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Need ideas/help on how I would be able to get into a higher education college.

  1. Apr 9, 2012 #1
    Need ideas/help on how I would be able to get into a higher education college for mathematics/physics/chemisty. I'm completely determined to get into one of the best colleges in the U.S., I've been informed from a friend on the admission committee to Caltech(which is where I want to go) that in order to get in, one must do more than be in all of the juniors and senior classes as a sophmore, and get an incredible score on the ACTS. One needs to stand out, I'm looking for ways to make me standout amoungst the other applicants. If anyone has anything to offer that would possibly help me get into Caltech or a higher education college I would greatly appreciate it. Also, after I take AP Chem and AP physics my junior year I will need some sort of college class to help fill in slots for my senior year. I live in Kansas so if anyonehas any idea on possibilities please note them. I will list my classes as of this year(freshman) and the classes I'm enrolled to for next year(sophmore).
    This year(freshman):
    [*]Pre-AP English
    [*]Pre-AP Civics/WorldGeo
    [*]Spanish I
    [*]Beginning Journalism
    [*]Weights(poor choice on my part, waste of a class)
    [*]Intro to Engineering
    [*]Physical Education(required)
    Next year(Sophmore)
    [*]Pre-AP Physics
    [*]Pre-AP Chemistry
    [*]Pre-AP English 10
    [*]Pre-AP History
    [*]Principles of Engineering
    [*]Spanish II

    Also, if anyone has any suggestions on classes to take my Junior year please note them! Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2012 #2
    If you live in a college town, then I would suggest getting in touch with math/physics/chem faculty members at the local university and ask them if you could do any unpaid part-time research in their labs during the school year or summer break. It sounds like you're still a sophomore, so if you work really hard in a lab for the next two years (and the prof you work with is really nice!) then you might be able to be named as an author on a publication or two. I'm sure something like that would knock the socks off an undergrad admissions officer.

    Also, make sure to get a 4.0 gpa.
  4. Apr 10, 2012 #3
    You should also consider that, in all likelihood, you will be rejected from CalTech. It's the same for everybody. As is often said on this part of the fora, setting one's sights on a single college, especially one as selective (and small!) as CalTech, is a very, very bad idea. You may very well get accepted but if you don't and it's all you've been dreaming of for the past two years, things can get really, really messy.

    How can you avoid this from happening, you might ask? Apply to a range of schools. Learn about them, see if you'd like to be there (visit or join the Facebook groups to try talk to current students), take a look at their programs and then narrow down your list. Also take into account whether you'd be able to afford them and if not, whether they offer a lot of financial aid. In general, the more selective colleges have a lot of that. (say, most of the Ivy League, Stanford, MIT and also the liberal arts colleges like Vassar - so, you should look into that)

    What is also a bad idea, in my opinion, is to spend too much time doing what you think will get you into CalTech or XYZ school. In case things don't work out, you'd have spent two years stressing yourself out for nothing at all. More importantly, if you find that you didn't enjoy yourself or found things too stressful during those two years you did whatever it is you thought would get you into CalTech, and you actually get in, the odds are you will hate it at CalTech! When such selective schools accept a student, it's because they (the admissions committee, which contrary to popular belief, consists of people, with feelings and everything...) feel that this particular person has the potential to bring something unique to their school or just that they'd be a good addition to their *community* for some reason. Sure, you'd probably have higher odds of getting into CalTech if you won an international Olympiad in science/math but if you hate Olympiads and only did them with such persistence to get into CalTech, then maybe you'd hate it there. As "they" say, "do what you love and love what you do"!

    It's good to have an idea of what you'd like to do and where you'd like to do it. It's bad to plan everything with too much attention to detail though. But hey, that's just me, and I'd rather not spend my life jumping through an endless series of hoops.

    Good luck.
  5. Apr 10, 2012 #4
    I'm still a freshman luckily, so I have 3 more years.

    And I've been looking into summer programs where me and one of my friends would be capable of conducting our own research/working at labs.

    And thanks Merpis, my goal is to get into CalTech, but seeing my chances of getting in are very slim looking at other colleges would be an appropriate thing to do.

    DerFysiker, I really like your idea. My mom aides with your comment, she really wants me to get incoporated with K-State(i live in kansas) and work/talk with one of the professors there. She graduated from K-State so I don't think working there would be that tricky of a task.
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