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Help with extracurriculars

  1. Aug 10, 2011 #1
    Hi, I'm from Canada, and I'm going into grade 11 in the fall. I've wanted to become a particle physicist for around 4+ years, as I find it very interesting, and I love to study it! I'm wondering how I can show my motivation towards particle physics when I apply to universities.

    I don't know what I could do during the summer, as I obviously want to benefit from it, instead of relaxing, and end up not accomplishing anything. My city's university doesn't offer any type of intern-ships that I know of, and I don't know how I could start anything like independent research.

    As I said above, I'm from Canada (from a small, eastern city), so I can't participate in anything such as a NASA intern-ship. I'm mostly looking for ideas for next summer, because it's a bit too late to start looking for this summer. I started looking as school was ending, but couldn't find anything.

    When I apply to universities, I want to show that I have ambition in something I'm really interested in, and that it has been motivating me to accomplish more than basic good grades.

    Thank you. :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2011 #2


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    Do you have any local colleges? Try emailing the physics department (a secretary can pass it along to the relevant profs) to find out if a professor or grad student might be willing to take you on as a research assistant next summer. Find out if it's a possibility. Keep in mind you might not be able to get into the field you think you're interested in, but you might be able to get a job of some sort in a lab and get some exposure to physics. Alternatively, you could try spending your summers taking advanced math and science classes at a university.
  4. Aug 10, 2011 #3
    Where do you live?
  5. Aug 10, 2011 #4

    George Jones

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    I live in your city, but I'm on vacation in Toronto right now, and a few weeks after I get back, I will move across the country. If this discussion had taken place a year ago, I would have suggested working with me to learn quantitatively special relativity, including relativistic collisions.

    I agree with eri. The only physics research that takes place on your local campus is experimental atomic physics.
  6. Aug 10, 2011 #5
    I live in Saint John, NB, like George Jones. :)

    There is a university as well as a community college here. I'll look into some research and summer classes at the university. While atomic physics is a different branch from particle physics, it's still pretty interesting, and will give me some exposure to physics and research.

    Thanks everyone. :)
  7. Aug 10, 2011 #6


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    At this stage of the game it's probably more beneficial for you to explore your own interests and develop constructive hobbies than to volunteer as a research assistant. Don't get me wrong, that's a good option if you can get in on it, but not too many places are anxious to hire a kid who's only going into the 11th grade.

    One option might be to aim to compete in a national science fair. Get together with one of your teachers and design an experiment. Students who win these fairs are sometimes offered scholarships.

    Another option might be to learn a programming language and start writing some simple programs.
  8. Aug 10, 2011 #7
    It won't really matter anyways. Any research is good since universities aren't actually expecting it. I'm applying this coming year and my extra curriculars are the following (obviously not research, that would be awesome):

    - Science Club (Engineering Olympics at McMaster and York University also experiments in school)
    - Chess Club
    - DECA (went to provincials)
    - I work at a golf course (and play golf)
    - Play Piano
    - There's some other ones that I forgot

    EDIT: Some other one's that I forgot include:
    - Waterloo Math competitions
    - Sun Life Financial Canadian Open Math Challenge
    - Investors of Tomorrow (Fourth place in Ontario)
    - Model United Nations (Got Honourable Mention at York University)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  9. Aug 10, 2011 #8
    Thanks for your inputs. :) I've been thinking about ideas for the science fair, and I might talk with my physics teacher once school starts.

    A while back I was thinking of starting to play maybe violin, but I decided it would probably be better to have a focused group of extracurricular activities. I've also volunteered with my church a bit (at the soup kitchen), and I'm part of a volunteer group at school.

    I'm expecting to graduate with my IB diploma, and my bilingualism certificate (English and French). I want to study in England, maybe at Durham, so I'm looking for some unique ways to show my interest in physics and maths.

    I'll definitely consider everything here, from summer classes to science fair.
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