Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Schools University admission.

  1. Mar 10, 2008 #1
    Hello all,

    I am looking forward to apply at Harvard university (undergrad program). I am currently enrolled in the IB program at a well-known institution in my city (I live in Montreal). Since the program takes an additional year to complete (which is equivalent to first year of undergrad study), I was wondering if I will be eligible to apply at Harvard and get into the second year?I am doing really good in all my courses, with an average of 92%. I expect to earn my IB diploma sometime this summer.

    Sorry for my poor English.Thank you in advance. :smile:
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2008 #2
    Anyone? :confused:
  4. Mar 10, 2008 #3
    Your grades are going to be very insignificant to the admission officers. They can except this sort of average (if not higher) from all applicants to Harvard. What else do you have? How many HL courses?
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
  5. Mar 10, 2008 #4
    I am currently taking 4 HL courses. It seems like Harvard demands all applicants to take the SAT test. However, I'm not sure how to prepare for it since I am also preparing for my IB exams....

    Any recommendations?
  6. Mar 10, 2008 #5
    I would take some of the practice SATs that are out there (you can find them in any SAT study book you find in the bookstore--one of them is http://store.collegeboard.com/productdetail.do?Itemkey=007182)

    First, see where you are at. You may be one of those people who are just naturally great at standardized tests. This way, you will also learn more about the test and its format.
  7. Mar 10, 2008 #6
    Will the book prepare me for the Writing and Critical Reading sections ? And, what type of questions do they ask for the writing/critical reading part? Do I have to learn stuff like "What is a noun" or any other from of complex grammar? Any advice from those who have previously taken this test is appreciated.

    Also, how much time do they give you for the test?
  8. Mar 10, 2008 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Grades are insignificant with Harvard including SAT scores Havard is about all about talent win the Westinghouse and you might get interviewed.
  9. Mar 10, 2008 #8
    Check it out here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAT#Structure

    In my personal experience, critical reading is more like critical elimination. They ask you to choose the best answer, and the best answer is the one that is most literal and has most literal support. Many times, you can eliminate answers because they are either wrong or require some degree of abstraction. It would be good to practice a few passages and be able to put yourself in the mindset of ETS, which administers the test.

    The writing section was a thorn in my side. The essay is annoying, because it is 25 minutes of quick writing, which could prove troublesome if you, like me, are a slow and careful writer. The grammar sections are not too bad as long as you go over some of the common mistakes they try to trap you with. Subscribe to the SAT question of the day from the College Board website if you have not already. Common errors they use involve tricky subject-verb agreements, bad comparisons, and verb tenses. It helps if you have a good feel for the English language (e.g. you read a lot or speak fluent English), because many times they will give the reason for their answer choice as proper idiomatic usage, which is very difficult to grasp for non-native speakers. Luckily, however, you hardly need to know what a noun is, never mind gerunds, appositives, antecedents, etc.
  10. Mar 10, 2008 #9
    It is less about pure talent than it is about distinction. Good SAT scores are a must, as are good grades. Beyond that, unless you have any specific distinctions, such as science fairs, international olympiads, or something particular special, it is often a roll of the dice.

    I can tell you, personally, that it is extremely frustrating as a math and science person to be forced to be judged almost purely based on my writing skills, which while not lacking is certainly not brilliant. The real problem is that most public high schools in the US have a glass ceiling, especially in mathematics and science. If you do not know about other science and math outlets, such as fairs or competitions, you do not have the opportunity to distinguish yourself.

    To tell the truth, I try to be understanding, but of course it rankles to get deferrals and wait-lists while others who are at about the same or a lower level than me in the sciences get accepted to MIT or Caltech because they go to a bigger and higher placed school that feeds their students As just to further raise their esteem.

    Wow, it feels good to get that out there, but I'll cut this post short lest this become even more of a rant against a system everyone already knows is broken. If you've got this far, thanks for taking the time to read, and know that I have made peace with the reality of things for the most part. Anyway, I've already been accepted to Rutgers, and I hear their physics and math isn't too shabby.
  11. Mar 10, 2008 #10


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Congratulations on your acceptance. I knew a person who got 1600 on the SATs which was a perfect score at the time and was not accepted into Harvard. Why do people want to get into Harvard everything is so dogmatic over there and going there does not guarantee a good job.
  12. Mar 11, 2008 #11
    I think Harvard got a good physics and astronomy program. I am planning a joint-honors in physics and astronomy and later a Ph.D in astronomy. Is there any other university that offers a better program in these fields than Harvard? Also, other than my grades, I've got some teacher recommendations and few other stuff that might strengthen my application...

    Thank you in advance for any sort of recommendation/advice. :smile:
  13. Mar 11, 2008 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Is French your first language? In any case, I would be really careful not to use things like "doing really good" and "Harvard got" on any essays you might submit!
  14. Mar 11, 2008 #13
    French is my second language. How many words are you required to write for the SAT test(for the writing part)?
  15. Mar 11, 2008 #14


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    NRC rankings should be of help

    http://books.nap.edu/html/researchdoc/researchdoc_tables.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook