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I am just a confused Senior

  1. Aug 1, 2009 #1
    I am going to be a high school senior, on my way to receiving an IB diploma, as well as having taken AP European History (5), AP Chemistry (5), AP Music Theory (4, but taken as an independent study) and am enrolled in AP Calculus AB (might switch to BC). So far I have taken two IB tests Chemistry Standard Level (6 out of 7) and IB Mathematics Standard Level (6 out of 7). I am ranked 22 in my school with a 100.95. In middle school I taught my self how to program in Perl, Python and the basics of C and Java. I am currently enrolled in Honors Physics, due to scheduling issues with IB and AP Physics B, and have a packed 9 period straight schedule.

    SAT I (1600 scale): 1410

    For the past three years of high school I was determined that I would major in Social Sciences and get a law degree. I scared my self away from sciences and mathematics not because I was bad at them, but because I desired to be a bohemian (I really shouldn't have read Dharma Bums in 8th grade). However, recently something has inspired a new found interest for Sciences and Engineering. It is rooted deeply in a love for making things and a need to know how and why things work.

    I ask you. Is it too late for me focuses back to sciences and enroll in engineering? I need to figure this out soon as I need to apply for colleges and programs. What really makes me insecure is that my school has a great science research program that I never took advantage of. I know its not too late, but I still feel very insecure.

    Also how secure is the job of an engineer? How much creativity is involved (the more the better)? Will I have the time to minor in music and an area of science if I take an engineering major?

    College wise these are the schools I am currently looking at: Carnegie Mellon, John Hopkins, SUNY Stony Brook, Vassar, Binghamton, George Washington University, and University of Syracuse.

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Great Ghu! You haven't even started college yet and you're worried about whether it's too late to change your major? You don't even have a major yet! Of course it's not too late.

    Whether or not you have time to do other things, we can't answer. Many people have found the time to do this. Some have not. It's surely not impossible.
  4. Aug 1, 2009 #3
    point taken. Its just the way every one talks around here in my school. It makes me feel like I have nothing figured out
  5. Aug 1, 2009 #4
    You don't have anything to worry about. Sure, participate in your school's research program if you want, but that probably won't be necessary. Given your credentials and the situation you described, none of those schools will be out of reach.
  6. Aug 1, 2009 #5


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    You're getting over a 100% and you're not even in the top 20!! :surprised

    What school do you go to?? I'm really curious...
  7. Aug 1, 2009 #6
    Probably on a weighted gpa scale system. I thought this was rare too until I found out that one of my buddies at cornell has over a 4.0 gpa.
  8. Aug 1, 2009 #7


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    Oh, I thought they were ranked based from percentages :redface:
  9. Aug 1, 2009 #8
    Yeah thats weighted. I am not sure what my unweighted is. Its probably around 96-98, but still pretty good and a good shot at most colleges as well.
  10. Aug 1, 2009 #9


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    I probably going to sound really stupid here, but how do you weight percentages? I know weighted 4.0 based GPA, but percentages?
  11. Aug 1, 2009 #10
    in my school they add 10 to the grade you receive for AP, IB and Honors classes.

    for example my 4th quarter average for my junior year was a 106.5. Every class I had was weighted.

    I don't know how to feel about this, but its an attempt to add distinction to people who take higher level courses.
  12. Aug 1, 2009 #11


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    This is only cause A+ is worth 4.3 rather than just 4.0 along with the regular A. Makes sense, considering A+ is ridiculously hard to achieve in a lot of classes (one messed up assignment and it's shot).
  13. Aug 1, 2009 #12
    Weighting can be gamed. I gamed the system pretty well (accidentally though) by transferring from a non-weighted school to a harder weighted one. All my A's in AP classes became 6.0's instead of 4.0's. Of course my old school had no honors courses, so my regular requirements brought my gpa to about a 4.8 which was where the kids who took all honors courses (top 5 or so) were about.

    But you know, its better than the unweighted system, because I had a B in a class over the summer that I didn't really pay attention in. And I lost my 4.0 and dropped down to a rank of 30 in my old high school, while morons maintained 4.0s by taking the easiest possible classes...

    Its still cheap, because every student knows that every university has some classes that cater to athletes and a decent student can get an A+ w/o too much difficulty. Its just a way to bring your gpa back to a 4.0 if the "top" kids make a mistake. Duke doesn't do that, once you get a B your gpa will be scarred with a 3 as the first number forever.
  14. Aug 1, 2009 #13


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    I would say it's only "cheap" because of the fact that not all universities have it. If all of them did, doesn't it seem like a better way to do GPAs? Of course there are always going to be ridiculously easy classes and stuff, but I think building a grading scale around these classes would be a mistake... It's nice to have an A+ be able to balance out an A-, though.

    Certainly the system of a 5.0 for an A for honors/AP/whatever classes in high school is a lot more ridiculous, considering often time these classes require minimal additional effort.
  15. Aug 1, 2009 #14
    I definitely agree, a little forgiveness would be great. Sometimes, external situations can do a lot to harm a gpa and it'd be great if there was some leeway in the gpa system to account for that. I wouldn't be complaining if Duke has this policy, I'm pretty sure :wink:
    But until they do I will :tongue2:
  16. Aug 1, 2009 #15
    Oh on another note... Can any one suggest a book/website for improving my fast math skills. I am good at math and problem solving, but i never took the time to get fast at the simple stuff. I can work through most anything eventually, but my speed is starting to disturb me.

    Also, are there any books that would help me prepare for an engineering major. Oh and math books/websites... I am taking AP Calculus, but I would like to solidify my precalc skills as we kinda glazed over a lot of it.
  17. Aug 1, 2009 #16
    If it's too late for you, I'm royally screwed. I'm 30 years old and started back at school last year for math and physics with absolutely no background in either.

    Your grades and test scores indicate that you would definitely have the ability. If you really enjoy it, that should be all you think about at your age. You can branch off into a different branch of science if you find this isn't for you. I don't know what percentage of students change their major at some point, but I'd bet it's pretty high.
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