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Studying Would it be possible to get a mentor?

  1. Nov 14, 2016 #1
    I'm just about to finish my senior year of high-school online, and I'm going to have a year to wait until college... I haven't accomplished much in my high school career, for reasons I can't divulge, and it was only recently when I discovered what the Mathematics League was, or the Physics league, Chem league, etc. Now I'm left with nothing more than a 4.0 GPA and decent exam scores... But I've always wondered; I've completed the highest level science courses available to me in high school, but until I get to college I won't be able to excel any further! There's only so much you can learn without proper guidance, but would it be possible to actually hire a scientist to serve as a mentor? To actually meet up with someone to do private research, or give private lectures outside the curriculum?
     
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  3. Nov 14, 2016 #2

    Stephen Tashi

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    The often-observed situation (in the USA) is that parents who are well-off hire tutors for their children when those children aren't doing well in high school. Often the tutors are graduate students and often the graduate students lament the fact that they must teach very elementary material. So if you went looking for a "tutor" and you live near a university, you could probably find a graduate student who could teach you college level material. For example, look for a "tutor" in first year college physics.

    I don't think you'd get results trying to hire a "scientist" or a "mentor".

    A "tutor" would satisfy the requirement to learn. You mention you have a need to "excel". If you want to excel at science competitions, you might be able to hire a "coach" for specific competitions.
     
  4. Nov 14, 2016 #3
    "The often-observed situation (in the USA) is that parents who are well-off hire tutors for their children when those children aren't doing well in high school. Often the tutors are graduate students and often the graduate students lament the fact that they must teach very elementary material."

    Excuse me?! I thought I made it clear that I've near perfect grades in the most difficult science courses my school has to offer! To be quit honest, I find this response to be very insulting!

    "A "tutor" would satisfy the requirement to learn. You mention you have a need to "excel". If you want to excel at science competitions, you might be able to hire a "coach" for specific competitions"

    Are there no programs an senior could enroll in to excel outside the curriculum? Not necessarily a tutor, but more of an extracurricular activity involving research/experimentation?
     
  5. Nov 14, 2016 #4

    berkeman

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    I don't think it was meant as insulting at all, so please do not take it that way. You are asking about something that is a bit unusual, so we can just try to offer some suggestions
    One path that is often used is for you to take community college classes while you are in high school or if you have time off before you start at a university. Are there any community colleges near you? I'm sure you can find some pretty challenging science/math courses that you could take to get you better prepared for college. And sometimes you are able to transfer some of those CC credits to your college, to speed up your time there.
     
  6. Nov 14, 2016 #5

    berkeman

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    Oh, and BTW, the better way to quote other posters is to use the "Reply" link at the lower right of the other poster's text (to quote their full post), or click-drag the mouse over the part of the text you want to quote, and then click "Reply" that appears when you are done with the click-drag. :smile:
     
  7. Nov 14, 2016 #6
    I think there are some significant differences between a mentor and a tutor/coach. I was honored to have three mentors in my adventure in science. None of them sat down and helped me solve specific problems, but rather pointed me in directions that would help me find those solutions.

    I never had a tutor, but tutored German in high school when i was taking German IV. That required a more concentrated effort in tackling specific questions and concerns and then sitting down with them and working things out.

    Linus Pauling helped me learn to think like a scientist and in later, during my college years, never answered any of my questions directly. Joshua Lederberg was my mentor in high school and after steering me toward astrobiology, left me alone to figure stuff out. He would periodically check up on me to see how i was doing and if necessary, point me in some other direction.

    Helen Quinn was the student mentor in physics and had a similar approach--- you do the work and she'd watch you sweat and tell you what you were doing wrong and point out a more fruitful way.

    I've mentored a couple people and have tried to be that way. Both, I think, are grateful now that I let them figure out specific problems out for themselves. I'm thinking you want a tutor or coach and not a mentor. Or, as berkeman said, take advanced classes outside high school.
     
  8. Nov 15, 2016 #7
    My apologies, I misconstrued what he said.

    Is that so..? Alrighty then, I'll see which courses are available near my home area; Thank you so much for your assistance! I never realized one could enroll in a course in Community College whilst not actually attending the school itself; Thank you all so much for this information!

    Is that so..? To be quite honest, I'm pursuing a career in medicine, and my main fixation is Biology; I want to learn quantum mechanics and special/general relativity, otherwise I'll have little use for physics aside from the sheer enjoyment of knowledge..! Thing is in Biology; from my understanding it's more along the lines of memorization and comprehension more so than actual problem solving. Is this view too naive? Regardless, I appreciate your response!
     
  9. Nov 15, 2016 #8

    atyy

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  10. Nov 15, 2016 #9

    symbolipoint

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    Is attending a community college a possible path or option right now? Check with your local community college and find if you can enroll into Mathematics (maybe beginning Algebra) and any beginner's level science (like Physics, Earth Science, maybe intro Biology) courses; which would have laboratory sections.
     
  11. Nov 15, 2016 #10

    symbolipoint

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    Memorization is a big part of studying or learning Biology but you should not use this as an obstacle. Your goal should be understanding. Get acquainted with the scientific definition of Life, and take the viewpoint of structure and function.

    Discounting Physics is unfair. Dealing with study of Physics will help you to develop in too many ways. All scientific areas are related to Biology.
     
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