I am facing a dilemma, should i sign up for integrated science?? i know i'm definitely going to major in biochem (genetics in particular). but i am seriously not so gung ho about physics or computer science. so if i already know my intented major, do i need this program? or is the program a good advantage for anyone interested in the sciences, cause i dont want to miss out on any awesome opportunity.
The main advantage of the program is that it places you in the company of others who are enthusiastic about science. Integrated is very well taught, and all of my friends are very enthusiastic about it. You will learn more than just the material itself; you'll learn how to think like a scientist. The downside is that is that Integrated will be your life, much more so than if you stick with regular molecular biology courses. The physics is taught at a high level (somewhere in between 103 and 105), but the computer science is relatively tame. Another thing to consider is whether you care about having lots of room for electives. If you do, then you should bear in mind that Integrated counts for two courses per semester, so you'll be a little squeezed. If you know you're going to major in science, and you're not premed, I think it's definitely worth the sacrifice.
Health Professions Advising discourages students from taking Integrated Science. The reason is that medical schools are not sure how to interpret the coursework. And once you get done with the sequence, you still have to take a year of organic chemistry. I would recommend that you direct your questions to HPA (HPA@princeton.edu), but their general advice is not to take Integrated Science.
HPA says not to do integrated science because there is no track record. None of the people in the first years class are going directly to medical school, so there is still no information. I don't really feel that its particularly harmful if you want to go to medical school, and it might be helpful if you are interested in an MD/PhD-- I was considering an md/phd and talked to several admissions officers, all who had heard of the program and were interested. If your dream is to go to medical school, than it may be worth skipping since integrated is far harder than the alternative classes that you would have to take (esp the physics), but taking integrated doesn't preclude medical school, and there are several juniors (now seniors) who are planning on medical school. Your interests may change over the 4 years of college, and the integrated sequence is definitely an amazing opportunity. You do have to take the year of orgo, which you would anyway.
I have a question as an intended physics major. I only have a 5 in Calculus AB: would this cause problems as they do not recommend taking a math course your first semester with integrated science? From what it sounds like, I would probably end up taking Calc II my second semester freshman year. Integrated sounds very interesting, but I don't know if I'm willing to sacrifice my math courses for it. I don't want that to cause any problems for my future physics courses.
If you want to be a physics major, you need to take MAT 104 ASAP. You do not want to be stuck taking Death Mech (PHY 205) the fall of your sophomore year without already having taken a multivariable calculus course. This means taking MAT 104 your first semester. Regardless of what the integrated website says, I don't think this is a problem. MAT 104 is easy, plenty of people take more advanced math courses such as 215 in addition to Integrated their first semester.
Wow, that's interesting. It's really good to know that I should take 203 as soon as possible. So do you think if I grabbed a calculus book and covered the BC topics (they seem fairly easy enough to cover in 2 months) starting in 203 wouldn't be a problem? I should add that I only got a 700 on my SAT math test (710 on my SAT mat II test, not sure which one they're using), but I only took them once and I didn't study, so I assume I could've done better (seeing as they recommend a 750 on the site for starting in 203). I could be wrong, this is just a guess based off what people I know have improved after the first time. Anyway, I'm just worried about whether or not skipping so much without an AP test would put me in a course I'm not quite ready for. Having the discipline to cover the BC material over the summer shouldn't really be a problem since that's how I did Calc AB.Thanks very much to both of you!
You could study the BC material and take 203 in the fall. Just remember that 203 is a hard course even for people who got a 5 on the BC test, so if you're not totally comfortable with single variable calculus, you could have a tough time. In any event, I think you should definitely take a math course your first semester.
My S just finished his freshman year and he completed Integrated Science, the fall and spring components. He is not going on to do the sophomore year part. It was a very challenging year. It would have helped last fall if he had had AP Physics C, AP Computer Science and AP Statistics in High School, but his school did not offer these. He did have AP Physics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Calculus AB and BC and got 5s on all of them but said he felt he started the year last fall with a handicap. If he'd known, he said he would have self taught himself AP Physics C over the summer. Once he caught up, the fall semester got a little more manageable and he anticipated a better spring semester but he was very disappointed in the professors who taught the spring course - they were not as well organized as in the fall, particularly in the Computer Science part. He did very well - getting a B+ - learned a great deal, made tremendous friends (like being in a war, they are bonded for life), learned the value of collaboration and we hope all the work pays off going forward into mechanical engineering next year. But ISC completely consumed his first year. There was little time for anything else. His feeling is unless you are sure you want to be in research science in biology, chemistry or physics, he's not sure it is worth all the extra work. I would read all the comments his class posted in the evaluations. It is definitely a mixed bag for most of them, other than those Intel Science winners who were the rock stars in the program who got the few As. I'm not saying don't do it, but know what you are getting in to. Also, he took math both semesters - even though they don't say you need it - he had Math 201 (multivariable calculus) in the fall and Math 202 (linear algebra) in the spring and said it was enormously helpful for ISC. A lot of his friends did this as well. He just wishes he had more time to focus on the math courses though he did get Bs in both. Like I said, ISC consumes all your time, especially when you have a lab report, a problem set and a computer science assignment due within a week of each other. It gets better each semester when COS is done. The other benefit of having done ISC is he is now done with the basic requirements for engineering and can go on to engineering math for his sophomore year. He had also been invited in the engineering integrated freshman program but because he wasn't exactly sure if he wanted to go research science or engineering, he did ISC. Remains to be seen if that was the right choice.
My S is a rising senior who did both years of Integrated. He was well prepared going in with APs in Chem, Bio, and Physics B and C. He ended up a Physics major (biophysics) and tells me a lot of the Integrated kids gravitate to Molecular Biology.