Undergrad Physics App: 3.98 GPA, 33 ACT, 2230 SAT, Extracurriculars

In summary: Also, it's a fact that people who attend ivy leagues university's for undergraduate are usually the best of the best, and they're not lying when they say that, which is why I said that.In summary, the individual has been debating between computer science, chemistry, and physics as their planned area of study, but has decided to narrow it down to physics. They are now wondering about their chances of getting into top schools such as Stanford and Harvard, and have provided their GPA, ACT and SAT scores, relevant classes, extracurricular activities, and job. They live in Nebraska but would prefer to go out-of-state for college. They have also received information from Ivy League schools and have visited
  • #1
kevinzak
7
0
I have been on the fence between computer science, chemistry, and physics as my planned area of study for quite some time now. I am fairly certain I am ready to narrow it down to physics, but now I'm wondering how I'm doing in terms of the likelihood I can get into top-notch school such as Stanford and Harvard. Here's where I'm at:

GPA: 3.98
ACT Score: 33
SAT Score: 2230

Relevant Classes I'm Currently Taking:

Adv. Math
Ind. Study Computer Science (currently teaching myself Objective-C)
Conceptual Physics
Chemistry 2

I'm also studying introductory calculus and algebra-based Physics on my own as my school does not currently offer either class.

Extracurricular:
Speech (Competed at State level)
Mock Trial
National Honor Society
Academic Decathlon
Student Council

Job:

I'm an A+ Certified Technician at a local computer services firm.

----

If more information would be helpful, let me know. Also would take suggestions on safety schools. I live in Nebraska but would prefer to go out-of-state for college. Thanks!
 
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  • #3
To be blunt and yet truthful, it seems unlikely you'll get in. You seem like the average Harvard/Stanford applicant. Introductory Calculus and algebra-based Physics, despite it being self-study, is not really outstanding and you don't have anything that makes you stand out. Also, what about your AP/IB scores? Your extracurricular activities also seem to be a bit sub-par.
 
  • #4
Eh, forget about those places. Not to deter you from trying your best on your ivy-n-co. applications, but don't stress about a system that has grown to be so absurd with their admissions, you'll be glad you don't care when you see all the kids around you having anxiety attacks because they're too stressed. You could probably get into some really good schools with your stats. You should check out some schools that seem interesting to you and see how good their research programs for computer science and physics are because that will help you if you're planning on graduate school. I know the US News rankings are debated (and only rank graduate departments), but you can use them as a guideline to check out some well-respected schools. If you're not planning on graduate school.. well maybe physics wouldn't be the best degree to take on and perhaps you would be better off with computer science.

Also, you should probably study calc-based physics since you're already studying calculus, it'll make more sense that way anyway and many of the ideas will reinforce each other by seeing it generalized (in math) and applied (in physics). Just my thoughts on the matter.
 
  • #5
Anonymous217 said:
To be blunt and yet truthful, it seems unlikely you'll get in. You seem like the average Harvard/Stanford applicant. Introductory Calculus and algebra-based Physics, despite it being self-study, is not really outstanding and you don't have anything that makes you stand out. Also, what about your AP/IB scores? Your extracurricular activities also seem to be a bit sub-par.

I live in small-town Nebraska. We don't have an AP program here. I have consistently taken the hardest courseload I could throughout high school, but obviously that doesn't look as good as AP courses. We don't even have a calculus course, or anything above conceptual physics. I started doing self-study last year because I realized I didn't want to be behind the curve when I eventually got to college, and because I have the resources in terms of having contacts that can help me should I have any problems.

Hadsed: Thanks for the advice. I definitely want to go on to graduate school regardless of what I end up majoring in. I will definitely consider switching my area of self-study to a calculus-based physics book. I do have a phenomenal physics/chem teacher, and I know he'd be willing to work with me should I have any problems. He would teach higher classes if the school would let him, there just isn't enough interest for them to warrant it in a school of 400.
 
  • #6
Why do you think you want to go to Stanford or Harvard? Completely unnecessary to go to an ivy for a good undergraduate education.
 
  • #7
I visited Harvard this summer and fell in love with the atmosphere. A lot of really cool people and opportunities. Stanford is similar but I have always wanted to go there since I first got interested in comp sci. I know that whichever program I end up in will be fantastic and challenging and that's kind of what I'm looking for. Looks like I have a lot if research to do for safety schools.
 
  • #8
Did you really think you had a chance to attend stanford or any of those ivy league schools? Honestly, only the "best of the best" actually get in. And when I say that, i really do mean the best of the best. Why can't you just go to your closest university? They probably won't have the name of Stanford or MIT but they're just as good.

I thought it was already well established that it does not reallly matter where you go for your undergraduate degree.
 
  • #9
Wow, I really have no shot? I figured it would be difficult but the two admissions office staff at Harvard really made it sound like a solid set of essays and recommendations would give me a pretty good shot. I realize mailings mean nothing but I have been getting a lot of information from Ivy League schools.

I do fully understand that you don't need to go to an Ivy for undergrad. It's not the prestige that interests me. Like I said, I just really enjoyed the atmosphere when I visited.
 
  • #10
How do you know you won't get that from another different university? Maybe i shouldn't have said that you have no shot but really, it's the fact that the chances are really slim and I don't want you or anybody to get upset from rejection by ivy league schools.
 
  • #11
So many people with incredible applications apply to those schools that I would never count or stress about getting into an ivy league.

I would apply just for garbages and giggles -- and the fact that you might get in -- but make sure that you apply to state and "normal schools" too.
 
  • #12
I may have misrepresented myself a little. I am not dead set on going to Stanford or Harvard. I was simply trying to get a realistic idea of where I stood. University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a fantastic school and it's definitely in the running. I had a few other schools that I feel I have a very good chance of getting into picked out, but that was based upon their CS programs. Right now I have a genuine love of studying what I am in the world of physics and so now I guess I just have to sit down and do some research on schools with great physics programs that I can realistically get into.
 
  • #13
People can poke holes in anyone's body of work in terms of getting into a college, getting a particular job, or whatever. If you want to apply you might as well go ahead and do it. In the grand scheme of things the $150 (or whatever it costs these days) it takes to apply to those schools isn't that big of a deal.
 
  • #14
If you're interested in CS, apply to CMU. It's an amazing school, top in the country for computer science. I think you have a chance of getting in, I wouldn't bank on it, but it's a chance you should take I think. Plenty of schools have that nice intellectual atmosphere that Harvard has, though of course with the name Harvard you always feel like you're at a special place, but many of the big state schools have honors programs that make you feel that way too, so make sure to apply to honors.
 

Related to Undergrad Physics App: 3.98 GPA, 33 ACT, 2230 SAT, Extracurriculars

1. What is the average GPA required for admission to this program?

The minimum required GPA for admission to most undergraduate physics programs is around a 3.0. However, to be competitive, most students have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

2. Are standardized test scores important for admission to this program?

Yes, standardized test scores such as the ACT and SAT are important factors in the admissions process. A high score can demonstrate a strong understanding of the subject matter and make you a more competitive candidate.

3. What extracurricular activities are beneficial for students applying to this program?

Participation in extracurricular activities related to physics, such as science clubs, research projects, and internships, can demonstrate a passion for the subject and a commitment to learning outside of the classroom. However, any extracurricular activities that showcase leadership, teamwork, and/or community involvement can also be beneficial.

4. Can I still be admitted if I have a lower GPA but higher test scores?

While a high GPA is important, it is not the only factor considered in the admissions process. A strong performance on standardized tests and involvement in extracurricular activities can also make you a competitive candidate. However, it is important to note that each program may have different criteria for admission and it is best to check with the specific program you are interested in.

5. Is it necessary to have a strong background in physics to be admitted to this program?

Having a strong foundation in physics is definitely beneficial, but it is not always required. Some programs may offer introductory courses for students with little to no background in physics. Other programs may place more emphasis on math and science courses, so it is important to research the specific program and its requirements.

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