I'm going into my Junior year of high school and as of now I am worrying about what I have to do to get into the university of my choice. Until recently I haven't heard of the USAMO of Physics Olympiad competitions that would make me stand out, and I am not sure if I will be able to do them. I am hoping to do some research in Physics to make me stand out, so colleges will see me as someone who takes initiative. If I am going to try to do a research in Physics, do I have to work in a team, and what kind of mathematics should I know to do something of relatively simple level? Some ideas I have include things dealing with astronomy or maybe I can study relations of plants to heat levels or something like that, not exactly sure what I can do that is different from what Physics has already accomplished. My coursera.org free Ohio State University Calculus One course starts on the 23rd of August, which I am taking to get ahead of my high school's curriculum for my own abilities, and the Calculus Two course starts about 5 weeks or so into that, so maybe I will have to wait for the next session of Calculus Two. Can you tell me how long I should wait to do something like this? Also, though not really needed because I should use my own inquisition, it would be nice if you guys could suggest some topic areas to explore.