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Courses Is it too late to turn around my grades (High School)?

  1. Jun 8, 2016 #1
    Let me preface this by saying I am in the ninth grade: I ended my grade 9 math course with a 60%. Why, one might ask? Because I was lazy and not thinking about my future. It's my own fault. I am going to retake the course online by correspondence and do my best.
    I think I have potential and that if I focus on the course and study hard I might get a good grade. But there's the problem: Might.
    I have never gotten high grades in Math or most subjects. All I have ever had is hope and aspirations. My highest Math average ever is about 85% from grade 8 and my science average this year is a mere 75% compared to my 91% last year. I was lazy and didn't pay attention this year and now I'm here. It may sound ridiculous, but I have hopes of going to M.I.T. Contrary to how it may sound, I adore Math and Science(especially physics and biology) and I really want to be an experimental physicist someday! Is it possible for me to do well in grade 10 and improve to a point where M.I.T might accept me? I have the determination, but I don't actually know if it's possible. I feel really nervous about my future at this point. All the people around me are getting 94 and 98s in math and science, so I feel dwarfed.
     
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  3. Jun 8, 2016 #2
    Don't worry too much, I had a horrid freshman year (2.5 GPA), simply because of the fact that I was lazy/going through some bad family stuff. All it took was a bit of determination and 2 years later my GPA is now sitting around a 3.7, somehow. If you do want to attend MIT, grades and standardized scores will obviously be very important. A friend of mine applied to MIT last year (first in his class out of 431 students, with a 2100~ SAT score) and did not get accepted for EECS (not exactly sure why). All it takes is plenty of determination, but community service, extracurriculars (NHS, BSA, student council), and good recommendation letters are almost critical, also. I wish you the best!
     
  4. Jun 8, 2016 #3

    radium

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    Getting into MIT for undergrad is not likely for anyone, regardless of their grades. There are many very intelligent people who don't get in. Some of them may have had the potential to be one of the top students there based on their subsequeny performance at another institution. You should also consider if MIT would be the right environment for you. I have several friends who went there for undergrad or grad school and the impression I get is that the undergrad environment is very high pressure and can be demoralizing for some people if they are not suited to this environment (they may have the intelligence but not thrive in high stress situations).
     
  5. Jun 9, 2016 #4

    micromass

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    You should stop thinking of MIT. First because it is very unlikely for anybody, certainly if you don't have stellar grades. Second, you should think more about learning as much as you can instead of thinking about the reputation of you or your future institution. There are plenty good other universities than MIT.
     
  6. Jun 9, 2016 #5
    Thanks. That's really crazy that he didn't get accepted if he was that good. but hearing your story is quite motivating! I will need to involve myself in more extra curricular activities I guess. Even if I don't got to M.I.T I there are still many amazing universities to go to.
     
  7. Jun 9, 2016 #6
    I don't think I'll completely stop thinking about M.I.T as some possibility, because I do recognize how unlikely it is to get in. However, I wouldn't really be disappointed if I was unable to get in, as there are many good physics universities. Also, as you said, learning is the most important thing, not your reputation. Thanks.
     
  8. Jun 9, 2016 #7
    That's good to know. I suppose going to one of the most prestigious schools in the world would be stressful, especially for an undergrad.
     
  9. Jun 9, 2016 #8

    radium

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    While it is true that a lot of top schools (Ivy league, Stanford, Chicago, etc.) are stressful environments, I do think that MIT is a school that is meant for a very particular type of student. For example, the grading is much harsher than most (if not all) of the Ivys (I think Chicago is similarly harsh though and also Caltech) and you don't have people majoring in English or History etc. to diversify the environment.
    If you are struggling to get good grades now, that is a huge warning sign that MIT is not a good place for you. It's a place where even really brilliant people need to work hard, so if you don't have the work ethic and study skills you will run into trouble if you attended.

    Note what I am telling you is technically secondhand, but comes from direct sources (i.e. several friends who did their undergrad at MIT and current grad students, some of whom have taught MIT undergrads).
     
  10. Jun 9, 2016 #9
    Either way, it would look nice to employers that you graduated from MIT, but I can almost guarantee that after graduation from any school with a decent amount of internships/research/other jobs in your field, it really won't matter where you went to school as long as you know what you're doing. Realistically, employers are looking for people good at their jobs, not just specifically MIT graduates only, from what I know at least.
     
  11. Jun 9, 2016 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    The guy who lived down the hall from me was a Classics major.
     
  12. Jun 9, 2016 #11

    radium

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    I actually don't know anything about the humanities/non STEM disciplines at MIT so that is quite interesting. Were those all secondary majors? I guess the point I was trying to make is that the concentration of people interested in the sciences is way higher than at other peer schools.
     
  13. Jun 10, 2016 #12

    donpacino

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    I slacked off my first few years of high school (and my first year of undergrad).
    I have a masters degree from an IVY. I got numerous job offers. I make good money working in engineering at a good company and enjoy my job.

    If you turn it around you'll be fine. Your life isn't crushed because you got a 60%. If you got a 60 freshmen year, and 90% all the other years, it will be like you got 90% the entire time. For the most part if you show serious improvement and change, people will not care. It can get better if you make it that way. Please note though it can be an uphill battle. You need to prove to people that there is a change, and that you do understand the material that you got a poor grade in. One thing I did was interview with college professors when applying for schools. After my interview at one school, one of the professor went to talk to admissions to make sure my low grades freshmen sophmore year would not automatically disqualify me.
     
  14. Jun 10, 2016 #13
    That's actually really inspiring, thank you so much for the reply. I think now that I know it's possible, that I can make it happen :)
     
  15. Jun 10, 2016 #14
    It should be possible to get into MIT without a 4.0 if you have some newsworthy extracurricular activities. If you built a neutron gun out of spare parts in your garage, that could be something.
     
  16. Jun 10, 2016 #15
    Lol. Is that something that would just take a lot of hard work, or do you need to be a genius?
     
  17. Jun 10, 2016 #16

    Student100

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    I thought MIT was one of the schools that had some serious grade inflation going on? Don't freshmen now get to take all first year courses as P/NP or something ridiculous?

    I'm sure it's rigorous, but from what I've heard the grading at ivy's isn't all that harsh.
     
  18. Jun 10, 2016 #17

    FactChecker

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    It certainly is not too late. But you should understand and fix the causes of the low grades. And you may have some catching up to do.
     
  19. Jun 10, 2016 #18

    Vanadium 50

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    I don't see where pass/fail is the same as grade inflation. There are reasons not to like P/F, but I don't think this is one of them.

    First term MIT freshman get grades like everyone else. Grades of A, B and C are recorded as P on their transcripts. Grades of D or F are not reported. Second semester, Grades of A, B and C are recorded as such on their transcripts. Grades of D or F are not reported. Upperclassmen have D's and F's recorded. Unlike freshmen,upperclassmen get credits for D's.
     
  20. Jun 10, 2016 #19

    radium

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    While the classes are Ivy's are rigorous, it's true the grading is definitely not as harsh as places like MIT or Chicago and a lot of public schools (I hear public schools do not have as much grade inflation if at all). There is major grade inflation at Brown, Harvard, and I think Yale. Princeton, Penn, and Cornell are a bit less inflated. I'm not sure about Columbia and Dartmouth.
     
  21. Jun 11, 2016 #20

    atyy

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    But if the classes are harder, and everyone is doing badly (eg. all the people who get 98% now get 75%), then a 75% could be an A. So getting 75% is not necessarily a problem.
     
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