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Is college the only way into science?

  1. Mar 31, 2009 #1
    I'm doing a pre university science course at the moment and I'm doing really well because I love this stuff. At this point I've realized that I belong in the science industry and since I have a natural talent for physics I think I can make my contribution to the knowledge of mankind. I never finished highschool though so Im trying to get into college as a mature student but lately I've been worrying that I might not get in. Thinking about getting into college brings loads of joy cuz I know that once I'm in I will excel and nothing will be able to stop me but what are my options if I don't get in? Are there other ways into the science industry or roundabout ways to get into science courses in college?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2009 #2
    You could always go to night school and finish the prerequisite courses to enter a science program. Don't hold your breath waiting for a research position anywhere.
  4. Mar 31, 2009 #3
    I just want to get into something involving physics or other science related fields because I love it and if I'm not doing it professionally I'm gonna be learning all this stuff on my own because thats what I do anyway.

    Thanks for the recommendation if that can be done then I have no worries anymore because I'm so determined I will do everything it takes to get in. Do you think that you can get the requisites for an advanced course like physics by going back and doing nightschool?
  5. Mar 31, 2009 #4


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    It's always good when you discover you have an aptitude for something. Generally speaking, there aren't any back doors. Although this really depends on what you want to do. Lots of tradespeople support research in labs to one extent or another, but they very rarely direct the research.

    There are some people who make valuable contributions to the scientific community with little formal education. Look at amateur astronomers for example. (One might argue however, that the ones who do make advances, if not formally educated, are very, very well read and skilled).

    If you really have a passion for it, just stick with your classes, do well and eventually you'll be able to get in somewhere - at least at the undergraduate level. Then you'll really be able to determine if a career in science is right for you.
  6. Mar 31, 2009 #5


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    Absolutely. You just have to make sure that the night school classes that you need are offered at the institution you're attending.
  7. Mar 31, 2009 #6
    What are you doing right now (In terms of work, etc.)? It may be possible to get into a communtiy college with out a highschool diploma and then transfer to a University of choice.
  8. Mar 31, 2009 #7
    I'm not looking for a shortcut I love the idea of studying physics for the next 5 years I'm just a little worried that if I don't get into college I might hit a dead end and have to pursue this passion of mine in my spare time which I will do if thats what it comes to but I would rather be able to study in college and get degrees and that kinda thing.
  9. Mar 31, 2009 #8
    Thats the most reassuring thing I've heard on the matter so far. Thanks. As long as theres no dead ends on the track I've nothing to worry about. I study all this stuff in my spare time for fun so I have no trouble keeping up with classes and passing tests and all that so once I'm in I'm set.
  10. Mar 31, 2009 #9
    Like I said I'm doing a pre university science course which is kinda like a stepping stone between high school and college. I'm doing well but I don't know if the college will let me in without a high school degree. I left school when I was 15 but a few years later when I was about 19 I realized I love science so I decided to start working towards getting into college. I have a good chance of getting into college with the results I get from this course I'm just wondering what my other options are. The community college idea sounds good too. If its just a matter of doing your work and getting good marks on exams I can handle that part no problem.
  11. Mar 31, 2009 #10


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    I actually know a I guy who got into his current line of work by working in a mechanical workshop.
    At some point he got interested in trying to make progressively smaller things, initially in the workshop but then he started learning new techniques, and after that taking classes etc.

    Now he is making things that are just a few nanometers in size using various nanofabrication techniques for.

    It is quite an interesting career path which has taken him from working in a workshop via different courses to a PhD in physics and onto his current job at a university (as a researcher).
    What I find most interesting is that he doesn't think the work he is doing now is all that different from the work has was doing at the start of his path; I am not even sure if he considers himself to be a physicist. But the work he is doing is simply amazing at times.

    This is obviously very unusual; but my point is that there ARE people out there that have followed some pretty unusual routes into science.
  12. Mar 31, 2009 #11
    If worst comes to worst, what about a 3 year engineering technologist program, and then transferring to a university to finish off the Bachelors in Eng. Technology? Would that type of work be close enough to physics for ya?
  13. Apr 1, 2009 #12
    It isn't clear what country you are posting from, but if you are an American, you might also want to look into taking the GED. If you pass this test, no college will question your lack of a high school diploma. (No guarantee you'll get into the college you want, of course...)
  14. Apr 1, 2009 #13
    Cool. This is an example of the fact that the current system i.e high school degree to get into college, college degree to get certain jobs is flawed. Instead of judging by whats on your record they should test peoples aptitude to judge whether they meet the requirements to succeed in the course. Jobs are a little more complicated so I won't say they should rely solely on a test when deciding to give someone the job or not.
  15. Apr 1, 2009 #14
    I'm not geared specifically towards any one field in physics or even geared solely towards physics for that matter. Im interested in a wide range of areas in science but I suppose my main interest is elecronic and electromagnetic phenomena. Im also highly interesting in nanotechnology, biotechnology, chemical engineering and all sorts of other stuff so I dont wanna restrict myself from any of these fields in case I realize in the future thats what I wanna major in.
  16. Apr 1, 2009 #15
    Sorry Im in Ireland. Id say they have similar nightschools here. If not I could always move to another country.

    Thanks for all the replies I was getting worked up yesterday about the idea of not being able to get into college and ultimately getting into the science industry.
  17. Apr 1, 2009 #16
    In Canada there are private institutions which offer academic upgrading which is recognized, but not accredited, by certain universities (usually universities within the same province/city).

    My friend is upgrading his high school courses through one of these institutions. He's also received tons (relatively speaking) of easy to access grant money from our provincial government. The province pays for his tuition, books and provides him with money to pay for his living expenses. He's received ~ $12 000 so far. Be sure to look into something similar.
  18. Apr 1, 2009 #17
    I got into college without a high school degree. You should look into something called "early admission". If you have a compelling case, and write a good essay, they'll let you in. It probably depends on the policies of the uni. you're looking at.
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