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The "Snowball" Effect

  1. Mar 5, 2015 #1
    As a senior in highschool, I found my direction in life at just the right time. Unfortunately, my past three years haven't gone so well. Admittedly, I never really tried hard until this year. I've always been naturally talented academically, so maintaining a ~3.0 has been a piece of cake for me. Up until the very end of my junior year, I had no real direction in life, no reason to do better than a 3.0, and no real reason to get into advanced classes. My peers are already in Calculus 1, and I still haven't even finished Algebra 2 yet, much less Trigonometry or Discrete Math. I've already been accepted to an (okayish) university, and I feel like i'm at a huge disadvantage from the start when it comes to getting into a good graduate school.

    I've heard that prestigious graduate schools are looking for people who are taking much harder classes and whatnot. I'm absolutely dedicated in my quest for a physics degree, and the B.S is absolutely within reach, but i'm afraid that since i've started with this handicap of not being ahead in terms of course selection, i'll never be able to make it into the graduate schools I want to go to regardless of how hard I try.

    If you have experience with this or advice for me that you'd like to share, i'd greatly appreciate it. Thank you!
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2015 #2

    Quantum Defect

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    Summer classes at your local community college could be a good way to catch up in the math that you need.
  4. Mar 5, 2015 #3


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    Well, at least you recognize your shortcomings and still have plenty of time to correct. You could look into self study and also consider a summer class as suggest by Quantum Defect. I would suggest some self study in Math, picking up where you are now and trying to get to where you want to be ie being prepared for Calc 1, next fall. Take or brush up on Chemistry and/or physics. Either of these would be good candidates for a summer class too.

    But most of all, learn and practice better study habits. Your poor study skills will hurt you greatly in college. You will run the risk of failing and getting kicked out of school before you acquire the needed study habits to succeed in school. That is actually a major problem for the above average student in HS who didn't work hard for his 3.0 GPA and then finds the workload and teachers are at a completely different level in college.

    Truthfully, the only real way to confirm you are improving is a college level class, which suggests a summer class at the local community college (in a challenging course, if not, you will simply encourage your current poor study habits) would be an excellent idea.
  5. Mar 14, 2015 #4
    Don't worry about grad school yet. You have a long way to go. Having gotten accepted into university you are set to show your stuff. Making up your deficiencies this summer will go a long way in getting you on track. Certainly try to make up trig and maybe analytic geometry too. You didn't say anything about physics though. Have you taken any? Anyway you are behind but not so far as it cannot be made up, but you will have to make a significant commitment which you have yet to demonstrate. Good Luck.
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