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Is Math or Physics more important for being accepted to engineering?

  1. Sep 27, 2012 #1
    Hello all,

    I'm a 17 year old Senior in high school, and this time next year I will hopefully be in a university somewhere.

    I have been debating with myself for the past few years as to what I really want to do once I get out of high school, and I think I've settled on Engineering, most likely Mechanical or Aeronautical. I've always loved knowing how things work, ranging from the universe itself to moving vehicles. There is just something really appealing to me about understanding the bare fundamentals of something, rather than just "knowing" certain concepts and taking them for granted.

    As such, I have a good intuitional understanding of the physical world. I have a need for "solidness" in my everyday world, if anyone here understands that. I like being able to interact with things on a personal level, observing them with my senses, and having the gut feeling that "this will not break." I can't think of a good analogy for this, but for the others who are like it, they'll know what I mean.

    Because of that, I am very good with Physics in school. Last year I managed to go through the entire year and end up with a ~89% in Physics, without paying attention for the majority of classes and very rarely completing assigned "worksheets", which were the same problem stated in 12 different ways. However, that can be taken as laziness too, but I think it's because I felt it was not necessary to do those things to be successful in that course. My mark would have been higher, around a 95% if it were not dragged down by a horrible science fair me and my partner did, which involved biology rather than physics.

    That is where my gloating ends however, for I am VERY bad at pure mathematics. I spent some of my time in a few classes without much work last year re-proving kinematics formulas without any external help, to prove that I actually "UNDERSTOOD" them rather than "KNEW" them. But with Math, I can do no such thing. I took an advanced course last year, which I admit now was out of my league, and ended up with a 75%. I am good at math when it is applied to something in the real world, which is why I like Physics. But as for math itself without any applications to anything, I can easily struggle with it.

    My question is, will the engineering faculties at most universities take that into account, valuing one subject over the other? I ask this because even though I'm in my final year now, I did my final year's Math course LAST year, which is why the 75% worries me. I am aiming for a 95% in Physics this year, and so far I'm on track with a 100%, (albeit we're still fairly early into the year, so that will definitely drop). If I manage to get that, my transcript will have a 75% in Math and a ~95% in Physics. Engineering is much more about real world creations and the actual physical representation of things rather than the very logic inclined/theoretical world of Mathematics, but do the universities think this way when they select who gets to fill their limited slots for students every year? I really like engineering, and if that Math mark will hinder my chances significantly, I might drop out of my current Math course (pre-university) and re-do the course I did last year, if possible.

    Thanks all!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 27, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    Honestly, once you're an undergrad no one really cares what you did in high school.

    At the undergraduate level, you won't do much more than calculus, linear algebra, and diff eq. All your classes will go over the math you need, generally speaking. If you go to grad school then you get a lot into the theoretical side.

    Learn as much math and physics as you can.

    (I'm an aero.)
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