If you are a high school student pondering a career in Physics, what can you do to prepare?
The field of Physics covers a wide array of options from theory to experiment, from basic research to practical applications. Since most high school students are unfamiliar with what these possibilities mean, if you feel you have an aptitude for the physical sciences, you are encouraged to take any and all math and science classes available that can reasonably fit within your schedule, with an emphasis on Physics and, if possible, Pre-Calculus and Calculus. AP classes in Math or Physics should be taken as a preparation rather than a substitute for university-level classes.
In recent years, a number of institutions have made some of their undergraduate courses available on line. These courses can often be viewed for free and the material studied at a pace set by the student. We encourage high school students to make use of these (e.g. MIT’s courses: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses ) as a means of gaining familiarity with the topics and language within the discipline prior to enrolling in classes at KU.
Detailed lists of the course sequences for a B.S. major in Physics and for a B.A major in Physics may be found at the web site of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. For those with a strong interest in more immediate practical applications of Physics, please look into the B.S. degree in Engineering Physics. As a crude comparison of your level of preparation, the average composite ACT score for incoming majors within Astronomy and Physics is between 28 and 30.
At minimum, if you have any interest in majoring in Physics or Engineering Physics at KU, we strongly encourage you to contact and speak with a faculty member within the program to discuss your options and to aid in planning your course schedule at KU.