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Undergraduate Good Physics program with good math teachers

  1. Nov 19, 2012 #1
    I have a 11 grader who is interested in pursing physics for his undergraduate experience, if twelve grade Calculus and AP Physics goes well.

    He is very teacher dependent in math. If he has a good teacher, he does well in the class. He aced physics. It comes naturally to him.

    He has a 28 on the ACT. I could tell, he was tired going in. I predict he takes it again, his score would go up around 29-30.

    I can predict he scores around 1800-1850 on the SAT (based upon 10th grade PSAT).

    He is interested in going to schools in the following states: East coast MA-NC, and to the MS River eastern boarder, excluding the Southern States not on the east coast.

    Where do they have a physics programs that is good for him? I looked at schools that his ACT is in the 50% or higher for the school and made a list for him: Lycoming College, McDaniel College, Randolph-Macon College, Monmouth College, University of Evansville, Kalamazoo College, Ohio Wesleyan, Otterbein, Baldwin Wallace

    So far, he liked 2 college that he visited: University of Delaware, and Towson.

    Please excuse my writing. I am still getting over the stroke.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2012 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    One problem is that it's not decided yet who will teach what class through his entire curriculum. So you need to find a school that doesn't just have good teachers, but one that has no stinkers (and is unlikely to hire any). That is a tough nut to crack.
  4. Nov 19, 2012 #3


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    What about state schools in your home state?

    If the problem is that he's only been doing well when he has a teacher he likes, then the solution is to have him grow academically to the point where he can determine his own success. This may come along with intellectual and emotional maturity, which will make him more able to pose his own questions, and ponder and research them on his own, without being spoon-fed. You're describing him at an age where he's a child, but you're picking a college he'll attend as an adult.
  5. Nov 19, 2012 #4
    i think its better to learn to adapt
  6. Nov 19, 2012 #5
    He actually picked out his high school. Just because I am making up a list of possible places too take a look the websites, and my son is going to add to the list or delete from the list. I allow him to choose his college, based on what we can provide financially, or if he want to go into debt... I don't care if he goes to anyplace in the USA. He just listed where to look in the USA.

    I am not good at communication because of my stroke. My family tells me that daily.

    His friends, his family members and others are providing him with thoughts on colleges. Based on that, he found 2 schools which he liked.

    I appreciate you providing me with help, and I do apologize the lack of communication of my illness.

    He liked Towson, because if you get into the Honors programs, you get first dibs on the classes after the athletes. The state school is good, but it is hard.

    He learns by seeing an example-- his math teacher is good this year, because she uses lots of examples.
  7. Nov 19, 2012 #6
    Strokes are a terrible thing. So I do sympathize with you. I hope you get better.
    Don't worry about your communication, it's not a problem. We can understand you just fine.

    But why don't you let your son come on the computer to talk to us as well? He might benefit from this too (perhaps).

    Anyway, college is very little like high school in my opinion. You can't expect college classes to be similar to high school classes. College classes are necessarily more abstract. There will be examples of course (if the teacher is good). But the difference is that in college, you need to process much of the material yourself. It's not like in high school where they really guide you through the material every single step of the way.

    I think that success in college mostly coincides with taking the learning process in your own hands. You got to learn to stop relying on the teacher that much and you got to rely on yourself more. If you're lucky, then your professor will be great and everything makes sense. But chances are huge that not every professor is going to be like this. There are a lot of professors who can't explain their material or don't even want to explain it. People who don't start researching things in books or on websites and who don't start learning and practicing on their own, those people usually don't make it.

    I'm not trying to scare you, I'm just telling you how it is. Relying on teachers and on examples during classes, that is a very bad habit. And he should try very much to stop doing that.
  8. Nov 20, 2012 #7
    I am going to recommended this website to him. I have a friend whose husband has his PhD in physics, and it a adjunct professor at a really good state school. I am going to have them over for dinner.

    He gets every subject except math. The teacher that he had has in the past 3 years, parents tried to have them kicked out of school. I don't complain about teachers.

    Who knows-- he has a good teacher now, and his tutor is good. I think that with their help, he will be brought up to the level he needs to know in math.
  9. Nov 20, 2012 #8


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    If you live in Maryland (I'm sort of guessing since you mentioned Towson), why not UMD? It has a pretty good physics program, from what I know.
  10. Nov 20, 2012 #9


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    When students complain that they need more examples, what that usually means is that they want to be told a cookbook recipe for solving a particular type of problem, so that they can reproduce that recipe over and over. In the classes where the teachers didn't do as many examples in class, your son had a math textbook, and the textbook had examples in it. If he needed twice as many examples, he had the option of checking a second book out of the library.
  11. Nov 20, 2012 #10
    Go point! I am going to talk to him about getting a different textbook if he has a weak teacher. No, I am not a resident of Maryland. UM has a good reputation. We looked at Towson, because my son would be a good candidate for their honors program.
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