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#1 Captain Obvious  Icon User is offline

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Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 21 April 2013 - 02:04 PM

Next year I will be a sophomore in high school, and I am looking for some general tips. Like what classes to take, what to get involved in, etc.

Some background info - I'm taking mainly honors and AP courses next year, and am not really involved in anything yet.

Also anything that would look good on a college application please tell me.
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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 21 April 2013 - 02:07 PM

Would you care to share a list of school extra circulars available?

Outside of that, and in no particular order, - football, wrestling, ACM, debate, NHS, Rotary Club, and student council.
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#3 Captain Obvious  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 21 April 2013 - 05:23 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 21 April 2013 - 02:07 PM, said:

Would you care to share a list of school extra circulars available?

Outside of that, and in no particular order, - football, wrestling, ACM, debate, NHS, Rotary Club, and student council.


I go to a fairly large high school, one of the largest in the state. So there is practically any extracurricular activity you can think of. There's a ton of sports, govt. things, academic things, etc. I have my choice of what to do.
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#4 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 21 April 2013 - 05:29 PM

What exactly do you want to do in college as your major? Computer Science or similar? My suggestion would be to take classes that are heavy in the math/science department throughout your high school career like AP Calculus BC, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, and AP Computer Science. Regarding extracurriculars, I would pick one extracurricular that is in line with your interests, and one that shows you are well rounded. Don't go all technical. If you really enjoy debating, join forensics. Are you political? Join student government, volunteer for a candidate's campaign, etc. Leadership is important as well. Get involved in some leadership role.
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#5 Captain Obvious  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 22 April 2013 - 02:37 PM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 21 April 2013 - 05:29 PM, said:

What exactly do you want to do in college as your major? Computer Science or similar? My suggestion would be to take classes that are heavy in the math/science department throughout your high school career like AP Calculus BC, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, and AP Computer Science. Regarding extracurriculars, I would pick one extracurricular that is in line with your interests, and one that shows you are well rounded. Don't go all technical. If you really enjoy debating, join forensics. Are you political? Join student government, volunteer for a candidate's campaign, etc. Leadership is important as well. Get involved in some leadership role.


I plan on majoring in something along the lines of computer science, maybe cyber security, or something in the IT field. I'll try to take classes that are heavy in math and science, but if I don't would I still get accepted to the school of science and engineering at a college I would go to.
And how much do extracurriculars matter? If I'm not involved in too many is that bad? If so how many extracurricular act. should I be in.
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#6 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 22 April 2013 - 02:43 PM

Quote

And how much do extracurriculars matter? If I'm not involved in too many is that bad? If so how many extracurricular act. should I be in.

You *NEED* to be asking/investigating/research this based off what schools you are looking to go to. I am certain Phoenix Online has a little different view than Colorado School of Mines which is different than Caltech.

There is no magic number of extra curricular, mix, or style that is some blanket guarantee for some nebulous school you are applying to.
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#7 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:05 PM

As far as classes go, do really well in math and take foreign languages. Sciences are also useful to you. Pass your history and English classes, but be aware that you're going to need to learn all that on your own.

For the rest of it, do the things that turn you on. Don't do them because you think they'll make you look better to someone - you won't fool anyone that way. If you're jazzed about debate, do debate. If you want to act, do theater. If you want to be a little twerp, go for student government. But if chess rocks your world, join a chess club. Or if you play music, start a band and be really good at that. It's high school, for pete's sake. Nobody's really going to care what you're interested in, they're just going to care that you're interested in something, or several things. But it only works if it's true.

View PostCaptain Obvious, on 22 April 2013 - 04:37 PM, said:

And how much do extracurriculars matter? If I'm not involved in too many is that bad? If so how many extracurricular act. should I be in.


This is exactly the wrong way to think about this question.
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#8 Swillis57  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:01 AM

View PostCaptain Obvious, on 22 April 2013 - 02:37 PM, said:

I plan on majoring in something along the lines of computer science, maybe cyber security, or something in the IT field. I'll try to take classes that are heavy in math and science, but if I don't would I still get accepted to the school of science and engineering at a college I would go to.
And how much do extracurriculars matter? If I'm not involved in too many is that bad? If so how many extracurricular act. should I be in.


You don't need advanced (i.e. AP math/science) courses to get into good schools. If you want to go somewhere like USC or MIT, then yeah, you'd probably need them, but for a usual Institute of Technology or other school, you don't need to bury yourself in work. For example, I've taken one AP class (AP CS) in all 4 years of high school, got a 5 on the exam (p.s. if you're taking AP CS, you need to do a lot of self-study for the exam, unless you have a really, really good teacher), and held myself a tad above a 4.0 GPA with Honors classes, and I got into Rochester IT, a pretty damn good school. It also helps to shoot for a >2000 SAT score.

But, if you think you can handle the workload that comes with AP math and science classes, take them. They'll make your GPA skyrocket. And if you're really into it, and get 4s and 5s on the exams, you can knock out most first-year college classes before you're even in college.

Extracurriculars are a pretty subjective thing. I had a total of 3 on my application: Physics club, Stage Crew, and AP Tutor. Do not, and I can't stress this enough, get involved in something you have no interest in. You want something to put there, but you don't want so long of a laundry list that it makes it obvious you're just padding it.

And don't BS your application essay, either. My advice for one of these is be metaphorical, such as take an object relating to what you want to accomplish in life, and describe that object in terms of your goal. It sounds complicated, but your junior-year English teacher will probably have you write it as an in-class assignment.
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#9 Captain Obvious  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:58 PM

Well you all say don't do extracurriculars because they look good, but do them because you want to. The problem is that I am not really interested in anything at my high school. I do play basketball in a local league, but beyond that nothing else. Nothing really interests me that much, I would rather just stay at home and learn how to program. If I'm not really interested in anything that the school has to offer then should I just join a club that's bearable to me. For example I could never do theater or acting stuff. I would most likely join track or some kind of diversity group.
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#10 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:03 PM

Then fine.. _DONT_ do any. Lord knows how many Grumpy Guses I wanted to kick out of activities since they were clearly not there for the love or passion, but because their parents believed it would look good on a college application..

Is your computer club lacking a teacher, or do you just not like interacting with people?
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#11 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:06 PM

What are you interested in? Never mind whether your high school has a club for it - what do you really groove on?

If it's just programming, and only programming, then find other programmers and start a club. Learn languages together, work through Coursera classes together, maybe mentor kids and help them learn to program, maybe make some cool thing or hack on some good open-source project, maybe study math... if that's really what you're into, that's great, do that.

What we're saying is, if you spend your time on the school newspaper because you heard it was a good way to get into college, you're likely to regret it. On the other hand, if you design an awesome CMS for the school paper's web site because you think that's a fun thing to do, you probably won't regret that.
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#12 creativecoding  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 05:56 PM

I can't contribute much other than this: More likely than not your computer-related classes at your school will be subpar. There are thousands of tutorials out there, reading those are infinitely more valuable than taking a Java 101 class and slapping "I know Java" on your resume.

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#13 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for high school sophomore?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:24 PM

Don't forget the title text:

Quote

And the ten minutes striking up a conversation with that strange kid in homeroom sometimes matters more than every other part of high school combined.


(which is more or less why you want to be spending your time on things that matter to you: that way you find people that also care about those things)
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