I need your advice with my schedule, please

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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I attached my proposed course of study; I'm triple majoring in Physics, Astronomy and Math, and minoring in Computer Science - I start in Fall 2011.

I already earned a B.S. in Business so all the outside requirements for the 2nd B.S. have been satisfied and that is why you won't see anything other than science courses.

Here is the kicker: I have to work full-time, to pay my bills and to pay tuition, until I can earn an academic scholarship - then, I will start working < 40hrs.

What are your thoughts? Is it too ambitious?

Thank you very much!
 

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  • #3
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If you have to pay your way through college while working full-time... why are you triple majoring with a minor? From a practical standpoint, I would say drop one and hey, maybe two majors and just graduate earlier. Your other thread says you want to get a Ph.D. You can start graduate school sooner, which means stipend which means no more working full time. If you're going into high energy physics, I doubt computer science or astronomy will help you so much that it's worth staying in school for that much longer. That's your call though.
 
  • #4
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https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=459184

^^ That was two days ago. Now even a minor in CS pops up. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously?

Jokerhelper: I'm looking for input, not put-downs. I read: ZapperZ's So You Want To Be A Physicist - this person advises anyone who want's to be a Physicist to have a firm grasp on FORTRAN and C+, so I added a minor.

If you compare my two spreadsheets, you will see I subtracted additional astronomy and physic courses to fit in the minor in CS.

Am I a little nervous? Yes. It's been a while since I've been a student - sue me.
 
  • #5
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hadsed,

Thanks for the reply. I'll keep your advice in mind.
 
  • #6
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Jokerhelper: I'm looking for input, not put-downs. I read: ZapperZ's So You Want To Be A Physicist - this person advises anyone who want's to be a Physicist to have a firm grasp on FORTRAN and C+, so I added a minor.

If you compare my two spreadsheets, you will see I subtracted additional astronomy and physic courses to fit in the minor in CS.

Am I a little nervous? Yes. It's been a while since I've been a student - sue me.
I'm not trying to put you down. My point was that your decision to throw in a minor in just a couple of days indicates that you probably haven't really thought through this whole process yet. Having a good grasp on a programming language means to take some courses in programming or computational physics, not necessarily a whole minor in CS. Take a minor in CS if you want to explore an interest in CS.
Also, you should realize that while your schedule might work on paper, it could very easily fail due to time conflicts with some of your senior courses. You should be prepared to need an extra year if you really want to complete all four programs. Another reason why I would discourage you from following this path is because it could easily end up murdering your GPA down the road, thus preventing you from joining any grad school. You risk ending up as a jack of all trades, but master of none.

Plus, isn't it a bit too early to be choosing all your electives and grad courses? How do you know those will even be your interests by the time you get to that point?
 
  • #7
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I'll elaborate on what Joker was getting at with the CS courses. Computer science is more than just programming, in fact you'll be dealing with lots of math depending on how your school views the subject. Even if CS at your school isn't math-based, you definitely won't be needing to fill up your schedule with 5 classes on programming (if you can even find that many) for your minor. One will do. Hell, you can actually just learn to program on your own, and I would recommend doing so if you're interested in all these things. There are people, including myself, who learned to program before middle school, so that should give you an idea on how difficult it would be for a college student. Plus, it's not likely that you'll find that many programming courses anyway, and you'd need to fill up your minor reqs with things that you'll never need again, like networking systems, database architecture, parallel computing, systems, etc. Frankly, I think the CS minor is a waste of time.
 
  • #8
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It's silly to triple major and also minor in something.
 
  • #9
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"You risk ending up as a jack of all trades, but master of none."

Joker: Good Point.
 
  • #10
It's silly to triple major and also minor in something.
Especially when you need to really be racking up a bit of research experience in order to be competitive in the graduate school process. Just take the courses in each field that are complementary to your overall goal.
 
  • #11
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Especially when you need to really be racking up a bit of research experience in order to be competitive in the graduate school process. Just take the courses in each field that are complementary to your overall goal.
Thanks for the reply!

I'm taking 6-7 credits of Independent Study over the course of two, maybe three summers, all aimed at research experience, plus, I'm doing an honors thesis - none of these credits will conflict with my fall or spring classes.

Do you suggest I take the Independent Study credits during the fall or spring?

-Take a look at my spreadsheet. I'm for sure dropping the CS minor and maybe, just maybe, the Astronomy major ... but I don't know - the Astronomy courses seem so damn intriguing and they really serve as the intellectual dessert to the meat and potatoes of my science curriculum: Physics and Math.

I know my course of study is ambitious and I'm aware my interest in Physics will evolve over the course of that study, but I want to achieve an ambitious goal - because of its inherent difficulty - and put myself in the best position to get into the grad-school that best fits my research interests.
 
  • #12
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I'm not sure if having a Bachelor's in four subjects is very useful. At some point, diminishing returns kicks in, don't you think?
 
  • #13
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Do Astronomy for grad school then.
 
  • #14
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You are seriously busy with that kind of schedule. I would study pre-calculus, Calculus I, and test out of Calc. I and just take Calculus II. Likewise with College Algebra, it is not much harder than Algebra II and most of the stuff you are learning merely integrates geometry which is also pretty intuitive, so test out of all those lower mathematic courses and skip straight towards Calc. II.

Do you really need an astronomy degree? Take a few classes in astronomy and if you want to continue on with astronomy, you could go to graduate school for astrophysics. The GRE will encompass physics anyway, so make that your primary subject. The second major of mathematics would help.

If I were you, I would drop the minor and the astronomy majors and focus on Physics and Mathematics, and take a few astronomy classes when I had the time.
 

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