest.

I am considering doing a German learning gap year in Germany, provided that the funding is minimal or I obtain aid. It would be a valuable chance to get into research perhaps in campuses near my institution and broaden my general prospects in life as I didn't come in contact with much diversity thus far in life, not related to my study plans as I have an idea of what I'd want to do.

That is to be able to attend either ETH Zurich (funding plans to be done) or a renowned German taught program somewhere in Europe (European university fees policy being a pro again).

Factor in mental health, I dealt with what I think was high functioning depression or just a depressive episode with crippling anxiety that has its roots in the first trimester of 2019 and intensified shortly before the outburst (circa March 2020). I also think I am on the autism spectrum or have a social communication disorder and potential ADHD, not affirming it as getting clinical consultations is a matter of advocacy where I come from. I am currently in my best in years (over my depressive episode) but still struggle with function disruption, sensorial sensitivity which isn't causing much trouble as school hasn't started yet. For these underlying conditions, I think a break from a fully packed courseload away from where I can explore my physics interest in an engaging way-not necessarily planning on getting medical assistance abroad for now- has strong prospects of benefiting me in ways other than the opportunity to enrol in German-taught programs or strengthening my chances for US schools I'll otherwise be shotgunning.

I very recently stumbled upon the IPSP, International Physics Studies Program, a bachelor's at the University of Leipzig. I read the discussions about the rigour of the program and instinctively didn't grow concerns on that matter.

My quest behind this post and main concern now is, after admission decisions are out, not to compromise on future me and her chances of getting into a stellar grad school (MIT as my dream school) by choosing, say the comfort of the IPSP's admission over the german learning gap year or the madness of US undergraduate competitiveness as an international applicant requiring maximal financial aid.

I speak of myself 3-4 years ahead of now in a detached manner because I currently believe in my potential to get into a US T10 now or after a bachelor's. Additionally, my (prospects of) neurodivergence taught me that I have a ton of delayed self-learning to do and that in this incertitude, slimming down my horizons with a significant time interval is too akin to the externally inspired issue-repressing "I'm totally fine, and only lacking the ethics and discipline to beat my laziness" talk that is the trigger to my mind spiralling.

1. Will my academic record allow me entry to ETH after a gap year? (I'd be thankful for any funding ideas for ETH or EPFL as living expenses are quite a burden)
2. Will enrolling in the IPSP while having extensive research and extracurricular involvement in and outside (if the policies allow it as I'm not a European citizen) campus, along with a remarkable academic record, not greatly jeopardize my chances of admission into grad school in MIT (as a reference) in comparison with enrolment at a more renowned German university or ETH?

Thank you for your time.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Hi @MRB29, and welcome aboard the Physics Forums.

I suggest that you maybe would benefit from PMing @fresh_42 (I'm rather sorry, @fresh_42, Sir, for putting that on you, but I think that you know far more about the matters referenced than I do . . ,)

Regards,

- sysprog -
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes MRB29
  • #3
Hello!

I don't understand why attending IPSP could jeopardize any chance in your future. Leipzig is actually a good university and the program is very strong. Doing well there is definitely something good, not something bad.

Regards,

Z.
 
  • Like
Likes MRB29 and fresh_42
  • #4
MRB29 said:
1. Will my academic record allow me entry to ETH after a gap year? (I'd be thankful for any funding ideas for ETH or EPFL as living expenses are quite a burden)
2. Will enrolling in the IPSP while having extensive research and extracurricular involvement in and outside (if the policies allow it as I'm not a European citizen) campus, along with a remarkable academic record, not greatly jeopardize my chances of admission into grad school in MIT (as a reference) in comparison with enrolment at a more renowned German university or ETH?

Thank you for your time.

I think that enrolling at the ETH is difficult enough, regardless of whether you've been somewhere else before. The opposite should be true: the more foreign experiences, the better. However, I would avoid mentioning your mental issues. It is difficult anyway to distinguish between serious problems and the usual confusion due to your age. And depressive episodes are in my opinion a necessary consequence of intelligence. Your lack of motivation at times could be the greater issue. I strongly believe that curiosity is the most important condition of all. And with it comes motivation. On the other hand, all these things are hard to comment on from afar without knowing you personally. But you should never underestimate yourself or best case, ever reveal your weaknesses. Many things of what you have written here shouldn't be told to those who decide over your applications. I think that it is far more important to get started than it is where. If your career will develop as you want it to then you will probably move between various institutes over time anyway. As far as Germany is concerned, I'd recommend Hamburg, Darmstadt, or Karlsruhe with respect to QM. But as long as you are an undergraduate, location won't play a significant role in my opinion.

There is only one thing for sure: living in Leipzig is a lot cheaper than in Zürich.

We have a thread about Leipzig:
https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...-university-of-leipzig-program-review.776779/
 
  • Like
Likes sysprog
  • #5
Thank you for your response and the very helpful insight, I will keep what you said in mind in my future applications and in facing any latent struggles.
fresh_42 said:
I think that enrolling at the ETH is difficult enough, regardless of whether you've been somewhere else before. The opposite should be true: the more foreign experiences, the better.
I will continue reading the IPSP discussion thread for clearer understanding.
I have a remaining question: Do you think that the IPSP BA is viewed equal to any other German-taught degree in the eyes of US universities and ETH, the same way the IPSP BA is viewed equally to BA degrees from other German universities in the eyes of a graduate German school’s board of admission?

Thank you for your time and response
 
  • Like
Likes sysprog
  • #6
Zel'dovich said:
Hello!

I don't understand why attending IPSP could jeopardize any chance in your future. Leipzig is actually a good university and the program is very strong. Doing well there is definitely something good, not something bad.

Regards,

Z.
I actually was asking how much does the reputation (or lack there of) a program get amplified as a factor for admission when applying for graduate studies by US and other foreign universities.
I appreciate your response, providing your assessment of Leipzig’s teaching nonetheless.
Thank you
 
  • Like
Likes sysprog
  • #7
MRB29 said:
I actually was asking how much does the reputation (or lack there of) a program get amplified as a factor for admission when applying for graduate studies by US and other foreign universities.
I appreciate your response, providing your assessment of Leipzig’s teaching nonetheless.
Thank you

But Leipzig is indeed quite reputed. Boltzmann and Heisenberg were Professors there... Leibniz, Nietzsche, Goethe, Wagner and Merkel studied there. The thing is that german universities are typically not playing the "rankings game" (almost none is playing it)... but that Leipzig is not highly ranked doesn't mean that it is not well known in the fields in which people there work.
 
  • Like
Likes sysprog
  • #8
MRB29 said:
Do you think that the IPSP BA is viewed equal to any other German-taught degree in the eyes of US universities and ETH, the same way the IPSP BA is viewed equally to BA degrees from other German universities in the eyes of a graduate German school’s board of admission?
It is impossible to say what someone at university B thinks about university A. I don't see how that could be a problem, especially not as an undergraduate. There is a German idiom that says: "Where a will is, there will be a way!" The important step is to get started and 'survive' the first two years.
 

Related to Grad prospects of a current International Senior in HS

What are the job prospects for a current international senior in high school?

The job prospects for a current international senior in high school depend on several factors, such as their chosen field of study, their academic performance, and their ability to obtain work authorization in their desired country. Generally, international students may face more challenges in finding employment due to visa restrictions and language barriers, but with determination and hard work, they can still have successful careers.

How can a current international senior in high school improve their chances of finding a job after graduation?

There are several ways for a current international senior in high school to improve their chances of finding a job after graduation. They can network with professionals in their desired field, gain relevant work experience through internships or part-time jobs, and develop their language and communication skills. It is also important for international students to research and understand the job market and requirements in their chosen country.

What are the benefits of studying abroad for a current international senior in high school?

Studying abroad as a current international senior in high school can provide numerous benefits, including exposure to different cultures, language immersion, and the opportunity to develop independence and adaptability. It can also enhance job prospects by demonstrating a global perspective and diverse experiences to potential employers.

What challenges might a current international senior in high school face when looking for employment?

A current international senior in high school may face challenges when looking for employment, such as visa restrictions, cultural differences, and language barriers. They may also encounter discrimination or difficulty in obtaining work authorization, depending on the country they wish to work in. It is important for international students to be prepared for these challenges and seek support from their school or career services.

Are there any resources available to help a current international senior in high school with their job search?

Yes, there are several resources available to help a current international senior in high school with their job search. Many schools offer career services specifically for international students, which can provide guidance on resume building, job search strategies, and networking opportunities. Additionally, there are online job search platforms that cater to international students, as well as organizations and associations that offer support and resources for international job seekers.

Similar threads

  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
18
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
925
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
8
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
7
Views
612
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
3
Views
844
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
5
Views
1K
Replies
16
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
28
Views
2K
Back
Top