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Old 2018-06-15, 18:24   #23
CRGreathouse
 
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Originally Posted by jvang View Post
Were you like a tenured professor doing your own research or something?
My career plan had always been to study math in college to at least get a degree (because I was good at math and enjoyed it), but then work as a programmer (because I knew how to program, the pay looked good, and I didn't want to teach). When I graduated I decided that I was interested enough in math to stay active in the field as a hobby. The advantage is I get to do whatever I want, I don't have to teach, I don't have to write grants, and my schedule is infinitely flexible. The downside is that it's harder to force yourself to sit down and really learn technically challenging fields -- it's easier to coast along with the skills I already had.

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Would a gap year program or something similar be in my interests?
The goal for a gap year is for it to be as non-detrimental as possible for your academics. If everything lines up perfectly it won't hurt you. I'm not recommending against it, mind you -- if there's something you want to do, do it, but don't do it with the idea that you will be better off for it academically. (Depending on what you do it might make you a better person or a better job prospect etc.)

Of course sometimes having a gap year isn't a choice -- you miss deadlines or get rejected. It's definitely not the end of the world, you have plenty of time to make the next cycle, whether you decide to enter next semester (sometimes possible to transfer in if you have community college credit) or next year.

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I also have basically 0 extracurricular activities, so spending a couple months volunteering somewhere would look good on my resume or something. I'm guessing that, by delaying my schooling for a year, I'll have a better shot at better financial aid at better colleges. Any thoughts?
If the extra year lets you retake classes you failed and you can get good grades this time around that would, I think, be very meaningful and relevant to admissions, certainly more than extracurriculars. ("Sure, I failed English, Economics, and Geography in my senior year, but I had xyz going on. I took a gap year where I did abc and also took those three classes at my local community college, getting an A, a B, and an A+. So you can see that not only can I handle the subjects but I have dedication and...")

But yeah, extracurriculars will give you an extra few percent. The priority needs to be on doing well in the make-up classes -- really well, if you want to go to one of the "better colleges" -- but if you can do that, have time left over, and find an extracurricular that interests you, do it. (Definitely don't do it unless you are genuinely interested, it's not worth it.)
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Old 2018-06-15, 19:05   #24
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Old 2018-06-15, 21:36   #25
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Originally Posted by Dubslow View Post
I never took an ACT, only SAT. I got ~2100 (out of 2400) on the standard one, with 800 and 780 on Math and Physics subject tests.
Just out of curiosity, how many times did you take it? I scored a bit below 2100 on my first attempt, but I managed a 2240 or 2250 (don't remember) on my third and final attempt.
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Old 2018-06-15, 21:55   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvang View Post
Would a gap year program or something similar be in my interests?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
The goal for a gap year is for it to be as non-detrimental as possible for your academics. If everything lines up perfectly it won't hurt you. I'm not recommending against it, mind you -- if there's something you want to do, do it, but don't do it with the idea that you will be better off for it academically. (Depending on what you do it might make you a better person or a better job prospect etc.)

Of course sometimes having a gap year isn't a choice -- you miss deadlines or get rejected. It's definitely not the end of the world, you have plenty of time to make the next cycle, whether you decide to enter next semester (sometimes possible to transfer in if you have community college credit) or next year.

If the extra year lets you retake classes you failed and you can get good grades this time around that would, I think, be very meaningful and relevant to admissions, certainly more than extracurriculars. ("Sure, I failed English, Economics, and Geography in my senior year, but I had xyz going on. I took a gap year where I did abc and also took those three classes at my local community college, getting an A, a B, and an A+. So you can see that not only can I handle the subjects but I have dedication and...")
This is probably different than your situation, but I got a decent job not long after starting my M.S. in Engineering. I took a gap year to take the job, with the intention of finishing up my masters later on.


Well, guess what. That was 5 years ago, and although I have a different job now, I never went back to college. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if most people who take gap years never return.


On another note, my only other advice would be to figure out a way to graduate during an economic boom. People with OK grades who graduated from a relatively unknown state college during a boom are often better off than those with good grades who graduated from an Ivy League college during a severe recession.
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Old 2018-06-16, 21:37   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
My career plan had always been to study math in college to at least get a degree (because I was good at math and enjoyed it), but then work as a programmer (because I knew how to program, the pay looked good, and I didn't want to teach). When I graduated I decided that I was interested enough in math to stay active in the field as a hobby. The advantage is I get to do whatever I want, I don't have to teach, I don't have to write grants, and my schedule is infinitely flexible. The downside is that it's harder to force yourself to sit down and really learn technically challenging fields -- it's easier to coast along with the skills I already had.
Wow, sounds nice!

The National Civilian Community Corps with AmeriCorps looks pretty good if I go with a gap year. Cost-free; I'll even be eligible for an award equal to the maximum Pell Grant to throw at my college expenses. The only requirement is to complete a year of full-time work with them, about 1700 hours of service. They'll cover transportation, housing, meals, etc.

https://www.nationalservice.gov/prog...mericorps-nccc

@CRGreathouse: I might be (definitely am) missing something, but I don't really know what you ended up doing after college...

Last fiddled with by jvang on 2018-06-17 at 15:06 Reason: typing is hard
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Old 2018-06-18, 19:26   #28
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I've got a few plans that I'm thinking up for college now, which mostly cover where I'll be applying and a backup in case I need to show colleges better grades (take a gap year/spend a bit of time at a CC). Other than what I'm actually interested in, what else should I think/worry about?

Edit: Oh yeah, forgot about this very official-looking letter I got in the mail from the NSHSS, which looks suspiciously like the NHS, congratulating me on my "exemplary acheivement" this past year... they clearly didn't look at my report card Their requirements are a 3.5 GPA or a 26 on the ACT. In any case, it seems to be a honor society-wannabe focused on turning a profit; their membership fee is $75 compared to the NHS's ~$10. And even though they claim to award $2 million or so in scholarships, a bit of research on their membership numbers shows that they at least get $5-6 million from fees alone...

Last fiddled with by jvang on 2018-06-18 at 22:43 Reason: typing is hard
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Old 2018-06-20, 00:22   #29
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Edward Blum is the figurehead of another lawsuit against affirmative action, this time against Harvard. Apparently they've been discriminating against Asian Americans in the admissions process

A lot of people have widely differing views on race in admissions and affirmative action. I'm pretty sure it's more racist to give benefits to someone purely based on race; shouldn't everything be equally considered for everyone?

Last fiddled with by jvang on 2018-06-20 at 00:22 Reason: typing is hard
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Old 2018-06-20, 01:03   #30
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Originally Posted by jvang View Post
Edward Blum is the figurehead of another lawsuit against affirmative action, this time against Harvard. Apparently they've been discriminating against Asian Americans in the admissions process

A lot of people have widely differing views on race in admissions and affirmative action. I'm pretty sure it's more racist to give benefits to someone purely based on race; shouldn't everything be equally considered for everyone?
Yes. Should.
Equality is hard to determine following a long-standing system of favoritism, especially if that system is still partially in force.
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Old 2018-06-20, 18:38   #31
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Did some more research on the NSHSS to make sure it was a scam; not as scammy as other things I've seen, but it's for-profit. From what I read it's pretty much worthless unless you happen to get one of their (very) small scholarships, and not worth the hassle anyways. And they're not really prestigious in any way (huge membership), so at best it means nothing on your resume/college app
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Old 2018-06-20, 20:08   #32
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@CRGreathouse: I might be (definitely am) missing something, but I don't really know what you ended up doing after college...
I got a job as a programmer. I also started contributing to The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences more seriously, eventually joining their Editorial Board.
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Old 2018-06-20, 20:40   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
I got a job as a programmer. I also started contributing to The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences more seriously, eventually joining their Editorial Board.
Ohhhhhh ok

So did you program at a company? And was your programming kinda general or specific to some application?
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