When it comes to studying a subject you don’t want to get to university and then find out that actually it wasn’t quite your cup of tea. By studying a subject in more depth beforehand you can ensure that it is right for you and also will give you a bit more of an advantage on your UCAS form. Therefore as our teen had an interest in Physics I was keen to help him explore it further before he got to the UCAS stage.
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Consider Why Physics is of an Interest over Other Subjects
It may be simply something in class that sparked an interest but what helped take it further and cement that love of the subject enough to want to carry it on to university? Maybe it was an extracurricular course, a school trip or some particular detail of the subject that made the impression. This now needs some consideration in detail – and expanded on.
- What is it that ignites your interest? Do you have a specific interest in a particular area? Are there aspects that you do not enjoy?
- Are there particular careers that would be directly related to these interests? Unifrog can help with this process.
As you explore some of the below contemplate the following (taking notes is also a good idea):
- Have you discovered anything new about the topic?
- Were there things that you agreed or disagreed with?
- Did they inspire you to further research something?
Gather Information from those with an Interest in Physics
Obviously the people who are going to know the most about Physics are those who also have an interest in the subject already. Teachers, universities, students and those in the profession, are a great place to start gathering information from.
You can do this by:
- Looking on University websites
- Get feedback from those who have studied, or who are studying the subject (check out MyTutor #affliate and discount)
- Reading books, newspapers, magazines (subscription), journals and online articles
- Social media – engaging in discussions with them
- Watch lectures/TED talks and TedEd
- School guest lectures
- Listen to Podcasts
- Attend Summer Schools (Sutton Trust) , Workshops & Taster Lectures (usually the Spring term)
- Online courses
- Read successful personal statements
What to Read with an Interest in Physics
- How to Teach Quantum Physics to your Dog
- Perplexing Problems
- A Cavendish Quantum Mechanics Primer
- The Second Creation.
- The New Scientist
- The Scientist.
- Nature Journal
- Schrodinger’s Kittens and the Search for Reality: Solving the Quantum Mysteries
- The Quantum Universe: (And Why Anything That Can Happen, Does)
- Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe
- Sustainable Energy – Without the hot air
- A Brief History of Time
- The First Three Minutes
- In Our Time
- Conversations at the Perimeter
- Sean Carroll’s Mindscape Podcast
- Talk Nerdy
- The Titanium Physicists
- Flash Forward
- Quirks & Quarks
- What the If
- Physics World Stories
- Starts with a Bang
- This Week in Science
- Brains on
Obviously good grades are going to be essential if you want to get into a more competitive university. However, the more you can demonstrate a passion for the subject, and think outside of the box, the better.
Here are some of the more obvious ideas that students applying for Physics at university will most likely have done:
- Physics Masterclass
- Senior Physics Challenge
- Inter School Competitions
- Solve Physics problems – Brilliant https://brilliant.org/
- Built something
- Be able to explain a Physics theorem or law of interest
- Tutoring in Maths and Science
- Isaac Physics Mentoring Scheme
- Work Experience – directly related to Physics
- IRIS Research Project
- The Oxford Scientist science writing competition
- CREST Award
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what is out there. Physics is such a huge topic and therefore it is well worth exploring it further. The earlier the better in my opinion. If your teen isn’t interested in looking at what’s out there before they go to university then I believe they are wasting their time going.
Many people say that the top universities are not interested in DofE but it would help if the skills and/or volunteering sections were geared towards Physics.
Do you enjoy physics? Is there an area you love more and why? Do you have any recommendations for any material that could help explore an interest in physics ready for UCAS?