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The Integrated Science Program (ISP) in Northwestern

JunerainJunerain 78 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
My D applied RD and she received a letter from Northwestern inviting her to apply ISP. I have two questions.

(1) what does it mean?
(2) may anyone know more details of ISP and share it here? thank you.
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Replies to: The Integrated Science Program (ISP) in Northwestern

  • PublisherPublisher 8183 replies83 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited January 8
    Easiest if you google "Northwestern University ISP Integrated Science Program". The FAQ section is very informative.

    Basically it is a highly selective major that enrolls 25 to 30 students per year. During first year the ISP cohort take almost all classes together. Small, intense & accelerated classes. Designed for those seeking a career in academic medicine, medical research, science or engineering. NOT for those seeking to practice clinical medicine. 20% go to medical school, many others to PhD programs.

    Requires SAT Subject Tests or AP scores for Math II, Chemistry & Physics.

    It is a significant honor to be asked, but it is not for everyone.

    Lots of attention from & close interaction with professors.

    Different from HPME, but, if MCATs are strong, then probably eases entry in med school or PhD programs if one so desires (but not guaranteed like HPME).
    edited January 8
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  • PublisherPublisher 8183 replies83 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited January 8
    Obviously your daughter scored a 36 ACT or 1600ish SAT. Math II probably should be an 800.

    Northwestern University has additional programs for those strong in math who want to combine majors & engage in an intense curriculum.

    Essentially, ISP is one way to make a large school small while enjoying the benefits of a mid-size university. But classes at Northwestern tend to be small regardless--with some exceptions. ISP classes are all small & intense/accelerated.
    edited January 8
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  • IWannaHelpIWannaHelp 412 replies2 threadsRegistered User Member
    They are just asking you to check it out if you haven’t already done that. If she’s a science geek, it’s an additional selling point for NU because your D would be basically getting a science curriculum comparable to that in CalTech while attending a more comprehensive college. Your D will have the option to join after she gets accepted.
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  • JunerainJunerain 78 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Publisher @IWannaHelp Thank you both for the incredible information. I googled the web about ISP. I feel, however, that individual opinions are more valuable in this case. My daughter does have 36 ACT and 800 on Math II. ;) But she is more interested in Computer Science and Media Communication. Hence I am not certain whether ISP truly matches her interest.
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  • 19parent19parent 228 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My daughter received the same letter. I am wondering how many received it. In doing a search I read everything from anyone who applied to certain majors, to students with a student score. She didn't get a 1600 SAT, only a 1500 but did get an 800 on the math portion and 800 on Math II. I keep reading that it is very hard and kids have to do so much more work but that the small classes, faculty interaction and opportunities are worth it. My daughter is also most interested in computer science and math, but I think she is starting to enjoy physics. I would love any additional thoughts on the program that I can pass on to her.
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  • guppy64guppy64 57 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My son also received the letter. It clearly stated that he is receiving it only based on his expressed interests, not because of his eligibility for the program.
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  • JunerainJunerain 78 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @19parent I believe it shall be decided by which branch of CS daughter wants to take. If she is more interested in the theory side of CS such as quantum computing, ISP could be a very good program to her. My daughter, however, is more interested in the application side of CS such as media and artificial intelligence. Then I feel ISP might not be a best fit to her interest.
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  • 19parent19parent 228 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Junerain thank you for that insight. I will pass that on to her. She talked with a current student and thought it could be a good fit. I think her interests continue to evolve.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited January 16
    I would only recommend ISP to someone aiming to become a research scientist looking to enter a PhD (or MD/PhD) program.

    It's like the CalTech or Cambridge Natural Sciences curriculum located within a B10 Ivy-equivalent.
    edited January 16
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  • AltaSki64AltaSki64 13 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    To provide some facts about ISP. My son is a freshman in the program. He was ED accept who received the e-mail to apply to ISP. He didn't take AP Chemistry or take the Chemistry SAT II test. The department head said no worries. One can graduate in three years with ISP as their major. Almost everyone stays for four years and graduates with a dual major. Primarily the second major is in math or science though engineering can be done (my son was accepted in McCormick). You can look at the curriculum. It is intensive as the name implies with math, chemistry, biology and physics the focus. One way to look at it is there are three levels of classes: non-majors, majors and then ISP. Many of the math and science classes are only for ISP students. The upside is that limits classes to 20/class. Another consideration is there's no downside to apply and if accepted to start in ISP. They actually have a high drop out rate mostly because students want to do focus in different academic areas. There's no downside to starting in ISP and leaving the program. As with any class, the professor makes or breaks it. According to my son, math was the hardest to start. Though the program requirements is Math Level II and BC calculus, he said most in the program had taken multi variable calculus (assuming I'm saying that right) which really helped.
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  • JunerainJunerain 78 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @AltaSki64 Thank you very much for the information.
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  • 19parent19parent 228 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @AltaSki64 I appreciate it as well.
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  • chocolatehuskychocolatehusky 68 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I also received the ISP letter. I'm interested in applying to MMSS though. Would it be acceptable to apply to both?
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "There's no downside to starting in ISP and leaving the program."

    As you mentioned, though, the ISP classes are tougher/faster-paced than the regular major and non-major classes, and the regular STEM classes at NU are already no joke. From what I heard from a fellow student who had a sibling at a certain good public (known for excellence in STEM), we covered as much material in a quarter (in a STEM class) as the strong public covered in a semester. So there is the possible downside of your GPA taking a beating for no good reason if you decide to switch out later.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @chocolatehusky: What's your rationale for applying to both?
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  • chocolatehuskychocolatehusky 68 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @PurpleTitan i'm really interested in studying math but not sure if I want to couple it with a social science or STEM subject
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @chocolatehusky, if you're not sure, I wouldn't enter ISP. It's mostly STEM classes freshman year. You can apply to enter MMSS as a sophomore.
    Also note that you could always major or double major outside of those 2 programs as well.
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  • minniemouse143minniemouse143 108 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @chocolatehusky Do you have any idea when they notify students if they are accepted into the ISP program? Trying to figure out if it's at the same time they release regular decision notifications.
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  • chocolatehuskychocolatehusky 68 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @minniemouse143 no idea. I think they typically come out around week after admission decisions
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  • minniemouse143minniemouse143 108 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    ISP decisions came out via email this morning.
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