Chance me please

<p>My undergrad major is most likely going to be Physics, although I say most likely as nothing is set in stone and many people go on to change their major. As it stands though, my undergrad major is going to be Physics.</p>

<p>Colleges of Interest:</p>

<p>Top Choices:</p>

<p>Caltech
UChicago
UMichigan
Yale
Cornell</p>

<p>Safeties:</p>

<p>UNH Durham
Georgia Institute of Technology</p>

<p>Gender: M
Ethnicity: White
College Class Year: 2015
High School: Private
Will apply for financial aid</p>

<p>ACADEMICS:</p>

<p>GPA - Unweighted: 3.65 out of 4
Class Rank: top 5%
Class Size: 51</p>

<p>SCORES:</p>

<p>SAT I Math: 770
SAT I Critical Reading: 770
SAT I Writing: 800
Combined: 2340
Going to take SAT II in the fall for Math Level 2 and Physics.</p>

<p>9th Grade Classes:
Honors Geometry - 1 credit
Geography and Cultures - 1 credit
Biology I - 1 credit
Orchestra - 1 credit
English 10 - 1 credit
Health - 1/2 credit
Racket Sports - 1/2 credit</p>

<p>10th Grade Classes:
Honors Algebra II - 1 Credit
Chemistry - 1 Credit
World History - 1 Credit
Music Ensemble - 1 Credit
English 11 - 1 Credit
German I & II Accelerated - 1 Credit</p>

<p>11th Grade Classes:
Honors Precalculus - 1 Credit
Physics - 1 Credit
US History - 1 Credit
Music Ensemble - 1 Credit
English 11 - 1 Credit
German III & IV Accelerated - 1 Credit</p>

<p>12th Grade Schedule (my school allows double dipping of college credits.)
College Classes (taken at a local community college):
Calculus I, II, and III - Over 2 semesters
Classical Mechanics (calculus based) - Semester 1
Electricity & Magnetism (calculus based) - Semester 2
Computer Science I & II - Over 2 semesters</p>

<p>High School Classes:
German V
Music Ensemble</p>

<p>SIGNIFICANT EXTRAS:</p>

<p>Contributed many hours to the Concord Community Action program, which prepares and packages food for families in need.</p>

<p>Contributed many hours to Toys for Tots, which makes toys for young children with terminal diseases.</p>

<p>Leader and founder at the Physics and Applied Sciences club at my school (my school is tiny so clubs there are few and far between, but the 4 other members and I had some great times.)</p>

<p>Developer for Gentoo Linux from 2004-2006. Specifically, I was a member of their Security team, and one of the package maintainers for Python.</p>

<p>8 years of Regional-National level baseball play on an independent league team. National level tournaments were just the ones at Cooperstown Dreams Park in New York, but the experience was still amazing nonetheless. Starting pitcher, and 1st/3rd baseman for my independent league team.</p>

<p>Have conducted a self study program with the guidance of my advisor over the past two years to teach myself one and multi-variable calculus through a Spivak-work level of understanding, and a theoretical understanding in classical mechanics through the work by David Kleppner. I have full documentation of my work.</p>

<p>I would also like to know how much of an impact a success in my college classes will have on a decision. I am extremely excited for these college classes, but my GPA is kind of low and would like to be able to hope that success in the college classes I take could really boost my competitiveness.</p>

<p>SATs are good but because of your GPA and semi-weak ECs, I wouldn't count on your reaches. Safeties are fine though. Also, I would recommend not putting your self-study stuff on your application, because its not really an extra-curricular.</p>

<p>My GPA is indeed weak, and my ECs are as well, but also note that I still have my senior year to get both up. </p>

<p>I forgot to mention that I've had a part-time job every summer since 2004 and a year-long job since my freshman year. The orchestra I played with in freshman year competed and placed in a few regional competitions that year. The music ensemble class from sophomore year onward is basically an alternative band managed by a professional musician who is fairly popular in New Hampshire and teaches music at my school. We have produced 2 full albums over the past 2 years of our original work and subsequently learned much about the music business (and business in general), working as a team to design projects, and financial planning and management.</p>

<p>I still would like to know how much of an impact my college classes will have on my application, since they are actual college classes and not high school AP classes.</p>

<p>I'm not admissions expert but I do believe your UW GPA is a bit weak. BUT I think this is made up for with your extra currics and college courses (again, I'm not expert though). I think if you do really well in school your senior year, (straight As or 1 B?) you have a good chances at UChicago, UMichigan, and MAYBE Cornell (still a bit of a reach though imo). The other two schools seem like a high reach to me. But still apply, you never know.</p>

<p>
[quote]
SATs are good but because of your GPA and semi-weak ECs, I wouldn't count on your reaches. Safeties are fine though. Also, I would recommend not putting your self-study stuff on your application, because its not really an extra-curricular.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I put my self-studies up there because, (and I really don't mean to toot my own horn), how many high school students enter college having worked through Spivak's book on Calculus and Kleppner's book on Mechanics? If I'm not mistaken, Kleppner is used in MIT's 8.012 course, and Spivak usually isn't brought up except for analysis courses. I figured it was worth noting because a college would be impressed, which is part of the reason I did the study, the other being sheer interest. I could be wrong, though.</p>

<p>Well, first of all if you haven't taken any tests or anything to prove your aptitude in self-studied calculus, than it means absolutely nothing. I self-studied AP Art History and AP Psychology and got a 5 on both, but I doubt that I will be mentioning that they are self studied because, frankly, colleges don't really care that much. They like to here about you pursuing your interests and helping your community when talking about ECs</p>

<p>
[quote]
Well, first of all if you haven't taken any tests or anything to prove your aptitude in self-studied calculus, than it means absolutely nothing. I self-studied AP Art History and AP Psychology and got a 5 on both, but I doubt that I will be mentioning that they are self studied because, frankly, colleges don't really care that much. They like to here about you pursuing your interests and helping your community when talking about ECs

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<p>The textbooks I have worked from have extensive problem sets which I completed. All of the texts used are college texts, with my first being Fundamental Physics 8th edition by Halliday, Resnick, and Walkner, and my text I used for my theoretical work being Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner. </p>

<p>My calculus textbooks were Calculus, Vol. 1: One-Variable Calculus with an Introduction to Linear Algebra, and Vol 2 of the text, which covers multi-variable calculus. I then worked with my teacher on introductory mathematical analysis using Calculus by Michael Spivak. </p>

<p>All of these works are critically acclaimed and used by a good majority of universities for their advanced-intro courses, just look them up yourself. </p>

<p>My advisor, who is also my math teacher/physics teacher, administered exams on my self studies. All of my work is documented and approved by my advisor. I obviously can't receive credit for it, so I understand what you're trying to say, but physics and mathematics are two of my biggest interests and I don't see how doing such extensive studies are not in the line of "pursuing my interests."</p>

<p>I suppose you could argue that I should've done math teams, physics olympiads etc. And you would be right, I should've done that. My school only has about 50 kids, with 10 in my graduating class, so I would've had to pursue those teams outside of school. However, I still could've done that, so it is my fault for not doing so. However, this is what I have done, and I don't see how trying to capitalize on it by showing that I have pretty much completed the work on some of the advanced introductory courses that Caltech and MIT offers, solving the problems and everything, wouldn't work at all.</p>

<p>If anyone can correct my line of thinking and then give me a corrected view of the impact of my work with sound reasoning, please do so.</p>

<p>I mean pursuing interests like working, some of of internship or lab work. You can take the Calculus exam and receive credit for it. I can write on my college application all sorts of things that I did over the summer (that may or may not be true). You need to show your ability in those things, not just a good word from a teacher.</p>

<p>"The textbooks I have worked from have extensive problem sets which I completed."</p>

<p>"All of my work is documented."</p>

<p>"My advisor, who is also my math teacher/physics teacher, administered exams on my self studies."</p>

<p>I did the work. I have proof that I did the work. Even if the exams aren't university approved the college I'm applying to could decide whether to approve of the exam or not. But I did the problem sets in the work, the same ones assigned in the classes at the colleges. I'm even taking calculus next year at a university to prove I can do it in a university setting. What more proof do I need? </p>

<p>You haven't even said anything about my work on physics.</p>

<p>EDIT: I apologize mods for having to bump this thread with my posts. I just feel like I need to clarify certain things so that my background can be more accurately taken in to consideration.</p>

<p>Your UW GPA is really low for those schools, but you do have an interesting list of EC's and your test scores are really good; just make sure to get excellent recs and write really good essays (perhaps get your guidance counselor to explain course rigor or some other reason why your GPA may be as low as it is), and I'll think you'll have a shot. Your reaches will, of course, remain reaches, but no one can really predict the admissions process anymore. Good luck : )</p>

<p>It does not matter if your work is documented, you need to show it with TEST SCORES. Are you actually planning to write "I did problems in my mathbook" on your application? Also you don't send documented work to the college, so you need to prove it somehow else (with TEST SCORES).</p>

<p>
[quote]
It does not matter if your work is documented, you need to show it with TEST SCORES. Are you actually planning to write "I did problems in my mathbook" on your application? Also you don't send documented work to the college, so you need to prove it somehow else (with TEST SCORES).

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I don't think you understand. Let me explain more clearly.</p>

<p><a href="http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/18-02-multivariable-calculus-fall-2007/assignments/ps10.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/18-02-multivariable-calculus-fall-2007/assignments/ps10.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Do you see that problem set? That is an actual problem set from MIT's multivariable calculus course during the fall 2007 semester. That problem set uses problems from one of the books I used. I did that problem set. I have the problem set, I did all of the work to find the answers, and I have the answers checked for correctness. If I showed MIT that I can do their homework that they assign, wouldn't that make them think that I'd be an acceptable candidate for their school?</p>

<p>OP, goldbergmichelle is right. You simply can't present homework problems in your application. It's a little bit silly. It's like saying "I go on a run every day." Thats fine, but if you don't show results in track/field (or some kind of running competition), than nobody cares. Sorry about the rudeness, but you just can't do it</p>

<p>
[quote]
OP, goldbergmichelle is right. You simply can't present homework problems in your application. It's a little bit silly. It's like saying "I go on a run every day." Thats fine, but if you don't show results in track/field (or some kind of running competition), than nobody cares. Sorry about the rudeness, but you just can't do it

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Can you please at least read the whole thread before you post your opinion? I'm getting a little tired of this. I never said anything about skipping classes/work, proving anything, whatever. All I said in my original post was that I wanted to add it to my list of extracurriculars. It made sense to do, because it is science/math related and if I'm going to apply to a college for a science degree, they're going to appreciate that I put a lot of time in studying science and math. Especially a school like Caltech, where they on their website, say they actually ENCOURAGE summer studying/research papers on their application. That whole argument between me and goldbergmichelle was about why I thought it would be beneficial to add my self-studying to my extracurriculars, and then she drew all of her own false conclusions from it, inviting me to go more in depth with what my studies involved and why I wanted to do it.</p>

<p>Of course I'm not going to put tons of homework papers on my college application. I was simply trying to prove to her that I actually did the work, then I had to prove to her that I actually did the work again, in order to prove I could include it on my list of extracurriculars. I still don't think she's buying it.</p>

<p>To further my point and prove myself even more, I'm practically taking all the material I spent the last two years studying at a community college instead of taking AP classes, to actually prove to a college that I can do that kind of work. Or like you say, "show results in track/field." But in my opinion, someone who has been running their whole life will show better results than those taking an accelerated high school track and field course, no? :)</p>

<p>It's just pretty obvious you read the last two or so posts of this thread and extrapolated the rest.</p>

<p>Thank you all for your suggestions.</p>

<p>Going with davidoga's analogy, the college will care that you were a track star, for a simple fact that these are official results that are compared to others. The "I run everyday by myself" can be compared to "I enjoy watching history channel". Self studies that you have done are in fact important, although I don't see how you could put that into extra curricular activies. It's just like saying I read and did a book report on War and Peace- it's impressive, however, not an ec. What I would do though, I would ask your teacher to write a letter of recommendation and include your self studies in it.</p>

<p>Hmm, I didn't think of that! Sounds like good advice. I will definitely talk to my teacher about it. Thank you.</p>

<p>I also agree with what Analgin said. I never said that I don't believe that you did those things, Im just saying it's not enough and not appropriate to put on an application.</p>