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Independent study for Freshman/Sophomore?

  1. Apr 5, 2012 #1
    Has anyone heard of an independent study for freshman/sophomore students for physics/engineering majors?

    What are your perspectives on it? Is it too early? Or is it a good to have?

    I ask because I spoke to one of the faculty members about it-- and he replied that it is too early. He wasn't really fond of the idea. I don't know too many colleges that offer this, but it is offered at Berkeley - https://schedulebuilder.berkeley.edu/explore/courses/FL/2012/2671 . I personally think that it is a good idea to be able to offer more to the more motivated/interested individuals. For one, it would make them a more competitive applicant. I'm from a community college so it would be nice to offer more than the standard freshman to sophomore curriculum.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 6, 2012 #2
    I did one in my sophomore year and I'm glad it was my only one. It was pretty lame actually, the professor would assign me some readings and problem sets then we would go over them together for about an hour a week. I got more attention in my regular classes office hours, so I felt like the middle kid. Some of my friends liked them more because they got some letters of rec's outta the professors but I got those from being in research groups or just excelling in their class.

    I guess it depends on what your goals are for doing one. Is this for an eventual senior thesis or just for fun? If it's just for fun I wouldn't stress it, self study whatever you want then if you want to skip around in classes talk to the professor directly and show them what you worked on. In my experience, they'll let you move slide through a class or two after they "examine" if you're ready for it.

    I would recommend destroying your classes now and go to the professor for more challenging problems. That is how I did my best because I would rip A's in their classes and then build a relationship with them in office hours. In a couple cases, they would want me in their research groups. So, time in a regular class I was spending 3 hrs/week and 3-4 hrs/week in their office hours rather than seeing them for 1 hour/week in an independent study.
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