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High School Blows

  1. Feb 21, 2008 #1
    I am currently a junior at a high school, and I've been recently scheduled for my senior year in hs. Anyway the classes related to physics i took are, I took Calc AP, Phys AP, Chem AP. They are AP, they should cover me and prepare me for physics in college right? I hope so.

    After reading several posts on thsi forum about how a waste of time HS really is, I am figuring I should probably go to a local university that offers the same exact courses by title. We are given that option, like to take English and Gym at hs, and then drive yourself to a nearby college and take the remaining classes there(calc, phys...).

    The only problem is $. It isn't that expensive, but is it worth it in your opinion, taking for instance, a Calc Course in a college, or Calc AP in a hs.

    At the moment, i think i should stay with the hs and do extra physics and math homework by buying self-study books.

    Also, my present physics teacher who also teaches physics Ap next year, is very demotivating and not a very good teacher, but that isn't fooling me.Btw, i plan to major in Physics in college.

    Any suggestions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2008 #2
    what i generally have observed is that personal interest and dedication matter a lot more than the educational institution of choice. And please.. never be under the assumption that hs is a waste of time.

    My advice would be to stay in school.. take the courses you mentioned.. hang out in this forums and learn something extra.. and then take a good undergrad programme in a college of your choice.
  4. Feb 21, 2008 #3
    My suggestion: it would be worth it to take an introductory level course at the U your senior year. Don't take it for the reason of getting ahead, take it so you can get an idea of how University courses are taught. College classes are completely different. College courses often teach you concepts, then test you on how to apply the concepts, which is a big adjustment for most freshamn. If I were you would take the AP Claclulus at the HS and take a College Pre-Cal/Trig class at the university. The HS Calc will prepare you for the general idea behind the subject, while the College Pre Cal will get you used to College paced math. Jumping straight into College Calculus is extremely difficult.
  5. Feb 21, 2008 #4
    I wouldn't take classes at a local university that overlap with AP classes. I took stuff like Calc III and Differential Equations at my local university after school senior year and loaded up on AP's during school hours. That way, I was earning even more college credit (over a year's worth by the time I went to college). Does your school have "dual enrollment"? I actually got all my tuition/books paid for through the school because I was taking courses that they couldn't offer.
  6. Feb 21, 2008 #5


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    it seems wise to use each experience for what is is good for. high school offers some experiences not always available at college, e.g. the chance to be big man on small campus and the social life.

    there are also often teachers who care more about you than will the ones at a huge college.

    granted, the academic stimulation is sometimes so minimal as to be very off - putting discouraging, and even depressing.

    try to avoid getting the idea you are a genius just because everyone else in your hs class is not.

    try to resist the notion that school is boring just because it is at your hs.

    it may be useful to try a college course, but small colleges (even large ones) sometimes have weak classes too.

    often a good idea is to organize some group of like minded people into a club or team that competes in math tournaments, with guidance from the best teacher around,

    or go to summer activities in science, some of which cost money like TIP at Duke, and some of which do not, like governors honors or vigre programs funded by nsf, if they exist at hs level.

    when i was a grant holder i once wrote a grant to teach hs students math in summer and also volunteered in the winter one year, and at least two of the 8 or so of them, later earned phd's in physics and math.

    you can always log on here for conversation, and you can always read good books. those are the "lifeblood of the master spirit" or master teacher.
  7. Feb 21, 2008 #6
    Thanks for the replies. I've realized I am probably better off taking the courses in my hs. Btw, mathwonk, in the summer of my sophomore year, I went to my local college and took Intro to Organic Chem to see If i really had an interest in it, apparently not. About the clubs you've mentioned, I actually do attend Math League and Science League at my school(been doing em for 2 years now); i never qualify for the Math League but I almost always qualify for Science League.

    I am simply trying to excel in what I love most, physics and math; I really am trying to make the best of my education. I'm sure my education isn't as bad as others, but it certainly isn't the best.

    I wish more high school kids were on these forums.

    Additional Question : Has anyone ever heard of Rutgers University in NJ? What are some decent colleges in NJ for undergrads majoring in physics?

    Thanks all.
  8. Feb 21, 2008 #7


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    Rutgers is almost always in the top 20 ranking for physics; though, I think Princeton would be the best program in NJ if you could afford it/get in.
  9. Feb 21, 2008 #8


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    Find a way to keep yourself motivated, and learn to work around someone elses lack of skill or whatever, this will be a challange that never goes away ( bosses, and supervisors):wink:
  10. Feb 22, 2008 #9
    Thanks for all the quick replies. I will try to keep my self motivated; I find I gain the majority of my motivation from pf.
  11. Feb 22, 2008 #10
    I'm in high school (not in the US though) and let me say; welcome to the club. I am learning nothing in my current maths and physics class, so I am excelling in these subjects. How? Just get a book from the library, read it and do the problems. When you think you have mastered a subject, go to a more advanced subject. It's pretty easy. :smile:
  12. Feb 22, 2008 #11
    Finally, someone in high school with the same position.I ordered the Shaum's 3000 Problems in Physics, and have Physics Problem Solver on the way. What books do you own for physics and math, Darkiekurdo?
  13. Feb 22, 2008 #12
    That's really interesting you go to high school in NJ. I'm in senior year now also in a NJ high school. I think I'm lucky that the math and science program at my school is pretty good, but sometimes I read ahead or watch online video lectures from MIT or other schools. I wouldn't say high school is a waste of time; go there just to hang out with friends.

    High school always tries to make you "well-rounded," but if you know you never want to write a research paper again, it can feel stifling. Anyway, it sounds like you have the drive, so you should be fine self-studying. Otherwise, do you take college classes at a community college?
  14. Feb 22, 2008 #13
    I took a college class in my sophomore summer break, other than that, all the classes i've taken are in hs.
  15. Feb 22, 2008 #14
    Well, I download books from the internet and watch online lectures. The real books I am reading now are "Introduction to advanced mathematics" and "Introduction to chemistry". They are quite basic, calculus I, but we all have to start somewhere, don't we? :smile:

    As long as I find it interesting it's fine with me.
  16. Feb 22, 2008 #15
    From what website do you watch the online lectures? I'm presuming YouTube ?

    Thanks for all the quick replies and needless to say, the sincere replies!
  17. Feb 22, 2008 #16
    I took those courses my senior year as well except I had honors calc instead of AP got a 4 on physics and a 5 in chem; now I am a engineering major at Rutgers and the first semester I got a 3.9 gpa with an A in each of those classes in college; those ap classes will more then cover you I basically slep t through my first semester because I knew everything already.
  18. Feb 22, 2008 #17
    For me, I usually watch the MIT lectures from http://ocw.mit.edu/. The physics ones are great, and they have good ones for linear algebra and differential equations too.
  19. Feb 22, 2008 #18
    As has been said by others, I go to MIT's OCW for some courses (linear algebra et cetera) and Adrian Banner's got great online lectures on Calculus I.
  20. Feb 27, 2008 #19
    See what will transfer. Also, see whether your intended college departments will allow you to use transferred main area courses (calc, physics, chem) to substitute for their own main area courses. Not all do.

    In general, AP is for people who want to take advanced courses, and dual-enrollment (hs/college) college courses are for peopel who want to get college courses out of the way...such as taking college biology so that you, a physics major, won't have to worry about taking a bio course that might interfere with your physics and math schedule.
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