Started to look at colleges...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Morgan Jolley, May 8, 2003.

  1. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Not sure what I want to do, but I want it to be something involving mathematics. For the last few years, I pulled the big nerd and wanted to do game design, which I'm floating back to. I've looked at DigiPen, but due to some of the things I'd have to do (like get my own apartment) might be a little much for a first year in college.

    If all goes as planned, then by the end of next year (I'm a Junior in High School right now), I will have taken Honors level Math and Science courses for all 4 years. I've taken Geometry Honors, Algebra II Honors, I'm in Precalculus Honors, and next year I'm taking Calculus AP. For science courses, I took Chemistry/Physics Honors (freshman year this is used as a sort of prep course in both subjects, but isn't too much into either one), Biology Honors, I'm in Chemistry Honors, and I'm taking Physics AP next year. I also have taken an Intro to Programming class (I wanted to take C++ Programming this year, but it didn't work out that way). Next year, I'm hoping to get the C++ course (the course I chose to take, Film Study II, might not happen, so hopefully I'll get C++ instead since it's one of my alternate choices). I haven't taken the SATs yet, but my PSAT score was the SAT equivalent of a 1310 (everyone says you do better on the SATs, and that proves true for most people I know). I scored in the top 98% for the PSATs and am eligible for the National Merit Scholarship (I have to fill the thing for it out to apply to see if I get it).

    That said, what other things should I do to get into a good college for the area I plan to go for? What classes should I take in college? What colleges should I look at?

    BTW, I plan on taking the SAT IIs for some subjects next year (not sure which specifically).
     
  2. Ray B.

    Ray B. Agent

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  3. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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  4. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Well DigiPen has a bunch of really interesting courses, such as ones based around Sociology, Film Study, and then of course a ton of Math/Science/Programming ones. It pretty much has everything I want.

    I didn't apply for National Honor Society this year because I didn't think I'd get in (and based on who did/didn't get in, I was probably wrong). I'll try again next year, that'll look really nice for college.

    And I'm probably going to be the President of the French section of the World Language Honor Society for my school. I had a 99 average last marking period in French 4 Honors, and there are only a few kids in the club at all. Of them, only 3 (me being one of them) will be seniors next year.

    Other than that, I have no real clubs/activities that I'm involved in. I'm going to Boys' State next month, if that helps. I was one of 2 kids asked at my school.

    I'm taking the SATs next month. I plan on taking them more than once, but I'll stop if I get higher than 1500. I'm aiming for a 1400 the first time.
     
  5. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Second Unit

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    What is with IST scores lately? Did they make them easier? I remember when getting a 1300 meant superb scholarships, and 1500+ scores were pretty damn impossible.
     
  6. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Think about EE. Designing hardware will teach you half of what there is to know about software. The reverse is much harder.

    --
    Holadem
     
  7. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    They made the SATs a lot easier in the early 90s. I forget the reason, I think it was due to the education changes versus the slow changes in the SATs themselves, so they lowered the standards overall so the average scores would increase. I don't remember all the information, but a teacher of ours told us about it.
     
  8. ToddMS

    ToddMS Stunt Coordinator

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    The SATs now use a recentered scale, where everything previously from a 1490 or so and up is now a 1600. They did this because they want the "average" score to be a 1000. In the early 90s before the scores were recentered the average score had dropped to the low/mid 900s. There is a lot more info about recenting, profiles, demographics, etc, at http://www.collegeboard.org

    Todd
     
  9. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    Morgan,
    I have a son finishing up his freshman year at UNC Chapel Hill and 2 other sons who are rising seniors and sophomores in high school.

    Take all the AP classes you can, colleges will look to see what you are taking in your senior year, plus it will give you a good indication of how competitive you will be. AP math, science, statistics are all good. To get into the more competitive schools you'll need a straight GPA of 3.8 or so, a weighted GPA of 4.5 or so and a 1300+ on your SAT's. To get into the most competitive schools a higher weighted GPA, indicating you did well in honors and AP classes and high 1400's or higher on the SAT. Sounds like you are going to doing well enough to get into a very good school and do well there.

    Also you need to consider finances. State schools can be a very affordable place to go particularly if money is an issue. I don't think it's critical to know exactly what you want to major in yet. You have a general enough idea to get you through your first couple of years. In any event a masters degree is almost mandatory now so you'll have the opportunity to decide whether you want to broaden yourself with a masters, such as an MBA, or become more of an expert in the major you chose to undergrad in.

    Take advantage of college open houses, you'll see them noted on their web sites and visit some. Get a feel for what you like. Do you want a smaller school, 4k-5k or a larger school of >15 or so. There's much you can learn just by surfing different college websites. Also with a math interest you can go to a liberal arts school or technical school unless you think you may want engineering.

    Most important is to enjoy what you are doing so you will do well in it. Just one word of advice when you get to college Morgan. You will be competing with the finest students. Grades are on the standard bell curve so most students will get a "C" regardless of how well they did in high school. That means you have to really work to get the A's and B's. The biggest cause of difficultly in a top college isn't that anyone isn't smart enough. You're all smart or you wouldn't be there. It's not going to class and not focusing. If you go to the classes, go to the recitations and go to the study sessions you will do well because there will be a surprising number of students who will not do that. Congratulations Morgan for doing well in high school and good luck to you.
     
  10. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    I'll plug my own school - Rice University here in Houston. Great place to go, highly competitive, and as far as private schools go, by far one of the best deals.

    Student:teacher ratio still around 9. I was in a number of classes where the ratio was even lower - a couple had 4 of us taking the class. They still held it, did not cancel the course, as would happen elsewhere because of "lack of interest"...

    Good EE and CompSci setup, MathSci is excellent, and huge support for folks who want to mix various mainline majors, in case you want to pretty much build your own.

    Mike
     
  11. andrew markworthy

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    I'm a prof at a Brit college so I can't comment on the specifics of the US system. However, some things apply whatever country you're in;

    (a) Above all, you've got to enjoy what you're doing - don't go for something that promises big bucks if you're going to hate every minute of it. I know this sounds obvious (and not a little patronising) but it's amazing how many students make themselves miserable because they think they 'should' go after prestige and/or wealth before happiness. Of course you should go for something *challenging* but that's a different matter.

    (b) Go for the best place you can get into and can afford. I'm sure there are 'league tables' and stats for American universities and colleges - make sure you check them out. The reputation of the institution you attend does matter, but this isn't as obvious a link as you might think. Get past the fame of the name and check the future employment of graduates - e.g. what percentage are in jobs six months after graduating? Also check retention rates - if students are dropping out in large numbers, then this either means that internal competition is vicious or that students aren't being supported and/or hate the place. In this regard, some 'big name' places can have relatively poor records, whilst other more modest institutions can come out surprisingly well. You should be able to find this out from league tables (you certainly can for Brit universities).

    (c) Another important consideration is the geographical location of the college. E.g. do you want somewhere in a city or somewhere more rural? What's the cost of living in these different places? Does distance from home matter to you?

    (d) Don't be afraid to contact the colleges and *ask*. So long as you're not asking something that you should have gathered from their website/prospectus, they'll usually be happy to respond. Lecturers generally like to see students using initiative.


    Hope this helps.
     
  12. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology!!! A great small college for engineers. The professors' focus is on teaching their students, not maintaining their research groups. My alma matter; I highly recommend it. [​IMG]
     
  14. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I think I'm doing well enough now to get into a good school. I'm not worried about student population or the size of campus or anything like that. The only things that really concern me is what is the best college I can go to that isn't too far away. The closest around here that I could get is probably Rutgers. It's a state school, and I know a bunch of kids who went there for free (one kid did literally every AP course in the school besides those involving Art and got 4s and 5s). I'm always leaving the idea of transferring open for thought.

    Thank you for all of your advice. I already have an account on Collegeboard.org (for signing up for SATs) so I'll probably use that to look around.
     
  15. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I can't believe nobody has talked about the hot babes! Which schools have the best looking chicks? [​IMG]

    Sorry, I've been watching too many commercials pimping "reality TV" shows...it almost seems like nobody cares about colleges in the states except who can drink the most beer and flirt with the most women.

    Anyways, it seems a lot of talk is about the reputation of the universities/colleges out there. Being educated in Canada, I find it odd that no one discusses reputation of universities here very much, except when referring to graduate studies. I can only guess that Canadian universities have nearly identical undergraduate programs, that there is little to distinguish them.

    What, exactly, does "reputation" mean when you guys are talking about universities in the states? Quality of instruction? Prestige because of the wealth of the students? Research funding?
     
  16. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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  17. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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  18. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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  19. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I'm definitely taking some Mathematics-based courses in college, so things like 3-D Geometry and problem solving are going to be taken care of.
     
  20. andrew markworthy

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