Planning a Career in Physics: 16-Year-Old High Schooler's Guide

  • Thread starter kyle8921
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In summary, if you're interested in pursuing a career in physics, it is important to have a strong understanding of geometry and trigonometry. However, if you struggled in these subjects in high school, there are still options for you to pursue higher education, such as community college or state schools. It is also helpful to have extracurricular activities, such as playing an instrument or studying a foreign language, to enhance your college application. Ultimately, it is important to focus on improving your grades and seeking out opportunities for scholarships to make college more affordable.
  • #1
kyle8921
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I'm 16 and in high school, and am working on planning, well, my life. I'm still not sure what profession I'd like to work in, but one of my options is physicist, astrophysicist, or possibly an astronomer. I'm really interested in physics, and I always have been since we first learned about it. Recently, I've been reading about a lot about relativity, and the possibilities of time-travel. I'd like to study it further.

Anyway, here is my question to you. While I'm good with physics, I didn't do so well with Biology and Chemistry (remember, high school level classes) and I didn't do too well in Geometry either. The thing is, I KNOW that I can do well in geometry, I was just in a poor position in life, and made some extremely bad decisions, and nearly failed geometry. How important is geometry if I wanted to seek a career in physics?

And there's no way that I will be able to pay for a nice college, so I've been playing violin for 6 years (still 2 left, I'm in 10th grade) and am hoping that the violin, and 4 years of French, and semi-good grades (As,Bs, and Cs) might get me into a college. What should I do, and what are my chances at doing it? Any help is great. Thanks.
 
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  • #2
You're in a good state to choose from a lot of in-state colleges and universities if you can't afford much in tuition. I'd suggest you include both Ohio State and University of Cincinnati among those. If you get into both, even though I'm supposed to say otherwise, choose Ohio State. If you end up struggling with physics there, you'll have more opportunities for other alternative majors there. Of course, at UC, there's a great performance arts program, so the violin might be what gets you in. You also have the University of Dayton and Miami University in Oxford that would both be near to home for you, so you could potentially commute to school if you need to keep expenses down and can't get some sort of scholarship for your music. I don't know if either offers a decent physics program.

Of course your best bet is to do everything you can to get your grades as high as possible in the two years you have left of high school. Make those C's look like ancient history and you'll have a better chance at more schools.
 
  • #3
As far as money to pay goes, the cheapest path through college is spending a couple years living at home and going to the local community college first. You can get most of your general education classes out of the way at least. I'm an older student, and I never was a fan of the idea of taking out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. I've paid my own way through school as I've gone without building up any debt. As long as you go to a state school, the costs usually are fairly manageable.

Geometry is kind of important, although not if you're talking about a geometry class where you did construction of equilateral triangles and the like. How are you on trig? That's much more important.
 

Related to Planning a Career in Physics: 16-Year-Old High Schooler's Guide

1. What kind of education do I need to pursue a career in physics?

To become a physicist, you will need a strong foundation in mathematics and science, particularly in physics. This typically requires completing advanced courses in high school, followed by a bachelor's degree in physics or a related field at a university. Many physicists also pursue graduate degrees, such as a Master's or PhD, to specialize in a specific area of physics.

2. What skills are important for a career in physics?

Strong analytical and problem-solving skills are essential for success in physics. You should also have a strong understanding of mathematical concepts and be able to think critically and creatively. Other important skills include attention to detail, communication, and teamwork.

3. What are some career options for physics majors?

There are many career paths that physics majors can pursue. Some common options include research and development in industries such as aerospace, technology, or energy, teaching at the high school or college level, and working in government agencies or national laboratories. Physics majors also have the option to pursue further education in fields like engineering, medicine, or law.

4. How can I gain practical experience in physics as a high school student?

There are several ways to gain practical experience in physics as a high school student. You can participate in science fairs, research projects, or internships at local universities or research institutions. You can also join physics clubs or attend workshops and conferences to learn from professionals in the field.

5. What resources are available to help me plan my career in physics?

There are many resources available to help you plan your career in physics. Your high school guidance counselor can provide information about college and career options, and your physics teacher can offer guidance on courses and extracurricular activities to prepare for a career in physics. Additionally, there are online resources, such as career websites and professional organizations, that can provide information and advice on pursuing a career in physics.

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