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Best schools for astrophysics/math in Illinois?

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Replies to: Best schools for astrophysics/math in Illinois?

  • xraymancsxraymancs College Rep Posts: 4,265 Senior Member
    IIT has a strong particle and accelerator physics program and we often have students participate in research in those areas.

    As for admissions and merit scholarships. Most of it depends on your CC grades, not whether you dropped out of high school or not. If you have excellent grades and are part of the Phi Theta Kappa honorary, you will likely be admitted and with a merit scholarship of some kind.
  • comfortablycurtcomfortablycurt Registered User Posts: 2,182 Senior Member
    ucb-Thanks for the tips. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out a way to squeeze a language course into my schedule, but I don't know if I'll be able to or not. I'd love to get at least a year of it out of the way before I transfer though, so I can devote my time to my majors after transfer. We'll see.

    xray-Thanks for the info. Particle physics is one of the areas that interests me most, and I'm actually kinda torn between whether I eventually want to gravitate towards that or astrophysics. Ideally, I'd like to do both though in all reality. I've still got plenty of time to figure that out though.

    I only see two astronomy courses at IIT...and introductory Astronomy course and an Astrophysics course. Is this all that's available in that field at IIT? That would be a bit of a drawback to me, but it wouldn't necessarily prevent me from wanting to go there. Overall, IIT looks like a very good school and I've heard great things about it from the research I've done on it. I'm hoping to get into Phi Theta Kappa as well after I get some more credits built up.


    I posted another thread about this in the admissions section, but I might as well ask here too: How important are extracurricular activities going to be for me when transferring as a junior? I successfully ran a tree trimming business with my brother for about 6 years, until we both got tired of all the physical work and decided to go back to school. I'm also planning on joining the Math Club at here, and I'm trying to get into Americorps, both for the experience that it brings, and the money/scholarships that they offer. With that on my side, should I be worried about looking for more EC's to get involved in?


    Also, can anyone tell me how to quote posts on here? I see the option for it below the quick reply window, but it's not seeming to work for me.
  • xraymancsxraymancs College Rep Posts: 4,265 Senior Member
    I don't think that either UIUC or IIT look at extracurriculars too much from transfer students. More importantly, they look for performance in college level courses and focus on a major. Starting and operating your own business is more than extracurricular, however, and would probably be a plus in your application.

    Yes, IIT only has those two courses officially available as we do not have an astronomy major. However, we are developing a relationship with the Adler Planetarium with one graduate student doing her Ph.D. there in astrophysics and we have had an undergraduate work as a summer intern on one of their research projects (VERITAS). we also have an instructor who is an astrophysicist and has supervised undergraduate research in that area.
  • comfortablycurtcomfortablycurt Registered User Posts: 2,182 Senior Member
    From everything I'm reading, it sounds like running my own business will be a very good addition to my application.

    It's good to hear that IIT would have some potential options for astronomy/astrophysics study. The more I'm researching IIT, the more I like it. It looks like a great school, with a great campus. The city of Chicago is, of course, second to none in my mind, as well. :)
  • comfortablycurtcomfortablycurt Registered User Posts: 2,182 Senior Member
    Well after meeting with my counselor and discussing my situation, we came to the conclusion that my best option would be to try and place out of geometry and intermediate algebra, and start college algebra this spring semester. This would get me right on track, and allow me to finish the full calculus sequence plus differential equations, as well as the full calculus based physics sequence, all within two more academic years.

    This means that I've got winter break to essentially teach myself geometry and intermediate algebra, and retake the placement test right before next semester starts. What areas should I focus on?

    What topics are introduced in intermediate algebra? The SVCC website states that...

    "This course assumes familiarity with material in MAT 074. Topics extended to an intermediate level include: real numbers and expressions, equations and inequalities, graphing methods, polynomials and factoring, rational expressions, radicals, quadratic equations, and systems of equations. New topics include: functions and their graphs, radicals and complex numbers, quadratic and rational inequalities, graphs of second degree equations and variation."

    In what ways are the topics expanded? What, specifically, should I be focusing on? What areas would be most crucial for the new topics? I'll have my work cut out for me, but it'll be well worth it when I pull it off. Any tips would be much appreciated. :)

    My counselor recommended using the Kahn Academy website, which I've already used quite a bit the last couple days...there are a lot of great tutorial videos on there. I've also bought "Bob Millers Math for the Accuplacer" which is designed for increasing placement test scores, and I bought "Cliffsnotes: Algebra II" which seems to be a very helpful book.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,542 Senior Member
    "Expanded" probably means more difficult problems, or applying the concepts to problems where it is less obvious that one would apply them.

    Would you be able to get an old final exam for the course in question to see what the expectations for the course are? Or the textbook for the course?
  • comfortablycurtcomfortablycurt Registered User Posts: 2,182 Senior Member
    I'm planning on stopping in and seeing my counselor again on tuesday, and I was planning on asking him these questions actually. I'm a member of Trio, so I get most of my books for free. They have a copy of the geometry and algebra II books on hold for me, and I'm going to see if I can get them early to use over winter break. I hadn't thought about asking for a copy of the final exam though...that's a good idea. I've also been using the links that you posted for me earlier in this thread, and they've been very helpful as well. Practice problems are the key with math, and those links have plenty of them, with answers. Thanks again for that!

    Would expanded also imply problems with more variables? I've only really worked through equations with two variables at this point, will I need to have competence in equations with 3+ variables to place into college algebra?

    From what I've worked through in my geometry studies the last couple days, it doesn't seem too difficult so far, but that's probably a huge deception...lol...I'm sure it's going to get much more complicated.

    I'm confident I can pull this off though. My winter break will basically be spent doing math, but I don't mind.
  • comfortablycurtcomfortablycurt Registered User Posts: 2,182 Senior Member
    Well, I was successful! I placed out of Geometry, Intermediate Algebra AND College Algebra...and placed into Trig...so I ended up placing higher than I was even aiming for. I'm still just going to take college algebra this semester though, because it wouldn't really benefit me to skip it. It won't save me any time on the long run, and it would still be very beneficial to take the class I'm sure. This is a huge relief...I've spent the entire break studying math like crazy.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,531 Senior Member
    What good news! Thanks for checking in to let us all know how things are going!
  • xraymancsxraymancs College Rep Posts: 4,265 Senior Member
    Excellent, good luck in the coming term!
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