Get into university | Science majors


applying to university is probably one
of the most stressful things in your career you could be totally overwhelmed
by all the information that’s out there and maybe you’re stressed out about your
grades or you don’t know what university is right for you it’s not too bad I mean
it should be okay I’m not too worried about it really don’t worry about it no
worried at all so today we’re gonna start tackling some of these issues
we’ve got eight tips which we wish we had known before applying to University Hi everyone! My name is Jena Meinecke and
I’m a plasma physicist but I actually started at Community College I went to
Moorpark Community College in California and then I transferred to UCLA to get a
major in physics and then a minor in mathematics
and my name is Archie Bott as of yesterday I’m a doctor in plasma physics
and I studied mathematics at Cambridge University in the UK on for three years
so first piece of advice is that great actually do matter when you’re applying
to an undergraduate program I hate to say it sucks it’s not fair but it does
matter so let’s start with the UK to get into a university in UK you need to do
well in three types of exams GCSEs levels and a-levels and it’s really you
might ask well which of these mess and most and what I would say status I’ve
you it’s all of these exams of stepping stones onto getting into a good
university in the moment you’re there it really matters that you do well in your
GCSEs anyway s levels and your a levels and so you should just focus on each
exam as it comes and that will allow you to build on your success and eventually
get to the University you want to get to another thing in terms of getting into a
university that you want is to look on their websites often UK universities
will say what typical offers an a-level offers and a s level offers will look
like and what types of subjects people have done and I found it really helpful
to know what I was aiming for to have a target and know that if I get those
grades I will get to the University I wants you now let’s talk about the
United States what you want to be focusing on is your GPA from your
high school classes but also your SAT scores and so I have five pieces of
advice to give you here to optimize those the first is to start early for me
for instance they were looking back at my middle
school grades so you want to really be thinking about your grades as early as
eighth grade in danger the second piece of advice I would give you here is to
start thinking about taking a rigorous course load so you might be thinking
well I take pretty standard classes that’s fine but make sure you’re taking
the hardest classes for you for me in particular it meant that I took a full
ap load but I also did the International Baccalaureate program the third piece of
advice I would give here is to also study really hard for your exams we have
a separate video on study tips for physics exams but to be honest most the
study tips can be applied to any subject and then the fourth piece of advice here
is to really practice for the SATs remember that SATs are not necessarily a
great indicator of how intelligent you are but they are an indicator of how
well you have studied for that exam so that might mean having to get flashcards
for it or having to take an SAT prep course and the last piece of advice that
I want to give here is that not all universities provide interviews for
undergraduate programs in fact very few do so that means that you are being
reduced down to the numbers your GPA and SAT score but then also your
recommendations and letter of intent so you really need to be thinking about how
you look on paper so a second piece of advice is to do your research really
look up the universities you’re considering applying to it’s also very
important to look at subject subject specific rankings as opposed to just the
general university just because particularly if you want to continue to
follow a career in science it’s not always about just the big name of the
college but also about the people you know and you meet within those
universities another thing which is really important to think about is to
look at the location of the University in the
that some universities may be located in very big expensive cities and so
actually the financial outlay associated with those universities is really
significant and that’s aside from the fees of whether it’s public versus a
private university or a community college for example UCLA is a public
school but it’s located in a very expensive place which means it could be
quite and inaccessible for some people depending on that background our third
piece of advice is specifically for American students
and this is the best piece of advice I could possibly give you you are probably
not going to get this advice anywhere else go to Community College so I’m
gonna give you five quick reasons why you should consider going to Community
College and the first is the most obvious it’s cheap back in two thousand
five to date myself when I was taking classes it was about ten dollars a unit
which meant that a normal class was about three units I spent about thirty
dollars per class that’s a lot cheaper than going to an Ivy League university
and that leads me into my second reason which is that often when you apply to
university you’re not exactly sure that that is the career path that you want to
go down let’s be honest if you’re a teenager you do not necessarily know
what you want to do with the rest of your life and you shouldn’t have to you
should always be changing your mind based on what feels right at the time
and following your passion and drive and that changes so give yourself a break by
going to Community College you can spend the first few years dabbling and a lot
of different topics for dirt cheap and you can find out what’s right for you so
if you think for instance you want to go into chemistry and then you start taking
chemistry classes and you realize actually I’m really more of a
mathematician then you can go in that direction and you haven’t wasted tens of
thousands of dollars on a very expensive Ivy League education so that leads me
into the third reason why you should consider going to Community College
a lot easier to transfer to the University of your choice so if you go
to Community College your first two years are all of the lower division
classes those are all the basic classes you have to take at every university
regardless so you’re gonna have to take humanities you’re gonna have to take
some science you’re gonna have to take some whatever politics class those are
all the same as you might as well get them done cheap at a community college
and then transfer for your upper division classes to the University of
your choice it’s easier to get in because you have two years of evidence
that you have done college courses and presumably done them very well so that
is an easier way of getting into your college of choice and that leads me on
to the fourth reason which is that often when you apply as a transfer student
they’re going to be looking at your community college grades more so than
anything else so if your grades were really bad in high school or your SAT
scores were really bad it’s okay you can still get into the University of your
choice for instance for me I took the SAT one
time I did not have the money or resources to get any kind of training or
preparation for it I just showed up one day with a number two pencil and took
the exam and I did not do well which meant that a lot of universities that I
felt I deserve to go to wouldn’t even look at my application because my scores
weren’t good enough so if you want to bypass bad high school grades and SAT
scores this is the route for you and that leads me on to the fifth and
probably most important reason to go to Community College which is that you
might be close to your support network now I know you’re probably 18 17 and
you’re thinking I don’t want to be at home anymore I’m so sick of my family
I’m sick of my parents they’re always bugging me for this and not and I feel
the exact same way I was so sick of my family when I was a teenager the last
thing I wanted was to stay at home any longer
and at the time I saw that as a huge disadvantage but looking back
retrospectively it was really useful that I was close to my family during
that time because for instance I could have my mom do my laundry and I could be
there with my family for that moral support when things got hard so our
fourth piece of advice is to make a sensible spread by applications but
remember to back yourself so we’re going to talk about the UK and
the US separately because the systems are slightly different in the UK who
apply to university through the U caste system and you can make up to five
applications and my advice is to use those applications why is a usual five
of them in particular use three per universities which you have a good set
of grades for which they’re good fits and you will know that from the advice
from our previous tips also it use your fourth application to go to a safer
choice just in case you have a bit of bad luck
and then the fifth choice B if it’s ambitious choose something really go for
it and apart of anything else it’s really important to note that and this
is what I meant by sank back yourself is that if you have the grades to get into
a place you have a fair chance in UK it’s sometimes though these perceptions
that you have to be a certain type of person to go to a really top university
and the point is that if you have those grades that place is for you and it’s
also important to note that the very top universities like Oxford for example
will take into accounts on your context and any few for example go to a school
where there aren’t many students through a centre Russell Group universities or
Oxford or Cambridge that will be taken to accounts and I can personally say
that there was a lot of the admissions people in Oxford and other universities
are passionate that it shouldn’t matter where you come from as to whether you
get to these amazing universities so don’t be put off by any reputation or
media perception just go for it if you’ve got the grades now on to the
United States here it is all about quality applications not necessarily
quantity unlike the UK there’s really no restriction on how many applications you
can put in and I have seen people put in 20 or more it’s too many you shouldn’t
be putting in that many applications also you shouldn’t just put in one
application our fifth piece of advice is to do a
very small number of extracurricular activities very well one of the biggest
mistakes that I made in high school was that I got involved with everything I
was on every single Club because that’s what I thought that universities wanted
to see but it’s not universities want to see that you can do a few things very
well so I’ve three piece of advice on this topic the first is to
look at super curricular activities these are activities that are going to
be relevant to the career path you have in mind so let’s say for instance you
know you want to be a scientist then it makes sense to do extracurricular
activities that are science related sir for instance you might be involved with
a science fair do a project for that you might do a summer internship look at the
ApS jobs portal because there are always listings for those you might also want
to be involved with a science club at your high school or do science outreach
the second way in which you can optimize your extracurricular activities is to
focus on leadership you want to take a leading role in those activities not
just be a participant and that brings me to the third and most important point
which is pick one or two things and do them very very well so for me I did
everything in high school I did mock trial I did journalism I did Speech and
Debate I did academic decathlon I was involved with Key Club I did a ton of
outreach I was on everything and it was too much it was way too much and so when
I went to Community College I then said to myself what am I very good at and
what do I enjoy doing it was super clear to me I like to debate I am great at
debating and I enjoy doing it a sixth piece of advice relates to writing a
good admissions essay or personal statement as it’s known in the UK and
the most crucial thing is to make sure that what you write is not please shade
or generic you’d be really surprised actually by how many people say and
start their personal statements or their admissions essay with some cliched
phrase or referencing Brian Greene’s latest book and it’s great to be
interested in these things but you want to make sure that your personal
statement stands out now the way to do this is to focus on your own personal
struggles that you’ve overcome to achieve the results you have and so why
you’d be a great person to be this University another thing is to focus on
specific science related things you have done because you’re the the admissions
officers will be very interested in those another thing which is incredibly
important is to make sure that you do your research as we
and form a tip and look at the specific research that a university and to which
you are applying look at the research that they do the reason this matters
that it could be incredibly impressive you if you can say I want to go to this
university because I really like this but there has been research for example
and that’s incredibly impressive to have made those difference and what menu
standards the final thing is to make sure that you can justify everything you
put on your personal statements one of my biggest regrets on my own personal
statements was to make a slightly over ambitious claim about knowing about
general relativity of all things actually and my interviewers when it
came to when they had their my personal statement in front of them immediately
jumped on this and may it had a rather awkward aspect to the interview just
because I was slightly struggling to answer their questions so I really make
sure that you can absolutely be backup everything you say on your personal
statements the seventh piece of advice we have is to really consider looking
for a mentor this can be very useful especially if you come from an under
privileged background a mentor can really help organize your ideas for an
essay or for your application but also help organize your direction for your
career so you might be wondering how do I even find a mentor I’ll give you a few
ideas to get started the first thing that I did for instance is I was in the
Girl Scouts and I found it very useful because there are mentors within there
yes you can also go to your teachers at your high school because they should be
able to give you a lot of great advice another thing to consider as well is the
big sister little sister program that might be a good option for you also if
your grades are sufficient you might already be a member of the National
Honor Society and they have a mentoring program there now let’s say specifically
that you know you want to be a physicist like me there are a few different
options as well so for instance check out the APS website they have a
mentoring program also I recently found this website called adoptive physicists
another important tip to remember is that is always okay to email people and
ask them to be your mentor even people who you might think will never read your
email so for instance I get emails all the time from young
students who I don’t know who are all over the world and as long as the email
is readable I will read it and I will often reply to it within a few days our
final tip concerns getting good letters of recommendation and the key here is to
make sure that your letter of recommendation is genuine not generic
now the way to make sure that you have a genuine natural recommendation is to ask
someone who knows you really well um and who’s also enigmatic just because they
will write something that they really believe and it comes from the heart and
it will really jump out compared to if someone who doesn’t know you so well or
isn’t so good at conveying why you’re such a great person for this university
another important thing which really matters is to help them to do that you
need to give them a lot of information give them your personal statement or
admissions essay give them your grades tell them why you want to apply to this
place and then you they can build up a coherence application and really make
sure that their lateral reck’n’d a recommendation complements every other
aspect of your application so those are all our tips we really hope that you
think they’re helpful if you’ve got any other pieces of ice just leave them
below in the comments and they’ll be really appreciated yeah and if you found
this kind of video really helpful please subscribe to the channel and help
support our content so until next time we’ll see you later

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